Ph.D. On Campus

Biological Oceanography

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

24 months
26725 USD/year
26725 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Biological Oceanography program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studies the life in the oceans—the distribution, abundance, and production of marine species along with the processes that govern species' spread and development.


In the Biological Oceanography program of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), biological oceanography is also a study in extremes...

  • In size, from the tiny microbes in the water column to the 30-meter blue whale
  • In depth, from blooms of cyanobacteria covering thousands of square kilometers of the ocean's surface, to hydrothermal vent colonies emerging eerily from the mile-deep dark
  • In locale, from the lab next door to the deck of a research vessel bucking ice flows in the Arctic

Extreme habitats

Studying organisms that occupy extreme habitats, such as the deep sea or polar regions, presents major challenges for accessibility and sampling. Meeting these challenges has had exciting results. The discovery of biological communities near hydrothermal vents, for example, led to new perceptions about the evolution of life, the discovery of unusual symbioses, and new insights on adaptation in the deep sea.

Lab to ocean

Another set of challenges lies in comparing data from lab experiments and observations on individual organisms with the patterns we see during field studies and ocean cruises. Laboratory work, such as isolating cyanobacteria in pure culture or sequencing genomes, underlies our interpretation of how populations respond in nature.

Different faces of biological oceanography

Biological oceanographers study:

  • Chemical and physical factors influencing distribution patterns
  • Physiological, behavioral, and biochemical adaptations to environmental variables, including natural variations in food, temperature, pressure, light, and the chemical environment
  • Food chain dynamics
  • Nutrient cycling and initial steps of chemical energy fixation
  • Responses to the results of man's activities in the oceans

In this broad range of work, you can see the many faces of biological oceanography. Answering research questions may require studies in microbiology, planktonology, ichthyology, benthic biology, taxonomy, ecology, biogeochemistry, cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, animal behavior, bioacoustics, and applied mathematics.

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Mathematical Ecology
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Research in Biological Oceanography
  • Method and Logic in Molecular Biology
  • Principles of Biochemical Analysis
  • Genetics for Graduate Students

Key information


  • Part-time
    • 24 months
    • Flexible

Start dates & application deadlines


120 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • In the application, you will be asked to supply the names and email addresses of three people to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf
  • Transcripts
  • You will be required to describe the grading system(s) used at all colleges and universities you have attended. Explain the specific meaning of any numeric values, letter grades, and rankings
  • English Language Proficiency (IELTS or TOEFL)
  • Statement of Objectives

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    26725 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 26725 USD per year during 24 months.
  • National

    26725 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 26725 USD per year during 24 months.

Living costs for Cambridge

1814 - 3756 USD /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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Biological Oceanography
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)


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