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Master of Science in Marine Sciences (Thesis Program)

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Cost GA Resident $8,686 - Non Resident $24,644

The M.S. program is research-based, and is designed to prepare the student for further graduate training at the doctoral level, or for employment in management or policy positions in government or industry. 

The M.S. Thesis program requires a minimum of 30 hours of graduate-level credit, of which 9 must consist of core courses in Biological Oceanography (MARS 8010), Chemical Oceanography (MARS 8020), and Physical Oceanography (MARS 8030).  Additional graduate courses from Marine Sciences and other departments are available to complete each student's program.  Students will conduct an independent research project and submit and defend a thesis.


Character Description

Study the biology, chemistry, geology, and physics of Earth’s oceans and coasts. We offer interdisciplinary training at facilities in Athens and the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, and provide research opportunities on local and global issues.

Degree Description

The Department of Marine Sciences offers a M.S. degree program with concentrations in chemical, biological, geological and physical oceanography. Research opportunities exist across a wide range of topics that reflect the multidisciplinary nature of Marine Sciences.

Graduate students in the Department of Marine Sciences are supported by assistantships or fellowships, and the high faculty to student ratio facilitates highly individualized training and mentoring.

Graduate students have access to the extensive field and laboratory facilities on the UGA main campus in Athens and at the Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, the University of Georgia Marine Institute on Sapelo Island, and the Marine Extension Service. Our faculty participate in multi-institutional research programs that provide unique opportunities for student research.

Current graduate students are conducting research in marine microbial metagenomics and ecology, organic and inorganic biogeochemistry, marine ecosystems and policy, biological oceanography, coastal circulation and ecology, deep-sea and sediment processes, marine geology, integrative modeling, climate change and others.

Reflecting the diversity of our program, our graduates find employment in a wide range of areas, including federal agencies, NGOs, industry and academia.

Structural components
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Application procedure

Application Deadlines:

The Marine Sciences Department hosts its annual graduate recruitment event towards the end of January or at the beginning of February. To be fully considered to attend this event, all application material should be submitted before December 31st. Late applications will be considered until July 1st for Domestic Applicants and April 15th for International Applicants. Note that students in the Marine Sciences department are predominantly accepted in Fall semester and students should apply by the end of March for full consideration.  


More Information

As your application documents are received, they will be passed to the appropriate faculty. Positive departmental admission decisions typically depend upon a potential future advisor promoting the application if there is an opening in their program. Thus, it is important that applicants familiarize themselves with the research done in the department, identify and communicate with potential advisors.

MS (thesis program) and PhD students are supported through Research and Teaching Assistantships for the duration of their studies. Non-thesis MS students are eligible for Teaching Assistantships, if available. In addition, for MS (thesis program) and PhD, tuition is waived, medical coverage is subsidized, and both Athens and Savannah have a low cost of living compared to most university towns.

For more information or if you have specific questions about the program please contact: 
Dr. Renato Castelao
Graduate Coordinator
Department of Marine Sciences
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-3636


Students applying to the Marine Sciences graduate program must meet UGA's Graduate School Admission Requirements. To apply to our program, students should select Marine Sciences (MS), Marine Sciences (MS non-thesis) or Marine Sciences (PhD) in the drop-down box for "Degree and Major of Interest". The application processing fee is $75 for domestic applicants and $100 for international applicants. All students applying to the Department of Marine Sciences must apply through the Graduate school. All material will be available online for both the Graduate School and the Department to view, so there is no need to send hard copies. For your file to be considered complete and ready for review from the Graduate Affairs Committee, the following materials must be submitted:

  1. UGA Graduate School Application (the on-line application is available at
  2. Application fee
  3. Unofficial transcripts for all colleges attended. Official transcripts are not required for the review process and will only be required for applicants who are offered admission. Do not mail official transcripts until offered admission. 
  4. Foreign student credentials (if applicable, this is submitted to the Graduate School)
  5. Official TOEFL scores (if applicable, this is submitted to the Graduate School)
  6. Three Letters of recommendation.  There is an online form available for submission through the Graduate School's application site.
  7. CV/Resume
  8. Statement of Purpose
  9. Online supplemental Marine Sciences application form.

**GRE scores are not required, but we encourage you to report them if you have taken the test. If you have scores to report, list your scores and test date on the Grad School application as well at the Marine Sciences online supplemental form. Students may send unofficial scores to 

ISCED Categories

Marine Geology
Physical and chemical oceanography