Employment Profiles

School of Marine and Environmental Affairs graduates are well prepared for rewarding careers related to their M.M.A degree. Our graduates tend to work mostly for U.S. public agencies but also have made their way in private sector companies, nonprofit organizations, and international organizations. Some graduates continue their education, pursuing PhD degrees and teaching. See below for an analysis of our graduates employment by sector.

Public Sector = 46%

Many of our graduates go on to positions in policy, management and/or research with local, state or the federal government. Jobs in the public sector are well suited for graduates who want to influence policy and enjoy working on long-term projects and programs. Examples of alumni placement include:

  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game - Deputy Commissioner
  • California Sea Grant College Program - Deputy Director
  • King County Department of Natural Resources - Program Analyst, Water and Land Resources
  • NMFS - Associate Director, National Marine Mammal Lab
  • NMFS - Deputy Director, Alaskan Fisheries Science Center
  • NMFS - Executive Officer, Office of Science and Technology
  • NOAA - Assistant Manager, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
  • NOAA - Federal Regulatory Coordinator
  • NOAA - Resource Protection Coordinator
  • NOAA – Program Manager, Okeanos Explorer Program
  • Oregon Ocean Coastal Management Program - Coastal Program Coordinator
  • Port of Seattle - Environmental Planner
  • Port of Tacoma - Deputy Executive Director
  • Snohomish County Public Works - Principal Planner, Surface Water Management
  • U.S. Coast Guard - Chief, Environmental Standards Division
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife - Chief, National Wildlife Refuge System
  • Washington Department of Natural Resources - Assistant Division Manager, Aquatic Resources

* NMFS = National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA = National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Private Sector = 25%

Graduates working in the private sector are typically employed by environmental consulting firms and marine industry-related corporations. In addition, a growing amount of our alumni are self-employed as independent consultants. Consulting is well suited for graduates who enjoy working on a variety of short term projects. Examples of alumni placement include:

  • American Ship Management - Captain
  • Exponent - Senior Managing Scientist
  • Foss Environmental - Project Manager, Marine Services
  • Foss Maritime - Manager, Performance Enhancement
  • Herrera Environmental Consultants - Environmental Scientist
  • Holland-America Line - Senior Manager, Revenue Planning
  • Parametrix - Policy Analyst
  • Tetra Tech - Senior Biologist
  • Triton Container International - Manager, Process Management
  • URS Corporation - Project Scientist and Ecologist

Non-Profit Sector = 8%

A growing number of our graduates work for non-profit organizations or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Non-profits give graduates opportunities to work on projects and programs that are not provided by, or are not addressed by, government or corporations. Graduates employed in the non-profit field often work on marine and environmental education, advocacy and/or research. Projects and programs vary from short-term to long-term in length. Examples of alumni placement include:

  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - Manager, National Whale Conservation Fund
  • Natural Resources Defense Council - Ocean Policy Analyst
  • Santa Barbara Maritime Museum - Executive Director
  • Save Our Wild Salmon - Associate Director
  • Skagit Fisheries Enhancement Group - Executive Director
  • The Aspen Institute - Executive Vice President
  • The Nature Conservancy - Director, Community Relations, South Florida
  • The Ocean Conservancy - Ocean Governance Program Manager
  • World Wildlife Fund - Living Planet Campaign Coordinator

International Sector = 8%

Many of our alumni in the international sector are working for government agencies of their native countries. There are also opportunities with non-profit organizations, consulting firms and corporations, although these jobs can be more difficult to secure. To be competitive internationally, it is recommended that you become proficient in more than one language. Examples of alumni placement include:

  • Conservation Council of New Brunswick - Executive Director
  • European Commission - Administrator/Scientific Officer, Fisheries
  • Embassy Of Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs - First Secretary
  • Fisheries Agency of Japan - Assistant Director, Whaling Section
  • Instituto Espanol de Oceanografia, Spain - Researcher
  • Korea Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries - Assistant Director, Planning and Management
  • Korea Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries - Deputy Director, Marine Environment
  • Korea Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries - Director General, Marine Safety Management

Working in Schools, Colleges, Universities = 4%

Ph.D./J.D. Student = 2%

Other = 6%


Based on the following data:

Number of SMEA graduates (1979 - present): 605
Number of responses: 386
Percent graduates tracked: 64%