Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) degree?

The MAS is an accredited master degree conferred by UC San Diego. It is a self-funded professional degree designed to supplement the education and work experience of the students who enroll in the program. It is often referred to as a "terminal" degree and is designed to provide rigorous, graduate-level curriculum in a specific, timely area of study.  The Master of Advanced Studies (MAS) in Climate Science and Policy is a unique program of study providing advanced training in climate science and policy for working professionals in the government, industry and education. Climate science is an interdisciplinary field that investigates multi-decadal and multi-century trends, processes and changes in the interactions of the atmosphere, ocean, earth, cryosphere and biosphere (which includes human activities). As such, climate science is an integral part of many aspects of research and teaching at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  This program will enable the couple of a strong scientific background with the necessary policy education to maximize the student's efforts in affecting policy and decision making in both the public and private spheres.

I don't have work experience in climate science and policy required for admission. Can I still qualify?

Possibly. The admissions committee will review your entire application, including the depth of your professional experience, the strength of your recommendations letters, and your academic background. These factors are all taken into consideration in determining whether or not an applicant qualifies for admission to the program. It is important that a candidate have work experience, and it may not necessarily need to be experience in the field. Students accepted into the program have diverse backgrounds, including computer programming, journalism, education, and acting, as well as professions directly related to marine conservation, such as working for federal agencies such as NOAA, university marine research labs, and non-profit conservation groups. Contact the Executive Director of CSP with your questions on whether or not you might qualify. 

How do I apply to the program?

The MAS degree is a UCSD graduate degree handled through the Graduate Division. Formal application for admission to the program is required. Refer to this website for details on the admissions process and program admission requirements.

When will I hear if I am accepted into the program?

The admissions committee meets in January/February, and students should hear whether or not they have been accepted by mid-March, possibly sooner.

What is a typical class size?

The program may accommodate up to 20 students. The relatively small class size and seminar-style of the classes allows for close interaction among students and the professors as well as provides many valuable networking opportunities.

How long has the degree been in existence? How many graduates have you had?

The program started in August 2015. The first class of seven students graduated in June 2016. The second class of eight students completed their degrees in June 2017. 

What type of work experience must I have to qualify for the program?

A minimum of three years work experience is preferred.

Our students come from diverse backgrounds, including those who have worked directly with climate policy agencies and NGOs. Some have worked in journalism, education, and computer programming. The program is designed to help climate policy professionals become more effective in their careers, and most students have some experience working in climate policy careers, or have demonstrated a personal interest and even volunteer work in the field.

If your work experience is not directly in the climate policy field, you must be able to explain why you are interested in a master degree in climate policy, what work experience you bring to the program, and how the program will help you reach your goals.

What type of professional backgrounds do the students have?

The program crosses a variety of fields and students have held positions in the private, public and non-government organizations (NGOs). The degree is most appropriate for climate policy makers in all regions of the world, practicing weather and other climatology-related professionals who wish to broaden their understanding and influence in this arena, science policy analysts and advocates, and natural scientists interested in obtaining a more firm grounding in public policy and economics of climate policy.

Do I need to take the GRE/GMAT?

No, the GRE/GMAT is not required for admission to the program. If you have scores that are very good and will strengthen your application, then you may submit them.

I'm still not sure the program is right for me. Can I speak with a program advisor before applying to the program?

Certainly. Just contact the Program at to set up an appointment.

Is there graduate student housing available on campus?

Currently, graduate student housing is available on campus. Students must be enrolled in 12 units in the quarters they are living in on-campus housing. When students are accepted into the program in April, we strongly advise that they begin their housing search immediately. Information regarding on-campus housing can be found at

Information on off-campus housing can be found at

I am not from the United States. Do you accept international students?

We welcome international students! UCSD's International Center is the contact point for all international students with regard to immigration regulations and documents.

Is there a health insurance program for health insurance coverage while I am in the program?

There is a university sponsored health insurance program for graduate students that costs approximately $1,138 per quarter. Students who do not want this coverage must waive the coverage by signing a waiver, and providing proof of other health insurance while they are in the program.