Master of Marine Affairs Program Overview

The Master of Marine Affairs (MMA) degree is a professional degree for college graduates and mid-career government and industry officials. The degree name remains unchanged from Master of Marine Affairs even though the school name changed from the School of Marine Affairs to the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs to reflect a broader curriculum and understanding of the interconnection between the marine and terrestrial environments and the policies affecting both.

Students with a wide variety of educational, cultural, and work experience are encouraged to apply, so that the student body reflects the diversity and multidisciplinary interactions of the marine and environmental affairs field. Students with natural science degrees find an opportunity to learn more about the context in which science and technology are applied, while those grounded in the social sciences or professional fields can develop skills in the management of marine and environmental resource problems.

Structure of Studies

The MMA degree program is a two-year graduate degree requiring the completion of 50 course credits and 9 master's thesis credits. Courses address:

  • the past, present, and future of marine and environmental events, societies and institutions;
  • problem anticipation and articulation;
  • microeconomic theory and analysis; and
  • techniques of policy analysis.

A student's first year is spent in core courses developing a comprehensive understanding of marine and environmental affairs and strengthening analytical skills. This year is also the time to take elective courses that relate to one’s thesis interests to better define those interests.

During the second year, a student takes advanced courses and seminars to develop special competence within an area of concentration. It is also during this year that each student plans, conducts, and reports upon independent research that contributes to the understanding and potential resolution of a marine and environmental affairs policy problem (the thesis). A faculty committee supervises thesis preparation with expertise both within and outside the student's field. To get an idea of the broad range of topics explored by SMEA students in their theses, please visit our searchable Thesis Abstracts database and search by student name, year, or keyword.

There is no foreign language requirement for the MMA degree. However, marine and environmental affairs is an international discipline and students proficient in one or more foreign languages are encouraged to plan coursework and research that focus on marine and environmental activities in an appropriate foreign area.

For more details about the MMA curriculum and requirements, please see the link to the left, "Master of Marine Affairs Curriculum."