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Graduate Programs

The Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (MAS) graduate program of the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) offers programs in marine conservation and policy, marine science, atmospheric science, and sustainability leading to M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. In addition, SoMAS offers an advanced graduate certificate in geospatial sciences. SoMAS is one of the leading centers for research, graduate education, and public service in the marine sciences, atmospheric sciences and in sustainability studies – for marine science it is the center for the State University of New York system. SoMAS faculty have active research programs in all major oceanographic and atmospheric disciplines, as well as in sustainability research, and many focus on interdisciplinary approaches to understanding environmental processes and issues. Specific areas of cross-disciplinary focus include biogeochemical transformation of energy and elements, ocean-atmosphere connections, conservation and management of marine resources, environmental health and contaminants, environmental modeling and prediction, and patterns and impacts of global climate change.

SoMAS is ideally situated for studies of a variety of coastal environments including estuaries, lagoons, salt marshes, barrier islands, and continental shelf waters. Long Island has a greater diversity of coastal environments in a limited geographical range than any other comparable area in the United States. The proximity of New York City and the burgeoning population of Long Island and Connecticut make New York coastal waters an excellent laboratory for assessing human impacts on the coastal seas and understanding land/sea interactions at all levels. In addition to working on coastal issues, SoMAS scientists have active research programs on all the world's oceans and examine atmospheric processes on the Earth and other planets.

SoMAS offers an M.A. in Marine Conservation and Policy and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine, Atmospheric, and Sustainability Sciences. Interested students should address inquiries to the graduate program director. Tuition scholarships and stipends are available for students in the research-based M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

SoMAS also offers Graduate Certificate Programs.

Graduate Degree Programs

The M.A. Program in Marine Conservation and Policy

The Graduate Program in Marine Conservation and Policy (MCP) provides students with an understanding of contemporary marine conservation issues and helps them develop the necessary skills to apply this knowledge in positions that require advanced training and a broad skill set, but are not research-based. Graduates of this program should be able to compete effectively for positions in government, environmental consultancy, and non-governmental organizations, and to apply marine conservation and policy knowledge in other fields including law, teaching, communications, or business. This program requires a minimum of 30 credits of graduate coursework and is designed to be completed in 12 months of full-time study.

The M.S. Program in Marine, Atmospheric, and Sustainability Sciences

The M.S. program offered by SoMAS takes a rigorous approach to oceanography, atmospheric, and sustainability sciences with interdisciplinary course work and a research thesis. It is designed to prepare students for positions in research, management, environmental protection, and resource development. The program provides students with a firm basis for more advanced study, but also is designed to equip students with the background and tools needed for effective careers without additional training. Required course work is very similar to the Ph.D. program, allowing M.S. students to continue in the Ph.D. program provided they have demonstrated adequate performance and found a suitable faculty advisor. The time required to complete this program depends on the scope of research undertaken. Most students complete their degree in 2 to 3 years.

Ph.D. Program in Marine, Atmospheric, and Sustainability Sciences

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students to independently identify and approach problems in marine sciences, atmospheric sciences, and sustainability. It builds on a series of core required courses and allows students to create their own plan of advanced study, helping them to become independent problem solvers. The Ph.D. in Marine, Atmospheric, and Sustainability Sciences prepares students to compete effectively for academic positions or to direct research and assessment programs at government, private, or nongovernmental organizations. An M.S. degree is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Most students take 5 to 6 years to complete their Ph.D.

For additional information on graduate programs, a student should contact either:

Prof. Jackie Collier, Director of Graduate Programs, SoMAS
(631) 632-8696, e-mail:

Prof. Ellen Pikitch, Director of the M.A. Program in Marine Conservation and Policy
631-632-9599, e-mail: