Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Marine Science

Our program offers both an MSMS-A (applied) track MSMS-T (thesis). Where better to learn about advanced marine science systems than on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Our students study at HPU’s Windward Hawaii Loa Campus in Kāne’ohe featuring 135 tropical acres with awe-inspiring views of O’ahu’s majestic Ko’olau Mountains. Marine Science classes and laboratory research also take place at the Oceanic Institute: a research and development facility dedicated to marine aquaculture, biotechnology, and coastal resource management. The Oceanic Institute is situated along the scenic southeastern coast of O’ahu at Makapu’u Point, near the community of Waimanalo.

The combination of a perfect location, unique research opportunities, dedicated faculty, and rigorous training propels our students toward exciting and rewarding careers in marine science.

A baccalaureate degree in the Natural Sciences is required for entry into the MSMS program. Certain course prerequisites may be required before enrolling in graduate MSMS courses, depending on the student’s academic preparation and research interests.

For students in the thesis track, the graduate thesis committee will determine whether any deficiencies exist and how these deficiencies will be addressed. Additionally, being paired with a faculty mentor is necessary for acceptance into the MSMS-T track.

Students who successfully complete the Master of Science in Marine Science program will:

  • Demonstrate an interdisciplinary knowledge of marine systems.

  • Demonstrate the ability to plan and implement observational, theoretical, and experimental studies.

  • Interpret and critique professional scientific literature.

  • Demonstrate an advanced ability to apply and integrate scientific principles and research data to address complex questions in marine systems.

  • Demonstrate competence in scientific communication through technical and scientific reports, publications and oral presentations.

  • Demonstrate professionalism and scientific ethics.

  • Have the competence to gain employment in advanced resource management positions or entrance to a doctoral program in related fields.

HPU Support

HPU offers merit-based Graduate Assistantships (GAs) that provide a 50% or 25% tuition discount for four consecutive semesters.  For more GA details, go to the FAQs above.

External Funding Opportunities

Minority Scholarships / Fellowships

Internship / Other


  • General Aquarist at the Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu, HI

  • NOAA Marine Debris Technician, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

  • Marine Mammal Biologist, U.S. Navy, Kaneohe, HI

  • Doctoral Candidates in various Science and Medical Programs, U.S. & abroad

  • Research Technicians at both Hawaii Pacific University and University of Hawaii-Manoa

  • Operations Manager, NOAA Atlantic

  • Laboratory Technician, University of Maryland

  • Adjunct Instructor, Hawaii Pacific University

  • Kayak Eco Guide, Kailua, HI

  • High School Science Teachers, various locations

  • Clinical Research Assistant at East-West Medical Research Institute, Honolulu, HI

  • Habitat Restoration Coordinator for the non-profit conservation organization Malama Maunalua

  • Pacific Islands Marine Debris Assistant Regional Coordinator for NOAA, Papahanaumokuakea National Marine Monument

  • Lecturer, California State University - Monterey Bay

  • Endangered Species Officer, Marshall Islands Marine Resources Advisory

  • AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer, STEAM Outreach Specialist, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI

  • Online instructor for Hawaii Community College, Big Island, HI

  • Research Associates, Oceanic Institute, Waimanalo, HI

  • Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Alu Like, Inc., a nonprofit organization for native Hawaiians

  • Whale Watch Naturalists, Kailua-Kona, HI

  • Wildlife Management Intern, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

  • Lab Technicians for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Kaneohe, HI

  • Science Curriculum Specialist, Mālama Honua Public Charter School, Waimanalo, HI

  • Performing mandatory military service in country of origin

  • Biologists for multiple federal agencies around the U.S.

  • NOAA Field Observer, Papahanaumakuakea Marine National Monument, Midway Island

  • Biological Technicians, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

  • Fishery Policy Analyst, International Programs Staff Office, NOAA Pacific Islands Regional Office

  • Marine Biologist / NOAA Unit Dive Supervisor, Ecosystems and Oceanography Division, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

  • Programs and Operations Coordinator, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Maui, HI

  • Field Research Supervisor, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii-Manoa/NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

  • Loko I'a Coordinator for Kua'aina Ulu 'Auamo - a community-based nonprofit for environmental conservation in Hawaii

  • NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow, Washington, DC

  • Research Assistant, Pacific Rim Conservation

  • Fellow, National Marine Sanctuaries' Pacific Island Region and University of


    Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), Kaneohe, HI

  • Fishery Analyst, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, Honolulu, HI

  • Marine Turtle Research Associate, Marine Turtle Research Program, NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

  • Teaching Fellow, KIPP Austin Public Schools

  • NSF Ocean Acidification Research Technician, California State University - Northridge

  • Project Researcher, Sustainable Fisheries Group at the School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California - Santa Barbara

  • Environmental Scientists, Specialists, and Consultants for various governmental and private agencies, U.S.

  • Terrestrial Fisheries Data Specialist, Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii-Manoa/NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center

  • Hydrologic Scientist, Water Monitoring Division, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

  • Chief Engineer, Chemical Oceanography Department, University of Bergen - Norway