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Located in Chapel Hill, NC 


Harvey Seim, Chairman

Mission Statement: The Department of Marine Sciences shares the University’s strong commitment to research, teaching and public service. In practical terms we strive to describe, understand, and predict the interactive processes that regulate marine systems and connect these to the other components of the Earth System, to quantify change in marine systems and assess its consequences for humans and other organisms, and to inform the decisions of policy makers, legislators and the people of North Carolina to achieve optimal protection for and utilization of our marine resources. To achieve this mission, we carry out field-based observational work and innovative modeling and laboratory studies, all of which involve undergraduate and graduate students as integral members of our research teams.

Department of Marine Sciences (MASC) is an interdisciplinary unit of the College of Arts and Sciences. As such, it draws faculty and student participation from a number of UNC-CH subjects. The department’s mission is to provide academic leadership in marine sciences; its goals are to:

Jaye Cable and her students in Econfina, FL
  • provide an effective graduate training program, emphasizing critical thinking and independent research, that prepares students for successful careers in science, education, technology and public service;
  • deliver innovative, excellent instruction at the undergraduate and graduate levels;
  • conduct high quality scientific research and effectively communicate results, through publication and presentation, to both academic and public audiences;
  • extend technical assistance to the state in addressing marine sciences-related issues and concerns; and
  • address, as appropriate, regional, national and international issues and concerns.

Because the department’s instructional emphasis is on training M.S. and Ph.D. students, a broad range of graduate coursework is offered. Introductory courses and an undergraduate minor for students interested in gaining an overview of the field and some practical “hands on” experience also are available. Most classes are taught on main campus in Chapel Hill during the regular school year; however, some summer classes are offered both on campus and at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Morehead City.

Research is an integral part of teaching, especially at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels. Faculty members maintain active research programs throughout the year. All graduate students and a select number of undergraduate students participate in faculty-directed research projects, often receiving financial support from grants.

Diversity Statement:  The Department 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.