UNE introduces international Professional Science Master’s in Ocean Food Systems

UNE NORTH Assistant Director for Science Adam St. Gelais conducts research at the Bang's Island Mussel farm in Casco Bay
UNE NORTH Assistant Director for Science Adam St. Gelais conducts research at the Bang's Island Mussel farm in Casco Bay

September 27, 2018

The University of New England will help nurture the next generation of leaders in sustainable ocean management with a new Professional Science Master’s in Ocean Food Systems.

This one-of-a-kind program will position students for leadership positions at the nexus of science, business, and policy in the North Atlantic and Arctic regions, or what many have called “The New North.”

The PSM is a popular, emerging graduate degree designed to empower students with advanced training in science or math while positioning them with strong participatory, management, communications and business skills as well as workplace connections.

“The PSM will give students scientific and team-building skills that can be applied toward business solutions,” says UNE President James Herbert. “One of the things we strive for at UNE is the creation of innovative education programs that meet the needs of global industry, and this Professional Science Master’s degree will undoubtedly give students the skills to become leaders in marine entrepreneurship, research, and public policy throughout the nation and world.”

UNE’s first ever 12-month PSM combines fisheries, aquaculture and seafood research to tackle real-world challenges in ocean food systems –- challenges identified not only by faculty and researchers but also by industry leaders. Through innovative, one-year projects, students will create meaningful solutions across the entire ocean foods spectrum. These projects, acknowledging that the shared goals of fisheries and aquaculture must be viewed collectively, rather than separately, will examine all the common challenges and opportunities in seafood trade and production, marine business, governance, law, management and policy.

“No other master’s program in the world offers this opportunity to develop a life-long, international professional network through the completion of a meaningful, hands-on project that focuses on the sustainable development and management of ocean foods,” states Barry A. Costa-Pierce, Ph.D., Henry L. & Grace Doherty Professor of Marine Sciences and executive director of UNE NORTH: The Institute for North Atlantic Studies.

All of the master’s projects will be conducted by students in coordination with an industry/business partner, creating opportunities for direct employment.

“An educational program focused on advancing scientific knowledge for ocean food systems is crucial, and UNE is the right institution to deliver it,” explains Peter Handy, president and CEO of Bristol Seafood, a Portland-based company serving as one of UNE’s industry partners. “Students now have an opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to be leaders in the ocean food supply chain.”

Developed by UNE’s Institute for North Atlantic Studies and School of Marine Programs in cooperation with two Icelandic universities, the University of Akureyri and Holar University College, the program kicks off with two-week residencies in Iceland and in Downeast Maine. In the near future, the PSM will be expanded to the countries of Sweden and Norway in the second phase of its development.

There are a limited number of fellowships available for highly competitive applicants who may qualify to become Henry L. & Grace Doherty Foundation Fellows in Ocean Food Systems, an honor that includes $40,000 toward program tuition and $2,500 in travel and expenses.

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