HPU expands graduate Marine Science program

July 28, 2014

Chris Winn, Ph.D., Hawai‘i Pacific University Master of Science in Marine Science program director, speaks to a class at the Oceanic Institute. The program recently added an applied track, focusing on technical skill development.

HONOLULU — Hawai‘i Pacific University is expanding its successful Marine Science program, giving students a new option to prepare for careers in the field. The Master of Science in Marine Science program has added an Applied Track (MSMS-A), focusing on technical skill development.

This new track is ideal for students and science professionals seeking a graduate degree to advance in ocean and marine-related technical positions in business, government and education. The Applied Track prepares students for careers in a number of fields, including growth areas such as ocean and earth science, aquaculture, resource management and conservation. Students will not require a faculty mentor, in contrast to the HPU's Thesis Track (MSMS-T), but are required to pass a comprehensive examination.

“The emphasis is on coursework and technical skill development, rather than independent thesis research,” said MSMS Program Director Chris Winn, Ph.D. “It provides a rigorous and flexible program of study ideal for professionals, who will be able to apply their work experience toward meeting the program's requirements.”

Applied Track students will participate in a hands-on practicum, in one of the world's most ideal locations to study ocean science, working directly with private enterprise, ocean science researchers or marine resource management professionals. In addition, students will have opportunities to work with a variety of state and governmental agencies, and non-profit groups such as the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, National Institute of Standards and Technology, NOAA, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“We are keeping these partnership opportunities open and flexible on purpose to ensure our students benefit from rigorous and rewarding real-life experiences,” said Winn. “Graduate students will be encouraged to develop internships with a wide array of organizations engaged in applied marine science research, resource management, and conservation, both in Hawai'i and throughout the Pacific Basin.”

Students will learn from HPU's accomplished faculty, taking advantage of the university's scientific facilities and equipment. This includes a NOAA purchased Dissolved Inorganic Carbon analyzer, which is on long-term loan to the university in support of collaborative research of ocean acidification. The analyzer is located at the Oceanic Institute of HPU (OI-HPU), an innovative center for marine-related research.

Graduates of either Marine Science track will have the skills and education needed for a variety of careers, said Associate Professor David Hyrenbach, a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation based at OI-HPU. "Our Marine Science graduates are working in fisheries management, marine policy, and in the conservation of protected species — like marine birds, mammals and turtles.”

Candidates are still being considered for the Applied Track in Marine Science. The university also offers undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology, Environmental Science, Oceanography and other areas of study. Both ongoing and new students can still register for classes offered this fall at the university. For information about the MSMS-A, contact Program Director Winn at cwinn@hpu.edu or (808) 236-5819.