Aug 13, 2022  
2012-2013 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Marine Science and Technology MS

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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 core oceanography courses (two for MS; three for PhD) and a policy course, and choose additional courses appropriate to a selected option area. Attendance at a weekly seminar series is required (1 credit per semester for two semesters) for first-year students, and each student must present at least one seminar in their third or fourth semester. Full time MS students can complete their degree requirements in two years.

Core Course Requirements

Each IGS student must complete two (MS) or three (PhD) oceanography core courses in biological, chemical, and physical oceanography. A course in marine policy and/or management areas (including law and economics) and a course covering technology or quantitative skill are also required. The core courses (listed on the IGS website at 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. 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. Students normally complete the core courses in the first two semesters.

Successful performance in the core courses is required for advancement to degree status. A grade of B or better in each core course and an overall average of 3.0 in the core courses are required. There is a retake option on a course for which the student receives a grade of B- or less.

Option Areas and Electives

Each IGS student selects one of several option areas. Each option area includes several marine policy or management core courses and electives appropriate to that area. The student approves a sub-set of those courses as approved by their faculty advisor and/or thesis committee. Descriptions of the option areas, as well as lists of the electives associated with each concentration may be found on the website at

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, may be taught via distance learning. In addition, students may choose to take courses at a different campus for a period of time during their course of study in order to access certain topics or to take advantage of research opportunities.

Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

Most SMAST MS students choose to do a thesis and are assigned a Thesis Committee, chaired by the student’s major advisor. The advisor ensures that the student fulfills all requirements of the IGS as well as other campus requirements, including a public lecture on the student’s thesis. Each student electing the non-thesis option, in addition to an additional 3 credits, must complete a substantial research paper that must be read and approved by the major advisor and at least one other faculty member.

Thesis students must register for thesis research each semester after completing formal coursework, until they complete their degree.

Sequence of Courses by Semester

In the first two semesters, full-time MS students normally complete the core courses, the seminar requirement, and an elective or two. Additional coursework and the thesis or the non-thesis research paper are typically completed in the third and fourth semesters.

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