Marine Sciences & Technology

Marine Sciences and Technology Master's Program

The Marine Sciences and Technology Master's Program, offered by the School of Marine Sciences (SMS), requires a minimum of 30 credit hours with the thesis option and 33 credit hours with the non-thesis option. Students are required to take three core courses (9 credits) and choose additional courses (15 credit minimum for thesis option, 22 credit minimum for non-thesis option) appropriate to a selected area of concentration. Attendance at a weekly seminar series is required (1 credit each for two semesters), and each student must present at least one seminar in their third or fourth semester. Fulltime MS students normally complete their degree requirements in four semesters. Part-time MS students are encouraged to take two courses per semester.

Core Course Requirements

Each SMS student must complete three core courses (9 credits), which includes 2 out of 3 of the core courses in the biological, chemical, and physical oceanography and a third core course in marine policy and/or management areas (including law and economics). The Core column in the SMS course list identifies the core courses and their respective areas. The core courses are intended to provide a common grounding in the biological, chemical, and physical oceanographic areas of marine sciences and technology, and in related marine policy and management disciplines. Courses covering technology and quantitative skills are generally subject to student choice and guidance committee approval, though there may be requirements specific to each option area. At least two core courses are offered each semester using the University’s substantial distance learning facilities and technology. Students normally complete the core courses in the first two semesters.

SMS has developed core courses, that are taught via distance learning, one in each of the core areas (biological, chemical, and physical oceanography), which will satisfy the requirements of SMS students. These courses will ensure that all SMS students master key concepts and skills central to an interdisciplinary marine sciences and technology graduate program. The core courses may be team taught in some cases.

Concentrations and Electives

To build on the core courses, each SMS student selects an area of concentration and chooses a marine policy or management core course and electives appropriate to this concentration, as approved by their faculty advisor and/or thesis committee. Concentrations and Courses describes the concentrations and lists the electives associated with each concentration.

Students typically take most of their elective courses on the campus where they and their major faculty advisor are in residence. Some elective courses, however, will also be taught via distance learning. In addition, students may choose to be in residence at different campuses for a period of time during their course of study, in order to take certain courses or to take advantage of research opportunities.

Weekly Seminars

Weekly seminars presented by students and by visiting speakers are intended to broaden the scope of each student’s experience and to provide experience in verbal communication. Each MS student must present at least one seminar in the third or fourth semester. Attendance at the weekly seminars is required during all four semesters, for which students receive 1 credit for each of the first two semesters but no credit for the second two semesters.

Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

MS students may choose either a thesis or non-thesis option. Each student electing the thesis option will be assigned a Thesis Committee, chaired by the student’s major advisor, which will be responsible for insuring that the student fulfills all requirements of the SMS as well as other campus requirements, including presentation of a thesis defense consisting of a public lecture on the thesis, and a subsequent oral examination by the Thesis Committee. Each student electing the non-thesis option, in addition to an additional 3 credits, must complete a substantial research paper that must be read and approved by the major advisor and at least one other faculty member.

Sequence of Courses by Semester

In the first two semesters, fulltime MS students normally complete the core courses (9 credits), register for the seminar series (one credit each semester), and take  electives (9 credits). Additional coursework and the thesis or the non-thesis research paper are typically completed in the third and fourth semesters. A minimum total of 30 credits (thesis) or 33 credits (non-thesis) is required for the degree. The following tables summarize the sequence of courses for each of the four semesters.

CourseSemester 1Semester 2
Core courses6 credits3 credits
One elective3 credits6 credits
Seminar series1 credit1 credit
Total 20 credits10 credits10 credits

CourseSemester 3Semester 4
One elective (minimum)3 credits3 credits
Thesis/non-thesis1-6 credits1-6 credits
Seminar series(required)no creditno credit
Total 10+ credits3 + 1-6 credits3 + 1-6 credits