Jul 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, Marine and Estuarine Science, Thesis, MS

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

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Department of Biology, College of Science and Engineering

Graduate Faculty

Acevedo-Gutiérrez, Alejandro, PhD, marine vertebrate ecology.
Arellano, Shawn, PhD, marine larval ecology and deep-sea ecology.
Cooper, W. James, Ph.D., Evolution and development of fish feeding mechanics
Donovan, Deborah A., PhD, marine invertebrate physiological ecology.
Miner, Benjamin G., PhD, marine invertebrate ecology and evolution.
Moyer, Craig L., PhD, evolutionary molecular microbiology.
Olson, M. Brady, PhD, marine plankton ecology.

Program Advisor: Dr. Shawn Arellano

Curriculum Coordinators: Dr. Brian Bingham and Dr. John Rybczyk, College of the Environment; Dr. Lynn Pillitteri and Dr. Shawn Arellano, Department of Biology.

For a complete list of participating faculty and their research interests, and for additional information, visit the MESP website.

The Marine and Estuarine Science option is a joint offering of the Department of Biology, College of the Environment, and Shannon Point Marine Center. Students graduating from the program will have an understanding of coastal marine and estuarine environments, biota and topical management issues, and fundamental biological and chemical oceanographic processes.


To offer a first-class research experience for our students that will provide them with the background and skills to enter a variety of professional careers in biology. We aim to provide a stimulating intellectual environment with rigorous scholarship that facilitates multiple opportunities for graduate students.


A bachelor’s degree and departmental permission. Deficiencies in undergraduate courses or those subsequently revealed to the Biology Graduate Committee or to the student’s program committee must be corrected prior to advancement to candidacy. Applicants are directed to the current requirements of the basic BS degree in biology for a summary of expected preparation for graduate work. All students should have completed upper-division courses in genetics, cell biology, ecology and biometrics (or equivalent statistics course), and supporting introductory course work in organismal biology.

Application Information

Admit Quarter: Fall quarter only; spring quarter by petition.

Deadline: The deadline for priority consideration is February 1 for fall quarter. See Graduate School deadlines for other quarters.

TA Deadline: The deadline for applying for a teaching assistantship is February 1.

Supporting Materials: Application with $100 fee; three recent letters of reference; one set of transcripts from every college/university attended; written description of background and research interests, including an indication of three potential faculty advisors. Applicants should contact potential faculty advisors to discuss research and position availability in their labs.

Program Requirements

At least 45 total combined credits from the following areas:

Required Coursework

Thesis and Examination

Degree candidates will submit a thesis based on independent and original research on a problem approved by the student’s thesis committee. A final oral exam will be conducted by the advisory committee. Degree candidates will present a department seminar based on the results of the thesis research.

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