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SoMAS offers M.S. and PhD. Degrees in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, with concentrations in either Marine or Atmospheric Sciences, and  an M.A. in Marine Conservation and Policy. There are usually between 110 and 125 students enrolled in SoMAS graduate programs at any time. Students in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs are generally supported by teaching or research assistantship and receive full tuition scholarships. Students in the M.A. program generally are responsible for covering their own education costs.

The M.S. program prepares students to either continue on in a Ph.D. program or directly enter careers in environmental management and protection, or technical research positions in university, government or private sector laboratories where hands on project experience is desirable.   A research thesis is required. The M.A. program prepares students for positions in environmental management or not for profit conservation organizations where communicating science to the general public is required, but actual research experience is not necessary.  The M.A. will also provide a strong science based foundation for students wishing to pursue complementary education in fields such as law, business, management, journalism, or teaching. Students complete the M.S. program in an average of 2.5 years.  The M.A. program is designed to be completed in twelve months.

The Ph.D. degree prepares students for faculty research and teaching positions, Positions as research scientists at government or private sector laboratories, and management positions at nongovernmental organizations. It is not necessary to have a masters degree to apply to the Ph.D. program.

M.S. and Ph.D. students may choose to specialize in any one of the research topics currently pursued by SoMAS faculty. In addition to formal coursework, students in the M.A. program complete either an internship with a conservation groups or agency, or a capstone project on a topic related to marine conservation and policy.  M.A. students may choose to work with a member of the SoMAS faculty on their project. Visit our research and faculty pages to learn about potential areas of specialization.

Currently there are more than 800 SoMAS Graduate School alumni, most of whom hold positions in fields associated with marine and atmospheric sciences all over the world.

SoMAS also offers or is affiliated with several Graduate Certificate Programs.

For additional information on graduate programs, a student should contact either:

Prof. David Black, Director of Graduate Programs, SoMAS
(631) 632-8676, e-mail:

Prof. Glenn Lopez, Director of the M.A. Program in Marine Conservation and Policy
631-632-8660, e-mail:, or

Prof. Sultan Hameed, Coordinator of Graduate Studies in Atmospheric Sciences
(631) 632-8319, e-mail:



The articles below highlight our graduate students.


Critically Endangered Ocean Giant is Reproducing Without Sex in the Wild

From the Stony Brook University Newsroom CRITICALLY ENDANGERED OCEAN GIANT IS REPRODUCING WITHOUT SEX IN THE WILD About 3 percent of smalltooth sawfish from Florida estuary are products of “virgin birth.” STONY BROOK, NY, June 1, 2015 – Are males truly essential for...

SoMAS MCP Students Write Letter to Newsday regarding Lloyd aquifer

As part of a class assignment in Distilling Your Message, Professors Carl Safina and Christine O'Connell have students write a letter to the editor and send it in.  The letter written by SoMAS Marine Conservation and Policy students Katie Flowers and Danica Warns was...

SoMAS Alum Named “America’s Science Idol”

SoMAS alumnus Tom Diliberto’s singing skills may remain largely undocumented and undescribed. But, based on his performance at the “America’s Science Idol” competition, held during this year’s annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Tom’s science communication skills are unparalleled.

SoMAS Graduate Student Wins Turner Design’s AquaFluor Award

Lake Turkana is the world's largest desert lake and the most understudied of the African Great Lakes. It is home to 50 species of fish, the world's largest remaining Nile crocodile population, and 350+ native and migratory bird species. Over 700,000 people from eight...

SoMAS Holds Annual Graduate Student Symposium

In late January, graduate students were given an opportunity to present their research to the School at this year’s annual SoMAS Proceedings in Marine and Atmospheric Science Graduate Student Symposium. Nine student oral presentations and four poster presentations...

Natasha Gownaris to Receive Turkana Basin Institute Graduate Fellowship

East Africa’s Turkana Basin is often viewed by anthropologists as the cradle of humankind. Over the decades, the area has produced a wealth of fossils that have helped scientists reconstruct the hominid family tree. However, the interest of Natasha Gownaris in the...

Student Profile: Natasha Gownaris

Natasha Gownaris is a PhD student entering her third year at SoMAS in the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science (IOCS). Recently, Natasha received a National Geographic Society Young Explorer’s Grant, awarded through the Society’s Committee for Research and...

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