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Biological Oceanography, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 24 months
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In the Joint Program, 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.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Part-time
    • Average part-time duration 24 months
    • Intensity Flexible
    • Part-time variant
  • Credits
    120 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

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

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120.

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

General Requirements

Admission requirements:
  • Field of interest
  • Personal information/addresses
  • International student data
  • Three or more names and email addresses of letter writers
  • Scanned copies of your Official College Transcripts
  • Educational and work history
  • Statement of objectives
  • Outside financial support and potential outside support
  • Credit card payment of $75

Tuition Fee

  • International

    44720 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 44720 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
  • National

    44720 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 44720 USD per year and a duration of 24 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Cambridge

  • 1814 - 3760 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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