The marine science and policy dual-degree program is intended for students interested in the application of science to public policy in government agencies, NGOs or industry. The School of Marine Sciences offers a unique, strongly interdisciplinary dual degree program in marine policy and science. The course of study is normally three years. It leads to two master’s degrees: one in Marine Policy and one Marine Biology or Oceanography.
Students are required to complete the requirements for a master’s degree in marine biology or oceanography and the requirements for a marine policy master’s degree. Six hours of each degree can be counted as electives for the other; as a result a total of only 48 hours is required to complete both degrees (rather than the 60 usually required for two completely independent masters degrees). The course requirements for the science degrees are described separately. For the policy degree, students complete 18 hours of social science courses, including 6 hours of required courses, with 6 additional course credits counted from the science degree. For more degree requirements, consult the Handbook for Graduate Programs.
Students in the dual-degree program may fulfill the thesis/internship requirements for the two degrees in one of three ways (via SMS 699 or SMS 683):
- A separate thesis may be written for the science degree and for the policy degree.
- A thesis may be written for the science degree and an internship completed for the policy degree. A student’s advisory committee must approve internship plans prior to beginning the internship.
- A single thesis may be written combining a joint science and policy topic that contains a substantial amount of information on both policy and science. This option is strongly recommended.
Students in the dual-degree program will have two graduate advisors, one from the natural sciences and one from marine policy. The graduate advisory committee, at a minimum, consists of the two advisors plus one additional member from the natural sciences and one from the social sciences, i.e., a committee of at least four members. A program of study for each degree, including thesis or internship plans, must be developed and approved by the advisory committee and the respective graduate program coordinators by the end of the third semester of the student’s tenure in the program.