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Marine and Environmental Affairs

School Overview

3707 Brooklyn Avenue Northeast

The School of Marine and Environmental Affairs offers an interdisciplinary program of study leading to the Master of Marine Affairs degree. Marine affairs concerns management and policy questions on the uses of the coastal and offshore regions of the ocean and their resources. The core curriculum includes courses in marine affairs, economics, law, marine sciences, and public affairs, with emphasis on human dimensions of the environment.

Graduate Program

Graduate Program Coordinator
3707 Brooklyn NE, Box 355685
(206) 543-4326, (206) 543-7004

Master of Marine Affairs

The School of Marine and Environmental Affairs offers an internationally recognized master's degree program for launching careers in marine policy and administration. Students learn creative approaches to resolving marine problems and conflicts, charting rational use of living and non-living marine resources, and managing human activities on the coasts, at sea, and in estuaries, wetlands, and large inland bodies of water.

A major program objective is to prepare students for professional careers in policy making, management, teaching, and research. Breadth of study is emphasized, and all students are expected to gain familiarity with relevant aspects of the social, technological, and environmental sciences. In addition, each student is expected to develop a professional and scholarly proficiency in a particular aspect of marine affairs.

Completion of the MMA program normally requires two academic years for students who have received a baccalaureate degree. During the first year, students develop a comprehensive understanding of the marine affairs field and acquire analytic skills. During the second year, a special competence is developed in a topical area of interest (e.g., ocean and coastal management, ports and marine transportation, marine environmental protection, marine resources management, ocean and coastal tourism and recreation), and a thesis is prepared and presented under the guidance of a faculty Supervisory Committee. Individual courses of study may be adjusted to accommodate prior experience and academic background. Mid-career and other qualifying students can apply to follow a non-thesis track emphasizing additional coursework and a degree project.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the School of Marine Environmental Affairs is based on evaluation of required application materials in competition with other applicants. Required materials include Graduate Record Examination general-test scores, completed departmental supplementary information form, three letters of recommendation, official academic transcripts, and a statement of career objectives. Applicants must apply directly to, and be accepted by, the University's Graduate School. Course sequences begin each autumn quarter, and new students normally are admitted only at that time.

Degree Requirements

59 credits as follows:
  • The Core Curriculum (29 credits minimum)
    1. Introduction to Marine Affairs: SMEA 500 , SMEA 501
    2. Economics: SMEA 536 . (The Graduate Program Coordinator may waive SMEA 536 for students with adequate undergraduate training, but students must take at least one economics course at the 400 or 500 level. The following courses are suggested: SMEA 537 , SMEA 538 , ECON 435 , ECON 436 .)
    3. Marine Law: SMEA 506/LAW 561 or SMEA 515/LAW 565
    4. Policy Analysis: SMEA 519 or PB AF 513
    5. Policy Processes: one of the following: SMEA 507 , SMEA 508 , SMEA 521 , SMEA 523 , PB AF 590/CFR 592 (when course content appropriate; check with Graduate Program Coordinator); PB AF 592/FM 571
    6. Marine Science: SMEA 591 . (The Graduate Program Coordinator may waive from SMEA 591, but students must take at least one 400- or 500-level science course. The following courses are suggested: SMEA 510 ; FISH 450 (4); FISH 454 ; BIOL 472 ; or BIOL 473 .)
    7. Quantitative Skills: one of the following: The required skill level is equivalent to intermediate statistics, including an understanding of point estimates, confidence intervals and regression equations. Students not meeting this requirement through undergraduate classes or experience should take one appropriate course while at SMEA. Recommended courses include: Q SCI 381 , STAT 301 , or STAT 311 . (Although 300-level courses do not qualify for graduation credits, the school waives 3 credits of the 59-credit SMEA graduation requirement for students completing one of these courses.)
    8. Social Science Data Collection and Analysis: one of the following: SMEA 476 , SMEA 512 , PB AF 507 , GEOG 425 , or CRF 400
    9. Marine Affairs Seminar: SMEA 550
  • Electives (20 credits minimum or 10 additional elective credits for non-thesis track): Elective credits must qualify as graduate credit (typically 400- or 500-level courses) offered in any UW department or school. Students should consult their advisor or thesis committee chair in choosing a set of elective courses. At least 6 credits, and two courses must come from the following list of SMEA courses: SMEA 433 , SMEA 480 , SMEA 485 , SMEA 499 (var.) (when subject is African Population, Development and Marine Enviroment), SMEA 509 , SMEA 510 , SMEA 514 , SMEA 516 , SMEA 517 , SMEA 540 , SMEA 555 , SMEA 581 , SMEA 550 (cannot simultaneously be used to meet core requirements).
  • The Thesis and Thesis Presentation (10 credits minimum for thesis track students): SMEA 700 (minimum 9 credits); SMEA 570 .
  • Career Skills (non-credit requirement): First year: One career counseling appointment during fall quarter. One resume review session during winter quarter. Second year: One career counseling appointment during fall quarter. One resume review session during winter quarter.

Financial Aid

The School of Marine Affairs has a limited number of positions for graduate student appointments as research assistants. Applicants in need of support are urged to investigate outside sources of funding.