About the MCP Program

The program consists of advanced coursework in six key areas:

  1. Marine science
  2. Marine conservation biology
  3. Marine management, economics, policy and law
  4. Communications
  5. Quantitative data analysis
  6. Field biology

Under the supervision of a coordinating committee, each degree candidate will choose elective coursework within all of these areas to best suit their specific postgraduate career objectives. In addition, each student will conduct an in-depth capstone study or internship involving analysis of available data and produce an original synthesis paper based on a committee-approved, consequential topic in marine conservation and policy.

This program is designed to be completed in 12 months of full-time study, and requires a minimum of 30 credits of coursework, although due to the elective nature of the curriculum, many students will complete additional credits for their degree. Designed for one year of full time study, the program could also be completed one semester at a time over a longer period. This program is not designed for part-time students who may only be able to enroll in night classes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  Do I have to take the GRE?

A:  Yes, all MCP applicants must submit official GRE General Test scores.  Exceptions are occasionally made for mature students who have been out of school and working for several years, or who have another advanced degree such as a law degree.


Q:  What is the application deadline?

A:  Students are admitted into the MCP program for the fall semester and the first round of applicants is reviewed in mid-February. Thereafter, students will be reviewed and accepted regularly until the class is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the program fills up quickly.


Q:  How long is the program?

A:  All of the requirements for the program can be completed in 12 months. If necessary, however, students are encouraged to take longer to complete internships and capstone projects; several students each year take an extra semester to do so.


Q:  Is financial aid available?

A: For information about financial aid, visit Stony Brook University’s Financial Aid website.


Q:  Should I be in touch with a faculty advisor before applying?

A:  No, it is not necessary to contact an advisor prior to beginning the program. After arriving at Sony Brook, students will be matched with an advisor based on their internship/capstone project goals.


Q:  What kind of jobs do students get upon graduating?

A:  MCP graduates are prepared for a wide range of careers in marine education, environmental advocacy, ocean planning and management, law and business. Our graduates have found jobs at a wide range of organizations and agencies, including environmental NGO’s, educational institutions, and government agencies. To see a few examples of what some of our past students are up to now, click here.


Q:  Who should apply?

A: This program is designed for students who are interested in conservation-based careers, such as those in management, policy or consultancy, rather than in more traditional academic research careers. Most MCP students complete the program after 12 months of continuous study, but students can also complete the program on a part-time basis over a longer period. However, the program is not designed for part-time students who can only enroll in night classes; students must be able to complete coursework and related requirements during regular business hours.


Q:  Does the MCP program require a research thesis?

A:  Unlike traditional MS programs, MCP students do not conduct a research thesis. Instead, students complete either an internship or a capstone project based on a relevant marine conservation topic or issue of choice. MCP students are matched with a faculty mentor based on their interests, and submit their internship or capstone paper to the MCP Coordinating Committee for approval. After completing their internship or capstone project, students present their work at the annual MCP symposium in late August. See examples of MCP student projects here.


Q:  Are there funding opportunities such as teaching or research assistantships?

A:  MCP students are not eligible for TA and RA positions, but there are often opportunities for part-time employment at SoMAS or elsewhere on campus during the academic year. For information on financial assistance, visit Stony Brook University’s Financial Aid website.


Q:  What is the schedule expected to look like over the course of the year?

A:  Students typically complete two semesters of full-time courses in the fall and spring semesters. In either the winter or summer semester, students must also complete a three-credit field course. The six-credit internship or capstone project is typically completed in the summer semester after all other coursework has been completed. This is the typical schedule, though there is flexibility in the program based on the student needs and/or availability.

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