Marine Sciences


Master of Science (M.S.), Marine Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)


Dr. Kathryn Ono
Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee
Department of Marine Sciences
University of New England
11 Hills Beach Road
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207) 602-2814
Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce, Chair
Department of Marine Sciences
University of New England
11 Hills Beach Rd.
Biddeford, ME 04005

(207) 602-2440


The mission of the Department of Marine Sciences at University of New England is to enable students to understand the real-world relevance of the marine sciences, foster scientific literacy and critical thinking skills, and lay the foundation for lifelong learning and meaningful, productive contributions to society.

The Marine Sciences encompass a wide variety of disciplines that seek to understand the way the ocean functions, and how it is related to earth systems sciences, as well as to human interactions with the environment. Students will learn the theoretical underpinnings and applications of disciplines from biology, to chemistry, geology, and physics.  Students will be able to apply these disciplines to solving real problems, not only in ocean sciences, but in fields as far ranging as meteorology and space exploration, as well as aquaculture and marine policy.

The mission of the Master of Science: Marine Sciences program is to prepare outstanding graduate students for careers or further training in science, technology, and education by providing an advanced knowledge base and research skills in marine sciences.

Program Description

The Master of Science: Marine Sciences program offers post-baccalaureate training to students interested in continuing their education in the marine sciences.  The classroom curriculum provides a strong background in all aspects of the marine sciences. The program focuses on a thesis research experience: students will conduct research and prepare a thesis on any of a variety of topics selected in consultation with our faculty.

Program Goals

  • Provide a knowledge base in the marine sciences that is deeper than the typical undergraduate experience.
  • Foster participation in the production of new knowledge through excellence in research.
  • Instill outstanding research skills and a working knowledge of the scientific method by participation in high-quality research.
  • Develop outstanding scientific communication skills through written and oral presentations.

Curricular Requirements

Program Required Courses  
MAR 503 - Research Methods 3
MAR 530 - Graduate Seminar 1
MAR 512 - Marine Science Center Seminar 1
MAR 566 - Advanced Oceanography I 3
MAR 568 - Advanced Oceanography II 3
Electives - Additional Coursework 9*
MAR 590 - Research and Thesis 12 min
Total Credits Required 36
MAR 595 - Thesis Writing/Data Analysis (taken after 36 credits completed) 1
MAR 599 - Masters Thesis 0
*Students may substitute Thesis/Research credits for Electives with the approval of their advisor  

Graduation Requirements

Students must successfully complete all required courses with a minimum graduate GPA of 3.0 and successfully pursue, complete and defend publicly an approved research thesis.

Academic and Technical Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To remain in the MS: Marine Sciences program, the student's cumulative graduate GPA must be a minimum of 3.0.   A student whose GPA falls below 3.0 or who receives a grade below B- in any course taken for graduate credit will be placed on academic probation.

Program Completion Timeline

Students have a maximum of five years to complete the graduation requirements.  After two academic years (fall and spring terms), students who have completed their coursework but are still completing their theses are required to enroll in a thesis continuation credit per semester to remain in the program.


A graduate student whose grade point average (GPA) for any semester falls below 3.0, or whose cumulative grade point average is below 3.0, or who receives a class grade below a B- for any class taken for graduate credit is automatically placed on probation. A student placed on academic probation will be granted one fall or spring semester to raise his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or above, will be required to achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the semester, and cannot receive a second class grade below B-.  The Department of Marine Sciences and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will consider for dismissal any student who fails to meet these criteria.

Academic Policy

Course Withdrawal

In normal length semesters, a matriculated student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty (a grade of W is assigned) at any time during the first two-thirds of the semester. If withdrawal occurs after that date, the grade of WP (withdrew passing) or WF (withdrew failing) will be entered, subject to determination by the instructor. The grade of WF is computed in the grade point average.

Incomplete Grades

A student who believes she/he is unable to complete the work for a given course by the end of the term may apply for an extension by discussion with the instructor.  At the time of this meeting, a plan must be agreed upon for completion of the course work, including a date of completion, not to exceed six weeks following the end date of the course. This agreement must be completed by the last day of class for the given course. Any student who does not follow the above guidelines will receive an F for the course. In exceptional circumstances (such as death in family, significant illness, accident), an additional extension may be requested. Any such request must be made in writing, reviewed and signed by the instructor and the student’s advisor.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate expertise in their thesis research field
  2. Students will increase their proficiency to publication level written and professional oral communication skills
  3. Students will demonstrate mastery of the concepts and principles of the Marine Sciences
  4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of research design and have the ability to carry out a research project

Transfer Credit


  • Transfer credits are rarely awarded to students who transfer from another marine science program
  • Transfer credits will be reviewed and awarded on a case-by-case basis

No advanced standing available

No credit awarded for experiential learning


Program admissions requirements

coursework prerequisites

  • Marine Science Track
    • Science (all with labs)
      • Biology, 16 credits
      • General Chemistry, 12 credits
      • Physics, 8 credits
    • Other
      • Calculus, 4 credits
  • Oceanography Track
    • Science (all with labs)
      • General Chemistry, 8 credits
      • Physics, 8 credits
    • Other
      • Calculus, 4 credits
      • Additional 16 credits in Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, or Biology
    • All prerequisite courses must be successfully completed with a grade of “C” or better (“C-“grades, not acceptable)
    • Prerequisite courses may be in-progress or planned at the time of application, but must be completed before enrollment before either
      • Summer term start
      • Fall term start

academic/experience requirements

  • Completion of Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S.regionally accredited institution, or international equivalent, prior to matriculation
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and minimum cumulative pre-requisite GPA of 3.0, required
  • Successful completion of the General Graduate Record Exam GRE with competitive scores (official score must be submitted from ETS directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at the University of New England  (code # 3751)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be submitted directly from the issuing institution to UNE’s Office of Graduate Admissions
  • Three (3) letters of reference from writers who know you and can speak to your academic and/or professional experience (letters from friends and family members will not be accepted)
  • Prior to or early in the admissions process, candidates are advised to communicate with faculty with whom they would like to work
  • Only those applicants who meet minimum requirements will be considered for admission

procedures and policies

  • Applications for admission are accepted through the UNE Graduate Admissions application (detailed instructions are included in the application portal)
    • UNE application portal opens annually July 1
    • Applications must be electronically submitted by the posted deadline of February 1
      • Please Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit and complete your application well before the deadline for earliest consideration
      • A complete application includes the following:
        • Electronically submitted application
        • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
        • Official GRE score report sent directly from ETS to UNE Office of Graduate Admissions
        • Three (3) letters of reference
      • All completed applications will be reviewed by the program admissions committee after the application deadline with decisions mailed beginning in mid-March
      • Applications completed after the posted deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis, only
    • Accepted candidates will be expected to pay a minimal non-refundable deposit to secure your place in the program
      • Deposit is applied to any fees not covered by the assistantship or grant received upon acceptance
      • Deposit will be forfeited should the candidate decide not to matriculate in the program
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees
    • Must have transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited U.S. institution (International Admissions)
    • Must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university
      • UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency          
      • If an applicant cannot prove English Proficiency in another way, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required and must be submitted as a part of the completed application


  • Policies have been established to ensure fair and consistent admissions practice for all applicants
  • All criteria presented in this summary are subject to change per professional accreditation requirements, changes in curriculum or other institutional standards, and clinical affiliation requirements
  • Exceptions to existing admission policies are rare and made on a case by case basis, only when it is deemed necessary and appropriate to maintain fair and consistent practice for all candidates

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Continued Enrollment

After two academic years, a student who has completed all coursework except his/her thesis will be required to pay for a thesis continuation credit plus mandatory fees each semester to remain in the program.

Other Expenses

Housing is arranged by and financed at the expense of the student.  Currently there is no on-campus housing available for graduate students.

Financial Aid

Detailed information and applications are available on request from the Financial Aid Office on the Biddeford Campus. Call 207-602-2342, or by visiting the Financial Aid website. Information on Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships can be found on the Department of Marine Sciences graduate programs website.