The University of Miami School of Law and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) offer a joint degree program in law and marine ecosystems and society. Upon completion of this program, a student earns the Juris Doctor degree from the School of Law and a Master of Professional Science in Marine Ecosystems and Society from RSMAS, ranked as one of the top five geoscience institutions in the United States.

The M.P.S. degree allows students to focus their coursework in one of four areas:

  1. Aquaculture Track: Focuses on the environmental, technological, social, economic, legal and political aspects of sustainable aquaculture.
  2. Coastal Zone Management Track: Gain exposure to the legal and governance frameworks associated with the management of near-shore waters. These areas present unique challenges to resource managers in the shipping, tourism, development, fisheries, aquaculture and oil industry.
  3. Marine Conservation Track: Design a curriculum around personal career goals while focusing on innovative solutions to current marine ecosystem threats. This track combines science, law, economics, and policy to foster the conservation awareness of marine ecosystems.
  4. Underwater Archeology: Focuses on the theory, field techniques, and management practices necessary to work within the field of archaeology and the broader general field of marine sciences. Coursework integrates topics such as site mapping and documentation, interpretation of shipwrecks and submerged sites, best management practices, marine protected areas, and marine survey technology. UARCH students receive training as AAUS Science Divers during their first semester. Students will have opportunities to work side-by-side with professional archaeologists through internships and field projects with private, public, or non-governmental agencies, both nationally and internationally, and conduct relevant fieldwork.

Students who apply for the joint J.D./M.P.S. program must apply to both the School of Law and to RSMAS, Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society. Prospective students must achieve a qualifying score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and on the General Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for admission to the respective schools. A minimum, combined  score of 297 (Verbal + Quantitative only)  is required to be considered for MPS. An applicant must notify both schools that he or she is applying for the joint J.D./M.P.S. program and, in order to remain in the joint program, must meet the minimum standards of both schools.

A student may complete requirements for both degrees within seven regular semesters or, subject to course availability, in an intensive program of six regular semesters and two full summers. The joint degree program saves a student 12 credits over earning the degrees separately. An individual would essentially complete 82 credits (rather than the normal 88) in law courses and 24 credits (rather than the normal 30) in marine and atmospheric science courses for a total of 106 credits in order to receive the J.D. and the M.P.S. degrees. A maximum of 6 credits from the law school must be petitioned and approved for transfer to the student's graduate record in order to meet the 30-credit minimum for a master's degree. 

The student's work in the joint degree program, whether connected with a course, seminar or individual research project at the School of Law or the Rosenstiel School, must result in a substantial research project of publishable quality in marine law or policy or related scientific issues. Students may use their required upper-class research paper at the School of Law to fulfill this requirement.

Requirements: Juris Doctor (J.D.)

Students must complete at least 12 credits from among the following courses or seminars:

Requirements: RSMAS Courses are identified and organized by each MPS Track

 A student must complete 24 credits of courses from RSMAS:

Courses will be updated from time to time and students should consult with a faculty advisor, or other designated person, prior to registering for any course not specifically listed above, or to ensure a course not listed will be credited toward this degree. RSMAS, Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society makes no representation that all of the above courses will be available to any given student at all times during the course of his or her studies.

For More Information

J.D. (University of Miami School of Law)
Sandy Abraham
Executive Liaison, Interdisciplinary Programs and Initiatives
Tel: 305-284-4030  E-mail:

M.P.S. (Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science)

Maria L. Estevanez  (Track Advising: Coastal Zone Management, Marine Conservation)
Tel: 305-421-4012  E-mail: 

Dr. Frederick Hanselmann  (Track Advising: Underwater Archaeology)

Tel: 512 557-3949  Email:

Dr. Daniel D. Benetti (Track Advising: Aquaculture)

Tel: 305-421-4889  E-mail:

Kandra Velez (Admissions Advising - All Tracks)

Tel: 305-421-4340  E-mail: 

Craig W. Purcell (Admissions Advising - All Tracks)

Tel: 305-421-4340  E-mail: