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Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences

A Word from the Department Chair

The Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences focuses on the ocean, the atmosphere, and the land. Opportunities exist at the undergraduate and graduate levels with bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. degrees in Marine Biology, Environmental Science, and Oceanography. Coursework includes a wide array of topics from general marine biology, ecology, and geology to molecular biology, genomics, and more. In addition to teaching, the Department is known for its excellence in research and service. Graduates have become academic or professional scientists, working in industry, government, or academia as biologists, geologists, professors, and teachers.

Besides providing theme-specific learning content, and exposing the students to hands-on experience in their chosen study-environment, we emphasize quantitative, logical-thinking and writing skills that allow a transition of academic knowledge to practical use. We teach students to be part of the solution, not part of the problem, and therefore graduation from NSU DMES opens a world of new opportunities.


Explore the physical sciences and discover the intricacies of the marine world. New species and new aspects of the ocean are constantly being revealed, and you'll gain the tools to become an expert in the world's largest laboratory.

Marine Biology Major


Earth matters. A changing environment needs highly educated people who can address both scientific and societal challenges. But how? How do we improve society while living within the limits of natural resources?

Environmental Sciences/Studies Major

Marine Biology Minor

The marine biology minor focuses on the life processes of marine organisms and is intended for students interested in the field as a complement to their major curriculum. Biology majors can take the marine biology minor with no additional prerequisites outside of those required for the biology major. Students in other majors who have taken the appropriate prerequisites may also pursue this minor. This minor is available to PALS (day) students only. This minor can be combined with any major and minor except the marine biology major and marine ecology minor.

Marine Biology Minor

Geographic Information Science Minor

Geographic information science has become an essential foundation for numerous disciplines that require location-based analysis. This minor provides an understanding of geographic tools, software and hardware, techniques, and spatial methodologies for use in the natural, social, and behavioral sciences, as well as in business and economics. This minor is designed for students from diverse disciplines interested in using geospatial technology in their studies, research, and careers. It is appropriate for students majoring in natural and behavioral science, computer and information science, urban planning, business, and public health.

Geographic Information Science Minor

Marine Ecology Minor

The marine ecology minor focuses on the interactions among marine organisms and the relationships between these organisms and their environment. This minor is intended for marine biology majors who want more specific training in marine ecological science. Students in other majors who meet the prerequisites may also pursue this minor. This minor is available to PALS (day) students only. This minor can be combined with any major and minor except the marine biology minor. When combining with the marine biology major, a minimum of 6 credits must be exclusive to the minor and cannot be counted toward the major.

Marine Ecology Minor

M.S. in Marine Biology

This course of study is designed to equip students with a substantial understanding of the nature and ecology of marine life and grounding in the other overlapping areas of marine science. Program flexibility provides preparation for further graduate study, secondary education career enhancement, or employment in technical research institutions, government agencies, or environmental consulting firms. Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree in biology, oceanography, or a closely related field, including science education.

Marine Biology Major

M.S. in Coastal Zone Management

The Master's of Science in Coastal Zone Management is offered both in-house and by distance education (courses accessible via the world wide web). The online MS degree is designed for people "at a distance" from the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, or those who wish to take advantage of the flexible delivery system. Students may complete the degree entirely online, or take a blend of distance and on-site courses (including field courses) with the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography.

The Coastal Zone Management degree program focuses on contemporary problems and conflicts arising from increased use of coastal areas and emphasizes the evaluation of alternative policy management solutions. It is intended for employees of government and industry seeking career enhancement, as well as for recent college graduates seeking careers in planning and management with government agencies, industries, and other activities depending on or affecting the coastal zone or its resources. The program can also be of value for enhancement of careers in education.

Coastal Zone Management Major

M.S. in Marine Environmental Sciences

This master's degree program results from the need to educate professionals beyond the bachelor's degree in a synthesis of diverse disciplines, each of which views the marine environment in disparate ways. It is important to differentiate the Marine Environmental Sciences M.S. Program from the Coastal Zone Management M.S. Program. The MEVS is a more broadly based degree without the in-depth management emphasis of CZMT. The MEVS is not designed as an intermediate degree for the Ph.D., although some MEVS graduates will be well prepared for, and may later apply to, a Ph.D. program either at the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography or elsewhere.

Students who complete the MEVS Program typically directly enter, or re-enter, the work force. Graduates can find employment in environmentally oriented agencies/organizations and the program is of value for prospective or actual employees of government and industry seeking to advance careers in marine-related areas. Applicants are required to have a degree in the natural sciences. 

Marine Environmental Sciences Major

Graduate Certificates

The Oceanographic Campus offers three four-course graduate certificates, with courses available in convenient and flexible online or evening on-campus formats. Students may take either a graduate certificate in either Coastal Studies, Marine and Coastal Climate Change or Computational Molecular Biology. Applicants with any undergraduate major will be considered for admission.

Graduate Certificates provide

  • A credible, holistic, and timely introduction to and knowledge of key ecological and socioenvironmental issues related to the oceans and coastal zone
  • An understanding of the international, national, and local importance and impact of ocean and coastal issues, and sensitivity to cross-cultural and international perspectives
  • A Web-based forum for sharing topical national and international information, perspectives, and case studies with peers and professionals in a variety of related fields and locations
  • A stand-alone certificate from an accredited university for working professionals in a variety of related fields
  • Credit toward further master’s degree-level study at the Oceanographic Campus, whether online or on-campus 

Graduate Certificate in Computational Molecular Biology

Ph.D. in Marine Biology/Oceanography

There are two informal divisions within the Ph.D. in Oceanography Program: marine biology and physical oceanography.  Ph.D. applicants should have obtained agreement from a faculty member to serve as major professor. For the biological sciences, Ph.D. applicants should have a completed draft dissertation proposal that must be submitted with the application. The proposal content will be a major factor in acceptance.

The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 90 credits beyond the baccalaureate. At least 42 credits must consist of upper-level course work. At least 24 credits must consist of dissertation research. The student may not register for research credits (DIS) until after successfully defending the research proposal. After faculty acceptance of the research proposal the student must register for a minimum of 3 research credits per session until completion of the degree. The student is limited to a total of 9 credits of coursework per term. In rare circumstances the student may register to take more than 12 credits/term but this requires written permission from the Associate Dean of Academic Programs.

Oceanography or Marine Biology Doctoral Major