Graduate Diploma in Physical Oceanography (5518)

From 2021, the Graduate Diploma in Physical Oceanography caters to graduates in Science, Engineering and cognate disciplines seeking advanced training in the theory and understanding of physical processes in the ocean. The Graduate Diploma will provide a means of tailoring students’ knowledge base to enhance their perceived employment or promotion opportunities by equipping them with a range of skills demanded by employers in Australia’s growing Blue Economy. The Graduate Diploma will also be a foundation for students wishing to extend their studies at the Masters or PhD level in Physical Oceanography and related disciplines.

The Graduate Diploma offers advanced disciplinary courses designed to reflect current practices in the field of Physical Oceanography, within the framework of academic knowledge and critical thinking. Each course aims to build student capacity to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex or conflicting information in a timely fashion. Appropriate quantitative, computational, and technical skills will be developed where required, and students will be taught to apply skills, technologies and thinking to current industry issues and to communicate these effectively.

Australia’s “Blue Economy”, defined as economic activity related to the ocean, seas, and coasts, is forecast to grow to more than $100B per year by 2025 (National Marine Science Plan 2015-2025).

Marine industries support an estimated 393,000 FTE jobs in Australia, more than all jobs related to mining (Australian Institute of Marine Science Index of Marine Industry 2018). Associated with this growth is an increasing demand for specialist skills from employers in Australia’s marine industries and government agencies including the Royal Australian Navy, the Bureau of Meteorology, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Entry Requirements

The minimum entry requirement to the Graduate Diploma in Physical Oceanography is the completion of an undergraduate degree, from a recognised tertiary institution, with a minimum of 12 units of credit in level 2 mathematics courses (equivalent to UNSW’s MATH2018 and MATH2089), or equivalent experience and training.

This program is currently only available for domestic students and is unable to accept international student applications at this time. 


A formal application must be made online. It must include a copy of the past academic transcripts of the applicant, as well as any relevant information (work experience, certificates, etc.) evidencing the aptitude of the applicant to undertake the program.

Entry to this program is available from 2021 in February (Term 1), June (Term 2) or September (Term 3). Applicants must be aware of the application closing dates.


Information on fees and commonwealth support can be found via this website.

For international applicants, please refer to International Fees.

Program structure and courses

The program consists of 48 units of credit (UoC), that is, 8 elective courses.


Students must take at least 3 of the following courses:

MATH5285 Fluids, Oceans and Climate

MSCI5004 Physical Oceanography

MATH5231 Prediction and Inverse Modelling

MATH5271 Environmental Data Science and Statistics

Students may take up to 5 of the following courses:

BEES5041 Data Analysis: Environmental Science and Management

GEOS9016 Principles of Geographic Information Systems and Science

GEOS9017 Advanced Geographic Information Systems and Science

MSCI6681 Topics in Australian Marine Science

MSCI5005 Topics in Marine Science

DATA9001 Fundamentals of Data Science

MATH5846 Introduction to Probability and Stochastic Processes

MATH5856 Introduction to Statistics and Statistical Computations

MATH5305 Computational Mathematics (enrolment in this course is conditional on lecturer-in-charge approval)

MATH5845 Time Series Analysis (enrolment in this course is conditional on lecturer-in-charge approval)

Any course matching the pattern MATH5### / MATH6### (enrolment may be conditional on lecturer-in-charge approval)

Note that only a subset of these courses are offered in any given term and year. The list of courses offered in the current year can be found here.

Program structure

A full-time student should complete the Graduate Diploma program over three successive terms. The number of courses undertaken on each term remains at the discretion of the student, provided that it does not exceed the normal full load of study (maximum18 UoC on any given term). This structure is flexible. In particular, part-time students are free to reshape it over more than three terms in the most suitable way for them, provided that it stays in agreement with the relevant University policies.


It is planned that the Graduate Diploma in Physical Oceanography (program 5518) and the proposed Master in Physical Oceanography (program 8518) will form an articulated sequence as of 2021. Conditionally on academic performance (overall average mark over 70%), students may choose not to graduate with the Graduate Diploma, but instead upgrade to any of the Master programs. Credits accumulated during the Graduate Diploma program are automatically transferred toward any of the Master degrees, when relevant.

Delivery mode

Face-to-face (includes blended); Distance (online with some face-to-face).

More info

Further Assistance


Dr Jakub Stoklosa
Director of Postgraduate Studies (Coursework)
School of Mathematics and Statistics
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052 Australia

Inquiries via email must be sent to