Certificate Requirements

Minimum Requirements
  • 12 credits of elective courses.
  • 3 credits of one of the core courses (either OEST/SOCS 735, GEOG 621 or ECON 409).
    • Thus, a total of 15 course credits are required. 9 credits must be at the 600 level or higher (500 level or higher for Law courses), excluding 699 and Thesis 700 courses.
  • Preparing and presenting (or publishing) a research paper focused on ocean policy.
  • Completing a policy practicum or internship such as: one week of oceanographic research at sea and observation of legislative or regulatory development concerning ocean policy over the course of a semester (this requirement can be waived on the basis of past experience).
  • Maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
Elective Courses

The objective of the course requirements is to provide each student grounding in aspects of both ocean science and ocean policy.

Recommended courses are grouped into “Policy” and “Science” on a separate list which is updated periodically.  Students whose prior academic background is in the social sciences are encouraged to complete a minimum of 9 credits from the Science group; students who have studied in the natural sciences or engineering are encouraged to complete at least 9 credits from the Policy group.  Courses not on the list may be approved by petition.

  • 100 or 200 level courses do not count. Neither do 399 or 499 courses.
  • No more than 6 credits may be double-counted (i.e. applied to the requirements of a degree and the GOPC), subject to the following conditions:
    • Credits for required courses (in either graduate program) may not be double-counted.
    • Both degrees are completed within the time allowed. See Enrollment Policies > Seven-Year Rule.
    • Written approval from the Office of Graduate Education.
    • Written approval from the second graduate program, or in the case of concurrent degrees, from both graduate programs.

Policy practicum or internship

The objective of the practicum is to assure that GOPC graduates have acquired some degree of practical experience in both ocean science and ocean policy activities. The GOPC Director will assist students in formulating their practicum. Waivers may be granted for the practicum by petition to the GOPC Director.  A written description of the prior experience, one to two pages in length, should be submitted.

Examples of practicum:
  • Research cruise of one week or longer consisting of substantial “hands-on” experience and involvement in the scientific planning and/or analysis.
  • Workshops or classes with significant experiential component focusing on a scientific question or problem, data recording, and/or analysis.
  • Relevant employment, volunteer work, internship, thesis/dissertation.
  • Tracking a bill or resolution through a legislative body and delivering testimony on it.
  • Tracking proposed regulations through an administrative agency and submitting comments on them.
  • Employment or internship with an ocean policy-making or –implementing organization.
  • Holding a responsible position (e.g. board member or officer) and being active in a ocean policy-making NGO (non-governmental organization) for a reasonable length of time.



The purpose of the paper is to provide a vehicle for each student to integrate his or her unique combination of coursework and experiences into a coherent investigation of an ocean policy topic of personal interest.  Co-authored/team projects and papers are permitted.  Not later than the end of the second semester in the program, the student should prepare a proposal for the paper to be reviewed by the GOPC Director.  Ideally the paper should be approved as early as possible, so that the student can begin readings, interviews, and research.  The paper will be evaluated by the GOPC Director.