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What will I learn?

The Master of Marine Affairs (MMA) is an internationally recognized master’s degree for those who want to work in marine policy and administration. This degree is focused on the intersection of public policy and natural and social sciences, so you have the knowledge and skills necessary to tackle the complicated problems in this field and succeed.

Our students bring to the program a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds, and are from all around the country and world. This diversity of perspectives, interests, knowledge, and experiences creates a melting-pot environment that reflects the many different components of marine and environmental affairs as a field.

SMEA offers a two-year, in-residence graduate program that leads to the Master of Marine Affairs degree. The field is a multi-disciplinary field with strong traditions in both practice and scholarship, and is increasingly integrative in recognition of the fact that viewing human society and institutions as parts of ecosystems seems necessary in order to better understand and respond to environmental problems.

Curriculum Options

SMEA has a two track curriculum to serve students preparing for careers as practitioners, as well as those who are focused on academic or research-oriented careers.

The Professional track offers two options to better meet the needs of students looking to go directly into the workforce following the completion of their degree. The capstone option will allow practice-oriented students to obtain vital real-world experience through applied learning, which will be performed by small groups in service to a real-world client. The alternative, course-only option, is geared towards students who seek to gain specific skills through additional coursework, which are usually put to immediate use post-graduation in a currently held or previously held, SMEA-relevant position.

The Thesis track will allow research-oriented students to develop and hone research skills appropriate for academic careers.

A Human-Dimensions Focused Curriculum for Both Tracks: The human-dimensions focus of the SMEA MMA curriculum is embedded in both tracks. This curriculum is designed to familiarize students with a diversity of conceptual and methodological approaches and substantive areas in the field of marine and environmental affairs. The field focuses on the connections between marine and terrestrial environments and the surrounding communities. To encompass such a broad field, the School utilizes a framework called “Human Dimensions of Global Change in the Marine Environment” (HDGCME).

Core and Elective Classes

The curriculum can be divided into two categories: Core and Elective classes.

The Core is comprised of three broad areas:

  • The Introductory Sequence which addresses SMEA’s HDGCME theme;
  • Subject Areas such as marine science, marine law, economics, etc.; and
  • Analytic Skills including quantitative analysis, policy analysis, etc.

Which department am I in?

College of the Environment

Study options

Full Time (2 years)

Tuition fees
US$30,171.00 per year
Graduate student tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year (Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarters)
Start date

Expected September 2022


University of Washington

Schmitz Hall, 1410 NE Campus Parkway,



98195, United States

Entry requirements

For students from United States

Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements: Hold a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S.1or its equivalent from a foreign institution; Have earned at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits. Other English Language Requirements: 580 paper-based TOEFL.

For international students

To be accepted by the Graduate School, an applicant must have:

Completed an undergraduate program of study recognized as appropriate preparation for graduate work;
A minimum of a 3.0 (B) grade point average for coursework taken during the last 60 semester or 90 quarter hours if the cumulative GPA is less than 3.0

English Proficiency:

The Graduate School is temporarily accepting official test scores for both the Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL ITP Plus For China to assist international students with remote testing options. This policy is currently in effect through the autumn 2021 admission cycle (i.e., students enrolling in autumn 2021).

TOEFL iBT - Minimum Required Score (ELP Required): 80; Recommended Score (ELP Satisfied): 92 or higher

TOEFL pBT - Minimum Required Score: 500

Duolingo: Minimum Required Score (ELP Required): 105; Recommended Score (ELP Satisfied): 120 or higher

IELTS: Minimum Required Score 6.5

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.


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