Jul 24, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment

 College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment students collaborate in a lab setting

Telephone: Newark (302) 831-2841, Lewes (302) 645-4226

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Faculty Profiles

Program Overview

The College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) is dedicated to advancing the understanding of Earth’s natural systems and the interactions of humans with the environment through engaged interdisciplinary research, teaching, and outreach.

The study of earth, ocean, and environmental systems is a vital part of ensuring a healthy future for our planet and all its inhabitants. The College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) provides exemplary instruction with the goal of preparing students for a meaningful career in education, research, business, or government service.

Our multidisciplinary approach enables students to handle complex issues and give them a competitive advantage in their careers.The College’s goal is to produce well-rounded scientists, researchers, and policy specialists who have the broad vision and interdisciplinary background necessary  to address the sweeping, interrelated issues that are part of the study of ocean, earth, and environmental systems.

CEOE offers the following graduate degree programs: Master’s degrees in Geography, Geology, Marine Policy, Marine Studies(with concentrations in Marine Biosciences, Oceanography and Physical Ocean Science and Engineering) and Ocean Engineering; and the Ph.D. in Climatology Geography, Geology, Marine Studies (with concentrations in Marine Biosciences, Marine Policy, and Physical Ocean Science and Engineering) Oceanography, and Ocean Engineering.

The goal of the College is to educate scholars who will provide intellectual leadership in the areas of the physical and human geography, geological sciences, marine biosciences, marine policy, oceanography, and physical ocean science and engineering. Graduates are expected to understand the complex interactions of these areas in real-world situations, in addition to mastering advanced work in the area of their specialty.

The College has facilities in two locations: on the main campus of the University in Newark and another on the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in the coastal city of Lewes at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. During the academic year, courses are taught at both sites. Interactive television linking the two sites minimizes the need for commuting between campuses. Students may live at either location depending on the nature of their research and the location of their advisor.

The College offers both field-oriented and laboratory-oriented research programs that take advantage of easy access to the Atlantic coast and Coastal Plain, the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays, and upland areas of the Piedmont and Appalachian Mountains. Additionally, there are many ongoing opportunities for research at a variety of locations around the world.

Admission Requirements

Note: these are general admission criteria. Please see specific programs for additional details for the particular departments and school.

Graduate student selection and advisement receive special attention at CEOE. Following a careful evaluation of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, undergraduate record, and three letters of recommendation, faculty and potential research advisors invite the most promising applicants to campus for interviews. A faculty member must agree to serve as the student’s advisor before admission may be offered.

All graduate degree applicants should submit the following:

  • A completed graduate school application form including all references and supplemental materials and the required application fee.
  • GRE general aptitude test scores.
  • Official transcripts of all college work.
  • A supplemental page indicating the student’s specific interests (necessary to help the college identify an appropriate advisor).

Student Expectations

Doctoral students should have the analytical skills needed to perform original, independent research of sufficient scope and depth for publication in internationally recognized professional journals. Proficiency in field and laboratory techniques and in computerized data processing must also be demonstrated through written and oral qualifying examinations and the doctoral dissertation.

Master’s degree students have similar, but less exhaustive requirements. Master’s candidates are required to complete 30-39 graduate credits and complete a thesis.

Research Opportunities

In addition to advanced work in the area of their specialty, graduate students in the college have the opportunity to conduct research on critical marine and earth issues under the guidance of distinguished faculty. Students are expected to think broadly about their work and its implications for society. Courses outside the student’s specialty ensure a wellrounded background.

Research Centers and Affiliated Programs

In addition to the several research centers housed within CEOE, there are also several programs that are affiliated with the college. These include the Delaware Sea Grant College Program, the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS), and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR), among others.

The University of Delaware was designated the nation’s ninth Sea Grant College in 1976, thus the designation Delaware Sea Grant College Program. Since that time, our goal has been to promote the wise use, conservation, and management of marine and coastal resources through high-quality research, education, and outreach activities that benefit the public and the environment. In 1966, Congress established the National Sea Grant College Program. The term “Sea Grant” was chosen to emphasize the parallel between this new program, focusing on the nation’s marine resources, and the Land Grant program, which was created more than a century earlier to develop agricultural resources. Today, there are Sea Grant programs in every coastal state and in Puerto Rico. Programs work individually and in partnership regionally and nationally to address major marine challenges.

The Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) was established by an Act of the General Assembly in 1951 and is organized as an affiliated agency of the College of Earth, Ocean, & Environment. This arrangement reflects both the research orientation of the Survey and the need for practical applications of geology throughout the state. The Delaware Geological Survey’s mission is, by statute, geologic and hydrologic research and exploration, and dissemination of information through publication and public service. The goal of DGS is to provide objective scientific geologic and hydrologic information, advice, and service to our stakeholders. This goal is accomplished by conducting geologic, hydrologic, and geologic hazard investigations and services and by continuing development of our infrastructure through basic data collection and computer-based data management and dissemination programs. The scientific information is used to advise, inform, and educate stakeholders about the important roles that the earth sciences play in such topics as water resources, public health, agriculture, economic development, land-use planning, environmental protection, geologic hazards, energy and mineral resources, emergency planning, response, recovery, and recreation.

Originally formed by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in 1957, the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) explores scientific questions about the ocean that often require an interdisciplinary approach. SCOR was the first interdisciplinary body formed by ICSU. SCOR activities focus on promoting international cooperation in planning and conducting oceanographic research, and solving methodological and conceptual problems that hinder research. Scientists from 35 nations participate in SCOR working groups and steering committees. Approximately 250 scientists participate in SCOR activities on a voluntary basis at any given time.

Research Facilities

Robinson Hall, on the UD main campus in Newark, is CEOE’s administrative base, housing two programs, Marine Policy and Physical Ocean Science and Engineering. It is also home to two of the College’s five research centers. The Center for Remote Sensing gathers and analyzes satellite data to yield valuable information about oceanic properties and coastal resources, ranging from the dispersion of oil slicks to global change in plant production. The Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy, the first of its kind to be established at an American university, conducts interdisciplinary ocean and coastal policy research and education programs with a variety of local, national, and international partners.

Penny Hall is also located on the main campus in Newark. It houses undergraduate and graduate students in the Geological Sciences. The Department has ready access to an x-ray diffractometer, paleomagnetic equipment, gas and liquid chromatographs, ground penetrating radar, multichannel seismic equipment, a variety of coring and drilling equipment, tripod mounted lidar, an electronic total station, an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle equipped with sidescan sonar and other sensors, and a variety of boats, including a 25-ft. vessel outfitted for geological research in the Delaware Bay. Through its cooperative programs with several nearby institutions, including the Delaware Geological Survey, the department has ready access to nearly all other commonly used tools of geological and geophysical research. The University of Delaware GIS laboratory is also located in Penny Hall.

Based in Pearson Hall, the Geography Department houses the University’s Center for Climatic Research and the Office of the State Climatologist for Delaware. Research facilities include laboratories for cartography, microclimatology, biogeography, Geographic Information Science and computer analysis. The Department is well-equipped with microclimatic and other fieldwork instrumentation and workstations and related peripherals for GIS work. The department also maintains high-end UNIX servers for modeling and data analysis, good connections to university-wide computing resources, and connections to SURA-Grid for supercomputing needs.

Also based in Newark, the Lammot du Pont Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Marine Studies Laboratory provides state-of-the-art, contamination-free, “clean-lab” facilities for the study of trace metals in marine waters and sediments. The nearby Delaware Biotechnology Institute, a partnership among government, academia, and industry to help establish Delaware as a center of excellence in biotechnology and the life sciences, supports leading-edge interdisciplinary research in genomics and proteomics, including marine science initiatives.

Another major coastal research facility available at UD is the College of Engineering’s Ocean Engineering Lab in the Center for Applied Coastal Research. CEOE students may use the lab’s flumes and wave basins through a joint degree program offered by the College of Earth, Ocean & Environment and the College of Engineering. The lab contains such novel equipment as the directional wave basin – a 66-foot-long, 66-foot-wide, 3.3-foot-deep apparatus equipped with 34 wave-generating paddles for simulating a realistic sea. Faculty and students use the device to study the physics of waves and the effectiveness of various coastal protection measures.

At the Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes, on the shores of Delaware Bay, CEOE provides all the amenities for a thriving marine research and teaching program, including offices, research and teaching laboratories, classrooms, computer facilities, and a library. Cannon and Smith laboratories are equipped with recirculating seawater systems and controlled-environment rooms for maintaining saltwater fish and plants. Cannon Lab also is home to two research centers: the Center for Marine Environmental Genomics focuses on deciphering the genetic code of marine organisms and determining the role that specific genes play, while the Ocean Information Center electronically archives a wide variety of marine data for use by scientists around the world.

Smith Lab includes a shellfish hatchery, algal culture facilities, fish aquaria, microbiology labs, and greenhouse space for halophyte (salt-tolerant plant) research. It also houses the Center for Halophyte Biotechnology, which is developing salt-tolerant plants for agricultural use and wetlands restoration in collaboration with local and international partners.

The Lewes campus is also the site of a utility-scale 2-megawatt (2-MW) wind turbine which is the result of a partnership between UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and Gamesa Technology Corporation.

This partnership came about because of synergies that emerged from wind research being conducted at UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and College of Engineering, the State of Delaware’s interest in offshore wind, the City of Lewes’ interest in innovative energy opportunities, and Gamesa’s interest in improving its understanding of the effects of marine conditions such as salt spray on turbine coatings, corrosion, and avian impacts.

In 2008, UD worked with Ontario, N.Y.-based Sustainable Energy Developments Inc. to determine the feasibility of placing a commercial scale turbine on the campus. The results of that study indicated that the energy generated from a 2-MW turbine would offset the energy used at the Lewes campus. In addition, the turbine provides educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate science and engineering students interested in wind energy.

Two smaller laboratories in Lewes contain specialized research facilities. Henlopen Lab, adjacent to Cape Henlopen State Park, is home to one of the world’s only tilting wind-wave tanks for studying physical phenomena at the air-sea interface. The Pollution Ecology Laboratory serves as supplemental space for marine geological research.

The Adrian S. Hooper Marine Operations Building and harbor support the seagoing research activities of the college. The harbor is home port of the 146-foot Hugh R. Sharp research vessel. Several smaller vessels, including our newest vessel the 47-foot R/V Joanne Daiber, are available for scientific exploration and sampling in nearby Delaware Bay and coastal Atlantic waters.

Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science

The Certificate of Geographic Information Science (GIS) is designed for working professionals aspiring to leadership positions in the field and wishing to obtain a certificate of GIS specialization. The Program first requires two core courses that provide a student the theoretical underpinnings of GIS to make informed use of geographic technologies, followed by the selection of one of three tracks - Technician, Analyst and Developer - to gain the technical skills needed to construct and solve problems in the physical and social realms.

The GIS Certificate Program is designed to meet the education needs of both traditional and non-traditional students. For traditional students, the GIS Certificate program prepares them to utilize GIS in their major areas of studies, while nontraditional students can take advantage of the GIS Certificate program to learn and/or upgrade their GIS knowledge and skills that are applicable and important to their professions.

Departments and Programs

Department of Earth Sciences

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Department of Geography and Spatial Sciences

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School of Marine Science and Policy

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