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Apply to MEAS

Graduate Student

Communicate With a Potential Advisor

Applicants are encouraged to communicate with potential advisors who are doing research in subject areas in which they are interested before submitting an application.

Test Requirements

We do not require the Graduate Record Examination general test scores. The biology subject test score from applicants in Biological Oceanography/Marine Biology is no longer required.

Application Deadlines

*Please note that the department is unable to waive application fees.*

Fall admission

Jan 31: Deadline for applicants seeking teaching or research assistantships
March 1: Deadline for international applicants
Jun 25: Deadline for U.S. applicants

Spring admission

July 15: Deadline for international applicants
Nov. 25: Deadline for U.S. applicants
Please note: Applications for spring admission are considered, but typically fewer assistantships are available.

Graduate Assistantships

MEAS begins to extend offers of admission and financial support to prospective MS and PhD students in early February.  Some assistantships may still be available as late as mid April, but cannot be guaranteed. Early applicants are more likely to receive offers of admission and financial support.  Please note that the 1-year-long Climate Change and Society Masters program does not offer graduate assistantships.

Graduate School applicants are evaluated according to these steps:

  • A faculty member in the applicant’s major field recommends his or her admission to the director of Graduate Programs.
  • The director of Graduate Programs decides whether to admit the applicant on Full or Provisional Status, or to deny the application.
  • Applicants receive the final decision directly from the Dean of the Graduate School.
  • Applicants admitted on Full Status are contacted directly by the Graduate Administrator or a faculty member of the Department as assistantships are awarded.
  • Applicants admitted on Provisional Status must attain a 3.0 G.P.A. during the first semester; student support cannot be awarded until this status is removed.

Coursework Requirements

Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree students

All M.S. students are required to satisfactorily complete and defend a research thesis.

  • The typical M.S. program consists of a minimum of 30 semester hours of coursework.
  •  At least 18 of the 30 hours must be graded course work, 1 must be graduate seminar and 6-11 hours will be thesis research.

Non-thesis Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree students

Government-sponsored students may opt for the non-thesis M.S. degree.

  • Students are required to complete a minimum of 33 semester hours
  • Three of the 33 hours represent a research/review paper.

The NC State 1-Year Master’s Climate Change and Society degree

  • Students are required to complete 31 semester hours of coursework.
  • Six of the 31 hours are in a summer research/internship.

Applicants to the Master’s Climate Change and Society degree should send a letter of application to the department outlining why they want the degree and their professional aspirations. In addition, students who wish to transfer any credits should include a syllabus for the course for which they are requesting credit. (See details on the Climate Change and Society website).

Ph.D. degree

Applicants for this in-depth research program typically have obtained an M.S. degree and should submit, in addition to their basic application materials, evidence of their research potential/productivity.  Such evidence may take the form of:

  • reprints of articles and abstracts
  • letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with your thesis research
  • academic transcripts and/or professional experience demonstrating such breadth that ideally you may immediately concentrate in your area of specialty.

Any background deficiencies determined by your graduate committee, together with most course work in your major and minor field, must be completed prior to your Preliminary Examination for admission to candidacy for the degree. Since the degree program emphasizes research, specifics of the graduate program are determined primarily by the student and his/her advisory committee so as to reflect the individual’s research goals.

The following credit hours are required to complete the degree:

  • A minimum of 72 credit hours beyond the B.S. or
  • 54 credit hours beyond the M.S. (including research credits)

While the end product of the program is a dissertation, Ph.D. candidates are urged to have at least one manuscript submitted for publication in a refereed journal before submitting their final dissertation to the Graduate School.

Review the Graduate School Catalog for the specific sequence and timetable of steps to be met for both the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs. Ultimately, the student is responsible to ensure these steps have been met.