MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography

The Joint Program of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and MIT offers advanced degrees in oceanography and applied ocean science and engineering. Graduate study encompasses virtually all of the basic sciences as they apply to the marine environment: physics, chemistry, geology, geophysics, and biology. Students who choose applied ocean science and engineering may concentrate in the major fields (civil, environmental, mechanical, and electrical), materials science, or oceanographic engineering. More than 160 scientists/faculty from the two institutions participate in the joint program. There are currently 111 students enrolled in the five areas of study offered in the program: biological, chemical, and physical oceanography; marine geology and geophysics, and oceanographic engineering.

Since all of the MIT faculty who are involved in the joint program are members of an academic department, their individual accomplishments and awards are reported through those departments. These include Courses I, II, VI, VII, XII, and XIII.

Title of Degrees Offered by the Program

As part of a campus-wide initiative at MIT to revisit the graduate degree list in terms of specifications of degrees being offered by the various departments and programs, the joint program has revised the list of titles of degrees offered by the program. This new list reflects the diversity of sub-disciplinary concentrations offered within the program.

Proposal for Additional Distance-Learning Facility

The Joint Program Advisory Board met on February 5. The board consists of the four heads of MIT departments involved in the program (Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ocean Engineering, and Biology), the five chairs of the relevant WHOI departments, the two directors of the program, and the WHOI assistant dean of graduate studies. Chancellor Phillip Clay attended a portion of this meeting.

The principal issues discussed were: strengthening ties between the joint program and MIT departments and finding new areas of possible cross disciplinary research, retention and recruitment of students, and finding ways to improve and upgrade the single joint program videoconferencing classroom at MIT. Recognizing how greatly the program depends on distance learning facilities, it was agreed that the current system is operating at capacity, and the program would greatly benefit from having a second dedicated video classroom on campus.

A room in building 48 was eventually identified, and after consulting with MIT Facilities and staff at MVP (MIT Video Productions), we prepared proposals to redesign and furnish the space and acquire a new videoconferencing unit, and to upgrade our existing equipment.

Design of New Business Papers, Brochure and Web Site Improvements

We initiated a complete overhaul and redesign of the program's business papers, and are creating a single joint program brochure which will be mailed to prospective students. In addition we have contracted with a design firm to make significant alterations to our current web site and add features which will greatly enhance its usage. We hope to accomplish these three goals by September 2002.

Paola Rizzoli, Director and Professor of Physical Oceanography
Ronni Schwartz, Academic Administrator, Provost's Office

More information about this program can be found on the web at–whoi/www/.


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