The M.S. in Applied Marine & Watershed Science offers training in science and technology in the context of environmental policy. There are two M.S. degree options: Professional Science Master's (PSM) and thesis. Within their chosen option, students elect an emphasis in marine or watershed science. Advanced technology training is complemented by applied science and policy training.

Within the PSM option, students deepen the skills they learn in the classroom through professional internships. The PSM option gives students unique technical skill sets that will distinguish them as they enter the workforce and satisfies a demand for highly skilled professionals within technology and applied science-based companies, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations.

The thesis option focuses on independent research intended for professional publication, and can launch you into a doctoral program or a career with federal, state, and local resource management agencies, nonprofit organizations, county and local planning agencies, or scientific and environmental consulting firms. Our location right on the dynamic Monterey Bay coastline gives you easy access to a wide range of marine and coastal ecosystems, study sites, and scientific research agencies and institutes.

Required Courses

Complete all of the following courses:

Complete one of the following course combinations:

Students select one of the following areas of emphasis and complete two courses (which may not double-count)

Watershed Emphasis

Marine Emphasis

Students that select the thesis option must complete 6 credits of ENVS 599: Masters Thesis and ONE of the following courses not counted toward their emphasis:

Students that select the PSM option must complete 2 credits of ENVS 594: Internship - Graduate and TWO of the following courses not counted toward their emphasis:

Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes focus on integrating rigorous scientific and technical training in the context of environmental policy and management. The MLOs are delivered and assessed primarily through course-based projects, papers, presentations and a master's thesis (M.S. Thesis option) or professional internship experience (Professional Science Master's option). Students showcase their area(s) of depth and interdisciplinary understanding via a graduate thesis project or a professional internship with an appropriate institute, business, agency or nonprofit organization. The thesis option focuses on a fundamental aspect of an environmental issue that demonstrates how science and economics can inform policies related to their particular environmental issue. The Professional Science Master's (PSM) option focuses on developing advanced scientific, technical, and professional skill sets related to local and regional environmental priorities.

Science Interdisciplinarity & Science-Policy Integration

Explain the interactions among science, technology and economics, as applied to environmental policy.

Research Methods

Design, conduct, analyze and communicate the findings of a scientific investigation, including a scholarly review of the relevant literature. Use scientific instrumentation for environmental measurement.

Geospatial Technologies and Visualization

Acquire, visualize and interpret precise and accurate measures of environmental conditions and/or human behavior using current geospatial research technology. Apply geospatial technology to address environmental problems.

Environmental Policy, Economics, and Decision-making

Explain and apply principles of environmental planning and policy making. Through experiential learning, participate in environmental politics. Describe and use empirical methods in economics to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses of economic data.

Applied Sciences

Apply advanced principles, theories and practices of a life science or earth science field to environmental issues and policies.


Strengthen area of expertise through additional breadth, depth or integration. Complete 4 units for thesis option and 8 units for PSM option.

Thesis or internship

Produce a professional-quality, written thesis and oral presentation that demonstrate expertise in a chosen research topic; OR complete an internship with a business, government, or nonprofit organization that enhances professional, scientific or technical skills.