Areas of Examination

Each Oceanography AOS student will be examined in at least three of the following areas: 

  1. Physical Oceanography
  2. Biological Oceanography 
  3. Chemical Oceanography 
  4. Geological Oceanography 
  5. Statistics 
  6. Management 

The student's committee will determine which areas are to be examined in consultation with the student. The objective is to assure that the student has an appropriate general understanding of the field as well as the specific knowledge needed to begin research. A test customized to the student's interests and research goals is an important strength of the MEES program. The committee is responsible for ensuring that there is balance, breadth of coverage, and depth. Questions which ask the student to integrate knowledge obtained from coursework, independent study, and ongoing research are particularly appropriate. When an area to be examined is not represented by members of the committee, the committee may consult with an outside expert as to the formulation of a question or the correctness of an answer.

Examination Format

Comprehensive examinations consist of two parts, a written examination followed by an oral examination. The two parts should not be separated by more than three weeks. The written examination is to be conducted in five sessions of four hours each. This is typically conducted over the course of five days. The student will receive a set of questions at the beginning of each four hour period and will prepare a written response. The particular details of the formal of the questions and the requested response are to be determined the committee. The committee will specify whether the responses are to be prepared with or without access to notes or library materials. Each set of questions may have a different restriction on access to outside information. The student should be notified of this decision in advance of the examination.

The oral examination is an opportunity to review the answers provided on the written examination and to explore the breadth and depth of the student's knowledge. The committee will assess the student's ability to verbally communicate and respond to challenging questions.