4+1 BS MS

4+1 B.S./M.S. Program in Marine Sciences & Oceanography

Students pursuing a UConn undergraduate B.S. degree in Marine Sciences can apply to use up to 12 credits of coursework taken as an undergraduate towards their M.S. degree in Oceanography offered by the Department of Marine Sciences. For joint B.S./M.S. students, the non-thesis M.S. degree can be earned in a single year after finishing the B.S. The curriculum includes coursework in biological, chemical, physical and geological oceanography and an examination in their final year.

Potential employers include non-governmental organizations, state and federal agencies, secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, and environmental consulting firms. This program may also provide preparation for more advanced graduate studies, although students interested in research are encouraged to apply for the thesis-based M.S. also offered by the Department of Marine Sciences.

Joint B.S./M.S. Program Coordinators: Claudia Koerting (Claudia.koerting@uconn.edu) and the Chair of the Graduate Exam Committee.

Course requirements

This program is intended for undergraduates pursuing a B.S. in Marine Sciences and students must meet all of the undergraduate requirements to receive the B.S. degree.

The M.S. program requires four core courses taken at the undergraduate or graduate level: MARN 4010/5010, MARN 4050/5050, MARN 4030W/5030, and MARN 4060/5065. The recommended sequence of the core courses is provided below in order to prepare for the final examination in Year 5.

Year 4 Spring (undergraduate, 6 credits).

MARN 4010/5010. Biological Oceanography. 3 credits.
MARN 4050/5050. Geological Oceanography. 3 credits

Year 5 Fall (graduate, 6 credits).

MARN 4050/5030. Chemical Oceanography. 3 credits
MARN 4060/5065. Physical Oceanography. 3 credits

In addition to core courses, up to 6 additional undergraduate credits at the 3000-level or above can be used for the M.S. Degree chosen from any elective that is cross-listed as a graduate course including:

MARN 3012/5012. Marine Invertebrate Biology. 3 credits.
MARN 3015/5015. Techniques in Marine Molecular Biology. 3 credits.
MARN 3017/5017. Plankton Ecology. 3 credits
MARN 3030/5032. Coastal Pollution and Bioremediation. 3 credits.
MARN 3812/5812. Seminar in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. 3 credits.
MARN 3505/5505. Remote Sensing of Marine Geography. 3 credits.
MARN 4018/5018. Ecology of Fishes. 3 credits.
MARN 4066/5066. River Influences on the Marine Environment. 3 credits.
MARN 4052/5052. Paleoceanography. 3 credits (approval pending)
MARN 4210Q/5210. Experimental Design in Marine Ecology. 3 credits

With permission, up to 3 undergraduate credits of MARN 4893, 4895, 4896W, or 4898 may be used for the joint B.S./M.S. program.

The remainder of the required 30 credits must be selected at the MARN 5000-level or above based on the interest of the student. No more than 3 credits of MARN 5893 (Research) and 3 credits of MARN 5899 (Independent Study) are allowed.

Required Core Courses

All students in the accelerated program must take four core courses: MARN 5010, 5030. 5050, and 5065. To finish the combined program in five years, MARN 5010 and 5050 should be taken in Year Four as an undergraduate student and MARN 5030 and 5065 should be taken in Year Five as a graduate student.

Students are also required to take at least six credits from the following list: MARN 5012, 5015, 5017, 5032, 5812, 5505, 5018, 5066, 5052, 5210. Six of these credits should be taken in Year Four (as an undergraduate) and can be used for both the B.S. and the M.S. degrees. The remainder of the required 30 credits must be selected from MARN courses, based on the interest of the student and approval of the student’s major advisor. However, no more than six credits can be at the 3000-4000 level, no more than three credits of MARN 5893 and three credits of MARN 5899 are allowed, and no more than three credits of MARN 4893, 4895, 4896W, or 4898 are allowed.

Final Examination

The students in the joint program will be responsible for the material in the four core courses and must pass a graduate examination to obtain the M.S. degree.  The Graduate Examination Committee will proctor the exam and determine passing grades for the joint students. Students may be allowed to redo a portion of the exam following guidelines set forth by the committee.

Academic Qualifications

For admittance to the joint B.S./M.S. program, students should be in Year 3 or later of the B.S. in Marine Sciences, have completed at least 2 semesters as a full-time student at the University of Connecticut, and have a B (3.00) cumulative grade point average or better at the time of application. To apply, students must have completed two semesters of calculus and at least one semester each of physics, biology, and chemistry at the time of application. We particularly look for talented and motivated students who are committed to graduate studies. The Graduate School requires students to maintain at least a B (3.00) cumulative grade point average in the 30 credits used for the M.S. degree.


The student can take up to 12 credits as an undergraduate as part of their undergraduate education costs. The student is responsible for the cost of at least 18 credits of graduate education.


The student may select a graduate advisor from the tenure track faculty or they will be assigned an advisor from the Graduate Exam Committee. The advisor provides guidance in course selection and preparation for the final examination.