Combining studies in ocean policy with the science of the sea

An interdisciplinary approach is needed in the increasingly complex and technical management of our oceans.

Effective handling of ocean issues depends on an understanding of the natural environment, the technology that allows exploration and exploitation of that environment, and the social factors that govern those activities. From the local to the global level, individuals and governments must be prepared to assess chemical, biological, geological, legal, political, economic and other implications of policy decisions.

The University of Hawai‘i is uniquely qualified to combine natural and social science perspectives in a professional education program.

Located in the Pacific, with established ties to Asia and Mainland U.S. coasts and Pacific island nations, the University of Hawai‘i at M?noa is home to world-class academic and research programs relating to the sea under the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and to the human-environment interface under the College of Social Sciences and the Environmental Law Program of The William S. Richardson School of Law. An interdisciplinary steering committee oversees the certificate program, and instructors include UH faculty members and experts from the professional community in Hawai‘i. The program provides opportunities to network with peers and professionals who share an interest in marine affairs and policy, ocean resources, and coastal management.

The Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate program allows creation of individualized curricula to augment graduate training and professional experience.

Classified UHM graduate students and law students in good standing are eligible for the program. Community professionals who hold bachelor's degrees and who meet minimum UHM admission requirements are admitted as special, non-degree students on approval from the Graduate Division.

Full- or part-time students may participate.

Each student will have an interdisciplinary supervising committee that will help develop an individualized certificate program. Students with scientific/technical backgrounds emphasize policy track courses, while those with non-technical training enroll in more science track courses.

Certificate requirements for all students include:

  • Completing 16 credits in coursework drawn from an approved list (includes courses in law, geography, urban and regional planning, and economics in the policy track and from oceanography, botany, zoology, geology and geophysics, meteorology, and engineering in the science track).
  • Participating in one interdisciplinary, integrative seminar in ocean policy each semester. The seminar will be team-taught with content focused on a new topic each term, 2 credits per semester.
  • Preparing and presenting a research paper.
  • Completing two one-credit practica 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. (Can be waived on the basis of past experience.)
  • Maintaining a minimum grade point average.

The University of Hawai‘i‘s Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate Program offers the best in comprehensive interdisciplinary training integrating law, social sciences and science and technology as they relate to our oceans.

Designed for:

  • ocean industry managers and policy makers.

The program offers the technical background necessary to assess the scientific requirements and implications of policy decisions.

  • scientists and technologists.

The program provides an understanding of legal, political, economic, and social forces that affect the oceans and ocean activities.

  • working managers and professionals.

Participants receive training on a flexible schedule and may earn a certificate without enrolling in a formal degree program.

  • graduate students.

Within the academic structure of existing programs, the certificate provides the interdisciplinary focus needed to work in the real world of ocean-related careers.


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*All Applications and Reference Letters*
should be sent to the Geography Dept., Saunders Hall 443, and not to the Oceanography Dept. as printed on the application form.