FAQs

What degrees does MLML offer? 

MLML offers a Master's of Science (M.S.) degree in marine science. 

How is MLML affiliated with the California State University (CSU) system?

MLML serves as the marine science graduate program for a consortium of 6 CSU campuses: CSU East Bay, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU Stanislaus, Fresno State, Sacramento State, San Francisco State, and San José State. Every student in the MLML program is officially enrolled through one of these campuses. Students register for classes, pay tuition/fees, and receive financial aid through this “home campus,” and this campus also awards the official diploma and transcripts. All classes and academic programs are held at MLML’s main facility in Moss Landing.

Does MLML admit new students for the spring semester?

No, MLML accepts new students for the fall semester only.

How does the application process work?

All applicants must submit one online application to MLML by Feb. 1, and one online application to their chosen CSU campus by Feb. 1. All applicants must then submit supporting documents to MLML by Feb. 15, and supporting documents to their chosen CSU by Feb. 15. More information can be found here.

How much will it cost to finance my education at MLML, and what funding is available?

Tuition and fees vary by CSU campus. The current cost of attendance for each of the five CSU consortium campuses currently accepting applications for the MLML program can be found at the following links:

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Students are strongly encouraged to secure independent financial support during the duration of their time at MLML. MLML can provide limited financial support in the form of some graduate assistantships (GAs), as well as some internal grants and scholarships. It is the responsibility of the student to contact his/her faculty advisor(s) about GA positions and other potential funding sources. Additionally, each CSU campus may offer campus-specific funding opportunities. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their home campus Financial Aid office, and to complete an annual FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as needed. Many of our students work during their graduate school education and would be happy to provide insight into managing work and school responsibilities at the same time. If you area prospective student interested in getting in touch with current students, please contact MLML's Graduate Program Coordinator.

Can I enroll as a part-time student? 

Students should plan to be enrolled full-time for the duration of their tenure, though some students enroll half-time while completing the thesis.

Can I transfer courses taken at another institution?

Once in the program students may transfer up to 6 units of coursework completed at another institution. Courses taken to fulfill the requirements of another degree are not eligible for transfer credit, but can be used to waive a required course.

Does MLML have a minimum GPA or GRE score required for admission?

MLML has no GPA or GRE minimums, but admitted students generally have a GPA of 3.2 or greater and GRE scores in the upper 30th percentile. CSU campuses generally set a minimum GPA for admission, and all MLML applicants must meet CSU minimums for admission. MLML does not require applicants to take the GRE, but a good score on either the GRE general test or a relevant GRE subject test can improve an applicant's chances for admission. As such, MLML strongly recommends that prospective students take the GRE before applying.

How will my application be evaluated?

MLML evaluates applications holistically, taking into account past academic performance, relevant professional experience, and the applicant’s likelihood of success within our interdisciplinary program. The field of marine science is highly competitive, as is acceptance into the MLML M.S. program. Students accepted into the program typically have a well-rounded background in science and math in general and the marine sciences in particular, and research experience. Applicants should email the potential MLML faculty advisor(s) to whom they are considering applying for more specific guidance.

Do you offer tours for prospective students?

At this time, MLML does not offer organized tours for prospective students, but we encourage you to contact a member of the MLML faculty directly to schedule an individual tour of the lab and to discuss the graduate program.

Where do students live? Is student housing available?

Most of our students live within a 30-minute commute of the lab—in Santa Cruz, Prunedale, Salinas, Marina, Seaside, and Monterey. MLML does have very limited student housing (4 bedrooms in 2 shared houses) on campus; these rooms are leased to students each year for the duration of the academic year, with preference given to new incoming students each year and with a maximum of a one-year lease per student.

How many students are accepted each year?

MLML’s M.S. program is highly competitive. While there is no set maximum or minimum of students accepted each year, MLML generally accepts around 15 new students each year. This number varies from year to year depending on individual faculty advisors, current research projects underway in their labs, and the number or students they are currently looking to accept into their labs. For the last few years, our acceptance rate has been about 25% of applicants.

Does MLML offer a scientific diving program?

Yes. Scientific diving has been an integral part of MLML since the labs opened in 1965. For more information, check out the dive program website.

What is campus life like at MLML?

MLML prides itself on its sense of community and the cohesion of students, faculty, and staff. The campus is the foundation of this community, and you will often find students and faculty working together in one of several meeting and study rooms. In addition, the student body has created a yearly tradition of planning community events including: Halloween party, lab-wide bowling and bonfires, and the annual public Open House.