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University of Rhode Island — Marine Affairs
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Knowledge and Skills
What will I know and be able to do when I graduate?

Marine affairs is an interdisciplinary degree, meaning that people who work in the field draw upon many different academic disciplines to understand problems and develop policy. Because of this, you will have a broad understanding of the natural, social, and policy sciences.

Knowledge and skills that you will gain from the Marine Affairs Program include:

  • Knowledge of the different contemporary tools and techniques used to study marine life, habitat, and ecosystem processes;
  • An understanding of the different statutes and regulations that govern the use and conservation of our marine resources;
  • The ability to pull together this knowledge of science and policy and use it to make management decisions and solve complex environmental problems;
  • An understanding how different solutions and management decisions will affect the environment, society, and individuals; and
  • The ability to be an effective communicator.

The curriculum in the Marine Affairs Program will give you tools to help you achieve these skills, and you will have the chance to take the initiative and develop your own knowledge and abilities to be a successful marine affairs graduate.

For many marine affairs graduates, writing and public speaking are part of their day-to-day activities. Whether they are reporting the results of research or working with the public to generate appropriate marine management strategies, communication is of primary importance. In addition, part of being a good communicator is being able to understand the perspective of different groups of people and professionals, such as:

  • policy makers,
  • business people,
  • scientists, and
  • private citizens.

There are two options for undergraduate degrees in marine affairs, the Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and the Bachelor of Science (B.S.).

Students who pursue the B.A. must fulfill the Basic Liberal Studies requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, including six credits each in English Communication, Fine Arts and Literature, Foreign Language/Cross-Cultural Competence, Letters, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences, and three credits in Mathematical and Quantitative Reasoning. Students selecting this field are required to complete at least 30 credits (maximum 45) in marine affairs as follows. All of the following courses (12 credits): MAF 100, 120, 220, and 410 [capstone]. Five of the following courses (15 credits): MAF 312, 415, 320, 330, 413, 461, 465, 471, 472, 475, 484, and 499. One additional MAF course (three credits) must be taken to complete the required 30 credits in the degree. In addition, students must also take STA 308 and OCG 123 or 401 (if OCG 123 is taken, it may also be used toward fulfilling the Basic Liberal Studies Natural Sciences requirement). A total of 120 credits is required for graduation. At least 42 of these credits must be in courses numbered 300 or above.

Students who pursue the B.S. must complete at least 30 credits in marine affairs with the following required MAF courses: MAF 100, 120, 220, 410 [capstone], 482; and five of the following courses: MAF 312, 320, 330, 413, 415, 461, 465, 471, 472, 475, 484, and 499. In addition to the above requirements, students must take BIO 101; OCG 123 or 401; MTH 111 or 131; and WRT 333 (3). Students must also select a total of 18 credits from the following, of which nine must be at the 300 level or above: AFS 102, 201, 202, 210, 211, 311, 312, 315, 321/322, 332, 362, 432, 483; BIO 252, 345, 355, 360, 418, 455/457; CHM 103, 112, 124/126; EEC 105, 110, 205, 310, 345, 356, 410, 432, 435, 440, 441, 456, 460; GEO 100, 103, 210, 240, 277, 320, 370, 450, 483; NRS 223, 361, 406, 409, 410, 423, 424, 440, 461; NRS/GEO 482; NRS 497; OCE 101, 215, 216, 307, 310, 311, 492; OCG 493, 494; PHY 109, 110, 111, 112, 130, 185, 186, 213, 214, 285, 286, 306; STA 308, 409, 412, 413. A total of 120 credits is required for graduation. All students pursuing a B.S. in the College of Environmental and Life Sciences, where marine affairs is housed, are required to also take six credits in English Communication, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences; three credits in Mathematics, and 15 credits chosen from Letters (3-6 credits), Fine Arts and Literature (3-6 credits), and Foreign Language and Culture (3-6 credits) for a total of 36 credits outside of the major.