This page is for students to have entered the MEES Program prior to Fall 2016.   If you enrolled in the MEES Program beginning in Fall 2016 and thereafter, please click here to be directed to the appropriate curriculum information. 

Areas of Specialization 

The MEES Program consist of 6 different Areas of Specialization (AOS) listed below.  Each AOS track is designed to allow students the unique opportunity to tailor their education to their specific interests. The Areas of Specialization are Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Fisheries Science, and Oceanography - which is broken down into Physical and Biological Oceanography.  Each AOS is listed below with a short overview, however just click the name of each AOS for a more information regarding the AOS, program requirements, and admission criteria. 


Ecology is a broad discipline encompassing both terrestrial and aquatic environments.  Specific areas of study include behavioral, community, evolutionary, marine, benthic, limnological, systematic, and physiological ecology.  Variations and/or combinations of one or more of these sub-disciplines are common. 

The objective of this AOS is to train research scientists to apply basic chemical principles to the study of the environmental behaviors of natural and anthropogenic chemicals. Environmental chemistry includes interdisciplinary studies of various realms such as geochemistry, transport processes, and toxicology to determine the fate and effects of chemicals in the natural environment. 

Molecular approaches pervade every biological discipline.  Expertise within MEES includes molecular endocrinology of fish growth; development and reproduction; methods of drug delivery; environmental stressors contributing to fish physiological dysfunction and oncogenesis; mechanisms and stressors of nitrogen fixation; molecular models of marine surface colonization; molecular cues of organism-organism interaction; and invertebrate immunity.  Faculty in this area study macromolecular-environmental interactions using recombinant DNA and hybrid approaches.  The AOS encourages interaction between campuses and is synergistic with other AOS.

This AOS was created for students who do not want to specialize to the extend the other Areas of Specialization require, but would like to gain experience and take courses in variety of scientific, economic, and social disciplines related to the natural environment. These requirements are also very appropriate for students wishing to specialize in environmental management. 

Drawing expertise from the biological, physical, and social sciences. fisheries scientists study populations and communities of aquatic resources, their responses to exploration and changes in environmental conditions, and their management. Research is quantitative and may be either basic or applied.  The multidisciplinary nature of fisheries science requires broad training in areas that may include ecology, oceanography, aquaculture, economics, mathematics, seafood technology, pathology, and disease, and management science. 

USM has emerged as a nationally and internationally recognized center for oceanographic research, with sub-programs in biological and physical oceanography. Students have access to extensive oceanographic facilities within USM.  Fundamental courses in three major sub-fields of oceanography are required to provide interdisciplinary breadth.