Marine Studies Graduate Program

The Master of Marine Studies degree is a broad program, which can include topics such as marine ecology, organismal biology, ecosystem processes, and oceanography. Students will select courses offered by the graduate program in either Marine Biology or Oceanography, and a variety of electives, which can also be from the fisheries program, the statistics, and/or biology and wildlife departments. While the Master in Marine Studies degree is primarily based on a project or literary search instead of a research-oriented thesis, graduate students still are afforded excellent opportunities for laboratory and field experiences through the Institute of Marine Science. Laboratory facilities are available in Fairbanks, the Seward Marine Center, the Juneau Center, and at the Kasitsna Bay Laboratory. The Master in Marine Studies degree program will provide students with the knowledge base to be competitive in obtaining positions within state, federal, and tribal organization in Alaska and elsewhere.

Students considering a Master in Marine Studies should have a strong background in the various fields of oceanography, ecology, biology, molecular biology or biochemistry. Students are admitted based on their ability and the capability of the program to meet their particular interests and needs. Faculty will review applicants for admission throughout the year. Applicants are highly encouraged to contact potential faculty advisors before applying. Typically, there is no financial support for students in this program.

Degree Requirements

  1. Complete all the admission requirements.
  2. Complete the general university requirements.
  3. Complete the master’s degree requirements, including a comprehensive exam that consists of defending your project’s proposal.
  4. Complete a project or literature review.
  5. Complete a minimum of 12 credits from the following*:
    • MSL F419 – Concepts in Physical Oceanography - 3 credits
    • MSL F610 – Marine Biology – 3 credits
    • MSL F615 – Physiology of Marine Organisms – 3 credits
    • MSL F650 – Biological Oceanography – 3 credits
    • MSL F630 – Geological Oceanography – 3 credits
    • MSL F640 – Fisheries Oceanography – 4 credits
    • MSL F660 – Chemical Oceanography – 3 credits
  1. Complete 2 credits of the graduate seminars
    • MSL F692 – IMS Seminar
    • MSL F601—Professional Development
    • MSL F602 – Proposal Writing
    • MSL F605 – Controversies in Science
  1. Complete 2 credits of practical experience at either the 400 or 600 level. These may be independent studies or a regularly scheduled class such as:
    • MSL F421/623 – Field Course in Subtidal Ecology – 2 credits
    • MSL F450/651 – Marine Biology and Ecology Field Course – 4 credits
    • MSL F456/656 – Kelp Forest Ecology – 4 credits
    • MSL F625 – Shipboard Techniques – 3 credits
  1. Complete 6 credits of graduate project or literature review. To be determined by the major advisor and student.
  2. Complete 8 credits of electives. Electives will be selected based on student interest, relatedness to degree and approval by their major advisor.

Minimum credits required — 30 credits

*Students must earn a B– grade or better in the core courses of the degree program before being eligible to take the comprehensive exam.

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