Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Applying to the Rosenstiel School

1. What is the application deadline?

The Rosenstiel School accepts applications year round but the following applies:

PhD and research-based Master of Science:
For best chances of fall admission into one of our PhD or research-based Masters of Science programs, your complete application must be received by January 1st. However, applications received by December 1st will have the highest chance of being invited to our on-site annual recruitment visit in February.

Master of Professional Sciences (MPS):
For fall admission into our MPS programs, applications are accepted from November 1st to June 1st.

For all programs:
Note that all required documents (transcripts, GRE scores, etc.) should be in the file by the target date. If you miss the target date, please try to submit any outstanding materials as soon as possible. We will accept photocopies of documents during the review process, but we must have the originals of all documents in the file before a student can be offered acceptance into a program.

2. What type of financial support is available to Rosenstiel graduate students?

Ph.D. students admitted with a Research Assistantship or University Fellowship into the programs of Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Society, Marine Geosciences, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and Ocean Sciences are offered up to 5 years support for the duration of their graduate study (provisional on adequate progress each year). Funding for RAs typically comes from grants or contracts to individual investigators; hence, not all faculty members are in a position to accept students each year. Applicants are strongly encouraged to research their prospective graduate program(s) and to contact potential faculty mentors during the application process.

All M.S. students are either self-funded, or offered up to 2 years support via a combination of RAs, fellowships and Teaching Assistantships.

All students on RAs are provided with a competitive stipend for living plus tuition and health insurance. Some non-university fellowships provide a monetary amount that can be applied to either tuition or stipend needs. If accepted, you will receive a letter describing the nature and amount of financial support being offered.

Students accepted into the Master of Professional Science program are generally admitted without any guarantee of financial support. This reflects the fact that, historically, there is less agency-sponsored support for research in policy or the social sciences, making RA opportunities much more limited.

3. What is the GPA requirement for entry into the program?

GPA of 3.0 as stated in the Graduate School Bulletin. For further information on the application process, please click here.

4. Is there a minimum GRE score required for entry into the program?

The University of Miami requires a minimum score of 297 (total of verbal + quantitative) for acceptance into any Graduate School program.

The Rosenstiel School does not have a minimum score requirement of its own (other than the UM minimum) for the verbal and quantitative sections, but most admitted applicants score approximately in the 80th percentile or better. In addition, applicants must have a minimum of 3.5 on the analytical writing section.

To send your GRE score reports to our campus please use Institution Code: 7690.

5. Is a GRE subject test required, or only the general test?

An official score of the general Graduate Record Examination Test (GRE) must be submitted. To qualify for some fellowships, it is only recommended, not required, that applicants to the program of Marine Biology and Ecology submit the score of the Subject Test in Biology. To send your GRE score reports to our campus please use Institution Code: 7690.

GRE scores are valid for a period of five years.

6. Who has to take the TOEFL exam?

International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). An exception to this rule is the international student who will have earned a US degree prior to enrollment at the Rosenstiel School. A minimum score of 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), 80 for the iBT (internet-based test), or 6.5 for the IELTS is required by the University of Miami for admission. This requirement cannot be waived. To send your TOEFL score reports to our campus please use Institution Code: 2919. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5. To send your IELTS score report to our campus, please use Institution code 4862.

7. What is the appropriate ETS code to use for the GRE and TOEFL exams?

Please use Institution Code 7690 for the GRE scores and 2919 for the TOEFL.

8. What is the visa process for international students?

If you are accepted to the Rosenstiel School with financial support from us, we will prepare your I-20 and send it to you by express mail. You must verify that all the information on the I-20 is correct and then take it the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to apply for your F-1 visa. If you are required to obtain an F-1 or J-1 visa, please contact your U.S. Embassy or Consulate and inquire about how to apply for an exchange visitor visa. Contact information for and information on visa application procedures at U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide is available through the U.S. State Department website:

To apply for an F-1 visa, you must provide the U.S. Embassy or Consulate your Form I-20, your passport, statement of funds, and other documents as required by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. To apply for a J-1 visa, you must provide the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with your Form DS-2019, passport, statement of funds, and other documents as required by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

For more information regarding international admissions, please see the following:

Degrees & admittance

9.   What degrees are offered at the Rosenstiel School?

The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is one of twelve colleges and schools that make up the University of Miami. We offer instruction leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and research-based Master of Science (M.S.) degrees through graduate programs that include Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Society, Marine Geosciences, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and Ocean Sciences. Though graduate students typically concentrate in one of these curricular areas, interdisciplinary study is encouraged and coursework can be tailored to the individual student. We have a Master of Professional Science program as well. The University of Miami School of Law and the Rosenstiel School also offer a joint degree program in law and marine ecosystems and society (J.D. and M.A. degrees awarded).

The Rosenstiel School also awards undergraduate degrees in marine and atmospheric science. Nearly all of the courses in the undergraduate curriculum are taught by Rosenstiel faculty on the university's main Coral Gables campus. For further information on the Undergraduate Marine and Atmospheric Science program, please click here.

10. Can a student enter the Ph.D. degree program directly with just an undergraduate degree?

Yes. In all of the Ph.D. programs, direct entry for study leading to the Ph.D. is encouraged. Since the number of students we can admit is limited, the chances of acceptance and funding are often better if the applicant indicates that they wish to be considered for the Ph.D. track. However, the rules and requirements for entry as a M.S. versus a Ph.D. student can differ depending on the program, and applicants should consult the guidelines of the graduate program they are applying to. In some disciplines, the M.S. by itself is highly marketable and some students enter choosing to seek that degree alone. Other students may have interests that are less well defined from the start, and so for them earning the M.S. is a useful step on the path to the Ph.D.

11. What is the difference between a research-based Master of Science and a Master of Professional       Sciences?

In the graduate programs of Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Society, Marine Geosciences, Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, and Ocean Sciences, there is the opportunity for a research-based Master of Science (MS). The MS degree requires that the student perform original research and complete a thesis. Students interested in this degree should contact the program director from one of the six programs.

For the Master of Professional Sciences (MPS) degree, a research thesis is not required. Instead, the student completes an internship at a private, government, or non-profit organization. The deadline is June 1 for admission in the Fall semester, and there is no guarantee of funding. For more information on that program, see:

12. How many students do you accept to the program each year?

We usually offer admission to approximately 20% of our Ph.D. and M.S. applicants with the expectation that a total incoming class of about 30 students will enroll in the Fall. Application pressure varies considerably between discipline, with Marine Biology and Ecology receiving the largest number of completed applications each year.

13. What is the demographic profile of your student body?

Our current graduate student population consists of approximately 180 enrolled students, of which 53% are male and 47% are female. Though we draw applicants from all over the world, the majority of our international students come from Asia, South America and Europe. For the most recent academic year, 67% of our graduate students were pursuing the PhD degree while the others were enrolled in MS or MPS programs.

14. My application is submitted and I am waiting to hear back. When will I know if I've been accepted?

Applicants are notified via email as admission decisions are finalized. The timing will vary, traditionally from February 15th to April 15th. The Rosenstiel School will contact applicants directly if any missing documents are required. The Rosenstiel School does not use the CaneLink system to track application status during the review process. All communication regarding your application status will be provided to you via email from the Rosenstiel School.

15. Will visiting the Rosenstiel School help my chances of being accepted?

Though certainly not required, a personal visit is one way for faculty and students to meet and explore mutual interests. The decision of where to go to graduate school is one of the most important decisions you will make in your career, and the opportunity to visit and get the feel of a place can play an important role in your decision. Visiting the campus also allows for prospective faculty mentors to meet and get to know you. Since much of the funding available for graduate research assistantships is controlled by individual investigators, it doesn't hurt for a potential faculty advisor to be able to associate a face with an application file. On the other hand, a personal visit won't substitute for a weak application and so you shouldn't be worried if resources or distance make a visit unaffordable or impractical.

Each spring, we invite a limited number of applicants to attend a Recruitment Weekend at our expense. We encourage students who are invited to the Recruitment Weekend to attend during that time since, in addition to the tours and interviews with faculty members, it allows you to meet fellow applicants and current students.

16. If I am not invited to the Recruitment Weekend in the spring, does it mean that I'm not a competitive       applicant?

Not at all. Unfortunately, we only have a limited number of invitation slots and can't possibly invite all of our most promising applicants. Not receiving an invitation does not necessarily mean that your application is less competitive than those of students who have been invited. In some cases, distance/cost issues affect our decisions of who to invite. In other cases, we may target applicants for visits in disciplinary areas in which application pressure is low, or who have interests in new emerging research areas where faculty interest is high. If you are not invited to visit during the Recruitment Weekdend, you can still be proactive and arrange your own visit at another time.

17. Can I be admitted in the Spring Semester instead of the Fall? How about during the Summer?

For Ph.D. study in all programs, spring admission is possible only in cases where a student has already earned their Master's degree in the same or similar discipline. Formal coursework is not offered at the Rosenstiel School during the summer sessions although students can arrive early to begin research if arranged in advance with a potential advisor. Note that international students can only arrive prior to the start of the Fall semester if formally accepted to either the Summer I or Summer II sessions for visa reasons.

Graduate student health insurance

18. Is health insurance required?

Yes, all domestic students enrolled full-time and all international students are required to have health insurance. The University of Miami Student Health Service offers a student health insurance plan. The premium for this plan is added to each student's fees.

19. Do I have to purchase the health insurance plan offered by the University? What if I am covered under       my parents/spouse/other source?

Domestic students with adequate alternative coverage may request cancellation of the health insurance fee by submitting a Domestic Insurance Cancellation Form to the Student Health Center. Students with limited out of area coverage are urged to carefully review their options before waiving the Student Health Service sponsored insurance plan. Deadlines to waive the insurance fee are September 1st for the Fall semester, February 1st for the Spring semester, May 20th for Summer I and July 1st for Summer II.

All international students are required to enroll in the University sponsored heath insurance program.

20. How much does the University of Miami insurance plan cost?

The annual premiums for the 2016–2017 insurance plan offered by the University through United HealthCare is $2315 for domestic and international students. Further information on the plan can be found at:

21. Do I have to pay the health insurance premium or is it covered in my assistantship or fellowship?

All students who receive a research assistantship, teaching assistantship, or fellowship for a full year will have their premium covered by the Rosenstiel School. For more information regarding health insurance and services offered by the Student Health Center, please visit:

Student life & community

22. Where do Rosenstiel graduate students live?

The Rosenstiel School is not a residential campus and there are no housing facilities on site. The main campus of the University of Miami, located about ten kilometers away in Coral Gables, does offer some graduate student housing in the form of campus apartments. However, most Rosenstiel students choose to live in apartments or rental units in the many diverse neighborhoods of the greater Miami area. Further information on housing can be found by clicking here.

23. What is MSGSO?

MSGSO is the Marine Science Graduate Student Organization. In addition to sponsoring numerous parties and events throughout the year, it serves as an important link between students and the school’s administration. One of MSGSO’s major yearly objectives is to raise money for the Student Travel Fund, which helps support the travel costs of students presenting research results at professional scientific meetings. The major fund raising event for this purpose is an annual auction. MSGSO also maintains an on-campus laundry facility and can provide emergency interest-free student loans. For further information on MSGSO and a current list of officers and graduate program representatives, click here for the MSGSO website.