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College of Science & Mathematics
Department of Biological Sciences
Master of Science in Marine & Environmental Science

The Master of Marine and Environmental Science (MMES) degree provides students with the training and skills necessary for planning, conducting, and evaluating research in marine and environmental science. Additionally, students explore how to utilize research to manage natural resources, with a particular focus on the issues and challenges related to natural resource management in the Caribbean region. The program draws upon the expertise of faculty within several units of UVI, in particular the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies and the College of Science and Mathematics. Further, it is a bridge between academia and natural resource management sectors within the US Virgin Islands, the greater Caribbean, and beyond.

The MMES program is designed as a two-year degree program. The first year is composed of core courses that students attend on the St. Thomas campus of the University of the Virgin Islands. The core courses (see courses under "Graduation Requirements" tab above) are designed to provide the broad theoretical and practical background and tools necessary for effectively conducting scientific research, managing natural resources and communicating the results of research and management decisions to various audiences. During their first year, MMES students work with their advisor and committee to develop their thesis research proposal. Students spend their second year conducting their thesis research and taking elective courses or participating in internships. Please see the "Research" tab above for areas of research in which our students and faculty are active. Past internships have included work with The Nature Conservancy, the Virgin Islands Marine Advisory Service, and the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources. Graduates of the program are prepared for a wide array of careers in academic, government, non-profit, and private sectors. 

All requirements for the degree must be completed on the St. Thomas campus.


Bridge to the PhD Program with Penn State’s Biology Program.  The University of the Virgin Islands and Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) have been funded by the National Science Foundation’s INCLUDES program to implement a Bridge from the Masters to the PhD program for MMES students. As part of this program, 3-5 MMES students per year are provided with funding to participate in two summer semesters of graduate study with Penn State faculty. While at Penn State, the students will learn molecular techniques applied to coral reef ecology and will receive guidance on how to apply to PhD programs, including development of personal statements and dissertation proposals.

- Videos -

2019 Hurricane Gliders in the Virgin Islands

2015 MMES Cohort
Spring Capstone Research Project

 For More Information Contact:

Title Name
Dean Michelle Peterson, Ph.D.
Program Director Lorraine Buckley, PhD. 
Program Coordinator Sophia Mckenzie
Administrative Assistant STX Julene Chapman
Administrative Specialists STT Marlene Parrott-Gokool