Ph.D. in Ocean Engineering

For 75 years, many of the world’s finest maritime researchers—and their doctoral students—have built successful careers in Stevens’ renowned Ocean Engineering program. Our Ph.D. candidates actively collaborate, submit funding proposals, and advance the state of the art with our faculty, many of whom have distinguished themselves in research to advance national security and address pressing social issues. Students might study with the co-creator of the global standard for ocean modeling, experiment in the nation’s largest university-based towing tank, or work aboard a research vessel to test the latest theories on estuaries and coastal oceans.

Faculty Distinction

  • Alan Blumberg, the George Meade Bond Professor, co-invented the renowned Princeton Ocean Model to predict the state of estuaries in minute detail. For 25 years, this model has served as the internationally recognized standard for oceans, coastal oceans, and estuaries.
  • A winner of the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award, Professor Michael Bruno has served on high-level government commissions studying oil spill countermeasures, estuary enhancement, and beach erosion. He is secretary general of the Pan American Federation of Coastal and Ocean Engineering.
  • Professor Richard Hires has consulted in physical oceanography and fluid dynamics for the FBI, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and a broad range of engineering firms.

Research Areas

  • Maritime security. This $4 million project, funded by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, strives for technological breakthroughs to improve security throughout New York Harbor and nationwide.
  • Flood forecast modeling. Researchers are developing a sophisticated model to predict coastal flooding and thus issue warnings for the New Jersey coast. One Ph.D. student is incorporating CODAR measurements into the model, while another seeks to improve inputs.
  • Advanced warship design. Stevens is collaborating with the U.S. Naval Academy, the University College of London, and a naval architectural firm to develop advanced concepts for high-speed ships to give the Navy a competitive advantage.
  • America’s Cup. One department staff member spends half the year in Barcelona, collaborating with the Oracle team, while on campus Cup contenders test designs in the department’s tow tank.


  • The largest university-based hydrodynamic testing tank in the United States—330’ long, 18’ wide, 7’ deep—in which researchers continually test the performance and speed of new concepts in ship design
  • Two research vessels with state-of-the-art instrumentation to support field observation of estuaries, bays, and the coastal ocean
  • High-performance computing cluster for computational fluid mechanics and the testing of estuary currents

Alumni Accomplishments

  • One Stevens Ph.D. is now a tenured professor at the U.S. Naval Academy.
  • Stevens graduates currently teach at Rutgers, Stevens, and universities in Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan.
  • Graduates hold key positions with the U.S. Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Fortune 500 companies.


To enter a graduate engineering program at Stevens, you must submit the following:

  • Completed application
  • Application fee
  • Official college transcripts from all colleges attended
  • Official or attested conferment of bachelor’s degree
  • Two letters of recommendation

International applicants (who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents) must also submit:

  • Official TOEFL score, sent to School Code #2819
  • Financial Verification Form or I-134

To enter the doctoral program in ocean engineering, you must apply through the departmental graduate admissions committee. Admission is based on a review of your scholastic record. A master’s degree is required; your master’s-level academic performance must reflect your capability to pursue advanced studies and conduct independent research.

Degree Requirements

You must earn 84 graduate credits to complete the doctoral program. Of these credits, 15 to 30 must be earned through course work, and 30 to 45 via dissertation work. You may apply up to 30 credits from a master’s program toward your doctoral degree.

Within two years of your admission, you must take a written qualifying examination to test your comprehension of engineering fundamentals and mathematics. After passing the qualifying examination and completing the required course work, you must take an oral preliminary examination to evaluate your aptitude for advanced research and your understanding of the subjects associated with your dissertation topics. Upon satisfactory completion of this oral examination, you become a doctoral candidate and start your dissertation research.

Doctoral research must be based on an original investigation, and the results must make a significant, state-of-the-art contribution to the field, worthy of publication in current professional literature. At the completion of the research, you must defend your thesis in a public presentation.