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Graduate Programs

SMS graduate students at sea.
SMS graduate students at sea.
The School of Marine Sciences offers MS and PhD programs in Oceanography and Marine Biology, and an MS program in Marine Policy, a Professional Science Master (PSM) in Marine Sciences, and a dual (MS) degree that comprises one degree in Policy and one in Aquaculture, Marine Biology or Oceanography. We pride ourselves in providing truly interdisciplinary experiences by tailoring coherent knowledge, skills and abilities training to individual student needs around a solid package of fundamentals.

We have ready access to the diverse and unique marine habitats of the Gulf of Maine, including offshore basins, banks and ledges, estuarine and coastal waters, tidal marshes, sandy beaches, mudflats, and the most extensive stretches of rocky shore on the Eastern seaboard. In addition to these local research opportunities, the world-wide research activities of the program faculty provide extensive possibilities throughout the global ocean.

With roughly 60 faculty, the SMS offers graduate students a wide variety of courses and extensive research opportunities. Graduate students can easily find a research cluster to match their interests, or develop a new one by drawing together the talents of our own and allied faculty from other units at UMaine.

To learn more about the current research projects of SMS faculty and graduate students, visit our research clusters and individual faculty web pages. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty and graduate students directly to discuss common research interests. "Cold calls" are more than welcome.  The graduate experience is a partnership and apprenticeship that begins even before the formal paperwork (or "e-formalities"). Perhaps the best way to visualize the diverse smorgasbord from which students can choose is to skim the most recent abstracts from our annual Graduate Student Symposium. Nearly all graduate students and faculty participate in this highly anticipated annual event at the Darling Marine Center.

Not sure why you would want a graduate degree in marine sciences or whether to seek the M.S., PSM, or Ph.D.? Take a look at our summary of career options. We realize that not everyone desires the academic path. Marine sciences degrees open many different doors.

If you are interested in applying to one of our programs below, you should be aware that the SMS application process has two essential steps. The first is an application to UMaine's Graduate School. This step allows the SMS Graduate Admissions Commitee to evaluate whether your background meets our academic requirements. This step is necessary but not sufficient for admission. A second essential step is to identify an advisor and a source of financial support for your graduate work. We recommend that you take an active part in this step by identifying your research interests in your written application as specifically as you can and by contacting the two to four potential advisors whose interests most closely match them.


The University of Maine's Oceanography Program creates and communicates integrated understanding of oceanographic processes by weaving fundamentals from basic sciences and mathematics into a fully interdisciplinary, marine context. As leaders in ocean observation and prediction, we focus expertise on the Gulf of Maine and maintain active research programs throughout the world's oceans. Mentoring of students in the Program emphasizes fundamentals, novel composites of disciplines tailored to the students' research, and an adaptive, problem-solving skill set that prepares students for the rapid change that has become characteristic within both their profession and the oceans themselves. More information...

Marine Biology

The M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine Biology are designed to provide students with a broad knowledge base in marine biology in areas including, but not restricted to, taxonomy/systematics, comparative morphology, evolution, genetics, physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and ecology. Marine Biology is a dynamic field, and our programs are flexibly designed to accommodate new discoveries and technologies. More information...

Marine Policy

The Masters Program in Marine Policy was founded on the idea that the effective application of marine policy requires practitioners, first, to be fluent in the languages and concepts of both the social and natural sciences, and second, to be able to translate those languages to, and for, users of the resource. As a consequence, the design of a student's program is flexible and adapted to her or his previous background and work experience. More information...

Dual M.Sc. degree in Marine Policy and Marine Sciences

The marine science and policy dual-degree program is intended for students interested in the application of science to public policy in government agencies, NGOs or industry. The program is intended as a terminal degree but does not rule out continuation to a Ph.D. The course of study is three years. It leads to two M.S. degrees: one in marine science (specializing in oceanography, aquaculture or marine biology) and one in marine policy. More information...

Professional Science Master (PSM)

The School of Marine Sciences supports the development of an educated and informed citizenry and workforce. The PSM in Marine Sciences in intended for students who want to combine further education in marine science and policy with coursework and training in specific workplace skills such as communications, education, data management, or business and public administration. It differs from the M.S. degrees in its emphasis on professional practice rather than original research: it is a non-thesis degree that requires an internship. More information


Marine Science

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