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Our curriculum combines interdisciplinary core courses with personalized electives, allowing students to tailor the MAS MBC Program to fit their professional goals.

Curriculum

Our unique, specialized one-year MAS MBC Program begins with a 10-week intensive summer course that features lectures by more than 40 renowned ocean experts, who cover varied marine conservation and biodiversity topics. Laboratory work and field trips complement classroom activities, giving students hands-on experience in applied research and data collection.

Over the course of the academic year, core coursework builds upon this foundation and allows students to take a deeper dive into more focused fields of study. Additionally, students choose 12 individualized elective units from more than 250 course offerings at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other top-ranked departments at UC San Diego, including Economics, Communication and Visual Arts, the School of Global Policy and Strategy, and Rady School of Management. Students also develop and fine-tune skills in science communication, filmmaking, negotiation and facilitation over the course of the year, with varied opportunities to gain additional training in marine GIS, scientific diving, boating safety, visual storytelling and more.

By pairing core coursework with strategic electives and a Capstone Project that aligns with their career objectives, students will have the knowledge and skills they need to secure and succeed in meaningful leadership positions. 

Researchers on stern deck of ship

Photo: Erik Jepsen

Electives

With over 250 elective options across 20+ departments, students use the powerful network of faculty experts at Scripps and UC San Diego to hone their specific interests and professional career goals. 

Past electives have included:
Biological Oceanography; Polar System Science; Marine GIS; Benthic Ecology; Sustainable Seafood; Biology of Fishes; Physical Oceanography; Climate Science and Policy; Advanced Workshop in Communication Media; Social Issues and Media Production; Environmental Racism; Business Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility; Cost Benefit Analysis; Economics of Ocean Resources; Gender, Politics and Globalization; Sustainable Development; and many, many more!

Capstone Project

The MAS MBC Capstone Project allows students to design and structure an interdisciplinary, collaborative project that: applies the knowledge gained in the program; enhances student understanding of a marine or coastal issue; builds marketable skills; and has a theoretical grounding and real-world application. Students partner with university faculty, external organizations and agencies to execute projects that culminate in a written paper, film, educational curriculum, business plan, economic analysis, management plan or anything substantial that will prepare students for future employment.

Many past Capstone projects can be found on eScholarship.

You can also view videos of the 2019, 2018 and 2017 Capstone Symposium presentations.

Academic Year at a Glance

Summer

SIO 295S - Intro to Marine Biodiversity and Conservation - Lecture (8 units)
Lectures on ecological, economic, social, and legal issues related to marine biodiversity, as well as communications. 

SIO 295LS - Intro to Marine Biodiversity and Conservation - Lab (8 units)
Laboratory work on major biological taxa, field trips on biodiversity in situ, and computer labs for learning communication tools. Students are expected to attend field trips at sea and to various sites around San Diego County as part of the course.

Fall

SIOB 296 - Ocean Law & Policy (4 units)
Overview of the key laws and policies governing U.S. and international ocean and coastal waters; also examines timely and relevant case studies and examples of these policies in practice. This course combines lectures with student presentations and class exercise. Reading materials are assigned, including statues, case law, regulations, and law and policy articles. 

ECON 281 - Economics of the Environment (4 units)
Covers environmental issues from an economic perspective. Examines relation of the envionment to economic growth and management of natural resources, such as forest and fresh water. Policies on air, water, and toxic waste pollution are discussed, as well as international issues such as ozone depletion and sustainable development. 

MBC 258 - Forum (1 unit)
Students attend weekly meetings to discuss and prepare for the Capstone Independent Research Project, work on career development and interact with researchers, professionals, and other invited guests. 

Elective - (4 units)
Choose from over 250 elective options from any department at UC San Diego.

Winter

An interdisciplinary course in marine science, economics & policy (4 units)
One of several offered courses can be taken to meet this requirement. Examples include:
- SIOB 286: Wetland Ecology
- SIOB 277: Deep-Sea Biology
- SIOB 286: Marine Protected Areas
- SIOG 269: Ocean Acidification
- SIOB 286: Sustainable Seafood
- SIOB 286: Approaches to Marine Conservation

MBC 258 - Forum (1 unit)
Students attend weekly meetings to discuss and prepare for the Capstone Independent Research Project, work on career development and interact with researchers, professionals, and other invited guests. 

Elective - (4 units)
Choose from over 250 elective options from any department at UC San Diego.

Elective - (4 units)
Choose from over 250 elective options from any department at UC San Diego. 

Spring

MBC 296 - MAS MBC Capstone Project (6 units)
Fall and Winter provide planning and momentum leading up to students' final Capstone Project in the Spring. 
Spring Quarter is highly-involved, and devoted entirely to the data collection, analysis, production and presentation of a successful, substantial project which is then presented at the Annual Symposium.