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Mission and Quick Facts

Mission Statement

The Scripps mission is to seek, teach, and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, atmosphere, Earth, and other planets for the benefit of society and the environment.

Understanding and Protecting the Planet: Scripps's Four Key Topics


1903 Founded as San Diego Marine Biological Station
1912 Scripps joins the University of California
1925 Renamed Scripps Institution of Oceanography
1960 Scripps becomes a department within the University of California San Diego
1992 Birch Aquarium at Scripps opens atop a picturesque bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Scripps Oceanography campus.



The institution is comprised of world class researchers and professors that use their diverse backgrounds and talents to advance our understanding of the earth system and train the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders.

3 Nobel Prize winners
18 National Academy of Sciences members
4 National Academy of Engineering members


Research Funding

$244M Operating budget (FY 2019-20)

$180M Sponsored research awards (FY 2019-20)


Active Research Awards

(as of 2016)

156 Department of Defense
10 Department of Energy
59 National Aeronautics and Space Administration
11 National Institutes of Health
3 National Institute of Standards and Technology
72 National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
126 National Science Foundation
3 United States Geological Survey
16 Other federal
69 Private
25 State of California
1 City of San Diego



4 Research vessels, plus 1 Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP)
1,262 People to sea on 67 separate research missions in 2018
555  Operational days at sea in 2018
520 Students, faculty, and staff obtained experience at sea via the UC Ship Funds Program


Educational Programs

  • PhD programs in Marine Biology, Oceanography, Earth Sciences, and Geophysics
  • Concurrent PhD/MBA Program
  • Master of Science 
  • Master of Advanced Studies in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation and in Climate Science and Policy
  • Undergraduate major in Earth Sciences, Environmental Systems, Marine Biology, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Undergraduate minor in Climate Change Studies, Earth Sciences, Environmental Systems, and Marine Sciences
  • 50,800 pre-K through 12th grade students exposed to ocean science education through Birch Aquarium at Scripps
  • 800 undergraduate majors (Earth Science, Environmental Science and Policy, Marine Biology, Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences)
  • 90 unique undergraduate course offerings each year
  • 4,700 undergraduates enrolled in Scripps courses each year


Observation Programs

Scripps scientists invent, manage, and operate long-term systems to monitor, study, and predict environmental events. These observations improve our understanding of global change and hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, waves, floods, erosion, hurricanes, wildfires, and harmful algal blooms. Scripps is also home to groundbreaking programs such as the Keeling Curve, the atmospheric carbon dioxide record that set the stage for modern climate change research, and the Argo global network, which tracks the changing state of the ocean.


Please note: data below is updated in real time
303Graduate Students
5UCSD Affiliate PhDs
7Professors Adjunct
74Postdoctoral Scholars
82Other Academics
6Research Professionals
25Project Scientists
7Academic Coordinators/Administrators
34Research Associates
12Visiting Academics
Note: Visiting Scholar and Volunteer data is not updated in real time
Note: Volunteer data includes all of SIO, as well as BAS
95Visiting Scholars