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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. Jackie Collier, Director of Graduate Programs, SoMAS
(631) 632-8696, e-mail:

Prof. Ellen Pikitch, Director of the M.A. Program in Marine Conservation and Policy
631-632-9599, 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.


SoMAS Alum Celebrates Release of First Book

Laurie Zaleski has found a way to communicate her science to new audiences and published her first book. A graduate from the lab of Dr. Roger Flood, she earned her M.S. degree from the Marine Sciences Research Center (now SoMAS) at Stony Brook University in 2002. A...

SoMAS MCP Program Prepares Grad for Influencer Role

Photo above: Alan Alda, center, with Rachael Coccia, left, and her graduate advisor Kate Fullam. From Master’s Program Prepares Grad for Influencer Role by Glenn Jochum on Stony Brook University News, May 27, 2020. Helping to clear our shores of unsightly and...

Saving the Sharks by way of Biological Research

From Saving the Sharks by way of Biological Research on Stony Brook News on June 3, 2019. Global shark populations have experienced exponential declines for decades due to marine pollution, fisheries exploitation and coastal development. Oliver Shipley, a PhD student...

SoMAS Convocation 2019

Photo above: Dean Shepson welcomes the Class of 2019 at the SoMAS Convocation. Congratulations to our graduates!  The annual SoMAS Convocation occurred on Friday, May 24, 2019 at the Center for Leadership and Service. Students gathered with their friends and family...

Sydney Bell ‘22 Makes a Splash with Sustainable Designs on Campus

From Sydney Bell ‘22 Makes a Splash with Sustainable Designs on Campus on Stony Brook News on March 25, 2019 March is Women’s History Month and an ideal time to celebrate the brave, bold and fearless women who have influenced history. Freshman Sydney Bell is making...

Do Animals Think and Feel?

Photo above: Carl Safina with Erica Cirino and friends. From Do Animals Think and Feel? on Stony Brook University News by Glenn Jochum on February 22, 2019 What, if anything, are your pets thinking? Do they value you beyond your reliability as a source of food? What...

SoMAS MCP Students Spend Winter at Cape Eleuthera

Photo above: Marine Conservation and Policy Students at Cape Eleuthera Institute during a two-week field research class in Eleuthera Over Winter Break, Marine Conservation and Policy students participated in a field course held in collaboration with The Cape Eleuthera...

Erika Lanfranchi

Picture above: SoMAS MCP Students Jennifer Lopez (left) and Erika Lanfranchi (right). Hello, my name is Erika Lanfranchi I am currently a Marine Conservation and Policy graduate student. My love for the ocean started at a young age, growing up in Brooklyn N.Y. I loved...

Endowed Professorship Boosts SBU’s Conservation Leadership

Photo above: Ellen Pikitch is the inaugural Endowed Professor in Ocean Conservation Science in Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. From Endowed Professorship Boosts SBU’s Conservation Leadership on Stony Brook News by Elliot Olshansky ...

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