Degree Requirements

Program learning outcomes: Students in the Master of Science in Marine Science program will:

  1. demonstrate an advanced understanding of the principles and concepts associated with three of the four core areas of marine science (i.e. biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography);
  2. demonstrate the ability to apply these principles and concepts and to utilize critical thinking skills to investigate a novel scientific problem;
  3. communicate the results of scientific investigations both orally and in writing.

Total hours required: The Master of Science in marine science requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study. These credits may come from the student's major area of study as well as graduate courses offered by other departments as approved by the student's advisory committee. A minimum of 24 semester hours of graduate study must be completed in residence. Undergraduate courses taken to make up deficiencies will not count toward the 30 hours required.

Required courses: The following are required of all students seeking a Master of Science in marine science.

MSC 595

Graduate Seminar (1)

BIO, CHM, GLY or MAT 599

Thesis (3-6)

Three of the following core courses are required. All four may be taken, and students planning on continuing for a Ph.D. in marine science should take all four core courses.

BIO 564

Biological Oceanography (3)

CHM 575

Chemical Oceanography (3)

GLY 550

Marine Geology (3)

PHY 575

Physical Oceanography (3)

Optional Courses: The following are optional for students seeking a M.S. in marine science.

BIO, CHM or GLY 501

Introduction to Research (2)

Proportion of courses open only to graduate students to be required in the program: The courses most appropriate for each student will be determined by the student's advisory committee. Generally, no more than 12 credit hours from courses cross-listed as 400/500 should be applied to the degree.

Grades required: Grades earned on course work must be equivalent to a "B" average or better, and courses must be acceptable to the student's advisory committee. Three grades of "C" or one grade of "F" will result in dismissal from the program.

Amount of transfer credit accepted: A maximum of six semester hours of credit may be transferred from another accredited graduate institution. Grades earned on transfer work must be equivalent to a "B" or better, and courses must be acceptable to the student's advisory committee.

Student Committee Structure: The students’ advisory committee should include a minimum of three faculty members from at least two departments or two different universities or other research institutions. Students are encouraged to include faculty from other universities on their committees as appropriate; these may be ex officio.

Examinations:The student must successfully complete a written comprehensive examination based on the core courses taken; this exam will be prepared by the instructors of these courses. This written exam will normally be taken at the end of the student’s first academic year. The student must complete a prospectus and an oral exam on the subject area of the thesis research. The oral exam can take the form of a committee meeting, and should be completed by the end of the first summer.

Field experience: Each student will gain experience with field and cruise sampling either through their research activities or through course activities (MSC 526 Cruise and Field Sampling or CHM/PHY 576 Chemical and Physical Analysis of Seawater).

Language requirements: There is no foreign language requirement.

Research Requirement: Each student must complete a thesis, based on original research, acceptable to the student's advisory committee and to theGraduate School. A public seminar will be presented by the student on the research project. The seminar will be followed by an oral defense of the thesis, conducted by the student’s advisory committee. The research project, thesis, seminar and defense will be unique for each student, and will be the capstone experience in this program.

Time limits for completion: Each student must complete an approved course of study within five years of the date of the first registration for graduate study. The normal time frame for completion of a degree by a full-time student should be between two and three years.


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