HPU’s new Master of Science in Marine
Science (MSMS) degree program starts this fall, allowing students
to engage in research projects and pursue careers in teaching,
oceanography, and marine research.
The two-year, thesis-based master’s degree program will
emphasize laboratory research and field work. Each graduate student
will work on a research project of his or her own design with
a mentor professor responsible for guiding the student through
his or her course work, research, and thesis.
One of the key distinctions of our marine science program is
our focus on science education and training, and less about the
outcome of the research itself. For us, the student’s future
is most important and comes first, before the publication or
the next grant,” said Dr. Alissa Arp, dean of HPU’s
College of Natural Sciences and vice president of research.
We are filling a particular niche not previously offered on the
island by building on HPU’s strengths – a rigorous,
intimate setting between students and professors,” said
Dr. Chris Winn, director of HPU’s marine and environmental
Small class sizes will offer professors close contact with students.
The faculty members involved in the program have diverse backgrounds
and expertise and are “excited, driven, and want to share
their experiences with students,” said Arp, herself a nationally
renowned deep-sea research scientist and educator.
Students will learn to solve complex marine systems problems
and demonstrate competence in scientific communications through
hands-on field experiences, reports, publications, and oral presentations.
These learning experiences will better prepare graduates for
positions in organizations such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Association, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other entities offering
scientific research, consulting, and teaching opportunities.
Their opportunities are wide open. With a degree in science you
are qualified to do almost anything, since students will have
had training in mathematics, writing, and analytical, critical,
and creative thinking,” said Arp.
Students will be based at the University’s 56-acre aquaculture
facility affiliate Oceanic Institute (OI), serving as an invaluable
learning laboratory as students weave field work, experiments,
and lab analysis into their educational experiences and work
alongside professional scientists.
An integral part of the OI-HPU collaboration is that OI scientists
and HPU faculty will team up to work with students and determine
what kind of impact we can have locally on the coastal environment,” said
Students will work with HPU and OI scientists, exploring marine
chemistry, finding potential medical applications from marine
compounds, and conducting research on marine mammal issues,
such as investigating the causes of animal strandings on local
HPU and OI will work together to provide graduates the latest
science and innovation in marine biology, aquaculture, and oceanography,” she
said. “The MSMS program is a key to a strong science
program which will contribute to distinguishing HPU as a leading
Arp also emphasized that the first MSMS degree candidates will
have the unique opportunity of helping shape the program’s
future. “There’s much to be gained from being a part
of a program at ground zero. Professors will play an active role
in forming and shaping the program, and students, as the program’s
founding participants, will—in a sense—become the
stars of the college, receiving individualized attention and
benefits. Everyone, both faculty and students, will take part
in a lifelong connection to a program that is clearly going
to leave an impact not only on the University, but the state