Graduate Degree Programs (Masters and Ph.D)

Marine Ecosystems & Society

Marine Ecosystems and Society (MES) students undertake basic, theoretical and applied research in the assessment and management of marine resources. Students can tailor their course selections to match their individual research and career objectives. Graduates gain required knowledge to deal with issues of utilization, management, conservation and sustainability of marine natural resources.

MES faculty expertise spans quantitative and qualitative disciplines that integrate biophysical, economic and social dimensions of marine resources and their interactions with external factors such as climate and global economic and legal frameworks in support of conservation, risk assessment and policy development related to the management of marine ecosystems. Building on this framework, MES’s graduate research and academic program offers a broad, flexible curriculum and access to research opportunities designed to adequately prepare students for careers in marine fisheries science, aquaculture, conservation, ecosystem science, coastal geography, socio-economics, climate and societal interaction, law and marine policy.

Degrees Offered

MES offers Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Science (MS), and Master of Professional Science (MPS) degrees. 

The MS degree program is for those wishing to pursue careers in marine policy and management. The MS can also lead into PhD specialization in marine policy, environmental law, maritime business, economics, anthropology, or environmental education or a PhD in pure sciences. The MS degree requires completion of 24 course credits and 6 thesis credits.

Applicants to the MS and PhD programs must possess a BS or BA in any relevant academic field. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Those whose first language is not English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550.

The MPS degree requires completion of 24 course credits and 3 internship credits. For more information on the MPS program, click here.

The UM School of Law and the Rosenstiel School offer a joint degree program in law and marine ecosystems and society. Upon completion of this program, a student earns a Juris Doctor degree from the UM School of Law and the MPS degree in Marine Ecosystems and Society from the Rosenstiel School. Students completes requirements of both degrees within three-and-a-half years in an intensive program of six semesters and two full summers. This program is geared toward students who want a career in the field of law with a specialization in marine and environmental issues.

A dual BA/MPS program enables qualified students from the undergraduate marine affairs program to earn a BA and an MPS degree in Marine Ecosystems and Society in 5 years.

Program Areas

The MES academic program includes:

  • Population and ecosystem assessment, modeling and management
  • Natural resource economics
  • Fisheries science and management
  • Statistics and biometrics
  • Aquaculture science and management
  • Coastal zone management
  • Ocean law and policy
  • Marine mammal science and management
  • Political and environmental ecology
  • Fisheries oceanography
  • Marine underwater cultural resources
  • Coastal geographic information systems

Funding Opportunities

A number of fellowships and assistantships are available to MES students. Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.



Broad Key Research Station: A research and education field station located on Broad Key, Fla.  The facility provides faculty and students with expanded opportunities to conduct research throughout the Florida Keys. Located in the North Keys, just two miles away from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the 63-acre island provides scientists with direct access to Florida’s sub-tropical marine ecosystem. Broad Key features a five-bedroom Great House built in 1952 by Arthur Vining Davis and a caretaker's cottage that will be used by the University. The island also boasts a large boathouse and 33-foot dock that can accommodate watercraft with up to a 6-foot draft, as well as its own water storage, solar generator power system, state-of-the-art satellite communications.

Little Salt Spring: The Rosenstiel School’s Division of Marine Affairs manages an underwater archeological and ecological preserve at Little Salt Spring, in North Port, a site located in southern Sarasota County, Florida about 10 miles (16 km) from the Gulf of Mexico.

Donated to the University in 1982, the spring is surrounded by undisturbed native hydric hammock containing several rare and endangered plant and animal species.

During early prehistoric times (12,000–7,000 years ago) the sinkhole was an oasis in the peninsula that attracted seasonal hunters and gatherers. The site has produced the second-oldest dated artifact ever found in the southeast United States — a sharpened wooden stake some 12,000 years old. Little Salt Spring contains some of the oldest cultural remains in the United States.

The unique anoxic water that fills most of the sinkhole (below 5 meters/16 feet depth) has preserved a great range of organic materials including wood, textile fragments, hair, skin and brain tissue dating back to the Late Paleoindian and Early Archaic stages of Florida’s prehistory, ca. 9,500 – 7,000 radiocarbon years ago. Archaeological remains exist both in the spring basin and the “27 meters/90 feet ledge”, a natural cavern at that depth below the spring surface.

Aquaculture Program: The Aquaculture Program at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School is leading the way for research and development in the emerging fields of hatchery technology and offshore aquaculture. The program is responding to the need of scientific and technological improvement in aquaculture with concerns for the environment protection. Our program is a pioneer in raising cobia (Rachycentron canadum). Hatchery technology and demonstration projects of offshore aquaculture of cobia are led in Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Our tanks house only native, non-genetically modified species raised without the use of antibiotics. Scientists at the Rosenstiel School have developed innovative techniques for increasing feeding efficiency by optimizing management practices, working with feed companies to develop environmentally friendly aqua feeds to minimize or eliminate reliance on fish meal.

Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry You can find details about opportunities for PhD research for the upcoming academic year here.