Oregon State University

College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences

Marine Resource Management Program

Ruggiero near-shore research

Training Tomorrow's Leaders, Informing Today's

Locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally there is a revolution in interest in marine systems and their interaction with the structure, process and functioning of atmospheric and terrestrial systems. Changes in marine systems and processes are inevitable, as are the accompanying sociopolitical, socioeconomic, demographic and institutional changes that continue to provide opportunities and challenges for managers of marine resources.

Marine and coastal issues are technically and politically complex, involving many interests, perspectives, and stakeholders. To deal effectively with these issues, marine resource managers need a broad-based background in both natural and social sciences. Marine resource managers of the present and future must be capable of generating, identifying, requesting, analyzing and synthesizing scientific and practical information into meaningful management decisions and policy and management recommendations.

Established in 1974, Marine Resource Management (MRM) is a science-based, interdisciplinary master's program based in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS). The program provides students with the multidisciplinary training necessary to bridge the gap between sciences and policy and function confidently and effectively in professional resource management positions.

The mission of the MRM program is to foster cooperative discovery and learning about the conservation and use of marine resources. Our strength lies in our core values and principles, and they guide everything we do. Our students and faculty know this, and our alumni, located around the world, are our ambassadors. The MRM program:

  • is rooted in natural and social science,
  • links science, policy, and practice to management and education,
  • believes critical, creative, and practical thinking are needed to advance disciplines, create policy, and make tradeoffs and decisions to create opportunity and avoid or solve problems, and
  • is committed to discovery, learning, and engagement in partnership.

Our coursework is founded on the core oceanography courses in CEOAS and designed to include courses in the natural sciences, the social sciences (including but not limited to marine law and policy, education, economics, and culture). We have five, flexible, interdependent areas of focus:

Examples of this interdependence and flexibility are listed below. For instance, we've attracted and supported students who want to

  • prepare for a career in port management working on maritime transportation and marine pollution issues,
  • prepare for a career in aquaculture or fisheries and how these industries will adapt to changes in climate such as ocean acidification or hypoxia,
  • prepare for a career in coastal planning for marine energy,
  • prepare for a career in marine conservation education on a formal or informal level,
  • continue their education and earn a PhD but recognizes the value of first obtaining a strong understanding of management.

As such, the MRM program is designed to provide our graduates with skills that are far more diverse than those offered by traditional disciplinary-based programs:

  • Integrating ecological and human dimension science with sound management and governance practices.
  • Using supporting management tools (permits zoning, GIS, impact assessments) within the social and institutional context in which they work best.
  • Integrating management at a local level with management at national and global scales.
  • Weighing impacts across time, comparing short-term costs and benefits against long-term costs and benefits.

MRM students also gain a detailed understanding of:

  • The physical and biological systems that operate in the marine environment, their interface with atmospheric and terrestrial systems and how these systems are expected to respond to natural and human induced change.
  • How to pose appropriate research questions that inform management and governance actions.
  • Experimental design in practicing marine resource management by developing and testing scientific hypotheses and by gathering and analyzing relevant data to test these hypotheses.

More than 60 faculty members from CEOAS, other university departments, and outside institutions are partners with MRM. These partnerships include scholars from fisheries and wildlife, geosciences, applied economics, integrative biology, political science, sociology, anthropology, Sea Grant, private industry, nongovernmental organizations, and state and federal agencies.

At any given time, roughly 20-30 students are actively engaged in the program; our students have come from 47 U.S. states and 23 other countries. Since its inception, the program has supported the education of over 275 graduates who are employed throughout the world and are making a difference to the management and understanding of marine systems. The program has earned national and international recognition for its exceptional training of marine management professionals. Explore our program through these web pages and find out how we can help you make a difference.

For more information please contact Flaxen Conway (Director).

For guidelines on how to apply, see Marine Resource Management Graduate Program Application Instructions.