Jul 15, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Coastal Sciences MS


The School of Ocean Science and Engineering offers a Master of Science in Coastal Sciences with specialization in a wide range of research fields including benthic ecology, biological modeling, coastal ecology, conservation genetics, fish ecology, fisheries, landscape ecology, marine aquaculture, marine microbiology, marine toxicology, microbial ecology and social science and policy. Graduate students receive focused academic and hands-on training in a variety of marine and coastal fields.     

The purpose of the Master of Science in Coastal Sciences is to prepare students for nationally recognized doctoral programs or careers with academic institutions, industry, and government agencies at the local, state and federal level.  

Admission Requirements

In addition to meeting the Admission Requirements and Procedures , the master’s program applicant must submit:

  1. 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. Three letters of recommendation from people qualified to assess the applicant’s readiness for graduate study. 
  3. A current curriculum vitae (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 list potential faculty mentors in their statement.

Program Requirements and Academic Policies

The following list describes the suggested timeline for major degree requirements:

  • Complete training modules for the Integrity Assurance Program during the first semester of enrollment. Students must complete the following CITI modules: (1) Common Course for USM Graduate Students and (2) Animal Subjects Research Course. 
  • Form a graduate advisory committee by the end of the first semester.
  • Submit a research prospectus approved by the graduate advisory committee by the end of the second semester. This written document must be presented to the graduate advisory committee at least two weeks prior to the student making an oral presentation on the prospectus.
  • Pass an oral or written comprehensive examination or both by the end of the third semester.
  • Pass a thesis defense by the end of the fourth semester. At least two weeks prior to the public defense, the student will present an acceptable copy of the thesis to all members of the graduate advisory committee.

Students should consult the COA Graduate Student Handbook for other details on the program. 

See General Degree Requirements  and General Academic Information  for other requirements and expectations. 

Course Requirements (30 hours)


Electives - determined by major professor and graduate advisory committee (18 hours) 

COA 691 - Research in Coastal Sciences COA 697 - Independent Study COA 698 - Thesis  do not count as electives.