Department of Oceanography


Peter C. Chu, Ph.D.

Code OC/CU, Spanagel Hall, Room 324

(831) 656-2673, DSN 756-2673

Associate Chair, Instruction

James MacMahan, Ph.D.

Spanagel Hall, Room 327C

(831) 656-2379, DSN 756-2379

Associate Chair, Research

Timour Radko, Ph.D.

Spanagel Hall, Room 344

(831) 656-3318, DSN 756-3318

Peter C. Chu, Distinguished Professor and Chair(1986); Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1985.

Jacqueline L Clement-Kinny, Research Assistant Professor(2002); Ph.D., Naval Postgraduate School, 2011.

John A. Colosi, Professor (2005); Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 1993.

Joel W. Feldmeier, Military Faculty (2017); Ph.D. Naval Postgraduate School, 2013.

Arlene A. Guest, Senior Lecturer, (1999); M.S., Florida State University, 1981.

Leonid Ivanov, Research Associate Professor (2012); Ph.D., Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the Ukrain Academy of Sciences, 1983.

James MacMahan, Associate Professor and Associate Chair (2007), Ph.D., University of Florida, 2003.

Wieslaw Maslowski, Research Professor (1994); Ph.D., University of Alaska-Fairbanks, 1994.

Jeffrey Dean Paduan, Professor (1991); Ph.D., Oregon State University, 1987.

Timour Radko, Associate Professor (2004); Ph.D., Florida State University, 1997.

D. Benjamin Reeder , Associate Research Professor (2011); Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, 2002.

Andrew F. Roberts, Associate Research Professor (2011); Ph.D., University of Tasmania, 2005.

William J. Shaw, Research Assistant Professor (2005); Ph.D., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2000.

Robin T. Tokmakian, Research Associate Professor (1997); Ph.D., Naval Postgraduate School, 1997.

Research Associates And Assistants:

John E. Joseph, Faculty Associate Research (AD5) (2005); M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1991

Tetyana Margolina, Research Associate (2011); Ph.D. Marine Hydrophysical Institute of the Ukraine Academy of Sciences, 2001.

Christopher W. Miller, Research Associate (1992); M.S., Naval Postgraduate School, 1998.

Professors Emeriti:

Robert Hathaway Bourke, Professor Emeritus (1971); Ph.D., Oregon State University, 1972.

Curtis Allan Collins, Professor Emeritus (1987); Ph.D., Oregon State University, 1967.

Roland William Garwood, Professor Emeritus, (1976); Ph.D., University of Washington, 1976.

Thomas H. C. Herbers, Professor Emeritus, (1993) PhD. University of California, San Diego, 1990.

Glenn Harold Jung, Professor Emeritus (1958); Ph.D., Texas A & M University, 1955, 1950.

Albert Julius Semtner, Jr., Professor Emeritus(1986); Ph.D., Princeton University, 1973

Timothy P. Stanton, Research Professor Emeritus (1978); M.S., University of Aukland, 1977.

Eugene Dewees Traganza, Professor Emeritus (1970); Ph.D., University of Miami, 1966.

Joseph John von Schwind, Professor Emeritus (1967); Ph.D., Texas A & M University, 1968.

Distinguished Professor Emeritus:

Ching-Sang Chiu, Distinguished Professor Emeritus (1988); Ph.D., MIT/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1985.

Edward Bennett Thornton, Distinguished Professor Emeritus , (1969); Ph.D., University of Florida, 1970.

* The year of joining the Naval Postgraduate School faculty is indicated in parentheses.

Brief Overview

Founded as a separate department in 1968, the Oceanography Department supports curricula sponsored by the Oceanographer of the Navy: #372 Meteorology #373 Air-Ocean Science, #374 Operational Oceanography, #440 Oceanography. The department also offers the MS in Physical Oceanography to Undersea Warfare curricula #525 (USN) and #526 (international).

The department focuses primarily on Physical Oceanography, Ocean Acoustics and Acoustical Oceanography, Numerical Modeling, Air-Sea Interactions, and Nearshore and Coastal/Littoral Oceanography, and has strong interests in remote sensing and geospatial information systems.

Topics include ocean dynamics, numerical ocean prediction and simulation, satellite remote sensing of the ocean, air-sea interaction, polar oceanography, upper ocean dynamics and thermodynamics, near-shore processes, wave and surf forecasting, mesoscale dynamics, coastal ocean circulation, tactical oceanography and environmental acoustics. The department also provides core courses for Undersea Warfare and the Space Systems curricula.


A student is able to earn an academic degree listed below while enrolled in Meteorology and Oceanography (Curriculum 373), Operational Oceanography (Curriculum 374), Oceanography (Curriculum 440), and Undersea Warfare (Curriculum 525).

Master of Science in Physical Oceanography

Entrance to a program leading to the Master of Science in Physical Oceanography degree requires a baccalaureate degree. Minimal requirements include mathematics through differential and integral calculus and one year of calculus-based physics.

The Master of Science in Physical Oceanography degree requires:

  1. Completion of at least eight physical oceanography graduate courses with at least four courses in the OC4000 series. The sequence of core courses in physical oceanography encompasses the fields of dynamic, acoustical, and coastal/littoral oceanography. The entire sequence of courses selected must be approved by the Department of Oceanography. Significant experience in the field using instruments is required for the degree. (OC3570 satisfies this requirement).
  2. At least 32 credit hours of approved graduate study, of which must include at least eight physical oceanography courses totaling 28 credit hours, and of the 28 credit hours at least 13.5 credit hours must be at the 4000 level in courses other than directed study. Four credit hours of directed study or additional OC elective courses would count for the remainder of the degree requirements.
  3. Completion of an acceptable thesis on a topic approved by the Department of Oceanography.

Master of Science in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography

Direct entrance to a program leading to the Master of Science in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography degree requires a baccalaureate degree in one of the physical sciences, mathematics, or engineering. This normally permits the validation of a number of required undergraduate courses such as physics, differential equations, linear algebra, vector analysis and various courses in meteorology and/or oceanography, which are prerequisites to the graduate program. These prerequisites may be taken at the Naval Postgraduate School; however, in that event, the program may be lengthened by one or more quarters.

The Master of Science in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography degree requires:

  1. Necessary prerequisite courses in mathematics (through partial differential equations), meteorology and physical oceanography.
  2. The sequence of core courses in meteorology and oceanography in the fields of dynamical, numerical and physical and synoptic meteorology and oceanography.
  3. An approved selection of graduate elective courses in oceanography and meteorology.
  4. Significant experience in the field using instruments.
  5. An acceptable thesis on a topic approved by either department.

The total number of quarter-hours in (2) and (3) above must be at least 48. These 48 hours must include 20 hours at the 4000 level in courses other than directed study and they should show an approximate balance between the disciplines of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography.

Dual Degree in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography

The Meteorology and Oceanography Departments have adopted a policy to not recommend its award of dual master's degrees in Meteorology and Physical Oceanography

Doctor of Philosophy

Department of Oceanography admission requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy degree include:

A bachelor's degree with a high QPR or a highly successful first graduate year in a master's program, with clear evidence of research ability.

A master's degree may be required before admission to candidacy.

The Ph.D. program is in Physical Oceanography, including areas of study in ocean circulation theory, air-sea interaction, ocean acoustics, nearshore, and coastal/littoral oceanography among others. An applicant to the Ph.D. program who is not already at NPS should submit transcripts of previous academic and professional work, plus results of a current Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test, to the Director of Admissions, Code 01C3, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California 93943-5100.

Oceanographic Laboratories

NPS is a member of CENCAL (Central California Cooperative), UCAR (University Corporation for Atmosphere Research), MBCORC (Monterey Bay Crescent Ocean Research Consortium), CeNCOOS (Central and Northern California Ocean Observing Systems and CORE (Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education). In 2007, CORE Joined with JOI (Joint Oceanographic Institutions) to become CoOL (Consortium for Ocean Leadership). UNOLS operates the nation's academic oceanographic research fleet, while CENCAL promotes and coordinates research vessel operations between several academic institutions in central California.

The Rapid Environmental Assessment Laboratory (REAL) consists of moored-equipment in Monterey Bay, and provides for instruction in the practical design, deployment and collection of state-of-the-art oceanographic data. Real-time observations of currents, temperature, salinity and sound speed structure in a variety of oceanic regimes are analyzed and modeled, applying theoretical and mathematical techniques learned in the classroom to Naval Oceanography problems.

The Oceanography Department operates a graphics laboratory that is equipped with networked workstations for the analysis of numerical model output, geospatial information system (GIS) exercises, satellite imagery, acoustical data and other digital fields from REAL. Smart classrooms enable data to be brought into the classroom in real time to demonstrate signal processing, rapid environmental assessment and other state-of-the-art oceanographic and tactical decision aids.

The department is organized around thematic laboratories, each containing faculty, staff and student offices, computing facilities and special laboratory equipment. Thematic laboratories exist for Oceanic Planetary, Polar, Nearshore, Acoustics, Coastal /Littoral Modeling, Global and Polar Ocean/Sea Ice Modeling, GI&S, Naval Ocean Analysis and Prediction, Ocean Turbulence, Ocean Waves, Radar and Drifter, and Tactical Environmental Support.

Oceanography Course Descriptions

OC Courses