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M.S. in Environmental Science, Marine and Estuarine Science

Graduate Program Coordinator: Ed Weber

Program Adviser: Dr. Brian Bingham, environmental science; Graduate Program Adviser.

Primary Research Advisers: Professors Bingham, Hatch, Love, McPhee-Shaw, Rybczyk, Sobocinski, Sofield, and Shull.

Program Mission

A student kneels in a bed of mussels holding a submerged device

The purpose of the Marine and Estuarine Science program (MESP) is to provide a coherent program of study in coastal marine and estuarine sciences at the M.S. level. This program focuses resources of existing Master's programs in Huxley College and the Department of Biology. It is a research-oriented program in the marine and estuarine sciences. Human impact on coastal marine and estuarine systems cannot be properly evaluated without a scientific understanding of their fundamental physical, chemical, and biological processes. The goal of the MESP is to produce specialists qualified to study fundamental features of these systems and the relationship between natural processes and perturbations from human activity. Graduates will be qualified for entry-level positions in the profession and will be competitive in pursuit of the doctorate.

The Shannon Point Marine Center, located in Anacortes, WA, is an important facility supporting this program. The on-site Sundquist Marine Laboratory houses teaching labs and research facilities including wet laboratories supported by a running seawater system and dry laboratories suited for analytical operations, and a fleet of research vessels well suited to sampling the local marine environment.


Students participating in this program option must apply and be admitted through either the Environmental Sciences Department or the Biology Department. The application process allows students to be considered by either or both academic units.

The designation of advisers to serve as potential thesis chairs determines which unit(s) will consider an application. When an applicant indicates potential faculty advisers from only one academic unit (environmental science or biology) the completed application is forwarded only to that unit. When an applicant expresses interest in working with faculty from both units the completed application is forwarded to both Department of Environmental Sciences and the Department of Biology.

It is critical to the application process that an applicant be familiar with the research interests of the faculty. Students in both programs work with the faculty and staff at the Shannon Point Marine Center.

Master's candidates applying for an M.S. in Environmental Science Marine and Estuarine Science Program are admitted fall quarter only and must meet the following prerequisites and requirements:


  • One year general biology and chemistry
  • One quarter organic chemistry, statistics, ecology and calculus

Program requirements

  • ESCI 501
  • BIO 521
  • 12 cr. specialization courses
  • 16 cr. electives
  • 12 cr. thesis

The 12 credits of specialization courses shall be selected from the following:

  • ESCI 502, 503, 522, 533, 534, 540, 542;
  • BIO 503, 508, 545 (when a marine topic).

For a complete list of participating faculty from both academic units, their research interests and the application insert on which to designate potential faculty advisers, write to or call the Shannon Point Marine Center or visit the Marine and Estuarine Science Program homepage.

Shannon Point Marine Center
1900 Shannon Point Road
Anacortes, WA 98221
(360) 293-2188