Doctoral Degrees

The PhD degree prepares students for careers in university teaching and research. This graduate degree is appropriate for students desiring to concentrate their study and research within a well-defined subject area, pursuing fewer and more advanced topics to a greater depth than do students in professional degree programs. Doctoral students emphasize research as a major part of their degree programs. An active research program is a vital component of the Nicholas School of the Environment, and most of the research projects in the school utilize PhD candidates as research assistants. The Nicholas School does not normally consider applications for the M.S. degree, although some students may be awarded an M.S. as part of a doctoral program.

Doctoral students are admitted to work with Nicholas School faculty by four pathways:

  1. direct application to the subject areas "Environment", "Marine Science and Conservation" or "Earth and Ocean Sciences" within the Graduate School at Duke;
  2. application to the University Program in Ecology (UPE), with an advisor chosen from within the Nicholas School faculty;
  3. application to the Integrated Toxicology Program (ITEHP), with an advisor chosen from within the Nicholas School faculty;
  4. application to the University Program in Environmental Policy (UPEP), with an advisor chosen from within the Nicholas School faculty;

All faculty in the Nicholas School are members of the faculty of the Graduate School of Duke University and are actively involved in the training of doctoral (PhD) students in the fields of earth and oceanmarine, and environmental sciences. Doctoral students should note that policies and procedures for admission and registration, academic regulations, and requirements for degrees are given in detail in the Bulletin of the Graduate School. Click here to go to the Bulletin.

Doctoral Study at the Duke University Marine Laboratory

Doctoral students planning to study Marine Science and Conservation typically spend one or two semesters taking graduate classes on the Durham campus before moving to the Marine Laboratory in Beaufort to complete their research; however, residence in Durham is not a requirement. Although residency of the advisor is not necessary to study at the Marine Lab, some sources of funding are contingent upon having an advisor from the Marine Lab's resident faculty.