Frequently Asked Questions about the Scripps MAS MBC Program

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

    The MAS is an accredited master's degree offered throughout the UC System.  The MAS MBC degree offered through Scripps Institution of Oceanography is conferred by UC San Diego.  MAS programs are self-funded professional degrees designed to supplement the education and work experience of the students who enroll in the program. MAS programs are often referred to as  "terminal" degrees and designed to provide rigorous, graduate-level curriculum in a specific, timely area of study. MAS programs may be full-time or part-time.

  • I don't have work experience in marine conservation 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 admissions advisor in the department 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 Application for Admission and program admission requirements.

    The application deadline is in January, and the program starts July 5, 2018.

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

    The admissions committee meets in late January, and students should hear whether or not they have been accepted no later than early-March, possibly sooner.

  • What is a typical class size?

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

  • Is it possible to pursue the degree over a 2 year period or attend part time?

    The program is designed to be completed in 12 months.  

    That said, it is possible to pursue the degree over a 2-year period as a part-time student, but students would have to make that arrangement following the summer quarter. The summer quarter is an intensive, full-time 10-week course of study that covers 16 graduate units. It is not possible to pursue part-time study the first summer of the program. Students interested in full-time study over 2 years should contact the department

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

    The program started in July 2004. We have had nearly 200 graduates through June 2016. 

  • 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 marine conservation agencies and NGOs. Some have worked in journalism, education, and computer programming. The program is designed to help marine conservation professionals become more effective in their careers, and most students have some experience working in marine conservation, or have demonstrated a personal interest and even volunteer work in the marine conservation field.

    If your work experience is not directly in the marine conservation field, you must be able to elicit why you are interested in a master degree in marine conservation, 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 marine resource managers in all regions of the world, practicing marine science 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 marine conservation.

  • 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. We also encourage students to contact faculty directly to set up appointments. Summer is an excellent time to set up a visit at Scripps. You may have the opportunity to sit in on a lecture and meet with a program representative at that time. Contact the program manager 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 March, 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 $1300 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.