Thank you for your interest in applying to the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs at the University of Washington.

This two year course sequence begins every Autumn quarter and students are admitted to the program only during that quarter.

Choosing a graduate school is not an easy nor inconsequential decision. To help you decide if SMEA is the place for you, we encourage and welcome prospective students to schedule an in-person visit where we will arrange for you to attend classes and meet with both students and faculty, so you can get a full picture of our school. Please see our Visiting SMEA page to arrange your visit.

Other important information is detailed below and in the Procedures page on this site.

Application Deadlines

Applications for admission in Autumn quarter 2022 must be received by the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs by December 15, 2021. However, applicants are strongly advised to send their completed applications as early as possible.

Admission to the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs is competitive due to the limited number of places available and the excellent quality of applicants. Successful applicants typically rank highly on some of the following:

  • A demonstrated ability to maintain good grades, particularly in areas pertinent to the marine and environmental affairs field
  • Significant practical/professional experience in teaching, research, government, business, or industry
  • Strong recommendations from undergraduate instructors, advisors, professional supervisors or colleagues
  • A thoughtfully considered and clearly stated career objective

While there is no undergraduate major preferred as a prerequisite to graduate study at the School, many students enter the program from backgrounds in the social, technological, and environmental sciences. Individuals with major experience in the humanities are encouraged to apply, particularly if there is evidence of special interests and aptitudes supporting a career objective in the marine and environmental affairs area.

For example, a communications background may support a career goal in marine affairs journalism; strength in one or more foreign languages may support an interest in international aspects of marine and environmental policy or resource management. The total background of the individual is evaluated as well as particular strengths and weaknesses and, in some cases, a strong background in one area (such as professional experience in the field) may balance out a less satisfactory performance in another (such as undergraduate studies).

Applicants to the MMA degree program must meet the admission standards of both the University of Washington Graduate School and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs.

To be accepted by the Graduate School, an applicant must have:

  • Completed an undergraduate program of study recognized as appropriate preparation for graduate work;
  • A minimum of a 3.0 (B) grade point average for coursework taken during the last 60 semester or 90 quarter hours if the cumulative GPA is less than 3.0;
  • The ability, as determined by the University, to make satisfactory progress toward a graduate degree.
  • GRE scores will not be required in Fall 2021 applications for Fall 2022 admission.

Selecting Tracks and Faculty Advisors

Applicants will be asked to select their preference of either the Professional or Thesis track at the time they apply for admission to the MMA program, however official track selections will be made within the student’s first quarter of study.

Admission to the Thesis track requires concurrence of a faculty advisor, and students must propose a research project and establish their thesis committee by the end of winter quarter of their first year.

It is not necessary to select a faculty advisor prior to entering the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs. Each incoming student is assigned to a faculty member who will serve as the First Year Advisor and who will assist the student in planning his/her program and identifying a Capstone Project Advisor (for the professional track – capstone option), a Course Planning Advisor (for the professional track – course-only option) or  a Thesis Committee Chair (for the thesis track) over the course of the first year. If applicants have a preference for an advisor they should indicate that in their application.

Any time during the first year, the First Year Advisor may be replaced by a Capstone Project Advisor or Thesis Committee Chair, who will help the student identify a capstone project or thesis committee and will direct academic work over the remainder of the student’s program of studies.

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