Prospective Students

Students on the stern of a research vessel.Background and Procedure

The Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping & NOAA/UNH Joint Hydrographic Center (CCOM/JHC) is a research group, and as such does not admit students to the graduate academic programs of the University of New Hampshire. CCOM/JHC does, however, fund students admitted to appropriate programs through Research Assistantships (RAs). These guidelines outline the process that is used to consider student applications for RA funding.

Students who wish to be considered for a CCOM/JHC-funded RA position should first submit an application for graduate study through the University’s Graduate School website. Most CCOM/JHC-funded students apply through one of the academic programs which have "Ocean Mapping" specialties in their M.S. and Ph.D. programs: Ocean Engineering, Natural Resources, and Earth Sciences. Applicants should ensure that they clearly indicate "Ocean Mapping Option – CCOM/JHC" on their forms to ensure that their application gets routed to the CCOM/JHC faculty for RA funding consideration by the academic departments. These students take courses from their home department and CCOM/JHC (as detailed on the CCOM/JHC website), and typically have a home in the CCOM/JHC building within the Chase Ocean Engineering Lab. Note that CCOM/JHC has also supported students in other academic programs, including Physics, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Biological Sciences and Oceanography, although those programs do not have a specifically "Ocean Mapping" option. Students in those areas are encouraged to discuss their application for RA funding with CCOM/JHC’s applications coordinator before applying.

Student examines a strand of eelgrass on Great Bay.Applicants are reminded that this process happens in two stages, both of which must be completed successfully. First, the appropriate graduate academic program must accept the student; second, CCOM/JHC has to agree to fund an RA position associated with the student’s application from the limited number of RA positions available. We endeavor, whenever possible, to complete these two processes simultaneously, but students are cautioned that an offer letter for RA funding through CCOM/JHC does not guarantee acceptance by the academic program (and is usually made contingent on that acceptance), and acceptance by a graduate academic program (even if "Ocean Mapping Option – CCOM/JHC" is indicated) does not guarantee RA funding through CCOM/JHC. Students should therefore expect to receive two separate letters: one from CCOM/JHC with an offer of funding, and another from their department or academic program offering admission. Offers of RA funding are also contingent on a successful criminal background check, as required by UNH policy.

Questions about applying for funding can be sent to the applications coordinator using applications@ccom.unh.edu.

Scope

These guidelines apply only to regularly admitted students, and do not apply to the Nippon Foundation/GEBCO program (who should contact the GEBCO program director directly), or to graduate certificate students (who should contact the CCOM/JHC applications coordinator).

Deadlines

Student applications should be complete with the Graduate School, and at CCOM/JHC, by February 15th each year if they are to be considered for RA funding by CCOM/JHC. Funding acceptance letters will be distributed by March 15th each year; we encourage early acceptance of funding offers, but require acceptance no Students aboard research vessel.later than April 15th each year.

(Note for comparison: Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering and Ocean Engineering all require applications by February 15th for funding, recommend application by April 1st for general admission, and cut off applications at July 1st. Earth Sciences require applications by January 15th for funding, and cut off applications on April 1st.)

Requirements

Student applications must be complete before they will be examined for funding by the CCOM/JHC faculty. This means, among other requirements, that they must be supported by three letters of recommendation, have GREs and/or TOEFLs if required by the graduate academic program, and have the personal statement and biographical information required by the Graduate School.

Decision Process

The CCOM/JHC applications coordinator will review all of the applications as soon after February 15th as possible, and form a short-list of likely candidates. The applications will be posted on a suitably secured area of UNH’s BlackBoard website for review by the CCOM/JHC faculty, split into those on the short-list, and everyone else. Faculty may request that a student application be moved onto the short-list if they feel particularly strongly that the application deserves further consideration.

Students use surveying equipment to prepare for a mapping cruise.At least a week before March 15th each year, the CCOM/JHC faculty will meet to select the candidates for admission. The goal is to do this in one meeting if possible. The number of candidates that can be admitted each year depends on space and funding available.

After the faculty decisions, the CCOM/JHC application s will (a) transmit the decisions to the appropriate academic department or program, and (b) send a decision letter (on funding only) to the applicant. (Actual admissions decisions are handled by the departments or programs.)


Faculty Mentors

Each student admitted for funding by CCOM/JHC will be assigned a CCOM/JHC faculty mentor to aid them in integrating into the Centers. The faculty mentor is not necessarily the thesis advisor for the student (although this may happen from time to time); the thesis advisor is typically determined after the student has been at CCOM/JHC long enough to meet the faculty and determine a thesis topic.

Students watch monitors in the lab aboard a research vessel.Early Decision

Particularly well-qualified students may be recommended for RA funding ahead of the March 15th deadline through an extraordinary meeting of the CCOM/JHC faculty. In this case, details of the student’s application will be forwarded to all faculty at least a week ahead of the extraordinary meeting. Ideally, these meetings will be scheduled at a regular congregation time, for example immediately following Friday seminars.

Late Decision

Under exceptional circumstances, and given appropriate space and funding availability, a candidate may be approved for RA funding after the March 15th deadline through an extraordinary meeting of the CCOM/JHC faculty. In this case, details of the student’s application will be forwarded to all faculty at least a week ahead of the extraordinary meeting. Ideally, these meetings will be scheduled at a regular congregation time, for example immediately following Friday seminars.

It is expected that late decisions will be a very rare event.

Typical Offer

Most regularly admitted students approved for RA funding by CCOM/JHC receive a full student stipend, summer salary, healthcare benefit support, and travel support for attendance at conferences as appropriate. CCOM/JHC also provides a dedicated work cubicle, a desktop computer, access to printers, scanners, plotters, etc. as required, and has extensive network infrastructure for data storage and high-density computing.

Students forms a human pyramid while on ice liberty during an arctic mapping cruise.