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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions for the New Applicant

No. The M.S. in Marine Science and M.S. in Biological Science program do not require that you find a major advisor prior to acceptance into the program. However, an advisor will not be assigned to you. Therefore, we do encourage that you review our faculty profiles to get an idea of who you may be interested in working with. This will help you decide whether your career goals can be met by choosing to pursue your graduate studies with NSU. 

Yes. The Ph.D. in Marine Biology/Oceanography does require that you find a major advisor prior to entrance into the doctoral program. Your major advisor must be a full time faculty member in the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography’s Department of Marine and Environmental Science. The major advisor needs to write a detailed letter of support, explaining that they will serve as your major advisor and how you will receive at least three years of funding to support your studies.

There are opportunities for financial support of your graduate work in the form of scholarships and jobs within the University, but they are highly competitive and are not guaranteed. Job opportunities can be found by visiting Students must work for at least six months before being eligible to receive tuition waiver benefits that come with certain NSU positions (80% to master’s level students and 50% to Ph.D. level students). In general, many of our students seek out the following opportunities: 

Teaching Assistants (TAs) at main campus:

We hire between about 8-10 TAs every Fall and Winter semester to teach our undergraduate Biology I and Biology II lab sections. If you are interested in these, you can reach out to Dr. Emily Schmitt Lavin at These positions come with a $5,000 scholarship and up to $5,000 in wages. Generally, our graduate students are selected for these positions, so please feel encouraged to apply.

Lab Assistants (LAs) at main campus:

Many of our undergraduate courses require a lab assistant to help the instructor with the lab portion of the course. This includes courses like Oceanography, Marine Mammalogy, Ecology of the Everglades, and more. This is an hourly position for up to 20 hours per week. Please contact Mark Rogers at for information on how to apply.

Research Assistants at the Oceanographic campus:

The way to check for these positions is through the website Faculty will also send out emails to let students know they are hiring/conducting interviews for paid positions through the student list serv. Otherwise, you can also reach out to faculty members individually to ask whether they either have positions open, or if they plan to have any positions open in the future. These positions typically come with a 50% - 80% tuition waiver, along with an hourly wage for up to 37.5 hours a week (but this may vary).

Administrative Assistants or other Administrative jobs at the University:

These types of positions can be found through the website If they are full time, with benefits, they will come with the waiver and hourly wage. This is also the place to look for any jobs through NSU in general, which could also include working for the main campus restaurant, working for the golf club etc. Many of these jobs have a waiver benefit.

Work Study:

You can also search through Jobx (for current students only, found through your Sharklink account) for additional job postings. Federal work study is another option a lot of our students look for. You do have to be eligible to receive federal aid to be able to work in these positions. 

Yes, all admitted students must have a strong science background prior to acceptance into the M.S. in Marine Science program, although a B.S. degree in a related field is preferred.  Along with a strong science background, we look for at least a 3.0 GPA or greater for full acceptance. Our required classes are as follows:

  1. Calculus I or higher
  2. Biology I with lab
  3. Biology II with lab
  4. Chemistry I with lab
  5. Chemistry II with lab
  6. Physics I with lab
  7. Physics II with lab
  8. Biostatistics or Applied Statistics
  9. At least one of the following: Basic Ecology, Physiology, Geology, or Anatomy  

Yes, we conduct tours of our Oceanographic Campus regularly for our prospective and accepted students. You can schedule a campus tour by filling out the Oceanographic Campus Tour Request form.

The graduate programs at Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography have a rolling admissions process. The application deadlines are no later than four weeks prior to the start of the term in which you are interested. You can find a detailed list of application deadlines at our website. However, we highly recommend getting in your application for review as early as possible, as the registration dates are prior to the application deadlines. This will ensure you have the best selection of classes for the upcoming semester.

After you submit your online application, you will have the option to pay your application fee online.

Yes, the GRE is required for acceptance into the M.S. in Marine Science, M.S. in Biological Science, and Ph.D. in Marine Biology/Oceanography programs. For full acceptance, we require 55% in quantitative, 55% in qualitative, and at least a 4.0 in writing. For acceptance with academic requirement, we require at least a 40% in quantitative, a 40% in qualitative, and at least a 3.5 in writing.

Yes, campus attendance is required for all graduate programs offered at the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography.

Online courses are taught through an interactive, password-protected, web-based course management system. They normally consist of any combination of audio-visual lectures, journal articles, threaded discussion board posts, white board, chat rooms, and other multimedia tools. The online environment is used for interaction with fellow students and faculty, submission and receipt of assignments, and accessing learning and library materials. Because students may be based in different time zones, the majority of interaction is asynchronous (not in real-time).

Yes. You may start your application process with a transcript showing your last semester in progress. If the admissions committee admits you into the program, it will be under a provisional status. This status will only allow you to register for one semester and prohibit you from obtaining financial aid until the final official transcript has been received. However, the committee members may not be able to make a final decision on your file until they view your final official transcript.

Master's students may transfer up to six credits of previous graduate course work. Course work must replicate Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography offerings in the major field of interest or must clearly be closely related. Students should submit requests for transfer credits in writing to the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences (address above) with documentation indicating the subject matter and that the transfer credits were of graduate level from accredited institutions. This can consist of the course syllabus, transcripts, and/or the course description from the professor.

Ph.D. students may transfer up to 30 graduate course credits from prior graduate programs in the same discipline as the Ph.D. degree aspired to. Transfer courses must be either reasonable duplicates of courses offered at NSU or clearly in the applicable Ph.D. field of interest. Students should submit requests for transfer credits in writing with documentation indicating the subject matter and that the transfer credits were of graduate level from accredited institutions. This can consist of the course syllabus, transcripts, and/or the course description from the professor.

Transfer acceptability for both the Master's and Ph.D. programs will be decided by the Chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences.

For international students wishing to come to the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography for study, the student I-20 visa may be issued only upon completion of all admission requirements. Therefore, international students are urged to be sensitive to requirements prior to applying to the program. For more information regarding procedures for obtaining a student visa, please contact the Office of International Students:

Contact OISS

Intl. Students and Scholars
Nova Southeastern University
Horvitz Admin. Bldg, 2nd Floor
3301 College Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33314
(954) 262-7240
800-541-6682, ext. 27240
Fax (954) 262-3846

Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

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 The following standardized tests currently satisfy the University's English requirement for nonnative English speakers: (1) The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) ( 550 on the paper based test, 213 on the computer based test, or 79 on the internet based test. (2) International English Language Testing System (IELTS) ( 6.0 on the test module. (3) Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic ( 54 on the test module. Proof of English language competency can also be in the form of successful completion of a degree at an approved U.S. institution of higher education.

Test results can be sent to:

Nova Southeastern University
Enrollment Processing Services
ATTN: Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography
3301 College Ave
P.O. Box 299000
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33329-9905

Information for Active duty Army and Guard Reserve

Prospective students who are soldiers on active duty with the US Army should apply with the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography through the GoArmyEd portal.

For questions about GoArmyEd at NSU, please contact:

Kimberly Cronin
1-800-541-NOVA, ext. 25386 or (954) 262-5386

Questions After the Admission Decision

Yes, acceptance may be deferred for up to one year of date of original acceptance.

You are certainly welcome to reapply. You must have made improvement in areas such as the GRE, GPA scores, etc.

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