May 23, 2024  
2018-2019 General Catalog 
2018-2019 General Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Oceanography & Coastal Sciences (Graduate Program)

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For information regarding the UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM, click here.    

Program Overview

The Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences offers both Master of Science (MS) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in the disciplines associated with an understanding of oceanic, coastal, and wetland processes. Faculty in the department collaborate with scientists throughout the university including those in the departments of Biological Sciences, Geology & Geophysics, Geography & Anthropology, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Sciences, and Experimental Statistics. Faculty members also consult with researchers in the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), Louisiana Sea Grant, and universities and research centers worldwide. These interactions assure the availability of a variety of major/minor graduate degree options.

The interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of the field is stressed and graduate programs are sufficiently flexible to meet the needs of students. Emphasis is on understanding and practical application of knowledge concerning the physical, chemical, geological, meteorological, ecological, and fisheries aspects of environments identified as ocean, deltaic, estuarine, and wetland. The department has 32 faculty, 13 emeritus faculty, 19 adjunct faculty, and more than 70 graduate students whose diverse interests assure a well-rounded graduate experience. Through LUMCON, the department has access to modern, comprehensive field facilities and summer field courses. Logistical support for field work is available from the College of the Coast & Environment’s Field Support Services and Coastal Studies Institute shops, which maintain a fleet of small boats and trucks and have fabrication facilities for the production of certain types of field equipment. Detailed information on departmental programs and faculty research interests may be obtained from our website or by contacting the department’s graduate advisor.


Kam-Biu Liu, Professor and Chair
Charles Lindau, Professor and Graduate Advisor
Dana Sanders, Administrative Coordinator
TELEPHONE 225-578-6308
FAX 225-578-5328


Graduate students majoring in other departments may elect a minor in this department. Students must meet the academic prerequisites for the Oceanography & Coastal Sciences courses they select and complete 12 semester hours, nine of which must be in formal courses not cross-listed with other departments. Six of the 12 hours must be at the 7000-level or above. A DOCS faculty member must serve as the minor professor.

The department and the Department of Environmental Sciences jointly offer a minor in Wetland Science and Management that is open to all graduate students at LSU. This minor requires 12 hours of approved courses, provides masters and doctoral students with a strong background in wetland science and policy and enhances their understanding of ecosystem processes in wetland ecosystem management.


Applications and supporting materials for all graduate study must be submitted through the online application site for the LSU Graduate School. Official transcripts, official test scores, and other materials that come from third-party sources must be mailed to: Graduate Student Services, 114 West David Boyd Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. These paper documents are stored electronically and departments have access to all materials submitted by and/or on behalf of a student applying to graduate study.

Applications for admission are received and evaluated by the department for fall, spring, and summer terms. Applicants must adhere to the application deadlines established by the Graduate School.

Students seeking admission must submit satisfactory credentials from previous study, acceptable scores, and three academic letters of recommendation. International students whose native language is not English must also submit an acceptable TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score.

All Ph.D. and M.S. students are required to have successfully completed (grade of “C” or better) Calculus I and Calculus II.  If an applicant has not completed these requirements by the time of enrollment in the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, they will be required to do so during their first year at LSU. However, it is advisable to have at least the first calculus course completed prior to enrollment. This requirement can be met by taking MATH 1550 (Analytical Geometry and Calculus I) and MATH 1552 (Analytical Geometry and Calculus II).  For a course at another university to count as equivalent to LSU’s MATH 1550, it should cover limits, differentiation, and integration, not only for algebraic functions, but also for exponential and trigonometric functions. Math 1554 (Calculus II for Life Sciences) may be substituted from Math 1552 with prior committee approval.  For M.S. students who have not completed Calculus II by the time of enrollment, another quantitative focused course taken during their first year at LSU may be substituted for Calculus II with prior approval of their advisory committee (including but not limited to courses in math, statistics, modeling, computer sciences, etc.).  A student may register for those courses on a pass-fail basis with approval of the student’s major professor, department chair, instructor of the course involved, and the Dean of the Graduate School. The instructor will determine the actual quality of work required to obtain a grade of “P”.  Professional M.S. students (i.e., non-thesis track) are exempt from the above requirements.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance is available to some students. Support may be available through the student’s home department or other units in the form of research or teaching assistantships which include a full waiver of tuition. A student should contact his or her home department for more information on available assistantship positions. To ensure consideration for financial aid, all application materials should be submitted in accordance with deadlines established by the LSU Graduate School. Outstanding MS and PhD applications can compete for Board of Regents Fellowships and Departmental Research/Teaching Assistantships. Full applications completed by mid-February will be considered for fellowships.

Graduate Faculty

(check current faculty listings by department here)

Donald M. Baltz (EM) • Fish ecology, life history, and habitat selection; marine vertebrates; passive acoustics
Sibel Bargu Ates (M) • Phytoplankton ecology, harmful algal blooms and food web interactions
Mark Benfield (7M) • Shrimp life history and ecology, zooplankton ecology, larval transport and dynamics
Jaye Cable (7M) • Marine geochemistry, coastal hydrology
Robert S. Carney (M) • Biological oceanography, research administration
Russell Chapman (EM) • Algal ultra-structure and molecular evolution and systematics, algal biofuels, and marine biodiversity
James M. Coleman (EM) • Deltaic sedimentation, riverine processes, continental shelf sediments
James H. Cowan (M) • Fisheries ecology, biological and fisheries oceanography, biometrics
Christopher F. D’Elia (M) • Nutrient dynamics of estuaries and coral reefs; science policy
Eurico D’Sa (7M) • Marine optics, remote sensing, interdisciplinary oceanography
John W. Day, Jr. (EM) • Estuarine ecology, systems ecology, coastal management
Robert P. Gambrell (EM) • Environmental chemistry of soils, sediment-water systems
Shih-Ang Hsu (EM) • Coastal and marine meteorology, air-sea interaction
Haosheng Huang (M) • Physical oceanography, continental shelf and estuarine dynamics, numerical ocean modeling
Crystal N. Johnson (M) • Molecular microbiology, microbial ecology, host-pathogen interactions, outreach
Dubravko Justic (M) • Ecosystem modeling, biological oceanography, climate change
Nina S. Lam (M) • Geographic information science, remote sensing, spatial analysis, environmental and public health. Regional Interest in China
Chunyan Li (7M) • Physical oceanography, observations and modeling
Junhong Liang (6A) • Physical oceanography, marine biogeochemistry and ecosystem dynamics, ocean modeling
Charles Lindau (M) • Environmental chemistry, stable isotopes, wetlands
Kam-Biu Liu (M) • Coastal paleoecology
Kanchan Maiti (6A) • Marine geochemistry, Environmental radiochemistry, Upper ocean carbon flux, Marine particle dynamics
Giulio Mariotti (6A) • Coastal morphodynamics, biota-sediment interactions, ecogemorphology, geobiology
Irving A. Mendelssohn (EM) • Wetland and barrier island plant ecology, plant physiological ecology
Stephen R. Midway (6A) • Fisheries Ecology, statistical models
Michael John Polito (6A) • Stable isotope ecology, food web dynamics, anthropogenic contaminants, ecology of marine birds and mammals and invasive species biology
Ralph J. Portier (M) • Environmental toxicology; microbiology; bioremediation
Tracy Quirk (6A) • Wetland plant ecology
Nancy N. Rabalais (M) • Continental shelf ecosystems, benthic ecology
Victor Hugo Rivera-Monroy (M) • Estuarine and coastal ecosystems, biogeochemistry of wetlands, landscape modeling/ecosystem models, mangrove forest rehabilitation/restoration
Brian J. Roberts (3F) • Aquatic ecosystems
Harry H. Roberts (EM) • Marine geology, sedimentology
Kenneth Rose (M) • Mathematical and computer modeling of aquatic populations (fish)
Charles E. Sasser (3F) • Wetland Plant Ecology and Wetland Management
Lawrence J. Rouse, Jr. (M) • Coastal and shelf physical oceanography
Richard F. Shaw (M) • Ichthyoplankton ecology and dynamics, transport and recruitment mechanisms
Malinda M. Sutor (3F) • Plankton ecology and physiology, biooptics, bioacoustics, physical-biological interactions
R. Eugene Turner (M) • Biological oceanography, conservation, environmental management, estuarine ecology, wetlands
Robert R. Twilley (M) • Ecosystem ecology, estuarine and coastal macrophyte communities, ecology and management of tropical estuarine ecosystems, mangrove ecosystems
Nan Walker (M) • Satellite oceanography, ocean climatology, physical oceanography
John R. White (7M) • Biogeochemical cycling of nutrients in estuaries, coastal, and freshwater wetlands
Kehui Xu (6A) • Coastal processes, sediment transport, sedimentology, and sequence stratigraphy
Zuo Xue (6A) • Coupled ocean-wave-sediment transport modeling, hydrology, and delta evolution 


    Doctor of PhilosophyMaster of ScienceGraduate Certificate

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