USM Recognizes Newest Cohort of Hydrographic Science Graduates

Published 11:39 am Sunday, August 8, 2021

Nine students in the prestigious Hydrographic Science Program at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) were recognized during graduation ceremonies held Wednesday, July 28 at the University’s Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.

USM is the only university in the United States to offer an undergraduate program in hydrography and one of just two to offer master’s and doctoral degree programs in this challenging field. Since the program’s debut in 1999, USM has graduated 233 students, including 55 international students from 33 different countries.

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The Hydrographic Science Program is administered through USM’s School of Ocean Science and Engineering. The graduation ceremony honored all recipients of certificates that indicate the student successfully completed either a Category “A” or Category “B” program in hydrographic science. At USM, Category “A” certification customarily identifies those who earn master’s degrees, while Category “B” recognizes those who earn undergraduate degrees. Some doctoral students opt for the Category “A” certificate on route to their degree without received the master’s degree.

Alberto Costa Neves became the program’s new coordinator earlier this month. He notes that hydrographic science graduates can expect to enter a profession that offers a wide range of opportunities.

“Hydrographic surveying is an exciting, multidisciplinary profession that is involved with every aspect of the collection, analysis and management of marine data used for charting the ocean frontier and for engineering projects,” said Costa Neves. “The blue economy and the protection of our seas, rivers and lakes depends on the work of the hydrographic surveyors, or hydrographers.”

Hydrographers work in areas such as:

  • Bathymetric mapping of the oceans, rivers and lakes
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Navigational safety
  • Natural disaster and sea level rise studies
  • Habitat mapping
  • Ocean environment studies
  • Offshore renewable energy projects
  • Defense and security operations

A native of Cacador, Brazil, Costa Neves joins the USM community with a long and distinguished career portfolio in hydrography and related sciences. His expertise includes data gathering, seismic surveying, environmental prediction, safety of navigation, strategic planning, capability development and technical standards.

For the previous nine years, he has served as Assistant Director at the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Secretariat in Monaco, where he provided support to inter-regional coordination and capacity building. Since leaving the Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Service in 2008, Costa Neves has provided consultation for the maritime industry and port authorities.

Costa Neves holds a master’s degree in meteorology and physical oceanography from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and a master’s in naval sciences from the Brazilian Naval War College.

When asked what might be among his immediate goals as the new coordinator of USM’s Hydrographic Science Program, Costa Neves stated: “First and foremost to ensure that the USM program remains compliant with the International Standards for Hydrographic Surveyors and is connected to all of the other related sciences that may be explored to the fullest. We need to ensure that our graduates are the best professionals in the world.”

To learn more about the hydrographic science program at USM, call 228.688.7123 or visit: