The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) plays an important role in marine-science education for a wide variety of audiences and age levels.

Graduate Program

VIMS offers graduate education in marine science through its School of Marine Science (SMS), a component of William & Mary—a world-class university. The SMS provides a quality education with outstanding resources, faculty, and opportunities for students pursuing advanced degrees in marine science. The SMS confers graduate degrees in marine science at the M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. level. To learn more, read our Information for Prospective Students.

Graduate success is facilitated by providing students with comprehensive programs that place the principles of marine science and marine-resource management in the context of society and global challenges to the ocean. Students also enjoy close interaction with faculty who are actively involved in research, education, and management issues in Virginia, the mid-Atlantic, and beyond.

Undergraduate Minor

The School of Marine Science at VIMS collaborates with W&M’s Arts and Sciences to offer undergraduate students a minor in marine science. This program introduces students to the global importance of marine ecosystems and the techniques necessary for interpreting and contributing to the study of marine science. Professors at VIMS play a key role in teaching and administering this program and the courses are offered jointly between W&M’s main campus and the VIMS campus. For more information visit our Marine Science Minor page.


VIMS offers numerous internships for aspiring scientists at the college and high-school levels. These include

Teaching and Learning

The VIMS Marine Advisory Program works closely with government agencies, the fishing and aquaculture communities, maritime businesses, and local school districts to provide guidance on a wide range of programs and activities. VMAP’s team of educators manage both the Bridge, a web-based clearinghouse of digital classroom resources, and the Virginia Scientists and Educators Alliance (VA SEA), a program that works with graduate students to create K-12 lesson plans based on their research. VMAP educators also offer a summer field course for Virginia middle and high school teachers at VIMS Eastern Shore Lab in Wachapreague.

Public Programs

VIMS and its federal partners offer a wide variety of free public programs, both on the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point and at venues throughout Hampton Roads and the lower Chesapeake Bay region.

Technical Training

VIMS offers several programs designed to meet the needs of Virginia's coastal decision-makers. The Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) at VIMS offers Tidal Wetlands workshops in the spring and fall for members of citizen Wetlands Boards. The Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERRVA) at VIMS offers a Coastal Training Program that promotes science-based decision-making and targets identified training needs.

Hargis Library

The William J. Hargis Library supports the educational mission at VIMS by providing physical and electronic access to a comprehensive selection of marine science literature. The library houses more than 88,000 volumes, 70,000 pages of scientific reports by VIMS and other agencies, and provides electronic access to marine literature worldwide.