Dec 01, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Marine Policy

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs, Certificates, Specializations, Emphases

Marine Policy

School of Marine Sciences

The University of Maine’s School of Marine Sciences (SMS) is one of the nation’s largest marine research and education programs. SMS offers both graduate and undergraduate degrees; its faculty and students conduct basic and applied research on a wide variety of topics, and perform public service related to scientific policy for marine resource and coastal zone management. More than 50 faculty are affiliated with SMS, including full-time, part-time, and cooperating appointments. By its very nature, SMS is an interdisciplinary unit. Areas of expertise and research include physical, biological and chemical oceanography; aquaculture; marine biology; marine geology; marine resource development and policy; seafloor ecology; fish biology; fish pathology; fisheries science; seaweed biology; maritime studies; population genetics; molecular biology and toxicology; marine optics and acoustics and ocean engineering.

SMS faculty provide leadership in research programs that encompass all the world’s oceans, with emphasis on the Gulf of Maine. Faculty are headquartered at the Orono campus of UM and its coastal marine laboratory, the Ira C. Darling Marine Center (see Research Resources), and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.  Further information on SMS is on the web at:  Further information on the Darling Marine Center is on the web at

The School of Marine Sciences offers the following graduate degrees:

  • M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Oceanography;
  • M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Biology;
  • M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources (administered jointly with Food Science and Human Nutrition);
  • M.S. degree in Marine Policy;
  • P.S.M degree in Marine Sciences; and
  • Dual M.S. degree in Marine Policy and either Oceanography or Marine Biology.

The School of Marine Sciences offers core and advanced courses in all degree areas. Specialized courses of study in the subdisciplines of marine science are also provided by various associated departments.  Financial support for graduate students is primarily in the form of research assistantships. Some teaching assistantships are available.

Master of Science in Marine Policy

The Master of Science degree in Marine Policy in the School of Marine Sciences is designed to take advantage of the strong interdisciplinary nature of the School. All students in the program receive training in the human dimensions of marine resource management, marine sciences, and empirical methods. Students in the marine policy program may also be enrolled in the dual degree program. (see below).

The program offers both a thesis and a non-thesis option. Students selecting the thesis option will write a masters thesis that combines theoretical work and practical experience applied to pressing problems. Students selecting the non-thesis option will undertake an internship with a government agency or a non-governmental organization in the marine area directly concerned with management of marine resources and then write a final paper linking their internship experience with the theoretical and practical literature. Each student has an advisory committee of three faculty members, which must approve the thesis plan or internship plan and program of study.

Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, consisting of at least 24 hours of course credits and 6 credit hours for thesis/internship, are required to complete the M.S. in Marine Policy. Students are required to take SMS 691 - Marine Sciences Seminar (SMS 691) plus at least six credits of marine policy relevant courses and seventeen credit hours of elective coursework approved by the thesis committee. In order to complete the internship or thesis requirement, students will take at least six credits of either SMS 683 - Internship in Marine Policy Credits or SMS 699 - Graduate Thesis/Research Credits.

The program is designed to give students as much flexibility as possible so that they can take advantage of the various faculty specialties available to them within the School of Marine Sciences and elsewhere in the University.

Examples of existing elective courses include:

ANT 464 Ecological Anthropology (3 Credits)

ANT 521 Geographical Information Systems (3 credits)

ANT 550 - Anthro. Dimensions of Enviro. Policy (3 Credits)

ECO 477 - Economics and Environmental and Resource Management (3 credits)

ECO 581 - Socio-ecological Systems Modeling (3 credits)

SMS 500 - Marine Biology (3 Credits)

SMS 531: Coral Reefs (3 Credits)

SMS 544  Oceanography and Natural History of the Gulf of Maine (3 credits)

SMS 552 - Coupled Natural and Human Systems Credits: 3

SMS 553 - Institutions and the Management of Common Pool Resources Credits: 3

SMS 555 - Resource management in Cross Cultural Perspective

SMS 562 - Fisheries Population Dynamics Credits 3

SMS 563 - Fisheries Policy and Management Credits 3

SMS 567 - Knowledge and Participation in the Science Policy Process (Credits 3)

SMS 597 - Independent Study (Variable Credits)

SMS 598 - Special Topics (Variable Credits) 

Dual Master Degree in Marine Sciences and Policy

The School of Marine Sciences offers a unique, strongly interdisciplinary program in marine policy and science. It is intended for students interested in the application of science and policy in government agencies, non-government organizations (NGOs) or industry. The program is intended as a terminal degree but does not rule out continuation to a Ph.D. The course of study is three years. It leads to two masters degrees: one in marine science (specializing in oceanography or marine biology) and one in marine policy.

The marine science and policy program is based on the idea that good conservation requires:

  1. a sophisticated understanding of the role and limits of science in the policy process,
  2. an equally sophisticated understanding of the institutional processes at scales from local to global that are necessary to resolve communal dilemmas, and the wide dissemination of this knowledge among resource users and others concerned with the management of marine resources.

Students are required to complete the requirements for a masters degree in one of the marine sciences (marine biology or oceanography) as well as the requirements for a marine policy degree. Six hours of each degree can be counted as electives for the other; as a result a total of only 48 hours is required to complete both degrees (rather than the 2 X 30=60 usually required for two masters). The course requirements for the science and policy degrees are listed above .

The dual degree offers three thesis/internship possibilities: a single thesis combining a joint science and policy topic, two independent theses or a thesis and an internship.

For more information, visit the School of Marine Sciences website at


Graduate Faculty

James Acheson, Ph.D. (Rochester, 1970), Emeritus Professor. Area: Cultural Anthropology. (Marine Policy)

Emmanuel Boss, Ph.D. (Washington, 1996), Professor. Area: Particle Dynamics, Optical Oceanography. (Oceanography)

Damian Brady, Ph.D. (University of Delaware, 2008), Assistant Professor. Area: marine biogeochemistry, environmental oceanography (Marine Biology, Marine Policy)

Susan Brawley, Ph.D. (California, 1978), Professor. Area: Algal Physiology, Development and Ecology. (Marine Biology, Oceanography)

Ian Bricknell, Ph.D. (Lancaster, 1990), Professor. Area: Marine Aquaculture, finfish culture, parasitology, fish immunology and vaccinology and fish health. (Marine Biology, Aquaculture)

Kristina Cammen, Ph.D. (Duke University, 2014), Assistant Professor. Area: Marine mammal science, ecological and evolutional genomics, ocean health, conservation biology. (Marine Biology)

Fei Chai, Ph.D. (Duke University, 1995), Professor. Area: Ecosystem Modeling; Tropical Oceanography. (Oceanography)

Laurie Connell, Ph.D. (North Carolina, 1988), Associate Research Professor. Area: Molecular Ecology. (Marine Biology)

Kevin Eckelbarger, Ph.D. (Northeastern, 1974), Emeritus Professor, Darling Marine Center. Area: Invertebrate Biology. (Marine Biology)

William Ellis, Ph.D. (Univ. of Rhode Island, 1992), Associate Director and Associate Professor. Area: Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry. (Oceanography)

Walt Golet, Ph.D. (University of New Hampshire, 2010), Research Assistant Professor. Area: fisheries biology, physiology, trophic ecology (Marine Biology, Marine Policy)

Heather Hamlin, Ph.D. (University of Florida, 2007) Assistant Professor. Area: Endocrinology, finfish, aquaculture, contaminants (Marine Biology)

Lewis Incze, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1983) Research Professor Emeritus. Area: Physiology and biochemistry (Marine Biology)

Teresa Johnson, Ph.D. (Rutgers University, 2007), Associate Professor. Area: Fisheries Management. (Marine Policy)

Lee Karp-Boss, Ph.D. (Washington, 1998), Associate Professor. Area: Biological Oceanography. (Oceanography)

Heather Leslie, Ph.D. (Oregon State University, 2004), Coordinator for PSM program, Libra Associate Professor and Director of Darling Marine Center. Area: coupled social-ecological systems, policy, ecology. (Marine Policy, Marine Biology)

Sara Lindsay, Ph.D. (South Carolina, 1994), Associate Professor. Area: Sensory Biology and Ecology of Marine Invertebrates, Benthic Ecology. (Marine Biology, Oceanography)

Lawrence M. Mayer, Ph.D. (Dartmouth, 1976), Emeritus Professor. Area: Marine Biogeochemistry. (Oceanography)

James D. McCleave, Ph.D. (Montana State, 1967), Emeritus Professor. Area: Migratory and Transport Mechanisms of Fishes, Fisheries Oceanography, Eel Biology. Associate Director, School of Marine Sciences. (Oceanography, Marine Biology)

Neal R. Pettigrew, Ph.D. (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/M.I.T., 1981), Professor. Area: Near-shore, Estuarine and Continental Shelf Circulation. (Ocean-ography)

Paul Rawson, Ph.D. (South Carolina, 1996), Coordinator for Aquaculture. Area: Quantitative Genetics, Evolutionary Biology. (Marine Biology, Aquaculture)

Jeremy Rich, Ph.D. (Oregon State University, 2003), Assistant Professor. Area: Microbial ecologist, denitrification, anammox, DNRA. (Marine Biology)

Jeffrey A. Runge, Ph.D. (Univ. of Washington, 1981), Research Professor. Area: Biological and Fisheries Oceanography.

Malcolm Shick, Ph.D. (Texas, 1974), Emeritus Professor. Area: Marine Invertebrate Physiology. (Marine Biology)

Robert S. Steneck, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins, 1982), Professor. Area: Benthic Marine Ecology, Lobsters, and Plant-Herbivore Interactions. (Oceanography, Marine Policy, and Marine Biology)

Joshua Stoll, Ph.D.. (University of Maine, 2016), Assistant Professor. Area: Ocean governance, coastal community resilience, fisheries policy, social-ecological dynamics. (Marine Policy)

Andrew Thomas, Ph.D. (British Columbia, 1988), Professor.  Area: Plankton Biology, Biological/Physical Interactions, Satellite Oceanography. (Oceanography, Marine Biology)

David W. Townsend, Ph.D. (Maine, 1981), Professor and Associate Director School of Marine Sciences. Area: Biological Oceanography of Shelf Seas. (Oceanography, Marine Biology)

Robert L. Vadas, Ph.D. (Washington, 1968), Professor. Area: Marine Ecology, Algal Ecology. (Marine Biology, Aquaculture)

Rebecca Van Beneden, Ph.D. (Johns Hopkins, 1983), Professor. Area: Marine Molecular Biology and Environmental Toxicology. (Marine Biology)

Rhian Waller, Ph.D. (Southampton Oceanography Center, UK, 2004), Assistant Professor. Area Marine invertebrate zoology, benthic oceanography, marine climate change (Oceanography)

Les Watling, Ph.D. (University of Delaware, 1974), Emeritus Professor. Area: Benthic Ecology. (Oceanography, Marine Biology, Aquaculture)

Mark Wells, Ph.D. (University of Maine), Professor. Area: Marine Organic Matter. (Oceanography)

James Wilson, Ph.D. (Wisconsin, 1971), Emeritus Professor. Area: Economics and Fisheries Management. (Marine Policy)

Huijie Xue, Ph.D. (Princeton University, 1991), Professor. Area: Numerical Modeling of Coastal and Oceanic Circulation. (Oceanography)

Gayle Zydlewski, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1996), Associate Professor and UMaine Sea Grant Director. Area: Fish Ecology. (Marine Biology, Oceanography)


Cooperating Faculty

Christine Beitl, Ph.D. (), Associate Professor. Area: Anthropology and Human Ecology. Department of Anthropology. (Marine Policy). 

Daniel F. Belknap, Ph.D. (Delaware, 1979), Professor. Area: Marine Geology, Sedimentology. Chair, Department of Earth Sciences. (Oceanography)

Michael Kinnison, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1999), Associate Professor. Area: Ecology and Environmental (Marine Biology)

Paul Mayewski, Ph.D. (Ohio University, 1973), Professor. Area: Change in Climate and Chemistry of the Atmosphere. (Oceanography)

Bryan Pearce, Ph.D. (Univ. of Florida, 1972), Professor. Area: Physical Oceanography, Numerical Modeling (Oceanography)

Seth Tyler, Ph.D. (North Carolina, 1975), Professor. Area: Invertebrate Biology. (Marine Biology)

Adjunct Faculty

Brian Beal, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1994), Assistant Professor. Benthic Ecology, Marine Biology. University of Maine at Machias

Yong Chen, Ph.D. (Toronto, 1995), Professor. Area: Fisheries Population Dynamics and fisheries stock assessment and management. (Marine Biology, Marine Policy)

Christopher Davis, Ph.D. (Univ. of Maine, 2000), Assistant Professor. Molluscan Biology and Aquaculture.

Heather Deese, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2009), Area: Oceanography.

Richard Langton, Ph.D. (University of Wales, 1975), Associate Professor. Fish Relationships and Fishing Effects on Habitat, Stock Enhancement.



Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs, Certificates, Specializations, Emphases