Joint Degrees in Law, Marine Affairs Tackle Environmental Issues

Credit: Everglades National Park

MIAMI — August 5, 2011 — The School of Law and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami (UM) now offer an exciting and targeted offering for students who want to further their careers in marine affairs and policy. Enabling a student to earn both a Juris Doctor and Masters of Professional Science in Marine Affairs degree (J.D./M.P.S.), the joint degree program in law and marine affairs and policy prepares students to be leaders in law and marine affairs, and be better positioned to tackle the critical environmental issues society is facing.

“An advantage of the joint degree program is that it permits students, while they are studying in each program, also to study in the other,” said Professor Bernard Oxman, one of the program founders and a globally-renowned expert on the Law of the Sea. “This makes them better students in both, because they are learning more about the underlying field.”

The program was initially created by Dr. Daniel Suman, professor at the Division of Marine Affairs and Policy Rosenstiel School, and Professor Oxman in order to meet students’ interest in both law and marine and coastal policy and allow them to earn the degrees in a shorter period of time. In addition to the time saving, students learn by interacting with professors in several disciplines and students with a wide variety of perspectives.

“The curriculum is well-rounded, offering everything from marine protected areas, marine GIS to coastal zone management and fisheries socioeconomics. So, students come away with more than a working understanding of scientific theory; they also learn practical ways in which they will apply their skills to marine conservation and policy,” said Jill Richardson, who is a UM faculty lecturer and Director of Professional Studies at the Rosenstiel School.

The coursework provides students with a solid foundation in science that is complimented by coursework in ocean policy development, coastal cultures, underwater marine resources, and legal and regulatory framework in coastal and marine resource management.

Raleigh Watson came to UM specifically to pursue the joint degree program. Watson has much experience at fishing, as he was raised on the water in a coastal North Carolina town. During the two years between college and law/graduate school, Watson worked full-time on fishing boats and at a fishing lodge. With a passion for fisheries management and conservation, Watson was particularly intrigued by the unique opportunities offered by UM.

Through courses at both schools, Watson was able to obtain the legal and policy tools necessary to succeed in his future career. Watson interned with the Billfish Foundation and some admiralty firms in Southeast Florida, and presented a paper in the 63rd Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After graduation, Watson hopes to work on effective policies for sustainable fisheries .

For more information, or to enroll in the joint J.D./M.P.S. program, please visit Masters of Professional Science or UM School of Law.

The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives.

everglades •  school of law •  marine affairs and policy •  bernard oxman •  dr. daniel suman •  dr. jill richardson •  raleigh watson •  rsmas •  mps •