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Department of Marine Sciences (MASC) contains the academic program in Marine Sciences and is part of the College of Arts and Sciences. As a pan-university research institute, Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) reports through the Vice Chancellor for Research. Due to its pan-unit role, the Marine Sciences Program has a separate reporting line to the Provost’s Office. Today the Program funds Teaching Assistantships for first year graduate students, (who may have research advisors either at MASC or IMS), and provides partial funding for staff in MASC who assist students at both MASC and IMS.

MASC is the degree-granting arm of the program and consequently all students enrolled in Marine Sciences at UNC-CH do so through MASC. Although it emphasizes graduate training, MASC also offers introductory coursework as well as a Minor to undergraduates interested in exploring the marine aspects of their major fields. MASC actively contributes to the Curriculum for the Environment and Ecology (CEE) Academic Clusters, and several MASC faculty members teach courses required by CEE majors. Virtually all MASC graduate students spend their first two semesters in Chapel Hill concentrating on course work. Roughly a third then move to Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) to begin research activities under the guidance of faculty located there. In addition, IMS faculty supervise graduate students matriculating through several other campus departments. Further coursework for students at IMS is typically accomplished via a video conferencing link between MASC and IMS. IMS faculty occasionally offer, or team-teach with MASC UNC MS-3 faculty, graduate courses that are available to students locally and on campus via the video conferencing system. IMS also offers a semester at the coast for undergraduates.

In addition to MASC and IMS, the cross-disciplinary nature of marine sciences is reflected by the presence of faculty and researchers with complementary expertise in other units of the University, including the Department of Biology, the Department of Geological Sciences, the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, the Department of City and Regional Planning, the Department of Mathematics, the Institute for the Environment and the Renaissance Computing Institute. This expertise significantly strengthens marine science at UNC and helps integrate it across campus.


Diversity Statement:  The Department of Marine Sciences and The Institute of Marine Sciences supports the University’s core values encouraging diversity and equal educational and employment opportunities throughout the University community.  These values are articulated in the University’s non-discrimination policy and by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.