Degree Requirements: The MS Program
The MS program requires a minimum of 30 credit hours with the thesis option and 33 credit hours with the non-thesis option. Students are required to take three core courses (9 credits) and choose additional courses appropriate to a selected area of concentration. Attendance at a weekly seminar series is required (1 credit each for two semesters), and each student must present at least one seminar in his/her third or fourth semester. Full-time MS students normally complete their degree requirements in four semesters. Part-time MS students are encouraged to take two courses per semester.
Each SMS student must complete three core courses (9 credits), which include two of the three core courses in biological, chemical, and physical oceanography and a third core course in marine policy and/or management (including law and economics). The core courses are intended to provide a common grounding in the biological, chemical, and physical oceanographic areas of marine sciences and technology and in related marine policy and management disciplines. The Core column in the Intercampu Marine Sciences (IMS) course list available at www.umassmarine.net identifies the core courses and their respective areas. Courses covering technology and quantitative skills are generally subject to student choice and guidance committee approval, though there may be requirements specific to each option area. At least two core courses are offered each semester using the university’s substantial distance-learning facilities and technology. Students normally complete the core courses in the first two semesters.
Concentrations and Electives
To build on the core courses, each IMS student selects an area of concentration and chooses a marine policy or management core course and electives appropriate to this concentration, as approved by his/her faculty advisor and/or thesis committee.
Students typically take most of their elective courses on the campus where they and their major faculty advisor are in residence. Some elective courses, however, will also be taught via distance learning. In addition, students may choose to be in residence at different campuses for a period of time during their course of study, in order to take certain courses or to take advantage of research opportunities.
Weekly seminars presented by students and by visiting speakers are intended to broaden the scope of each student’s experience and to provide experience in verbal communication. Each MS student must present at least one seminar in the third or fourth semester. Attendance at the weekly seminars is required during all four semesters, for which students receive 1 credit for each of the first two semesters but no credit for the second two semesters.
Thesis and Non-Thesis Options
MS students may choose either a thesis or non-thesis option. Each student electing the thesis option will be assigned a Thesis Committee, chaired by the student’s major advisor. The committee will be responsible for ensuring that the student fulfills all requirements of the IMS as well as other campus requirements, including a minimum of 6 thesis credits, presentation of a thesis defense consisting of a public lecture on the thesis, and a subsequent oral examination by the Thesis Committee. Each student electing the non-thesis option, in addition to an additional 3 credits of coursework, must complete a substantial research paper that must be read and approved by the major advisor and at least one other faculty member.
Sequence of Courses by Semester
In the first two semesters, full-time MS students normally complete the core courses (9 credits), register for the seminar series (1 credit each semester), and take electives (9 credits). Additional coursework and the thesis or the non-thesis research paper are typically completed in the third and fourth semesters. A minimum total of 30 credits (thesis) or 33 credits (non-thesis) are required for the degree. Example tables summarizing the sequence of courses for each of the four semesters can be found at www.umassmarine.net under “MS Degree Requirements.”
The Professional Science Track™ (PST) in the IMS program operates in the form of the Coastal and Ocean Administration, Science, and Technology (COAST) track. Students in this track must complete at least eleven courses plus a one-credit internship (34 credit minimum for PST).
Students will be required to take
- two of the available IMS introductory oceanography courses in biological, chemical, geological, and/or physical oceanography (6 credit minimum);
- four to six IMS marine science, engineering, and technology (MSET) core courses (12 credit minimum);
- three to five marine policy and management (MPOM) courses (9 credit minimum); and
- a professional science internship (one credit).
Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) in the COAST PST program.
IMS course listings and additional information about the IMS COAST PST program is available at www.umassmarine.net/.
The Office of Graduate Admissions at the University of Massachusetts Boston processes all applications for wishing to make UMass Boston their home campus. Applications, associated materials, and any inquiries about the application should be addressed to Office of Graduate Admissions.
A BS or BA degree from an accredited institution is required for admission. Candidates who have completed a master’s degree are particularly welcome in the doctoral program. Applicants should feel free to contact a member of the School for the Environment faculty within their field of interest. Students are also advised to review the subject matter of the prerequisite courses before they begin the program.
Candidates may apply for admission at either the master’s or doctoral level. Students admitted directly into the doctoral program are expected to have exceptional academic credentials and/or work experience. Students entering with a bachelor’s degree may be required to complete the requirements of a master’s degree before admission to the doctoral program. Students entering with a master’s may be admitted at the doctoral level provided the degree, course work, and research experience warrant such a decision by the Admissions Committee.
The Admissions Committee will evaluate a number of additional criteria in its consideration of applications. They include performance on the Graduate Record Examinations (GREs), TOEFL (if appropriate), letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a statement of interest and intent. International students must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
Three letters of recommendation from referees familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or work experience are required.
Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate course work must be submitted.
Statements of interest and intent are also requested.
- The statement of interest should provide reviewers an indication of the motivation of the student for pursuing graduate work.
- The statement of intent should describe how graduate training would address the student’s career goals.
The applicant is strongly encouraged to identify one or more faculty members who could serve as the applicant’s advisor, at least initially, upon admission. To this end, discussions with individual faculty before completing the application are strongly encouraged.