Prospective Students

How to Apply

How to Apply USF Marine Science

We offer MS and PhD degrees and are committed to providing one of the highest quality graduate programs in the country. We recruit graduate students from our region, across our nation, and around the world. We are committed to maintaining a diverse and highly qualified graduate student population and enabling their success. Our program is a mentored one in which students work closely with their faculty advisors as apprentices. As a result, upon graduation our students are fully prepared for a successful entry into our field.

Application Deadlines

Term of Entry Priority Deadline International Students
Fall (August) December 15 December 15
Spring (January) October 1 October 1

Complete applications submitted by December 15 will be reviewed for competitive College funding opportunities. Prospective students may apply after these deadlines however funding and space may be limited.


Please only upload PDF files to your application. Word Documents may not be retrieved. Click on each item for more information.

Complete the Online Application with $30.00 fee

Click here to apply now. There is a $30.00 application fee required, which can be paid online. The fee must be paid before your application can be seen by the Admissions Committee. A fee waiver may be requested if you qualify by being part of one of the programs listed on the fee waiver request form. Please email the waiver form directly to, if you qualify. Please note that the College of Marine Science graduate programs are listed under “USF Tampa” on the application, although we are located in St. Petersburg. You must select the Tampa campus for apply for our degree programs.

Application Information / Research Interest Essay (template linked below)

Please use this MS Word Application Information / Research Interest Essay template. This essay should address the research interests that you hope to pursue if accepted into a degree program the College of Marine Science. Please also include which faculty members or labs you are interested in joining. Use this linked MS Word template to create your essay. Save it as a PDF and upload it in the “Essay” section of the Admissions Application.

We encourage all applicants to review the CMS research pages ahead of time to learn more about our faculty and their research. Please list all the faculty members that you are interested in on your Research Interest Essay. All applications will be reviewed by the admissions committee after the deadline to determine admissibility and to match student’s interests with available professors. Making direct contact (phone/email/skype) with faculty members of interest is mandatory.

Personal Statement

Where the research essay should focus on your research interests, the personal statement is where you may give a narrative context to your application. Tell us about your passion, background, skills, challenges, obstacles overcome, inspiration, and aspirations as a future scientist. There is no template for the personal statement, but please limit it to no more than three pages. Save it as a PDF and upload it in “personal statement” section of the online application.

Transcripts of courses and grades from all colleges/universities attended

One official transcript from all institutions of higher learning where you have earned a degree is required, but applicants may also provide unofficial copies of transcripts to expedite the processing of their applications, which can be uploaded directly to the online application. Any admissions granted using unofficial transcripts will not be finalized until official transcripts are received in a sealed envelope or electronically by USF’s Office of Admissions. If you are applying while still completing an undergraduate degree, you must submit transcripts of at least six (6) semesters of completed undergraduate work. Final transcripts showing the award of a bachelor’s degree will be required if an applicant is admitted and enrolls. If you have attended USF as a degree-seeking student, you do not have to submit your USF transcripts.

International Transcripts
All transcripts must be in English; it is the applicant’s responsibility to have foreign transcripts translated and evaluated* before submitting them as part of their graduate application packet. Please visit International Graduate Admissions website for more English proficiency options and information.

Office of Admissions (Tampa campus)
4202 E. Fowler Avenue, SVC 1036,
Tampa, FL 33620, USA
Phone Number: 813.974.3350

Official electronic transcripts must be sent to The address cannot receive electronical transcripts.

3 Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to provide three letters of recommendation as part of the admissions application. The applicant will be asked to enter in the contact information of each recommender as part of the Admissions Application. Each recommender will receive an email with a link to the recommendation upload site. At this site, the recommender can then type in the recommendation letter or attached a PDF file. Alternatively, recommendation letters can also be emailed directly to The letters should address the “Admissions Committee.”

Letters of recommendation should include the following elements: be on letterhead, have a signature, and uploaded or emailed as a PDF. If emailed, it is preferred that the letter be sent directly by the letter writer from their professional email address.

CV or Resume

Your CV should provide a summary of your academic history, research interests, relevant work experience, honors, accomplishments, etc. A CV is preferred, but a resume is also acceptable. Save it as a PDF and upload it in the “Resume/Vitae” section of the Admissions Application.

English proficiency test scores for non-native English speakers

International students from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate English proficiency. The most common ways to meet English proficiency requirements is earning a qualifying score on the TOEFL, although other tests are accepted. Please visit International Graduate Admissions website for more English proficiency options and information.

OPTIONAL: GRE Scores* (submit to code 5828)

Effective Fall 2023, submitting GRE scores with your Master’s or doctoral program application is optional. 

Application Decisions

All complete applications are reviewed after the deadlines by the admissions committee. Fall decisions are typically made during February and March. Spring application decisions are typically made in November. Denied applicants will receive notification by email directly from the Office of Graduate Admissions. Accepted applicants will receive notification in the physical mail as well as email.

To be admitted, the applicant must have a CMS faculty member agree to be their advisor. We strongly recommend that applicants make direct contact with potential faculty advisors early on in their application process.  


We are here to help you. If you have any questions, please contact us.

At this time, the Office of Academic Affairs is working remotely to promote safe learning and a healthy community. Therefore, email is the best way to initiate contact with us. Phone and video conference meetings are available and may be scheduled by emailing us or using Bookings. We appreciate your understanding.

Email is the best way to initiate contact with us. Phone and video conference meetings are available and may be scheduled by using the link below. 
Click here to schedule a 15-minute information session.
Phone: 727.553.3504