The goal of the Oceanographic Center's Academic Programs is to provide a scientifically-based, credible, holistic and timely introduction and knowledge of key ecological and socio-environmental issues related to the specific major. Completion of the degree is expected to lead to placements in the chosen field, in a position requiring graduate training, or to career advancement in the case of working professionals Students are expected to complete the degree within 2-3 years of full-time study, and within 5 years of part-time study.
Expected learning outcomes are:
Effective communication skills,
A full understanding of the scientific method,
A generalized knowledge in ecological, geological, chemical and biological concepts as they relate to the environment.
A generalized knowledge of the natural and human-driven problems currently, and anticipated to, impact the marine environment.
In-depth knowledge of a specific aspect of their major.
Each session, graduate classes typically meet one evening per week in a three hour session. Exceptions are field courses which usually entail seven days of intensive study. Thesis and capstone tracks are offered for all programs; these are explained below. Note, both tracks lead to equivalent MS degrees.
There are two options for completing an MS degree: a capstone track and a thesis track.
All entering students are automatically accepted in the capstone track option. Although the number of students taking thesis credits in a given year is more than the capstone this is because the thesis is typically a longer duration track. More than half of graduating students each year are capstone students.
To successfully complete the capstone track, students nearing the completion of required coursework must submit and defend a capstone review paper. A capstone review paper is a scholarly review manuscript, based upon a comprehensive literature search, review, and synthesis of the chosen topic. Carrying out a capstone review paper is possible with agreement from a major professor, typically, capstone students find a major professor on their own by approaching faculty in the student's area of interest. Students will be assigned a capstone advisor if they have difficulty finding one. Prior to beginning a capstone review paper and registering for capstone credits, the student must write a proposal which must be approved by the student's major professor, committee, and the Director of Academic Programs, and be submitted to the Departmental Administrator in the Program Office.
Some students complete the thesis track. A thesis is an original contribution to knowledge resulting from the systematic study of a significant problem or issue. A thesis track requires the student to secure agreement from a faculty member, with adequate funding to carry out the proposed research, to be the student's major professor. Students are not provided with a thesis advisor. Prior to beginning thesis research and registering for thesis credits, the student must write a proposal which must be approved by the student's major professor, committee, and the Director of Academic Programs, and be submitted to the Departmental Administrator in the Program Office.
The capstone track requires a minimum of 45 credits, including five 3-credit core classes, eight 3-credit specialty courses and a 6-credit capstone review paper consisting of an extended literature review of an approved subject. Once a student starts registering for capstone credits, they cannot stop registering for credits until the capstone is completed and defended. The completed capstone paper is presented in an open defense that includes the student's advisory committee.
The thesis track requires a minimum of 39 credits, including five 3-credit core classes, five 3-credit specialty courses and at least nine credits of master's thesis research. The number of thesis research credits above the minimum is dependent upon the length of time needed to complete the thesis research, which may be more than the minimum three terms. The final thesis is formally defended in an open defense that includes the student's advisory committee.
Students in the single major track are allowed to take up to two elective courses outside their degree orientation and have them count towards their final credit count.
The joint specialization MS degrees require a minimum of 57 course credits (19 courses) or 51 course credits (17 courses) (for capstone review or thesis paper respectively) including nine credits minimum thesis research or the six credits for the capstone review paper. For the joint programs, students take approximately equal numbers of courses within each of the two specialties. The final thesis is formally defended in an open defense that includes the student's committee.
For both the capstone and the thesis degree tracks, once the proposal has been accepted, enrollment in the chosen track must continue until completion of the degree.
MA Credit Requirements
To complete the MA in Marine and Coastal Studies students must successfully complete the 5 core courses and 7 electives, presenting a final portfolio prior to graduation consisting of rigorous integrated papers scaffolded over their completed term of study. Each core course will require a final term paper which will be graded as 20% of the course final grade.
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The Mission of the Oceanographic Center is to carry out innovative, basic and applied research and to provide high-quality graduate and undergraduate education in a broad range of marine science and related disciplines.