Program Overview

The Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Science (MEES) Program is an ambitious state-wide graduate level program within the University System of Maryland (USM). Because it draws faculty from not only USM's degree-granting but also from USM research institutions as well as from government and non-government agencies and other non-academic units, the MEES program affords students an unparalleled opportunity to combine the expertise of the best environmental scientists in the region to guide their program of study. MEES offers masters and doctoral degrees in six areas of specialization (AOS) including Oceanography, Fisheries Science, Ecology, Environmental Molecular Biology, Environmental Chemistry, and Environmental Sciences. These specialties include such disciplines as restoration ecology, aquaculture, fisheries management, marine biotechnology, toxicology, remote sensing, and landscape ecology, among others. The title of the program emphasizes its strengths in marine and estuarine sciences, although the program spans environmental science as a whole, irrespective of habitat. The interests of students in the program are diverse, but generally center on some aspect of the interaction between biological, physical and/or chemical systems in the environment. Research activities range from studies of molecular mechanisms to fisheries ecology, chemical pollutants, or economics of environmental impact. Since its faculty members come from so many sources, MEES provides unique and valuable graduate education across the broad range of the environmental sciences.

The MEES Program was established in 1978 as an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and system-wide graduate program. Today, it is one of the largest environmental graduate programs in the University of Maryland System with approximately 200 faculty members drawn from 11 universities and two research institutions including departments of the Baltimore Campus (UMB), Baltimore County Campus (UMBC), the College Park Campus (UMCP), the Eastern Shore Campus (UMES), or at any of the laboratories of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). 

All of the more than 180 MEES students are enrolled in research-based degrees with most conducting research in their advisor's laboratory in the department or unit to which the advisor belongs. Courses within the program are available to any graduate student registered at any campus in the System through intercampus enrollment. Additionally, the program strives disseminate courses to the extent that MEES is the single largest user of the interactive video network (IVN) in the USM. 

Expertise and interest of faculty and from within the MEES Program have led to six formally defined Areas of Specialization (AOSs) from which a student may choose. The AOSs are: Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Fisheries Science, and Oceanography. 

MEES has developed a unique and valuable set of inter-institutional policies and agreements that help the program work. For instance, all admissions are coordinated through a single central administrative office in College Park. All MEES students, regardless of institution of matriculation, must comply with the same program requirements including prerequisites and limits on time to advancement to candidacy. In addition, a valuable arrangement with the research laboratories sends tuition income from courses taught by their faculty to their laboratories where those funds are reinvested in supporting graduate education.