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MS/PhD Assistantships in Coastal, River, and Ice Processes

University of Alaska Fairbanks, College of Fisheries and Ocean Science
Fairbanks, Alaska
monthly stipend commensurate with educational level + benefits
Closing date
Sep 21, 2023

The College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is seeking 1-2 MSc or PhD student(s) (research assistant) to join an exciting new lab—led by Dr. Steven Dykstra—focused on the physical and geomorphic processes of coasts, deltas/estuaries, and rivers.  The funded opportunity includes a competitive stipend, paid tuition, and benefits.  In addition to classes, students will learn skills in conducting fieldwork, timeseries analysis, analytical modeling, and communication.  The Alaskan wilderness is an amazing laboratory, however, applicants who are not interested in the required fieldwork should not apply.  A preferred start date is January 2024.  For a highly competitive/motivated candidate, the start could be deferred to summer 2024.

Project 1: River-ocean transitions provide a major link between processes on land and in sea, where currents, transport, and water levels are controlled by tides, winds, rivers, and regional ocean setup.  The student will research seasonal changes in tide-river interactions, focusing on the physical processes affecting periods with and without ice.

Project 2: Ice may reduce wave heights and circulation, but how do these coastal processes shape land fast ice, promote the growth of beach ice berms, and erode permafrost shorelines?     

Potential Project 3: Global sea level rise (SLR) and vertical land motion (VLM) affect regional SLR, flooding, and coastal habitats.  The prospective student will research how VLM indirectly affects SLR by changing the regional geometry and friction at different time scales (e.g., subsidence vs earthquakes; to be funded).

Required Qualifications:

  • Excited, curious and creative Willing to work in a collaborative team environment
  • Excellent oral and written English communication skills
  • Field/Outdoor Experience (does not have to be research)
  • Degree in a related science or math field (geology, physics, engineering, marine science, math, geography)

Preferred Qualifications (not required):

  • Data analysis skills: scientific programming (Python, Matlab, etc.), signal processing, GIS, data visualization
  • Field work experience such as operating small boats, Wilderness First Responder
  • Experience programing and/or deploying scientific equipment

The successful applicant will join a cohort of CFOS oceanography students working on diverse interdisciplinary field, laboratory and numerical modeling research, as well as the broader UAF community, which includes other world leading research institutes: International Arctic Research Center (, Geophysical Institute (, and the Institute of Northern Engineering ( 

To apply, send a one-page letter of motivation, a CV, and contact information for 3 references to  Application reviews will begin August 21 and continue on a rolling basis. 


Related Links:

About the University of Alaska Fairbanks:

UAF College of Fisheries and Ocean Science:

CFOS Student Fact Sheet:

R/V Sikuliaq:

CFOS Academics:

UAF research in Physical Oceanography:

UAF Oceanography Graduate Program:

Other related on campus research:

International Arctic Research Center:

Geophysical Institute:

Institute of Northern Engineering:


About Dr. Steven Dykstra:

CFOS webpage:

Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (profile):


Google Scholar:

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