Guidelines for Student Funding Applications

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

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 Center-funded RA position should first submit an application for graduate study through the University’s Graduate School website. Most Center-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, or 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 Center's faculty for RA funding consideration by the academic departments. These students take courses from their home department and CCOM/JHC (as detailed on the Center's website), and typically have a home in the Center's facilities in 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 specific "Ocean Mapping" options. Students in those areas are encouraged to discuss their application for RA funding with the Center’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 (Ocean Engineering, Natural Resources, Earth Sciences, etc.) must accept the student.
  • Second, the Center must agree to fund an RA position associated with the student’s application from the limited number of RA positions available.

Whenever possible, we try 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 the Center. 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


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


Student applications should be completed with both the Graduate School and the Center by January 15 if they wish to be considered for RA funding by CCOM/JHC. Funding acceptance letters will be distributed by the Center by March 15 each year. We encourage early acceptance of funding offers, but require acceptance no Students aboard research vessel.later than April 15.

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


Student applications must be complete before they will be examined for funding by the Center's 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 Center's applications coordinator reviews all of the applications as soon after January 15 as possible, and creates a short-list of likely candidates. The applications are posted on a suitably secured area of UNH’s BlackBoard website for review by the Center 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 strongly that the application deserves further consideration.

Students use surveying equipment to prepare for a mapping cruise.At least one week before March 15, the Center faculty 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's decisions are made, the applications coordinator (a) transmits the decisions to the appropriate academic departments or programs, and (b) sends decision letters (on funding only) to the applicants. (Actual admissions decisions are handled by the departments or programs.)

Faculty Mentors

Every student admitted for funding is assigned a CCOM/JHC faculty mentor to aid them in integrating into the Center. The faculty mentor is not necessarily the student's thesis advisor (although this may happen from time to time); the thesis advisor is typically determined after the student has been at the Center long enough to meet the faculty and decide on 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 15 deadline through a special meeting of the Center's faculty. In this case, details of the student’s application are forwarded to all faculty at least one week ahead of the special meeting. Ideally, these meetings are 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 15 deadline through a special meeting of the Center's faculty. In this case, details of the student’s application are forwarded to all faculty at least one week ahead of the special meeting. Ideally, these meetings are scheduled at a regular congregation time, for example immediately following Friday seminars.

It is expected that late decisions are a very rare event.

Typical Offer

Most regularly admitted students approved for RA funding by the Center receive a full student stipend, summer salary, healthcare benefit support, and travel support for attendance at conferences as appropriate. The Center 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.