Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Support for U.S. graduate education in the ocean sciences: Are research assistantships overutilized as a source of funding?


  • S. E. Schoedinger,

  • Richard W. Spinrad,

    1. Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education (CORE), 1755 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036U USA
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  • A. R. M. Nowell


The ocean sciences offer graduate students a unique and exciting educational experience, but is that experience ideally suited to the next step of a student's career, namely postgraduate employment? To begin to answer this question one must consider first whether the requirements of the career that is sought would be met better by a master's or a Ph.D. Often the master's degree is looked upon as a stepping stone along the path to a Ph.D., and then a career in research. Consequently, most of the graduate experiences in ocean sciences are exclusively focused on research. The financial support of students encourages this focus since most of the funding is provided within a specific research project in the form of a research assistantship.