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Science master's degree offers new career path

Cal State Monterey Bay now offers a Professional Science Master’s degree in Coastal and Watershed Science & Policy. The new program complements the traditional, thesis-based master of science degree in applied marine and watershed science that has been offered at CSUMB for five years.

The “plus” element includes a professional internship and training in advanced geospatial technologies; professional and scientific communication; scientific ethics; and environmental economics and policy analysis.

Students typically do their internships in the second year, or over the summer between the first and second years of the program. Some work on campus in the Seafloor Mapping Lab and the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology. Others work with government agencies such as NASA and the U.S. Forest Service, as well as with environmental consulting groups and non-profit agencies.

Sixteen students are enrolled this semester. “We capped it at 16 because we wanted to be able to place them in the best internships,” said Dr. Susan Alexander, director of the program.

“Students find this new option appealing because of the ability to link applied marine and watershed science to professional skills and jobs,” she said.

“Many of the students we’re seeing are returning professionals. They have several years of work experience and are looking to gain advanced scientific and technical skills that will help them move forward in their careers.”

Academic research groups, government agencies and non-profits are likely to employ these graduates, but the program will also address the needs of regional “green” business and consulting firms.