Master of Science in Marine Science

Jacksonville University students performing testing on a shark on the OCEARCH ship.

Why Choose Our Program?

J​acksonville University's Master of Science in Marine Science (MS in MSC) degree program is designed to provide graduates with the specific knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in a variety of marine-related positions in industry, government and education, or for entry into doctoral marine science programs. Our program has:

  • State-of-the-art vessels, aquaculture facilities, laboratories and research facilities
  • Experiential learning with OCEARCH, The St. Johns RiverKeeper, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission (FWC)
  • Grants, internships, and research opportunities
  • Experienced faculty in areas such as physical, geological oceanography, shark and marine mammal biology, intertidal and subtidal ecology, and more
  • Allows for further graduate study or for marine science careers in academia, government, and other employment sectors
  • Prepares you for research-focused marine science careers at an advanced level.


Applications for Fall 2025 will open August 1, 2024.

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Professor Bryan Franks performing research on the St. Johns River.

About Our Program

The program is designed to be completed in two years for full-time graduate students but may be completed in a part-time manner if done within 7 years of starting first graduate course. Students must take a core 4-course sequence and complete a proposal for their thesis research topic, or design a laboratory experience in conjunction with a graduate advisor. Thesis research is conducted through the next year, culminating in oral and written presentation of​ a thesis. Only six (6) semester hours of marine science-related graduate work can be transferred from another regionally accredited institution and applied to the MS in Marine Science at JU. Transfer credits can only be applied to elective courses.

All graduate students shall successfully complete 30 semester hours with a grade of "B" (3.0) or better in each course. Students will complete a written thesis project with an oral defense as well as required coursework.

All students shall maintain continuous enrollment in the graduate program until all degree requirements are met. If a student receives lower than a B in a core course, the student may retake one course. Two courses with grades below "B" (3.0) can result in the student being removed from the graduate program. Students are encouraged to complete their degree requirements within three years.

Hybrid Option

We are now offering students in the MS in MSC program the option to take up to 6 credit hours of elective coursework online. 

How to Apply

Priority deadline to apply is February 1, 2024. The final deadline to apply is March 1, 2024. 

  • Completed JU Application
  • Unofficial Transcripts for All Degrees Conferred
  • Updated Resume
  • Statement of Intent
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation

An undergraduate degree in Marine Science is not necessary for admission, however, all applicants must be accepted by the Graduate Review Committee (GRC) and must demonstrate adequate potential to successfully complete graduate level courses in the field of marine science. Students whose undergraduate specialization is not in Marine Science may be required to take additional undergraduate courses in order to qualify for advanced study.

Students not meeting entrance requirements outlined above may be admitted as non-degree seeking and be allowed to earn (6) semester hours of graduate level MSC course work at JU. Students must receive permission from the Director of Marine Science Graduate Studies before taking additional 500-level MSC courses at JU until they meet all admission requirements.

The College TourJackson's Story

Jackson Hooten is passionate about Great White Sharks. And the Marine Science Research Institute and OCEARCH facility at Jacksonville University, along with renowned shark researcher Dr. Bryan Franks, has allowed Jackson to closely study them. OCEARCH helps scientists collect data on the ocean while open-sourcing their information. It is also one of the largest shark tagging organizations in the world, and is right here on campus! Jackson actually met his graduate advisor, Dr. Franks, while he was collecting data on an OCEARCH vessel. Now, he is completing his Master of Science in Marine Science and is going on to work for the federal government as an ecologist, later planning to pursue a Ph.D.

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Contact Information Graduate and Professional Studies

Phone: (904) 256-7000

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