Professional M.A. in Marine Science

Program Overview

The M.A. in Marine Science (32 credits) is an up to two-year degree program designed to prepare students to enter the workforce as marine science professionals.  Through coursework and training, students gain advanced knowledge and skills that will enhance their ability to translate, integrate, and apply marine science to issues of pressing societal concern and in partnership with diverse stakeholders.  The program requirements include graduate-level coursework, professional experience through the capstone project and internship, and skill development in areas such as collaboration, communication, and leadership.

The M.A. Program overview can be found through our Program Brochure
Program Curriculum 

The M.A. program curriculum provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills they need as marine science professionals.  Required courses introduce students to concepts and principles relating to biological, chemical, geo-physical, and anthropogenic processes of marine and coastal systems.  Coursework also provides students with a suite of statistical and numerical skills that are necessary tools in marine science research and analysis.  The flexibility of the program allows students to fulfill degree requirements by completing coursework in areas of individual interests, such as in policy, law, and science communication.  Students will learn responsible conduct of science, public expectations for scientists, and the application of science to societal issues.  

  • 14-15 credit hours in Core courses
  • 6 credit hours in Advanced courses
  • 1-2 credit hours in Elective courses
  • 6 credit hours of Capstone
  • 4 credits of Internship
  • Professional Development opportunities

Further information on M.A. program course requirements can be found here

M.A. students are advised by the Program Director. This faculty member supports students in identifying course requirements, professional development experiences, capstone topics, and internship opportunities.

As a part of William & Mary, VIMS is connected with the university's highly ranked schools in Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Law.  Our students can access courses, resources, and networks across these academic interests to better enhance their graduate experience.  These university-wide resources provide students who pursue the M.A. with a comprehensive academic curriculum and allow them to pursue a wide range of professional and career development opportunities.


For the capstone project course, each student works with a VIMS faculty member and an external advisor to design and conduct a project where integrated knowledge is used to address an area, problem, or issue of consequence at the interface of marine science and environmental or natural resource management, policy, law, business, education, or other areas.  Faculty at VIMS have expertise in a broad range of marine science disciplines and can advise in areas such as aquaculture, habitat conservation and restoration, fisheries management, pollution issues, water quality, effects of climate change on marine ecosystems, or coastal flooding resilience.  Review our faculty research areas to identify topics of interest.


For the internship, students will work at an organization that aligns with their employment area of interest.  These organizations may include universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, or business and industry.  VIMS is dedicated to the experiential success of each of its students and will assist in securing internships with host organizations.  Potential internship opportunities also exist within VIMS units such as the Aquaculture, Genetics and Breeding Technology Center; Marine Advisory Program; Center for Coastal Resource Management; Office of Research & Advisory Service; Eastern Shore Laboratory; and with VIMS’ on-campus federal partners, the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Virginia Sea Grant.  Students are also able to seek out and obtain their own unique internship experience, with the approval of the program director.

M.A. Program Director

Dr. Molly Mitchell - M.A. Program Director

Dr. Molly Mitchell, M.S. '03, Ph.D. '18, serves as the M.A. Program Director.  Dr. Mitchell is a VIMS Research Assistant Professor and works in the Wetlands program in the Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM).  Her focus is on the intersection of sea-level rise and human use of the coastal zone, with consideration for impacts to natural resources and the potential for adaptation.  Her research is meant to be applied by planners on all levels (local, state, federal, etc.), across resources (marshes, roads, buildings, etc.), and in collaboration with representatives from many different groups to help translate current scientific findings into practical recommendations.

Dr. Mitchell is a proud William & Mary and VIMS alumna and is excited to bring her expertise in translating, integrating, and applying marine science in a variety of fields to the role of M.A. Program Director.

M.A. Admissions

The Master of Arts in Marine Science program is open to traditional and non-traditional students.  The prospective student must have a B.A. or B.S. from an accredited institution and be able to demonstrate preparation for graduate-level courses in science and the other requirements of the program.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Tuition information for the SMS can be found on William & Mary's websiteVIMS recognizes the importance of supporting students in their study of marine science and has some tuition scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and work-study opportunities available for M.A. program students that help to reduce program costs.

Contact Information
Website | The Office of Academic Studies
Email |
Phone | (804) 684-7105