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Marine Science (M.S.)

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Duration 4 semesters
Cost $7,524 per year (California residents)/$19,404 per year (non-residents)

The curriculum is designed to fulfill major requirements for qualified upper-division and graduate students. Such students can plan their academic schedules to provide for one or more terms at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.

Students will be considered as in-residence at California State University, Stanislaus. Interested students should apply early because enrollment is limited. Consult advisers in the departments of Biological Sciences or Physical Sciences for further details. Consult the Department of Biological Sciences for information on the Master of Science in Marine Sciences degree.

The Master of Science in Marine Sciences program is offered as an interdepartmental degree on each campus in appropriate science departments (biology, geology, chemistry) in cooperation with Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML). It provides the opportunity for students to acquire a practical and theoretical education in the marine sciences to prepare them for careers as marine specialists, scientists, and teachers. The program at Moss Landing provides extensive field and laboratory work for advanced study in the marine sciences that cannot be duplicated on any one individual California State University campus.

Structural components
Dive training
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work

Application procedure

The Master of Science in Marine Sciences program is administered through MLML and an academic department from a consortium campus (biological science, geology, natural science, or other department) depending on the student’s choice. The prospective student must meet the entrance requirements for the department and be accepted into the MLML graduate program by a MLML faculty member, and will then be accepted into provisional or conditionally classified graduate status by normal procedures at that campus. The student will become classified upon completion of MLML’s requirements.

Admission to the M.S. Marine Sciences program through Stanislaus State requires application both to the University and to the Department of Biological Sciences. Completed applications must be received by January 15 for the following fall semester. Application materials for the Department of Biological Sciences are due February 15. Applications must include:

  • A copy of transcripts of all undergraduate courses with summary of overall grade point average and grade point average in upper-division biological sciences courses or the last 60 units
  • A statement of student’s area(s) of research interests
  • A summary of all research experiences (resume)
  • Scores on the GRE exam (both General Test and the appropriate Subject Test determined by the student’s undergraduate degree, i.e., Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics)
  • Three letters of recommendation, and
  • The MLML Graduate Application Questionnaire.

The application, transcripts, and GRE scores should be sent to the Stanislaus State Office of Enrollment Services. Letters of recommendation, statement of interest, resume, and MLML Graduate Application Questionnaire should be sent to the Stanislaus State Department of Biological Sciences.

Requirements for admission to the M.S. Marine Sciences program via Stanislaus State are:

  • Bachelor’s degree in one of the biological sciences with a program comparable to the biology program at Stanislaus State from an accredited college or university
  • An overall grade point average of 3.0
  • Statement of research interests consistent with interests and facilities of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories faculty, and
  • Approval for admission with conditional classified status by the Department of Biological Sciences, Stanislaus State, and by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. For more detailed information, contact the Stanislaus State Graduate School, (209) 667-3129.

Grant opportunities

Students who demonstrate academic excellence may receive monetary support from nearly 140 available scholarships, many offering multiple awards. Any full-time matriculated Stanislaus State student may apply. Scholarships are funded by private gifts, business donations, and endowments. Most awards range from $100 to $5,000 per academic year, averaging about $500. 

Since 1996, more than $10 million has been pledged and/or gifted to the Stanislaus State Foundation in support of scholarships, endowed scholarships, and endowed operations from private donors. Recruiting scholarships are designated for entering freshmen and transferring community college students. Department scholarships are for students who have declared a specific major. Open scholarships are unrestricted. For complete information, contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at (209) 667-3336 or visit the website at

Learning outcomes

  1. 1. a. Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts in a particular category of oceanography and marine science; and,
    1. b. Be able to synthesize and integrate across all of these fields, yet achieve a depth of understanding in the student’s individual specialty or field of study.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to critically analyze scientific research, whether the student’s own research, or that performed by others.
  3. Pose relevant scientific hypotheses or questions that may then serve to guide thesis research.
  4. Demonstrate proficiency in the design and implementation of experiments or data collection methodologies to address specific hypotheses/questions.
  5. Master the skills and tools of data collection and analysis (including analytical and statistical techniques as appropriate) specific to the student’s scientific field of study.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to place ones own research within the larger context of relevant field of scientific study and to clearly identify the implications of this research for that field.
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication by being able to present research clearly and concisely. This includes thoughtful and thorough oral and written presentation of their thesis and their responses to questions.

ISCED Categories

Project management
Personal skills and communication
Physical and chemical oceanography
Scientific modelling