Sep 27, 2022  
2018-2019 Graduate Bulletin 
2018-2019 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Coastal Sciences (Coastal Ecology and Ecosystem Processes), M.S.

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Master of Science Programs

Admission Requirements

Admission into the Coastal Sciences program is competitve and is based on several criteria, including grade point average, course background, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, resume, and a statement of purpose.

However, we have one additional criterion that is probably more important than any of the aforementioned. The school requires a faculty sponsor. A faculty sponsor is a member of the School of Ocean Science and Technology who is willing to serve as the students major professor and provides funds for an assistantship and resources to perform the students thesis research.

Granting of regular admission to the M.S. degree program is based on several criteria, including but not limited to the following:

  1. Submission of official undergraduate transcript(s). Regular admission to the M.S. degree program requires a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 on all undergraduate coursework.
  2. Submission of official results of the general section of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Successful applicants have highly competitive scores.
  3. A current CV. 
  4. A statement of purpose stating interests and career goals.  The letter of intent is used as a sample of the applicant's writing and communication skills, and provides information concerning the compatibility of the applicant's interests with departmental research interests.  Applicants should consult the Coastal Sciences faculty directory and contact potential faculty mentors prior to submitting an application.  Applicants should include potential faculty mentors in their statement. 
  5. Three letters of recommendation from people qualified to assess the applicant's readiness for graduate study.
  6. A minimum score of 560 on the paper test or 220 on the computer test is required on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for applicants whose native language is not English.

Because more qualified students apply to the Coastal Sciences program than can be accepted, admission is selective.

Conditional admission to the Coastal Sciences program is considered for students who meet Graduate School standards for conditional admission and who are sponsored by a member of the faculty of Coastal Sciences. The sponsor must provide a written statement indicating willingness to serve as the applicant's major professor. Conditional students cannot obtain a graduate assistantship.

Conditionally admitted students must maintain a 3.0 GPA for the first nine (9) hours of formal coursework numbered 500 and above or on all coursework taken while meeting this nine (9)-hour requirement, not including research hours and only including up to three (3) hours of Special Problems. If this requirement is not met, the student is not allowed to remain in the program. Upon recommendation of the school director and approval by the graduate dean, the conditionally admitted student may have his or her admission status changed to "regular admission."

Integrity Assurance Program (IAP)

All faculty holding Regular or Associate graduate faculty status must complete IAP training modules required by the Graduate School and their schools. All graduate students must complete the training modules required by the Graduate School and their schools the first semester they are enrolled in graduate school. The policy and training information can be found on the following website:

Program Requirements

A minimum of thirty (30) graduate hours is required for this degree. Students must meet the general requirements of the Graduate School of The University of Southern Mississippi. Students advance to candidacy for the M.S. degree by completing the entire program of study (projection of coursework taken during tenure in Coastal Sciences; see below) developed in consultation with their graduate committee with a 3.0 grade point average or above, completing an approved thesis prospectus, and successfully passing the oral or written thesis comprehensive examination or both.

The following list describes major additional requirements:

  1. Choose a major professor and establish a three-member graduate thesis committee by the end of the second semester in residency;
  2. Develop a program of study in consultation with a major professor and thesis committee by the end of the second semester of residency. Graduate students cannot accumulate more than two Cs;
  3. Submit a research prospectus approved by the graduate thesis committee by the end of the third semester in residency;
  4. Pass an oral or written comprehensive examination or both by the end of the third semester in residency (administered by the thesis committee); and
  5. Present an acceptable copy of the thesis to the graduate thesis committee at least 10 days prior to a public defense of the thesis at a publicly announced meeting. (See Thesis Timetable at
  6. A 3.0 GPA is required to graduate.
  7. Continuous enrollment - Students must meet the requirement specified in the front section of this Bulletin.

Students should consult the COA Graduate Student Handbook for full details on school program requirements.

Six (6) credit hours in a combination of:

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