Marine Policy Degree Programs

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Students in the Marine Policy Program develop expertise in the theory and practice of policy and governance, policy analysis, and policy research related to the management and protection of marine resources, ocean and coastal ecosystems, and coupled natural-human environments.

Find details on degree options and requirements below.

The Marine Policy Program examines the economic, legal, political, and social aspects of the world ocean, the seabed, and the coastal zone. Students and faculty in the program analyze public issues regarding the law of the sea, ports and shipping, marine minerals, ocean and coastal zone management, fisheries, Naval affairs, marine biotechnology, and the global environment, frequently making recommendations for policy at the regional, national, and international level.

This multidisciplinary academic program is designed to give students a strong foundation in policy analysis integrating the disciplines of social and economic sciences, physical and life sciences, governance and technology policy.  Students have opportunities to focus on their desired area of expertise and acquire state-of-the-art policy research and policy analytical skills, while working closely with our Marine Policy faculty.

The program is particularly appropriate for students with social and political science, economics and social science, and/or marine science backgrounds. Successful students include persons with experience in public or private sectors returning to advance marine policy expertise and recently graduated students continuing their matriculation with focused interests related to marine policy.  The MP program is committed to supplying exciting research opportunities, access to diverse science and policy activities, and a stimulating educational environment for students.

The Master’s Degree in Marine Policy (M.M.P.) prepares students for careers in research, management, and administration in marine-oriented government agencies, private associations and business firms. The M.M.P. provides graduate students with post-baccalaureate training in policy analysis and coastal and ocean management to be competitive for positions in the public and private sectors and for matriculating into Ph.D. programs.

All students in the M.M.P. program are required to complete a minimum of 30 graduate credits. A course outside of the Marine Policy Program and the student's area of concentration is also required. Students pursuing this degree must write an analytical paper. Students shall defend their analytical paper in an open oral examination chaired by the advisor. Student committees are composed of the faculty advisor and a minimum of two other faculties from the school.

  • MAST 660 International and National Ocean Policy
  • MAST 663 Decision Tools for Policy Analysis
  • MAST 675 Economics of Natural Resources
  • MAST 676 Environmental Economics
  • MAST 873 Marine Policy Seminar (3 semesters)
  • Science elective: One 3 credit course in an SMSP Science program
  • Elective credits: 9 or more credits of course work in Policy/Science/Economics/Law (PSEL) Electives
  • MAST 865 Analytic Paper

Students will work with their advisors to determine what additional coursework must be completed and how many research credits must be taken to account for the remaining credit hours needed for a minimum total of 30 credits. Many students pursue coursework beyond the minimum where specialized methods or topics course electives increase the student’s range and mastery of Marine Policy. A maximum of 9 graduate course credits from other universities may be applied toward the M.M.P. degree.

MMP Year 1

Fall Semester I


SMSP Integrative course (3 cr.)
MAST 660 National and International Ocean Policy (3 cr.)
MAST 675 or MAST 663


Spring Semester I


MAST 672 "Benefit Cost Analysis" or MAST 676 (3 cr.)
SMSP Grad Seminar (1 cr.)
MAST 802 Case Study in Environmental Decision Making or Elective (3 cr.)
PSEL Elective (3 cr.)


Outstanding MMP students may petition to bypass to the Ph.D. program within the first two semesters, subject to recommendation by their advisor and approval by the School Directors.

MMP Year 2

Fall Semester II


SMSP Grad Seminar (1 cr.)
PSEL Elective or MAST 675, MAST 663 (3 cr.)
PSEL Elective or MAST 675, MAST 663 (3 cr.)


Spring Semester II


MAST 865 (MMP AP) (3 cr.)
SMSP Grad Seminar (1 cr.)


The Marine Policy concentration in the Ph.D. in Marine Studies program trains graduate students to achieve the highest level of proficiency in policy research. Policy analysis, social science theory, environmental science, and applied methods such as GIS or survey design are combined to provide a personalized program of study and research. All graduate students work in close cooperation with the faculty on their dissertation area.

Highly qualified students who already hold an advanced degree in marine policy or a related subject and who generally have some experience in policy research or management may be admitted to pursue a PhD degree in Marine Studies with a concentration in Marine Policy.

Students in the PhD in Marine Studies with a concentration in Marine Policy are required to complete a minimum of 42 graduate credits. The Ph.D. requires a minimum of 36 course credit hours and a minimum of 9 research credits and 9 dissertation credits. Students must meet a campus residency requirement of at least one continuous academic year. If a student has earned a Master's degree at the University of Delaware, this can be used to fulfill the residency requirement. Written and oral qualifying examinations are required before students are admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree. A written dissertation and oral defense of it are also required for the PhD.

  • MAST 660 International and National Ocean Policy
  • MAST 663 Decision Tools for Policy Analysis
  • MAST 675 Economics of Natural Resources
  • MAST 676 Environmental Economics
  • MAST 873 Marine Policy Seminar (3 semesters)
  • Research Methods: 6 or more credits in statistics, survey research and/or case study methods
  • Science Elective: One 3 credit course in an SMSP Science Program
  • Elective Credits: 9 or more credits in policy/science/economics/law (PSEL) electives
  • MAST 969 Doctoral Dissertation (9 credits)


At least 3 of the required credits should be taken in another SMSP program area and other electives may include significant components from other departments. Required courses include courses in advanced research methods and quantitative analysis designed to insure that Ph.D. candidates have advanced skills needed to design and lead original Marine Policy research.

The course work provides a solid foundation for original research in the fields of study and extends the student’s knowledge beyond mastering a primary set of knowledge and skills. Students will work with their advisors to determine what additional coursework must be completed and how many research credits must be taken to account for the remaining credit hours needed for a minimum total of 42 credits. All courses in the program are selected with the approval of the student's advisor.

Students matriculating from other universities may petition to have these courses waived if their course of study included equivalent courses. For students holding a Master's degree in an appropriate field of study, the coursework from the Master's degree will be taken into account in the design of the doctoral program. Outstanding MMP students may petition to bypass to the Ph.D. program within the first two semesters, subject to recommendation by their advisor and approval by the School Directors.

Each doctoral committee shall consist of not less than four and or more than six members. The selection of members of the doctoral committee is made by the student and the advisor. This is forwarded via the School Director (or Marine Policy program director) and respective college deans to the Office of Graduate Studies. The doctoral committee is composed of the student's advisor, who is also the chair of the committee, members from the SMSP faculties, and one member from an outside academic or research unit. At least two committee members, one of which is the committee's chairperson, represent the major field of interest.


There are two milestone requirements for a student to be entered into candidacy for the terminal degree. First, a dissertation proposal is required to obtain admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. Satisfactory completion of dissertation proposal is at the discretion of the advisor in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Second, a qualifying examination must be successfully completed.

A qualifying examination is required to obtain admission to candidacy for the Ph.D.  In order to take the examination, each student must be in good academic standing and have approval of the advisory committee. This examination is usually taken near the completion of the required credits of course work beyond the bachelor's degree. Doctoral students must demonstrate to their doctoral committee that they have acquired a comprehensive grasp of their field of study through a qualifying examination (written and oral) before they are admitted to formal candidacy.  A research proposal is ordinarily required before a student takes the qualifying examination.      
The qualifying examination must include both oral and written parts. The examination is prepared and administered by the advisor in consultation with the student’s advisory committee.  At least 60 days prior to the examination, the advisor must inform the student of the areas to be examined and the format of the written and oral parts of the examination.  If the student is not notified with at least 60 days’ notice, the student has the option to petition the School Director for a postponement of the qualifying examination.  
The student must be informed of success or failure of the written portion of the qualifying examination within two weeks of completion and if the written component is not successfully satisfied the oral may not be administered.  Once the written component is satisfied, the oral component may be administered.  The student must be informed of success or failure of the oral portion of the qualifying exam within two weeks of completion.  
A student who fails either part of the qualifying examination is entitled to only one re-examination, which must be taken within six months of the first examination.  A student who fails either part of the second qualifying examination may be considered for reclassification as a Master’s student only after advisory committee consultation with the School Director.  If a student is reclassified in this situation, the Master’s thesis must follow the same rigor outlined in 6.b. of this policy statement.  In some cases, if recommended by the committee and the School Director, the student may be terminated from the program.

Upon completion of the dissertation research and documentation, a final oral examination must be passed, consisting of a public defense of the dissertation and a test of the candidate's mastery of the fields covered in the program. It is conducted by the dissertation committee Chair with assistance from the student's committee. To permit adequate time for the committee to review the dissertation, all copies of the tentatively completed dissertation (subject to revisions required by the examining committee) must be deposited with the Program Director and the respective college offices at least two weeks before the date of the final oral examination. The committee Chair shall submit certification of a successful defense to the Office of Graduate Studies through the respective college deans.

Fall Semester I


SMSP Integrative Course (3 cr.)
MAST 660 (National and International Ocean Policy (3 cr.)
MAST 675 or MAST 633 (3 cr.)

Spring Semester I


MAST 672 Benefit Cost Analysis or MAST 676 (3 cr.)
SMSP Grad Seminar (1 cr.)
MAST 802 Case Study in Environmental Decision Making or Elective (3 cr.)
Research Design (Ph.D.) (3 cr.)
PSEL Elective


Fall Semester II


SMSP Grad Seminar (1 cr.)
PSEL Elective or MAST 675, MAST 663 (3 cr.)
PSEL Elective or MAST 675, MAST 663 (3 cr.)
Advanced Research Methods (3 cr.)


Spring Semester II


MAST 865 (MMP AP)
SMSP Grad Seminar (1 cr.)
PSEL Elective or Research credits (3 cr.)
MAST 969 (6 cr.)
       

All full-time graduate students are required to attend departmental or college seminars in their fields of study. Students will also make presentations at departmental or college seminars. Students are encouraged to attend other University seminars that may be pertinent to their research.  Individuals matriculated as regular SMSP students in the Marine Policy must register for MAST 873 (Marine Policy Seminar) in three semesters; for students matriculating into the Ph.D. after the M.M.P., the semesters completed for the M.M.P. will satisfy this requirement. Individuals matriculated as sustaining students are exempt from the seminar requirement.

The Juris Doctor – Master of Marine Policy joint degree program is a joint initiative of University of Delaware’s School of Marine Science and Policy (SMSP) and Widener University’s Delaware Law School.  It allows qualified full-time students to receive both a J.D. and an M.M.P. degree in as little as four years. The joint degree program offers an excellent opportunity to integrate comprehensive legal training with policy analysis studies, with emphasis on coastal regions and the world ocean.

The J.D. program requires 88 hours of instruction at the Delaware Law School at Widener University, and the M.M.P. requires 30 credit hours in the Marine Policy Program, School of Marine Science and Policy (SMSP) at the University of Delaware.  In the joint degree program, nine of the 87 law school credits will be accepted as elective credits by SMSP and nine of the 30 SMSP credits will be accepted by the Law School as electives.


The M.M.P. requires the successful completion of an Analytic Paper (AP), which is an article-length paper intended for submission to a policy, law or economics journal for publication, although actual submission and acceptance is not required for degree completion.  As noted below, three of the 30 credits are awarded for completion of the AP.

Marine Policy students are required to complete the following courses (18 credits):

  • MAST 670 International and Domestic Ocean Policy (3 credits)
  • MAST 663 Decision Tools for Policy Analysis (3 credits)
  • MAST 675 or 676 Natural Resources or Environmental Economics (3 credits)
  • MAST 873 Marine Policy Seminar (1 credit) *Taken three times
  • MAST ___ Science Elective (3 credits)
  • MAST 865 MMP Analytical Paper (3 credits)


Electives offered by Marine Policy faculty include courses in Environmental Movements, Values and Policy; US Renewable Energy and Climate Law; International Climate Change Policy; Legal Aspects of the Coastal Zone; Offshore Wind Power; Electric Vehicles and the Grid; and Applied Policy Analysis.


Delaware Law School is divided into two divisions:  Regular and Extended.  Regular is a three-year, full-time day program; Extended is a four-year evening program.  More information on academic requirements can be found at http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/jd-academics/

Students must gain admission separately to each program.  A student can apply for admission to both programs simultaneously or matriculate in one program and then seek admission to the other program while a student.  Information on admission can be found at on the CEOE prospective graduate student page and the prospective students page for Delaware Law School.

For further information about the Juris Doctor-Master of Marine Policy Joint Degree Program, please consult either:

Professor James May
Delaware Law School
Widener University
4601 Concord Pike, P. 0. Box 7474
Wilmington, DE 19803
Phone: 302-477 -2182
Email: jrmay@widener.edu

or

Professor Jeremy Firestone
School of Marine Science and Policy
College of Earth, Ocean and Environment
University of Delaware
373 Harker ISELab
Newark, DE 19716
Phone: 302-831-0228
Email: jf@udel.edu