General Info

  • Faculty working with students: 25 (15 in Beaufort and 9 in Durham)
  • Students: 38
  • Students receiving Financial Aid: 100%
  • Application terms: Fall
  • Application deadline: December 7
Application Info


James Hench
Director of Graduate Studies
Duke Marine Laboratory
135 Duke Marine Lab Road
Beaufort, NC 28516-9721

Phone: (252) 504-7585



Program Description

The PhD in MSC is designed to ensure that students receive detailed training in a particular discipline of marine natural or social science, while being exposed to sufficient interdisciplinary knowledge that they are able to synthesize information from both the social and natural sciences and apply that information to policy-making.  These students will be prepared for careers either in university teaching or research, or outside of the university involving the application of science to policy-making. 

Doctoral students in MSC emphasize research as the major part of their degree programs.  The committee, chaired by the student’s faculty advisor, will recommend which of the program’s required courses students should take along with any additional courses, and generally help to shape the student’s research program.

The bulk of a student's time will be spent at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, NC. Students often spend one or two semesters taking graduate level classes on the Durham campus before moving to Beaufort to complete their research; however, residence in Durham is not a requirement.

In addition to MSC and other course work, MSC students are required to present short research update seminars in years 2-4 of their program, complete a preliminary examination, and complete a dissertation. The dissertation is presented in a public seminar and defended to the committee in a dissertation examination.


Application Information

Application Terms Available: Fall

Application Deadline: December 7

Graduate School Application Requirements
See the Application Instructions page for important details about each Graduate School requirement.

  • Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts required with application submission; official transcripts required upon admission
  • Letters of Recommendation: 3 Required
  • Statement of Purpose: Required
  • Résumé: Required
  • GRE Scores: GRE General (Optional)
  • English Language Exam: TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test required* for applicants whose first language is not English
    *test waiver may apply for some applicants
  • GPA: Undergraduate GPA calculated on 4.0 scale required

Writing Sample
None required

We strongly encourage you to review additional department-specific application guidance from the program to which you are applying: Departmental Application Guidance