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University of Rhode Island — Marine Affairs
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What should I do now as an undergraduate?

Graduate programs are intended for top students with high academic potential. Thus, your first step is to earn good grades in your classes as you complete your bachelor's degree. Graduate programs commonly require applicants to have graduated from their undergraduate institution with at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

However, your degree does not need to be in marine affairs. In fact, graduate students in marine affairs have bachelor's degrees in a wide variety of fields, including biology, political science, economics, sociology, environmental studies, history, fisheries science, and maritime studies.

Most graduate programs also require that you complete a standardized entrance exam that's the graduate school equivalent of the SAT or ACT. Students considering a law or business graduate program would take either the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Most graduate programs, including marine affairs, usually require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Visit the GRE Website for test information and advice on preparing for the exam. Applicants to the graduate program in marine affairs are required to either take the GRE, have five or more years of experience in a related field, or already have another advanced degree, such as a master's in a related field or a Juris Doctor (J.D.).

Gaining professional and/or research experience in your field is also strongly encouraged. Starting your freshman year, look for opportunities that will give you a range of experiences outside the classroom including:

  • research projects and/or independent study opportunities;
  • volunteering with local environmental, science, or management organizations or consulting firms;
  • paid professional positions with businesses or with a research group; and/or
  • internships.

See the Experiential Learning Tab for more information and ideas.

Finally, read the admission requirements and watch the application deadlines carefully for whatever programs you choose to apply to; these vary from one university to another.