M.S. & Ph.D. Research and Funding Opportunities

Some of the research and funding opportunities for Fall 2023 applicants are highlighted below. Clicking on the topic of interest will give you additional details and a link to the sponsoring faculty member. If you don't see an opportunity below, it just means that you will need to contact individual VIMS faculty directly to learn about opportunities in their research group.  Tip: When contacting faculty, it helps if you provide a succinct overview of your qualifications and interests and state clearly why you are interested in a particular faculty member's program.

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Aquatic infectious disease ecology and evolution

Dr. Andrew Wargo is recruiting a graduate student to join the aquatic infectious disease ecology and evolution lab for Fall 2023.  Research topics would be catered to the student’s interests but could include virulence evolution, vaccine escape, co-infection, microplastic impacts disease susceptibility, transmission, pathogen emergence, host-jumps, epidemiology, and disease dynamics.  Previous study systems include viral and bacterial infections in salmonids, as well as bacterial and parasitic infections in American eels.  Projects typically involve robust in vivo laboratory experiments with live animals, implementation of molecular tools, and advanced statistical analyses.  Fields studies are also appropriate if they fit with the context of the student’s research project.

Contact [[v|arwargo, Dr. Andrew Wargo]] to learn more!

Coastal & Estuarine Physical Oceanography

Dr. Piero Mazzini is recruiting one to two M.S. or Ph.D. students to join his Lab for Fall 2023. Potential thesis/dissertation topics will be tailored to students interests and skills, and may include: river plume dynamics, circulation and dynamics of coastal embayments and estuaries, marine heatwaves in coastal and estuarine regions, effect of complex topography in coastal ocean dynamics, and other related topics in coastal and estuarine physical oceanography. We look for highly motivated candidates with strong quantitative and programming skills in Python and/or MATLAB and previous research experience in oceanography. Students will participate in fieldwork and possibly run numerical models or analyze model output. Interested candidates should contact Dr. Piero Mazzini providing information on their research experiences and interests and a current resume/CV.

Contact [[v|pmazinni,Dr. Piero Mazzini]] to learn more!

Coastal & Polar Physical Oceanography

Dr. Donglai Gong is recruiting one to two M.S. or Ph.D. students for Fall 2023 to join him in the study of upper ocean processes including shelf-slope exchange, boundary current dynamics, turbulent mixing, ocean acoustics, and other novel applications of marine robotics for ocean exploration and physical oceanography. The lab has a number of projects funded in those different areas and the student(s) will hit the ground running and will eventually be cross-trained in ocean modeling. The student should be self-motivated and posses an excellent work ethic, exceptional focus, and effective communication skills. If interested, please contact Dr. Gong with your CV and transcript and a brief summary of your interests. Interested U.S. citizens are encouraged to apply.

Contact [[v|gong, Dr. Donglai Gong]] to learn more! 

Environment-organism interactions in Chesapeake Bay

Dr. Emily Rivest is recruiting for either an M.S. or Ph.D. student to join her research lab and an exciting interdisciplinary project with opportunities for field and lab work for Fall 2023. The student will develop either an M.S. or Ph.D. project as a part of a larger team looking at how calcifying invertebrates influence the carbonate chemistry dynamics of the York and Potomac River estuaries. The team will be conducting quarterly cruises to collect water samples, survey benthic invertebrate communities, and measure physiological rates of invertebrate taxa.

Contact [[v|ebrivest, Dr. Emily Rivest]] to learn more! 

SCHISM model development and application

Dr. Joseph Zhang is recruiting M.S. or Ph.D. students to start at VIMS and in his research program for Fall 2023. Dr. Zhang's group is the lead developer of large community model SCHISM (, a widely used unstructured-grid based 3D tool for simulating complex flow in ocean, estuary and rivers, including ecosystem and pollutant transport processes. His group leads world-wide effort in SCHISM model development and applications, and supports the user community and sponsoring agencies in the U.S. and abroad (NOAA, EPA, state agencies etc). Current research projects cover a wide range of topics, including coastal and estuarine processes, coupled earth system dynamics (ocean-atmosphere-ice), water quality/biogeochemistry processes, coupled hydrologic-hydrodynamic modeling for inland-coastal flooding, and environmental forecasting; a common thread for these topics is the utilization of large-scale High Performance Computing. Ideal candidates will possess solid analytical and quantitative skills in mathematics (numerical methods, data analysis), fluid dynamics and potentially high-performance computing. Past graduate students were highly sought after by academia, government agencies or private industry before the time of graduation.

Contact [[v|yjzhang, Dr. Joseph Zhang]] to learn more!

Apply Now! 
Contact Information and Mailing Address for Application Materials
Office of Academic Studies - Admissions
Gloucester Point, VA 23062  USA
e-mail: Office of Academic Studies - Admissions
Telephone: (804) 684-7105
Fax: (804) 684-7881