Worldwide flows of goods and services are currently at an all time high, with 95% of the goods moving between the U.S. and foreign nations carried by ships. Some 2 billion tons of freight now move in and out of U.S. ports each year. Concomitantly, marine technologies are undergoing rapid change, including advances in ship design, in technologies employed by the offshore oil and gas industry, in new technologies intended to capture wind or hydrokinetic energy at sea, and in the instrumentation oceanographers use for research and monitoring. Both maritime and environmental security concerns remain high in the Post-9/11 era.

Students are encouraged to approach study in this area from multiple perspectives and highly relevant courses and research are to be found at SMEA, Oceanography, the Applied Physics Lab’s Polar Science Center, Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Jackson School of International Studies, and other units across campus. An area of special emphasis at UW is the Arctic, where industrial development is expanding in the face of rapid climate-induced environmental change. The new UW “Future of Ice” initiative is helping foster coordinated interdisciplinary research and education in relation to the polar regions.

Faculty active in this research area:

  • None currently

Please see individual faculty web pages for more about their work in this area.

Related SMEA courses:

  • SMEA 506: Law of the Sea
  • SMEA 517: Marine Transportation and Commerce
  • SMEA 514: Marine Pollution Management and Policy
  • SMEA 519: Marine Policy Analysis

Examples of what MMA students do in this research area:

  • learn how policy decisions are made in the face of scientific uncertainty and social conflict
  • examine approaches to management and development of ocean resources
  • understand the various actors and their interactions in the field of maritime policy
  • explore the legal, social and political factors that affect transportation decisions
  • evaluate the economic importance of marine transportation and how policy decisions can affect economic values

Examples of related MMA student theses and capstones:

  • Megan Desillier; Nicole White; Sivinski, Seth. 2016. Capstone: Energy Risks In Marine Transportation.
  • McShirley, Kadie; Flittner, Brittany; Nelson, Mackenzie; Peterson, Henry; Rhoades, Emily. 2018. Capstone: Seattle’s Sustainable Seafood Landscape.
  • Arbow, Tressa. 2019. Washington Maritime Blue and the Blue Economy: using diversity and inclusion to advance social justice in the maritime industry.


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