Professional Science Master (PSM)

The School of Marine Sciences supports the development of an educated and informed citizenry and workforce. The PSM in Marine Sciences in intended for students who want to combine further education in marine science and policy with coursework and training in specific workplace skills such as communications, education, data management, or business and public administration. It differs from the M.S. degrees in its emphasis on professional practice rather than original research: it is a non-thesis degree that requires an internship.

The PSM in Marine Sciences requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of credit, including 5 in an apprenticeship. A minimum of 15 course credits must be completed at the 500-600 level, 6 of which must come from a set of core courses (see below). The remaining 9 credits will usually be earned in marine science and policy courses but, under approved circumstances, a student may elect to take one science or policy course offered outside the School of Marine Sciences. Such a selection may be approved if (1) the course is highly relevant to the student’s career goals, and (2) the student’s background in marine sciences is deemed otherwise sufficient for a Master’s in this field. Examples of non-marine science courses that might apply include mathematics and statistics, resource economics and policy, information management, information science, and conservation and management practices and policies. The student must also take 1 credit of the marine sciences graduate seminar, SMS 691.

The PSM in Marine Sciences places significant emphasis on development of professional skills in areas such as communication, journalism, analytical methods, law, policy, public administration, business administration, and marketing. Only courses at the 400 level and above can be used for graduate credit. There are many options for this training at the University of Maine, including a growing number of on-line courses.

An internship (5 credits) is an important part of the degree and must make a meaningful and new contribution to the individual’s professional development. A student should start thinking about the type of internship he or she wants as soon as possible, and should work with faculty and the PSM Program Coordinator to help identify an appropriate opportunity. In the case of an individual on leave from work, the internship may take place at that person’s place of employment, but must involve marine science and policy activities that go beyond the individual’s previous scope of work and responsibilities.

The student’s program of study, including apprenticeship, must be developed with, and approved by, the Graduate Committee on the Professional Science Master’s in Marine Sciences, which is led by the Program Coordinator for this program.


Requirements and options are outlined below:

1. Fifteen (15) credits in marine science and policy, to include:

(A) Marine Science Core (3 credits from among the following):

SMS 500 – Marine Biology Credits: 3

SMS 501 – Biological Oceanography Credits: 3

SMS 520 – Chemical Oceanography Credits: 3

SMS 525 – Marine Biogeochemistry Credits: 3

SMS 541 – Physical Oceanography Credits: 3


(B) Marine Policy Core (3 credits from among the following):

SMS 552 – Coupled Natural and Human Systems

SMS 557 – Coastal Processes and Coastal Zone Management

SMS 567 – Knowledge and Participation in the Science Policy Process


(C) Additional Sciences and Policy Courses (9 credits, 3 must be at the 500-600 level)

SMS 528 – Advanced Phycology

SMS 531 – Coral Reefs

SMS 540 – Satellite Oceanography

SMS 544 – Oceanography & History of the Gulf of Maine

SMS 550 – Fisheries Oceanography

SMS 553 – Institutions and the Management of Common Pool Resources

SMS 555 – Resource Management in Cross-cultural Perspective

ERS 460 – Marine Geology

SMS 562 – Fisheries Population Dynamics

SMS 585 – Marine System Modeling

SMS 595 – Data Analysis Methods in Marine Sciences

SMS 598 – Coastal & Marine Resource Management

SMS 618 – Particle Dynamics in Aquatic Systems

INT 510 – Marine Invertebrate Zoology

INT 563 – Marine Benthic Ecology

For requirement 1(C), a student may select one course from among the following:

SMS 597 – Independent Study

SMS 598 – Special Topics in Marine Science

SMS 692 – Problems in Marine Science I

SMS 693 – Problems in Marine Science II

For requirement 1(C), a student may take up to 6 credits at the 400 level

SMS 401 – Critical Issues in Aquaculture

SMS 402 – Oceans and Climate Change

SMS 422 – Biology of Fishes

SMS 425 – Applied Population Genetics

For requirement 1(C), courses outside of SMS are also an option:

A student may elect to take one 400-600 level science or policy course from another school or department at the University of Maine System provided that (1) the selection is approved by the student’s advisory committee, and (2) the student is considered to have an otherwise adequate background in marine sciences.


2. Nine (9) credits of professional skills coursework. A course that satisfies the criteria and is approved by committee can come from any program in the University of Maine System..

SMS offers one course that could count toward this requirement:

SMS 513 – Broaden the Impacts of Your Research

The following graduate programs at the University of Maine are likely sources of courses relevant to professional practice in the area of marine science and policy.

Business Administration

Civil and Environmental Engineering


Computer Science



Mathematics and Statistics

Public Administration

Resource Economics and Policy

Spatial Information Engineering


3. Five (5) credits in an apprenticeship approved by committee.

SMS 682 – Internship in Marine Science (approval pending)

SMS 683 – Internship in Marine Policy


4. One (1) credit graduate seminar

SMS 691


Susanne Thibodeau
Administrative Coordinator
School of Marine Sciences
University of Maine
360 Aubert Hall
Orono, ME  04469