Scripps Launches New Master's Degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation


Although oceans cover 71 percent of the planet, their organisms and ecosystems are far less well known than those on land. Scientists are increasingly concerned about the health of the oceans and the loss of diversity among marine species worldwide.

To help train the skilled professionals needed to ensure the future vitality of the oceans, the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography is launching a new master of advanced studies degree in marine biodiversity and conservation. Offered in cooperation with the University of California, San Diego's (UCSD) Office of Graduate Studies and Research and UCSD Extension's Office of Advanced Professional Education, the program will welcome its first students in July 2004.

The multidisciplinary program will include courses in natural, social, and informatic sciences; marine policy, economics, and law; and training in important cultural and communications skills, providing well-rounded preparation for addressing the diverse stakeholders, solutions, and science involved in biodiversity and conservation efforts. Students can complete the degree in as little as one calendar year.

Nancy Knowlton, director of CMBC, says the program will offer the first master's degree of its kind by covering the scope of issues involved in marine biodiversity and conservation.

"This is an ideal degree for practical users who need specialized training in marine biodiversity and conservation," Knowlton said. "The unique resources of CMBC and UCSD, along with our select partners, will provide an outstanding and comprehensive training program."

The program is most appropriate for marine resource managers, practicing marine science professionals who wish to increase their understanding of biodiversity and conservation, science policy analysts and advocates, and researchers interested in obtaining a more solid grounding in the public policy and economics of marine conservation.

Courses and fieldwork will be led by professors from Scripps's CMBC, the UCSD departments of economics and political science, and the UCSD Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies. The World Wildlife Fund and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center will help provide fieldwork and research opportunities.

CMBC expects to have about a dozen students enrolled during this inaugural program year.

More information, including an online application, is available on the web at

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