The University of Miami School of Law and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) offer a joint degree program in law and marine ecosystems and society. Upon completion of this program, a student earns the Juris Doctor degree from the School of Law and a Master of Professional Science in Marine Ecosystems and Society from RSMAS, ranked as one of the top five geoscience institutions in the United States. (Pictured: Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami)
The M.P.S. degree allows students to focus their course work in one of four areas:
- Aquaculture Track: Focus on the environmental, technological, social, economic, legal and political aspects of sustainable aquaculture.
- Coastal Zone Management Track: Gain exposure to the legal and governance frameworks associated with the sustainability of near-shore waters. These areas present unique challenges to resource managers in the shipping, tourism, development, fisheries, aquaculture and oil industry.
- Marine Conservation Track: Design a curriculum around personal career goals while focusing on innovative solutions to current marine ecosystem threats. This track combines science, law, economics, and policy to foster the conservation of marine ecosystems.
- Underwater Archeology: Focus on the management of underwater cultural heritage (MUCH). The MPS Underwater Archaeology track is primarily technical and introduces participants to the legal and governance frameworks in this increasingly important discipline.
Students who apply for the joint J.D./M.P.S. program must apply to both the School of Law and to RSMAS, Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society. Prospective students must achieve a qualifying score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and on the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to the respective schools. An applicant must notify both schools that he or she is applying for the joint J.D./M.P.S. program and, in order to remain in the joint program, must meet the minimum standards of both schools.
A student may complete requirements for both degrees within seven regular semesters or, subject to course availability, in an intensive program of six regular semesters and two full summers. The joint degree program saves a student 12 credits over earning the degrees separately. An individual would essentially complete 82 credits (rather than the normal 88) in law courses and 24 credits (rather than the normal 30) in marine affairs and policy courses for a total of 106 credits in order to receive the J.D. and the M.P.S. degrees.
The student's work in the joint degree program, whether connected with a course, seminar or individual research project at the School of Law or the Rosenstiel School, must result in a substantial research project of publishable quality in marine law or policy or related scientific issues. Students may use their required upper-class research paper at the School of Law to fulfill this requirement.
Requirements: Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Students must complete at least 12 credits from among the following courses or seminars:
- Administrative Law (3 credits)
- Admiralty (3 credits)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (3 credits)
- Conflict of Laws (3 credits)
- Everglades/Ecosystem Restoration Seminar (2 credits)
- International Environmental Law (3 credits)
- Land Use Law (3 credits)
- Marine Ecology and the Law (3 credits)
- Maritime Personal Injury (3 credits)
- Marine Pollution Seminar (2 credits)
- Natural Resources and Energy Law (3 credits)
- Wetlands (1 credit)
- Individual research in related fields (3 credits maximum)
- Seminars in related fields
A student must complete 24 credits of courses in marine affairs from among the following:
- Advanced Study in Marine Affairs (3 credits maximum)
- Aquaculture Management (3 credits)
- Coastal Zone Management (3 credits)
- Economics of Natural Resources (3 credits)
- Environmental Planning and Environmental Impact Statement (3 credits)
- Fieldwork in Coastal Cultures (3 credits)
- Fisheries Economics (3 credits)
- Geographical Information Systems (3 credits)
- Marine Culture Resource Management (3 credits)
- Ocean Policy (3 credits)
- Political Ecology of Marine Resources (3 credits)
- Other approved courses at the Rosenstiel School such as the RSMAS core courses
Courses will be updated from time to time and students should consult with a faculty advisor, or other designated person, prior to registering for any course not specifically listed above, or to ensure a course not listed will be credited toward this degree. RSMAS, Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society makes no representation that all of the above courses will be available to any given student at all times during the course of his or her studies.
Hear From a Student: Alex Babcock discusses why she chose Miami Law so she could pursue this combination of degrees in Miami which has many of the marine threats experienced around the world and would give her the best overview for her desired career path.
For More Information
Executive Liaison, Interdisciplinary Programs and Initiatives
University of Miami School of Law
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science