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Study at SoMAS - the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University


Join Us and Make Scientific Research Count at Stony Brook University!

Welcome to the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. We are working on the most important problems on the planet, and want you to be part of the solution!

SoMAS provides future scientists and policy makers with the education, training, and skills to take you wherever you want to go. Our graduate students and faculty explore topics such climate change, extreme weather, marine and atmospheric pollution, fisheries management, clean water technology, harmful algal blooms, feeding patterns of marine mammals and birds, tropical meteorology, and much, much more.

Graduate students at SoMAS have access to top flight faculty researchers and facilities both at SoMAS, in other Stony Brook graduate programs in the basic fields of science, math, and medicine, and at nearby national laboratories. Our location is in close proximity to a wide range of coastal and open ocean habitats.

We are one of the premiere coastal marine science and atmospheric schools in the country, with classrooms, labs, and facilities on the shores of the Long Island Sound, Great South Bay and the Atlantic, and the main campus at Stony Brook. The National Research Council ranks SoMAS in the top 10 marine and atmospheric science programs in the United States.

No previous marine science experience is required! We encourage applicants with strong backgrounds in biology, chemistry, geology, physics, and applied math to apply to our M.S. and Ph.D. programs, and those with strong backgrounds in political science, economics, and public policy to apply to our M.A. program.

Below are projects in which SoMAS faculty are seeking new students to participate – this could be you!



The spatial analysis and the foraging ecology of marine mammals and seabirds using quantitative skills.




Developing molecular genetic tools to understand in more detail the complex life cycles of labyrinthulomycetes and investigate unusual aspects of their biology




Exploring the reactivity of ancient organic molecules found in the sea using radiocarbon dating




Aircraft-based measurements of greenhouse gases, ozone, and particulate matter, from New York City to the Beaufort Sea.




Unraveling the mechanisms of particle selection in suspension-feeding mollusks.








Investigating variations in carbon cycling in marine plankton on a cell by cell basis using state-of-the-art confocal Raman microspectroscopy and atomic force microscopy.




Assessing the effect of pCO2 draw down by seagrasses on benthic community development and resilience to ocean acidification.




Measuring the impact of extratropical cycline activity (ECA) on regional climate variations.




Using advanced numerical models to explore how extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, change with climate change.




Explore benthic invertebrate performance (heartbeat rates, valve gaping, bioturbation) in response to enviornmental change (temperature, salinity, oxygen, pH) to identify stress thresholds in dynamic coastal environments.




Improve our understanding of pelagic ecosystems through the use of active and passive acoustic techniques.






Students with bachelor’s degrees can apply directly to the M.A., M.S. or Ph.D. programs. Students with M.S. degrees can also apply to the Ph.D. program, but an M.S. is not required for entry to the Ph.D. program.

Students with backgrounds in math and the sciences, particularly those with strong quantitative backgrounds, are encouraged to apply. We help students apply the tools of math and science to solve complex environmental issues.

Qualifications for Admission

  • All Programs

    • Completion of a B.A. or B.S. with a cumulative G.P.A. of at least 3.0 (a B)
    • International students without English as their native language must have acceptable scores on the TOEFL (paper: 600, computer: 230, iBT: 90) or IELTS (6.5).
    • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required; however, we will accept and consider scores for applicants who feel it strengthens their application.

    M.A. in Marine Conservation Policy

    • At least 4 semesters of college courses in math or science, including at least one course in biology.

    M.S. and Ph.D. in Marine, Atmospheric, and Sustainability Sciences

    • A B.A. or B.S. degree in a discipline related to the intended field of study, or coursework equivalent to such a degree.
    • At least 8 semesters total of some combination of introductory coursework in mathematics, biology, chemistry, geology, physics, sustainability, and/or related disciplines, with more advanced coursework in at least one of these disciplines.

Admission Application Deadlines

To ensure full consideration for scholarships and fellowships, applications should be received by December 15th for the Fall semester. Applications received before January 5th will still be reviewed but full consideration for financial assistance is not guaranteed. Applicants will be notified via e-mail when all required documents have been received. Financial support is generally only available for students beginning study in the fall semester.

To Apply

  1. Fill out the online application to the Stony Brook University Graduate School.
  2. Prepare your personal statement.Tell us why you want to earn a graduate degree (MS or PhD) in Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. How would your time in our program help to get you from your previous experiences to where you hope to be in 10 years? If relevant, describe how any prior research experience has prepared you for graduate school. Additionally, tell us about other life experiences that have prepared you for graduate work by building transferable skills (e.g., project management, coding, budgeting, work ethic, ability to work in a team, ability to work independently, etc.). Describe your research interests as specifically as you can, including which SoMAS faculty you would like to work with to pursue those interests. Although contact with potential advisors is not required before applying, it is very strongly encouraged. Our program embraces and supports diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); please describe if and how your experiences and goals are connected to DEI. Finally, tell us anything else you would like the Admissions Committee to know in evaluating your application. Aim to be concise; an effective personal statement is often less than two pages. Please note that you will be prompted to upload your personal statement from the 'checklist' page that will appear after you have submitted your application (and paid the application fee) in Slate.
  3. Identify 3 people to provide letters of reference, and make sure they submit them when prompted by Slate.
  4. Have ETS send Stony Brook University your official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (Stony Brook’s code for score reporting is 2548). International students must submit your TOEFL/IELTS scores to Stony Brook (code 2548).
  5. Arrange to have one official transcript from each universityattended sent electronically or mailed to:

    Christina Fink

    Educational Programs Office

    Endeavour Hall, Room 107

    School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

    Stony Brook University

    Stony Brook, NY 11794-5000

* Note: Item 4 applies to all transcripts other than Stony Brook University transcripts. SBU transcripts do not need to be mailed in. Also, the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences does not require supplemental information from applicants.

For additional information on graduate programs, please contact:

Director of Graduate Programs
Jackie Collier | | 631-632-8696

Faculty Director of the M.A. Program in Marine Conservation and Policy
Ellen Pikitch |  |  631-632-9599

Graduate Programs Assistant,  for questions regarding application status or process
Christina Fink | | 631-632-8680