Marine Policy

Master of Science in Marine Policy

The Masters Program in Marine Policy was founded on the idea that the effective application of marine policy requires practitioners, first, to be fluent in the languages and concepts of both the social and natural sciences, and second, to be able to translate those languages to, and for, users of the resource. As a consequence, the design of a student’s program is flexible and adapted to her or his previous background and work experience.

The Master of Science degree in Marine Policy in the School of Marine Sciences is designed to take advantage of the strong interdisciplinary nature of the School. All students in the program receive training in the human dimensions of marine resource management, marine sciences, and empirical methods. Students in the marine policy program may also be enrolled in the dual degree program (see below).

The program offers both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Students selecting the thesis option will write a thesis that combines theoretical work and practical experience applied to pressing problems. Students selecting the non-thesis option will undertake an internship with a government agency or a non-governmental organization in the marine area directly concerned with management of marine resources and then write a final paper linking their internship experience with the theoretical and practical literature. Each student has an advisory committee of three faculty members, which must approve the thesis or internship plan and program of study.

Degree requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, consisting of at least 24 course credit hours and 6 credit hours for thesis/internship, are required to complete the M.S. in Marine Policy. Students are required to take SMS 691 – Marine Sciences Seminar plus at least six credits of marine policy relevant courses and seventeen credit hours of elective coursework approved by the thesis committee. In order to complete the internship or thesis requirement, students will take at least six credits of either SMS 683 – Internship in Marine Policy Credits or SMS 699 – Graduate Thesis/Research Credits.

The program is designed to give students as much flexibility as possible so that they can take advantage of the various faculty specialties available to them within the School of Marine Sciences and elsewhere in the University. Students will usually take all of their courses at the University of Maine campus or the Darling Marine Center, but courses taken at the University of Maine School of Law or elsewhere may be credited toward the degree.

Examples of Existing Elective Courses

Course Number Course Name
ANT 464 Ecological Anthropology (3 Credits)
ANT 521 Geographical Information Systems (3 credits)
ANT 550 Anthro. Dimensions of Enviro. Policy (3 Credits)
ECO 477 Economics and Environmental and Resource Management (3 credits)
ECO 581 Socio-ecological Systems Modeling (3 credits)
SMS 531 Coral Reefs (3 credits)
SMS 544 Oceanography and Natural History of the Gulf of Maine (3 credits)
SMS 552 Coupled Natural and Human Systems (3 credits)
SMS 553 Institutions and the Management of Common Pool Resources (3 credits)
SMS 555 Resource management in Cross Cultural Perspective
SMS 562 Fisheries Population Dynamics (3 credits)
SMS 563 Fisheries Policy and Management (3 credits)
SMS 567 Coast Practices and Coastal Zone Management
SMS 562 Fisheries Population Dynamics
SMS 567 Knowledge and Participation in the Science Policy Process (3 credits)
SMS 597 Independent Study (variable credits)
SMS 598 Special Topics (variable credits)

Dual Master Degree in Marine Science and Policy

The School of Marine Sciences offers a unique, strongly interdisciplinary program in marine policy and science. It is intended for students interested in the application of science and policy in government agencies, non-government organizations or industry. The course of study is three years. It leads to two masters degrees: one in marine science (specializing in oceanography or marine biology) and one in marine policy.

Students are required to complete the requirements for a masters degree in one of the marine sciences (marine biology or oceanography) as well as the requirements for a marine policy degree. Six hours of each degree can be counted as electives for the other; a total of only 48 credit hours is required to complete both degrees (rather 60 credit usually required for two masters). The course requirements for the science and policy degrees are listed above.

The dual degree offers three thesis/internship possibilities: a single thesis combining a joint science and policy topic; two independent theses; or a thesis and an internship.

For more information, visit the Dual Master Degree Program page.

Program Coordinator

Teresa Johnson
Associate Professor
Office: 200 Libby Hall Orono, ME  04469