Ocean Engineering (Ph.D.)

Ocean Engineering (Ph.D.)

ocean engineering tank

Students admitted to the ocean engineering Ph.D. program come from traditional engineering degree programs including physics, mathematics, computer science, and in some cases, marine science programs. Those entering the Ph.D. program with a B.S. degree from an engineering program should be prepared to begin the Ph.D. program directly. Those coming from a B.S. in physics, mathematics, or computer science will have their transcripts more carefully reviewed on an individual basis, as additional courses may be required.

A student in the ocean engineering Ph.D. program will be expected to take a minimum of 12 courses (exclusive of dissertation research) beyond those required for a B.S. degree.


  • "Ocean Engineering at UNH provides interesting research and engineering opportunities for its students, including initiaitives that impact our local communities and the globe. I had a unique opportunity to collaborate with researchers in The Netherlands to study one of the biggest coastal...
    "Ocean Engineering at UNH provides interesting research and engineering opportunities for its students, including initiaitives that impact our local communities and the globe. I had a unique opportunity to collaborate with researchers in The Netherlands to study one of the biggest coastal...

Curriculum & Requirements

Required Courses

Select one of the following courses in oceanography or ocean science:3-4
ESCI #850
Biological Oceanography
ESCI 852
Chemical Oceanography
ESCI 858
Introduction to Physical Oceanography
ESCI 859
Geological Oceanography
Complete the following core courses in ocean engineering:18
ESCI 820
Ocean Measurements Lab
OE 853
Ocean Hydrodynamics
OE 854
Ocean Waves and Tides
OE 864
Spectral Analysis of Geophysical Time Series Data
OE 865
Underwater Acoustics
Select two 900 level courses from the following list:6-8
ME 910
OE 965
Advanced Underwater Acoustics
OE 972
Hydrographic Field Course
OE 995
Graduate Special Topics
Select two 800 or 900 level courses from MATH or IAM or select both:6-8
ME 886
Introduction to Finite Element Analysis
ME 986
Advanced Finite Element Analysis
Select an additional four CEPS electives (two at the 800 level; two at the 900 level):12-16

The general progress of a student through this program is expected to follow the time frame listed:

Year 1: Coursework

Year 2: Coursework, qualifier by the end of the year, form graduate dissertation committee

Year 3: Research, dissertation proposal defense

Year 4: Research

Year 5: Research, dissertation defense

The course selection and sequencing will be established in consultation with the student's guidance committee. There will be a qualifying examination on the core courses by the end of the second year. The goal of this exam is to test the breadth of a student's knowledge in topic areas essential to ocean engineering. A formal dissertation proposal defense will include a written proposal, a public presentation and an oral exam. After successful completion of the qualifying exam and dissertation proposal defense, the student will be advanced to candidacy. The dissertation will be defended in a public forum when completed.


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Jan. 15 (for funding); April 1 (recommended US; final international); July 1 (final)
  • Spring: Dec. 1
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: N/A

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: CT MA VT

Accelerated Masters Eligible: No

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to grad.school@unh.edu. Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

Explore Program Details

The School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering serves as an interdisciplinary nexus for marine science and ocean engineering teaching and research across the University.

School of marine Science and Ocean engineering

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Students on the lawn at Thompson Hall
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