Marine and Atmospheric Science

The Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (MAS) graduate program is located within the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS). Research activities within SoMAS are coordinated through the Marine Sciences Research Center (MSRC), and the Institute for Terrestrial and Planetary Atmospheres (ITPA). MSRC is the center for research, graduate education, and public service in the marine sciences for the entire State University of New York system. SoMAS faculty have active research programs in all major oceanographic and atmospheric disciplines and many focus on interdisciplinary approaches to understanding environmental processes and issues. Specific areas of cross-disciplinary focus include: biogeochemical transformation of energy and elements, conservation and management of marine resources, environmental health and contaminants, environmental modeling and prediction, and patterns and impacts of global climate change.  

SoMAS is ideally situated for studies of a variety of coastal environments including estuaries, lagoons, salt marshes, barrier islands, and continental shelf waters. Long Island has a greater diversity of coastal environments in a limited geographical range than any other comparable area in the United States. The proximity of New York City and the burgeoning population of Long Island and Connecticut make New York coastal waters an excellent laboratory for assessing human impacts on the coastal seas, and understanding land/sea interactions at all levels. In addition to working on coastal issues, SoMAS scientists have active research programs on all the world's oceans and ITPA faculty examine atmospheric processes on the Earth and other planets.

SoMAS offers an M.A. in Marine Conservation and Policy and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences with concentrations in either oceanography or atmospheric sciences. Interested students should address inquiries to the graduate program director. Tuition scholarships and stipends are available for students in the research based M.S. and Ph.D. programs.

SoMAS also offers an accelerated B.S./M.S.  program allowing high achieving Stony Brook undergraduate students in the Marine Sciences   (MAR), Marine Vertebrate Biology (MVB), Atmospheric Sciences (ATM), and a B.A./M.A. with the Environmental Studies (ENS) B.A.. Program to allow student to begin working on their masters degree prior to completing their bachelors degree, allowing up to 12 credits of course work to count towards both degrees. 

Graduate Degree Program Descriptions

The M.A. Program in Marine Conservation and Policy
The Graduate Program in Marine Conservation and Policy will provide students with an understanding of contemporary marine conservation issues and help them develop the necessary skills to apply this knowledge in marine conservation positions that require advanced training and a broad skill-set, but are not research-based.   Graduates of this program should be able to compete effectively for positions in government, environmental consultancy and non-governmental organizations, and to apply marine conservation and policy knowledge in other fields such as law, teaching, communications or business. This program requires a minimum of 30 credits of graduate coursework and is designed to be completed in 12 months of full time study.

The M.S. Program in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
The M.S. program offered by SoMAS consists of a rigorous interdisciplinary approach to oceanography and atmospheric sciences based on interdisciplinary course work and a research thesis. It is designed to prepare students for positions in research, management, environmental protection, and resource development. The program provides students with a firm basis for more advanced study, but more importantly, it is designed to equip students with the background and tools needed for effective careers without additional training. Required course work is identical to the Ph.D. program allowing M.S. to continue on in the Ph.D. program provided they have demonstrated adequate performance and found a suitable faculty advisor. The time required to complete this program depends on the scope of research undertaken. Most students complete their degree in 2-3 years.

Ph.D. Program in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare students to independently identify and attack oceanographic and atmospheric problems. It builds on a series of core required courses (taken by both PhD and M.S. students), and allows students to create their own course of advanced study, helping them to become effective, independent problem solvers. The Ph.D. in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences prepares students to compete effectively for academic positions, direct research programs at government or private laboratories, and direct research and assessment programs at non-governmental organizations. A M.S. degree is not required for admission to the Ph.D. program. Most students take 5 to 6 years to complete their Ph.D.

Certificate Programs
In addition to the M.A., M.S. and Ph.D. programs of study, certificate programs provide the opportunity for advanced study for students who do not wish to pursue a degree. Students interested in either of these programs should contact the Graduate Program Director.

Graduate Certificate Program in Environment Management

SoMAS is the home of the Waste Reduction and Management Institute, dedicated to lessening the impacts of a complex array of wastes through research, environmental assessment, public outreach, and policy analysis. A Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management is administered by the School of Professional Development. The 18-credit program provides access to the most current expertise in waste management essential to working effectively in professional careers or public service. The certificate may also be incorporated into the degree of Professional Studies with a concentration in environmental management. For further information refer to the School of Professional Development section in this bulletin.

Advanced Graduate Certificate Program in Oceanic Science 

 The advanced graduate certificate program in Oceanic Science is designed to make the unique resources of the SOMAS available to professionals as well as to scholars both within the SUNY system and at other institutions as well as other professionals. Students admitted to this program complete two full-time semesters (18 credits) of intensive, specialized graduate studies in our core curriculum, or the equivalent, under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. The program is intended to supplement a student’s primary educational and professional goals providing the student with a broad background in oceanography as well as opportunity for in-depth course work in highly specialized topics. For further information, contact the SoMAS Graduate Program Director. 

Advanced Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Science (GSS)

The advanced graduate GSS certificate allows graduate students and working professionals to advance their GIS and/or remote sensing knowledge and employment opportunities with an industry-recognized certificate. The program requires students to earn 18 credits in addition to holding a BA, BS, or graduate degree. Program courses are offered with flexible scheduling that is intended to allow full-time students to complete the certificate requirements in one year. Some basic knowledge of operating personal computers is necessary to complete the course work. No more than 6 credits used to satisfy another graduate degree can be applied to the GSS certificate. For further information contact the GSS program’s Faculty Director.