MIT Reports to the President 1994-95

MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography

The Joint Program of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers doctoral 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.

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


There were 206 applicants to the Joint Program for 1995-96, about the same as last year. We continue to maintain our high acceptance statistics: 68 percent of all applicants offered admission accepted, giving us the cream of the crop as our entering class. Women comprise 33 percent of the entering class, and two of the new students are minorities.


Enrollment in the Joint Program increased slightly this year from 144 to 150 students. The projected enrollment estimate for September 1995 is 159 students, with 17 in Chemical Oceanography, 33 in Marine Geology and Geophysics, 36 in Biological Oceanography, 38 in Applied Ocean Science and Engineering, and 35 in Physical Oceanography.


The Joint Program graduated 24 students in 1994-95; of these, 16 received the doctorate, five received the master's degree, one received the engineer's degree, and two received both the master's and engineer's degree. The breakdown by discipline is as follows: Chemical Oceanography (two); Biological Oceanography (four); Marine Geology and Geophysics (one); Physical Oceanography (ten); and Applied Ocean Science and Engineering (seven).


In the fall of 1994, the Provost designated a group of MIT faculty to form an Internal Review Committee. The purpose was to conduct a general review as well as to consider some of the following issues: level of MIT faculty involvement in the Program, distribution of students between the Cambridge area versus that of Woods Hole, the effectiveness of the microwave link as an educational tool, and the overall administration of the Program at MIT.

In general the Committee expressed overall satisfaction with the Joint Program. Their main recommendation involved the structure of the Joint Program administration at MIT, which they felt would benefit from strengthening the role of the Director.

The Committee found that the two institutions remain dedicated to the goals originally set forth to maintain and foster this unique and unusual joint effort in education.


On June 30, I completed my seven-year term as MIT Director of the Joint Program, which was an extremely rich experience. Prof. Marcia McNutt (Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences) has been appointed as the new Director, with enthusiastic support from all involved.

Sallie W. Chisholm

MIT Reports to the President 1994-95