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Master's Programme in Physical Oceanography

Master’s programme
2 years
120 credits (ECTS)
Study pace
100%
Time
Day
Location
Göteborg
Study form
Campus
Language
English
Duration
-
Application open
-
Application code
GU-1A15A
Tuition
Full education cost: 242 000 SEK
First payment: 60 500 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

More information about tuition fees

Application opens 15 March 2021

Study pace
100%
Time
Day
Location
Göteborg
Study form
Campus
Language
English
Duration
-
Application open
-
Application code
GU-6A15A
Tuition
Full education cost: 242 000 SEK
First payment: 60 500 SEK

No fees are charged for EU and EEA citizens, Swedish residence permit holders and exchange students.

More information about tuition fees


Summary

During the Master’s programme in Physical Oceanography, you will get an overview of the physical laws governing the time evolution of ocean currents and the propagation of ocean waves.

You will get acquainted with the state-of-the-art techniques used to observe and model the ocean. The different courses are designed so that you can explore the main branches of Physical Oceanography, including theory, observation and numerical simulation, and later specialize according to your own interests.

About

Physical Oceanography is concerned with the description of ocean currents and the distribution of ocean properties such as temperature, salinity or dissolved carbon. The motion in the ocean can take many different forms, from the smallest whirl of fluid to the planetary scale flow exchanging waters between the different ocean’s basins. Through its ability to transport heat, carbon and other important chemical properties, the Ocean acts as a central regulator of the Earth’s climate. 

Physical Oceanography combines a great diversity of approaches and techniques from classical physics to engineering, statistics, and data science. Physical oceanography may be subdivided into descriptive and dynamical physical oceanography. Descriptive physical oceanography is focused on describing the fluid motions and the distribution of ocean properties using direct observations (in situ or satellite-based) and realistic numerical simulations. Dynamical physical oceanography builds upon the field of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (GFD) to produce a theoretical description of the processes that drive the state and variability of the ocean with the aid of idealized numerical models. 

A comprehensive and interdisciplinary Master’s programme

Our programme offers the most comprehensive education in physical oceanography available in Sweden, combining a theoretical training to applied courses presenting modern techniques used to observe the ocean and an introduction to ocean modelling.

The programme includes a field work training, where students gets an opportunity to design a small field experiment using a research ship and scientific equipment/sensors. Through field data analysis and the setting up of numerical models, you will also acquire a solid set of skills in scientific data science. Physical Oceanography is naturally connected to atmosphere and climate sciences, but it interacts also strongly with the other branches of marine sciences, such as marine geochemistry and marine biology.

The programme will describe the bridges that exist between these different scientific disciplines, highlighting why physical oceanography is so important to other marine and Earth sciences. As part of the Master’s Programme, possibility is given to follow a 20-weeks intensive certified course in practical hydrography.

Welcoming students with backgrounds in many different areas

The master’s programme in Physical Oceanography is designed to be accessible to students with a wide range of bachelor’s degrees within the scope of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Physical Oceanography is at its core an interdisciplinary field, relying on the collaboration between people from very different horizons.

It offers unique opportunities to tackle some of the most challenging issues of our time, including the prediction and mitigation of climate change, the development of a sustainable use of ocean resources, or the impact of human activities on ocean’s ecosystems.

Programme structure and content

The mandatory courses provide combined theoretical teaching and at-sea field work. You will receive a theoretical foundation for studying the physics of the ocean, including currents, waves, and effects of rotation and stratification; be introduced to the numerical modelling of turbulence, heat and salt balances, sea ice, lakes, coastal seas, and coupled basins; and gain an understanding of the ocean processes that impact its motion.

More information about programme structure and content

Who should apply?

  • Can you see yourself enthusiastically taking part in major ocean expeditions?
  • Do you see yourself producing, handling, and analysing scientific data on a supercomputer?
  • Are you curious about nature and want to further your understanding of the physical world that we are living in?

If you have a background in mathematics, physics, oceanography, or meteorology and want to learn scientific programming and acquire specialized knowledge about how we observe and study the ocean, then apply for the master’s programme in Physical Oceanography.

Prerequisites and selection

Requirements

Bachelor's degree in oceanography or meteorology or physics or mathematics (or the corresponding knowledge) from an accredited (internationally recognized) university. Applicants must prove their knowledge of English: English 6/English B from Swedish Upper Secondary School or the equivalent level of an internationally recognized test, for example TOEFL, IELTS.

Selection

Selection is based upon the number of credits from previous university studies, maximum 225 credits.

For admission to the summer 2021 and onward the following selection applies: selection is based upon the number of credits from previous university studies, maximum 165 credits.

After graduation

Graduates of the programme receive the degree Master of Science in Physical Oceanography.

You will have the necessary tools and knowledge to pursue an academic career with further doctoral studies in physical oceanography. In addition, many opportunities exist to work directly after graduation, either in public agencies, such as the Swedish meteorological and hydrographic institute, or in private companies specializing in work such as hydrographic observing techniques or climate risk analysis and seeking physical oceanographers with special knowledge of ocean dynamics, data analysis, and computational skills. These employers are found within industry, consultancy, research institutes, and all levels of government. 

Facilities

The Department of Marine Sciences harbours all disciplines of marine research: physical oceanography, marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, and even conservation of marine heritage. The Gothenburg region offers proximity to a wide range of marine environments, with different fresh water inputs, tidal ranges, and various atmospheric, terrestrial, and human influences.

Our facilities include research stations and vessels, and a fleet of autonomous vehicles such as gliders, autonomous underwater vehicles, benthic landers, and sail buoys. 

More information about facilities

Exchange opportunities

During the course of your Master’s programme, you will have the opportunity to do an internship or exchange studies with international institutions, taking advantage of the numerous collaborations that local researchers have developed in Europe, the US, and beyond, such as in South Africa, Korea, or Australia.

More information about exchange opportunities

Internship

Internships can be at the Department of Marine Sciences, or externally at another university, or at a public or private organization in Sweden or abroad. The student has the responsibility to search and find a host organization and supervisor.

More information about Internship