Jul 12, 2024  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalogue 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Coastal and Ocean Policy - M.S.

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Program CoordinatorDr. Jennifer Biddle

The Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy (MCOP), housed in the Department of Public and International Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a professional, non-thesis, multidisciplinary degree program designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to assume leadership roles in governmental and nongovernmental organizations involved in the formulation, implementation, and administration of coastal and ocean policy. Students will take a unique curriculum that combines coursework in public policy analysis and coastal and marine sciences taught by leading researchers in their respective disciplines. A central focus of the curriculum will be on teaching students how to integrate science into government decision making process in order to sustainably manage coastal and ocean resources in the U.S. and abroad.

Admission Requirements

Applicants seeking admission to the Master of Coastal and Ocean Policy (MCOP) program are required to submit the following to the Graduate School:

  1. An application for graduate admission
  2. Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
  3. There is no coursework prerequisites for admission and it is assumed that applicants will have majored in a variety of undergraduate majors
  4. Official scores on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  5. Three recommendations from individuals who are in a position to evaluate the applicant’s academic and professional competence as well as potential for graduate study (ideally at least one reference should be an academic instructor)
  6. A personal statement describing educational and professional experiences, their reasons for pursuing graduate study in coastal and ocean policy and your professional and career goals
  7. Resume
  8. Writing sample (optional)
  9. Application and supplemental documents must be submitted by the published deadline

Applicants seeking admission to the program must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, or its equivalent from a foreign institution of higher education based on a four-year program; a strong academic record with an average GPA of 3.0 or better in the undergraduate program; academic potential as indicated by satisfactory performance on the GRE General Test. Individuals who fall below a specified criterion may be admitted if other factors indicate potential for success. Individuals with identified deficiencies may be accepted provisionally with specified plans and goals for the remediation of these deficiencies. Such remediation may include a requirement of additional hours beyond those normally required for the degree.

Academic Policies

In addition to the policies contained in the Code of Student Life, the university catalog, and other university and MCOP program publications, students admitted to the MCOP program must comply with the following additional policies.

Non-Degree Seeking Students

The MCOP program allows non-degree seeking students to take a limited number of courses for credit. Non-degree seeking students are limited to taking no more than 9 credit hours before they are required to apply for admission as a degree-seeking student. Additional hours must be approved in advance by the MCOP director. Since non-degree seeking students are subject to different admissions requirements, the MCOP director may limit the courses that a particular non-degree seeking student is allowed to take. The courses taken may be used to satisfy degree requirements provided they are approved by the MCOP director.


A degree-seeking student in the MCOP program is limited to registering for, and receiving credit for, a maximum of 12 credit hours in any one semester. A student enrolled in summer classes shall not register for, and will not receive credit for, more than 6 credit hours in any one session or 9 total credit hours for all summer sessions. Non-degree seeking students are limited to a maximum of 9 credit hours in a semester and 6 total credit hours in the summer. Permission of the MCOP director is required to exceed these maximum credit hour requirements.

Retention Policy

Two grades of a C or lower or one grade of F results in automatic dismissal from the MCOP program. Further, if a student falls below 3.0 GPA at any time, he or she goes on academic probation and has 3 subsequent courses or 9 credit hours to raise their GPA above a 3.0 or they are dismissed from the MCOP program. If the student raises their GPA above a 3.0 and it falls below a 3.0 for a second time, they are dismissed from the MCOP program.

Minimum Competency Requirement

The core requirements (24 credit hours) are courses that require a minimum level of competency of a B or better. Any student receiving a B- or lower, or a U, must repeat the course and receive a grade of B or better. Such courses may only be repeated once and failure to receive a B or better grade will result in dismissal from the MCOP program. Both the initial and repeated grades will count towards determining the GPA but only the initial hours will count towards the degree requirements.

Academic Honor Code

The MCOP program is committed to the university’s honor code. No form of academic dishonesty will be tolerated (see the university catalog and Code of Student Life for examples of dishonesty). Students are encouraged to report occurrences of academic dishonesty to their course instructors or the MCOP director. Students found guilty of academic dishonesty may be dismissed from the program by the MCOP director.

Degree Requirements (42 total credit hours)

The Master of Ocean and Coastal Policy (MCOP) is a professional, non-thesis, interdisciplinary degree. The MCOP program requires 42 credit hours of approved graduate level courses. The core curriculum is 24 credit hours: 12 credit hours focused on public policy analysis, 6 credit hours focused on understanding the scientific foundation of policy problems, a 3 credit-hour seminar on coastal and ocean policy, and concludes with a 3 credit-hour applied capstone project. The remaining coursework consists of 18 credit hours of electives where students are required to complete 6 credit hours of electives from a set of courses focused on public management and policy analysis, and another 3 credit hours from a list of electives that have significant science-related course content. The remaining 9 credit hours are general electives tailored to fit the student’s professional career goals.

Core Requirements (24 credit hours)

 All students are required to complete the following core curriculum:

Advanced Science Electives (3 credit hours)

Students are required to select 3 credit hours of a course with an applied science component. Students should consult with their advisors to select the appropriate course. The following is a list of approved electives:

Advanced Policy and Management Skills (6 credit hours)

Students are required to select 6 credit hours of courses related to policy and learning management skills. Students should consult with their advisors to select the appropriate courses. The following is a list of approved electives:

Coastal and Ocean Policy Electives (9 credit hours)

Students complete their degree program by selecting 9 credit hours designed to advance academic or professional career interests. Students can select from the classes listed above as science or policy electives. In addition to these courses, students can take the following courses as approved electives:

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