Marine-Estuarine-Environmental Sciences (MEES)


The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in the Marine- Estuarine-Environmental Sciences (MEES). The mission of the MEES Program is to train graduate students in the overall environmental sciences. There is a clear need for scientists with training in this area, given the multitude of environmental problems faced by society today. The interests of students in the program are diverse, but generally center on some aspect of the interaction between biological and physical or chemical systems. The analysis of this interaction may be anything from a study of molecular mechanisms to an assessment of the economics of an environmental impact. To ensure that all students in the program have some understanding of the breadth of information in the field of environmental sciences, each student is required to have course work in a variety of areas.

The interests of faculty and students within the MEES Program have led to six formally defined Areas of Specialization (AOSs), from which a student may choose. The AOSs are: Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Environmental Science, Fisheries Science, and Oceanography. Each student will choose an AOS when applying, and both admission and program requirements will depend on the AOS and the student’s background and interests.

The strongest concentrations at UMES are in the AOSs of Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Science and Fisheries Science, with Environmental Molecular Biology and Biotechnology under development and strengthening.

General Information and Program Overview

The MEES Program is a University System of Maryland (USM) interdisciplinary graduate degree program. Courses taken by MEES students are taught on participating USM campuses and at USM research laboratories. A course taught at a USM campus is available to enrolled graduate students through the inter-institutional enrollment process.

Applicants as well as matriculated students in the program should consult the MEES program website for additional information and details on the program which are not covered in the MEES program section of this catalog, and for any updates to the program after the time of the catalog printing. The MEES program comprehensive website is

Overall Degree Program


Applicants will be considered for admission and advising on participating campuses by faculty associated with an appropriate Area of Specialization (AOS) based on the applicant’s requests. Applicants are free to apply to more than one AOS, if so desired. Prospective students may apply through the University of Maryland Baltimore County Graduate School, the University of Maryland Graduate School at College Park, or the Graduate School at UMES. In general, a student who has identified a specific member of the faculty with whom to work should apply to the campus where that faculty member is affiliated. A student may also apply to a particular campus due to geographic considerations. See the UMES contacts for inquiries and applications at the end of this section.

Applicants to the MEES Program will be considered at both the M.S. and Ph.D. levels. In the event an applicant to the Ph.D. program has only a B.A. or B.S. degree, admission may initially be to the M.S. program with the final acceptance to the Ph.D. program contingent on successful completion of a probationary period (usually one year) and on the recommendation of the student’s Research Advisory Committee.

An Admissions Committee from each Area of Specialization has been established to evaluate the applications of prospective students based on the following criteria:

1. The applicant’s research interests must be clearly stated and relevant to one or more of the MEES Areas of Specialization.

2. The academic preparation of the applicant must be consonant with stated interests and AOS requirements.

3. The undergraduate GPA must be at least 3.0, although some students with a GPA below 3.0 may be provisionally accepted based on related research or work experience.

4. Applicants must submit the following required documents as part of their application for graduate study in the MEES Program:

A.Graduate Record Examination Scores (Only the General Test is required, although one of the Advanced Tests is strongly recommended. See the AOS prerequisites).

B.Transcripts of all college-level work.

C.A brief essay clearly defining areas of research interest and research objectives preferably including the AOS(s) of interest. The essay should be carefully prepared, not in outline form, and will assist with identification of an academic advisor should the applicant be judged admissible.

D.Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with the academic work of the applicant.

The initial screening of an applicant’s credentials is done by the Admissions Committee of the appropriate AOS(s). Each AOS has course prerequisites (described in subsequent subsections). Students missing several of these prerequisite courses may be offered provisional acceptance. Students missing four or more prerequisites will generally not be admitted, and should plan to take some of those courses before re-applying for admission.

Receipt of the application will initiate the search for an appropriate faculty member to serve as the academic advisor for the student. No student will be admitted to the Program for whom an advisor has not been identified in advance. Hence, if prior discussions have taken place between an applicant and a member of the faculty regarding the faculty member’s serving as advisor to the student, that fact should be mentioned in the application and the potential advisor should forward a letter of agreement. The student will be matriculated on the degree-granting campus of his/her advisor, following admission of the applicant by the respective Graduate School.

Application deadlines are:

  • Fall Semester – December 1 to February 1 Spring Semester – August 1 to September 1

For international applicants the application deadlines are:

  • Fall Semester – December 1 to February 1Spring Semester – June 1

Advisors and Research Advisory Committees

Prior to final admission to the MEES Program, students are assigned to an advisor. This person will be responsible for advising on all aspects of the student’s progress through the program. Any request for a change of advisor must be submitted to and be approved by the AOS committee and the MEES Program Director (Central Office).

In certain situations, a student may want a second Academic Advisor. This might happen if, for instance, the professor most familiar with the student’s work will have only an Associate Graduate Faculty status. In this case, it is possible to set up a Co-Advisor team of two professors who jointly serve in the role of Advisor (the other having Regular Graduate Faculty status).

Due to the expected divergent interests and goals of students in the MEES Program, as well as the dispersion of campuses and laboratories, the early formation of a Research Advisory Committee (RAC) is mandatory to develop an individual program. During the first semester of enrollment in the MEES Program, the student and the Advisor must form this committee and submit its membership to the AOS Committee chairperson for approval. The RAC committee should meet during the first semester, and must make its written recommendations for a program of study before the end of the second semester.

A Master’s Research Advisory Committee will consist of three members, all of whom must be Regular or Associate members of a University System of Maryland (USM) campus Graduate Faculty. A Ph.D. Research Advisory Committee must have five members, three of whom must be Regular or Associate faculty as above. The Ph.D. Research Advisory Committee can consist of a minimum of three members, who are USM graduate faculty, until the Comprehensive Examinations, at which time it must have all five members. The student’s Advisor will serve as chair of this committee. The membership of the Research Advisory Committee should not be drawn entirely from a single laboratory or department. Replacement of committee members is expected, as needed, based on the Advisor’s recommendation. The program of study is laid out by the Research Advisory Committee in the first or second semester and will include any missing prerequisites [all prerequisites must be completed within the first year in the program], all required core courses, and any specialized courses the committee believes the student needs. Total required and suggested courses will often exceed the general credit minimum (30 for M.S. and 36 for Ph.D.). The program of study must then be approved by the appropriate MEES AOS Committee and the MEES Central Office.

The Research Advisory Committee is responsible for initial approval of the student’s area of research. Once the student has chosen an area of research, a proposal should be written up and discussed with the Research Advisory Committee. This preliminary research proposal should be brief (3-5 pages), but should cover as specifically as possible the student’s research interests. Students in the Ph.D. program will later develop a more comprehensive research proposal which they must defend before advancement to candidacy. Students in the M.S. program will develop a more complete Thesis Proposal to submit to their Research Advisory Committee as described below. The approved preliminary proposal should be filed with the MEES Program Director’s office (the Central office) by the end of the second semester following entry into the MEES Program.

An M.S. student’s Research Advisory Committee will approve the Thesis Proposal and the Thesis Defense. Master’s students are not required to take Comprehensive Examinations.         For Ph.D. students, the Research Advisory Committee will administer the Defense of the Dissertation Proposal, oversee the student’s research, and administer the Dissertation Defense. Once formulated, the names of the Research Advisory Committee members must be submitted to an AOS Committee Chairperson for approval.

Annual progress reviews initiated by the advisor will be conducted through the MEES Program Central office and the AOS committees to ensure satisfactory progress of MEES students toward degree completion (coursework and research direction).

Master of Science Requirements

The specific requirements for the MEES M.S. degree program are as follows:

1. Course Work

A.A minimum of 30 credits with 24 credits of course work and 6 credits of graduate research. Of the 24 course credits, 12 of them must be at the 600 level or higher. Exceptions and waivers for equivalent courses taken at other institutions may be used to meet prerequisite requirements of the student’s AOS upon approval of the appropriate AOS Committee. Although graduate courses taken elsewhere may serve to fulfill AOS requirements, only six credits from such courses may be identified as transfer credits. Courses used to fulfill requirements for a previously awarded degree cannot be used for transfer credits.

B. One seminar course (MEES 608 or equivalent) must be taken for each year in residence (on average); total of 2.

C. One approved Statistics course (400 level or higher) is required.

D. One graduate course representing significant interdisciplinary breadth, preferably outside the student’s AOS is required.

E. One course or seminar in Environmental Management (a 3-4 cr. course can satisfy ‘d’ above) is required.

2. Thesis Defense

An oral defense of the Thesis, administered according to Graduate School procedures will take place at the completion of the research project. This defense will be conducted by the Research Advisory Committee and will be administered once all other degree requirements have been fulfilled. The Thesis Defense will generally last no longer than two hours, but the time will be long enough to ensure an adequate examination. The Research Advisory Committee also approves the thesis, and it is the candidate’s obligation to see that each member of the committee has at least two weeks in which to examine a copy of the thesis prior to the time of the defense. The Research Advisory Committee may conclude that the candidate has passed or failed. A student may be conditionally passed with the provision that minor changes in the thesis be made by the student and approved by the Major Advisor. A student who fails may, at the discretion of the committee and with approval of the MEES Program Director and the UMES Graduate Dean, be permitted to stand a second defense after acting on suggestions for improvement of the thesis (e.g., collection of more data, use of different statistical analysis, rewriting of the discussion, etc.), at such time as the advisor considers appropriate. Once the thesis has been successfully defended, one copy must be supplied to the UMES MEES Office in addition to the copies required by the Graduate School.

See for a complete progress checklist for the M.S. degree.

Doctor of Philosophy Requirements

The specific requirements for the MEES Ph.D. degree program are as follows:

1. Course Work

a.              The student must complete a minimum of 36 credits, with at least 24 credits of coursework and 12 credits of dissertation research. Twelve credits of coursework must be at the 600 level or above. Credits used to obtain a M.S. degree at a USM campus or other college/university cannot be transferred to the Ph.D. program. However, if a student has completed a M.S. degree, up to 16 credits of appropriate courses can be waived by petition to the AOS committee.

b.             One seminar course (MEES 608 or equivalent) is required for each year in residence (on average); total of 4.

c.              One approved Statistics course (600 level or higher) is required.

d.             One graduate course representing significant interdisciplinary breadth, preferably outside the student’s AOS is required.

e.              One course or seminar in Environmental Management is required (a 3-4 cr. course can satisfy’d’ above).

2. Examinations

Formal application for advancement to candidacy for the doctoral degree requires successful completion of both a Comprehensive Examination and an oral Defense of the Dissertation Proposal. The Comprehensive Examination must be passed before the student can defend the Dissertation Proposal.

aComprehensive Examination

The MEES Program central office has both general MEES and specific AOS committee guidelines available for comprehensive examinations.

The Research Advisory Committee is responsible for administering the comprehensive examination. Since this examination must be successfully completed before the dissertation proposal can be defended, it is in the student’s best interests to take the Comprehensive Examination as early as possible in the Program. The exam must be taken by the end of the student’s fifth semester. This examination is intended to determine whether the student demonstrates sufficient evidence of scholastic and intellectual ability in major and related academic areas. The examination will not be a defense of the research proposal. Areas of the examination will be chosen by the student with the committee’s approval, from a general list formulated by the AOS Committee. One area of the examination must be chosen for interdisciplinary breadth (e.g., relating to the interdisciplinary course from the core curriculum).

The examination will include a combination of written and oral sections. The Research Advisory Committee will determine whether the student passes (a minimum of four affirmative votes is required), or fails. If failed, the examination may, at the recommendation of the Research Advisory Committee, be taken again. In this case the examination should be repeated within one year, but no sooner than six months, after the initial examination. If the examination is failed a second time, admission will be cancelled. Any conditional passing of the examination must be satisfied before the examination can be rendered “successfully completed.” The MEES Program Director’s office (the central office) must be notified at least two weeks in advance of the pending examination. A report of the examination will be filed with the Director’s Office following the examination.

The USM interactive video network system may be used for oral comprehensive examinations and dissertation proposal defenses but all committee members, the student and the Graduate Dean must agree to this use. Phone/conference calls are not acceptable alternatives.

bDissertation Proposal Defense

The Proposal Defense is an oral examination on the research proposal administered by the Research Advisory Committee. At least two weeks prior to the examination, the student must supply the committee members with a formal research proposal in which is detailed: background information, research progress to date (if any), specific objectives, and experimental design of the proposed research. The committee is expected to examine the student on all aspects of the proposed research to determine whether the research plan is sound, and whether the student has the proper motivation, intellectual capacity and curiosity, and has, or can develop, the technical skills necessary to successfully pursue the Ph.D. degree. The student passes if there are at least four affirmative votes. If failed, the student must re-defend the proposal within one year. A second failure will result in cancellation of admission.

The research proposal should be defended within one year of unconditionally passing the oral and the written Comprehensive Examination and at least one year before projected completion of the degree requirements. The MEES Program Director’s Office (the central office) must be notified of the pending examination several weeks prior to its administration, and a report of the examination must be filed with the Director’s Office following the examination.

At the successful completion of this defense, the student officially applies for Advancement to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree and should submit the necessary form to the UMES MEES Program office for transmission to the UMES Graduate School. Students must be admitted to candidacy at least six months prior to the Defense of the Dissertation (final oral defense).

Dissertation Seminar and Defense of the Dissertation Research

A candidate for the Ph.D. degree will present a public seminar on the dissertation research during the academic year in which the degree is expected to be awarded. The seminar should, under normal circumstances, be given within five weeks in advance of the day of the oral final examination. The student and the Advisor will be responsible for initiating arrangements through the UMES MEES Office for the date and advertisement of the seminar. The seminar will be open to faculty, students, and other interested parties.

The final oral defense of the dissertation is conducted by a committee of the graduate faculty appointed by the Graduate Dean (this is usually the Research Advisory Committee plus a Graduate Dean’s representative). Nominations for membership on this committee are submitted on the designated form to the UMES Graduate School by the student’s Advisor. This is done by the third week of the semester in which the student expects to complete all requirements, but no later than two months prior to the defense (see the UMES Graduate School’s calendar for Commencement, Fall or Spring semester). The time and place of the examination are established by the chair of the committee. The student is responsible for distributing a complete, final copy of the dissertation to each member of the committee at least two weeks before the examination date. Announcement of the final examination will be made through the UMES MEES Office to all members of the MEES faculty at least two weeks prior to the examination. All final oral examinations are open to all members of the graduate faculty and students, although only members of the examining committee may question the candidate. After the examination, the committee deliberates and votes in private. Two or more negative votes constitute failure. The student may be examined no more than twice.

Following successful completion of the final examination, a final copy of the dissertation must be supplied to the UMES MEES Office, in addition to those required by the UMES Graduate School. **See for a complete progress checklist for the doctoral degree. **

Program Prerequisites

The following prerequisites are required for acceptance into the program itself regardless of specific foundation.  Prerequisite courses facilitate standardization of admission to the MEES program across the Foundation areas. The MEES Program Committee has proposed the following related to programmatic prerequisite undergraduate courses.  These prerequisites are general by design – as there is such a broad spectrum of disciplinary needs and expectations for students dependent on both Foundation and potential advisor.  The general admission requirements listed below would result in provisional acceptance of students, by an admissions committee composed of Program Committee members across the Foundations. Final admission will still be dependent on finding an advisor, who may have more specific requirements.

  • 2 Introductory science courses
  • Introductory science courses are defined as 100 and 200 level courses, generally taken in students’ freshmen or sophomore years in college.
  • 2 Advanced science courses
  • Advanced science courses are defined as 300 and 400 level courses, generally taken in students’ junior or senior years in college.
  • 2 Quantitative courses
  • Quantitative courses can be Calculus-level math (or higher), computer programming, or statistics courses.
  • 2 Foundation-relevant courses
  • At least one of these must be an advanced science course.

The Foundations:


In this foundation, students will obtain foundational knowledge of core theories and methods in the following domains of integrated social and environmental sciences: Coupled natural and human systems, cultural models of the environment, political ecology, participation and governance, ecological economics, and environmental ethics.  Students will develop scholarship and practice in social science aspects of couples natural human systems that includes critical thinking, written and verbal communication, and practice in interdisciplinary fieldwork to hone skills in data collection and analysis, consensus building, and stakeholder analysis.

Courses & Other Requirements (M.S. & Ph.D)

  1. Foundational Course: MEES 620 – Coupled Human & Natural Systems
  2. A minimum of three Professional Development courses from the four subject areas, including a course in Applied Environmental Sciences.
    1. Applied Environmental Sciences (*required)
    2. Scientific Communication
    3. Responsible Conduct of Research
    4. Environmental Statistics
  3. One seminar for each year in residence of the program (up to 4)
  4. Elective courses approved by the student’s advisory committee including at least one 700 level course.


Earth and Ocean Sciences is an interdisciplinary field incorporating fundamental and applied studies of the land-estuarine-ocean system.  Students will gain a fundamental understanding of the movement and transformation of materials and energy between mountain headwater and estuarine, coastal, and oceanic systems, including geomorphology and landscape dynamics, physical circulation and transport, chemical transformation, and biological reaction. This foundational area also includes elements of environmental chemistry, geochemistry, hydrology, and toxicology to help understand and predict the fate and effects of nutrients and contaminants in the environment. In Earth and Ocean Sciences, we use a wide variety of techniques and approaches, including observing platforms and numerical models to investigate processes in each sub-system, build connections across systems, understand processes at multiple spatial scales, and to foster interdisciplinary educational experiences for graduate students.

Courses & Other Requirements (M.S. & Ph.D)

  1. Foundational Course: MEES 640 – Interconnected Earth Systems: Land, Ocean, and Estuary.
  2. A minimum of three Professional Development courses from the four subject areas, including a course in Applied Environmental Sciences.
    1. Applied Environmental Sciences (*required)
    2. Scientific Communication
    3. Responsible Conduct of Research
    4. Environmental Statistics
  3. One seminar for each year in residence of the program (up to 4)
  4. Elective courses approved by the student’s advisory committee including at least one 700 level course.


The Ecological Systems Foundation encompasses a broad array of topics and scales of research, all with the fundamental perspective that understanding the interactions between organisms and their environment leads to valuable scientific discovery and application. From genes to ecosystems and from the mountains to the seafloor, previous student research in this area has included development of techniques in landscape ecology, ecological genomics and fisheries stock assessment.  Tools developed over the course of a graduate student career may include sophisticated field and laboratory studies as well as analytical and simulation modeling.  Faculty supporting this foundation are actively conducting research around the globe from the Arctic and Australia to continental areas such as the American Midwestern prairie and the iconic Chesapeake Bay.  Our faculty draw from the traditions of individual, population, community, and ecosystem approaches, providing students with depth in their individualized training even as the curriculum promotes access to a variety of ecological perspectives.  We are committed to training the future leading scientists and professionals in all aspects of ecology.  Students interested in pursuing ecological research or engaging in cross-disciplinary research that bridges to each of the other three Foundational Areas are strongly encouraged to explore graduate work with us.

Courses & Other Requirements (M.S. & Ph.D)

  1. Foundational Course: MEES 660 – Ecological Systems
  2. A minimum of three Professional Development courses from the four subject areas, including a course in Applied Environmental Sciences
    1. Applied Environmental Sciences (*required)
    2. Responsible Conduct of Research
    3. Scientific Communication
    4. Environmental Statistics
  3. One seminar for each year in residence of the program (up to 4)
  4. Elective courses approved by the student’s advisory committee including at least one 700 level course.


This foundation encompasses research topics that include current molecular approaches to study biodiversity, bioremediation, food chains, discovery of drugs and enzymes from marine microbes and macoorganisms, sustainable aquaculture, biofuels, biogeochemistry of carbon cycling, and genomics/metabolomics or marine organisms.  An entrepreneurship program is available for translation of scientific research into start-up business through development of business plans and formation of biotechnology start up companies.

Courses & Other Requirements (M.S. & Ph.D)

  1. Foundational Course: MEES 680- Cell and Molecular Biology for Environmental Scientists – Genes to Ecosystems
  2. A minimum of three Professional Development courses from the four subject areas, including a course in Applied Environmental Sciences
    1. Applied Environmental Sciences (*required)
    2. Responsible Conduct of Research
    3. Scientific Communication
    4. Environmental Statistics
  3. One seminar for each year in residence of the program (up to 4)
  4. Elective courses approved by the student’s advisory committee including at least one 700 level course.

Course Offerings

(Note: Credit hours given in parentheses.)


BIOL 600 Marine & Estuarine Ecology (4) Discussion topics include marine environment, adaptations of populations, structure of marineecosystems, dispersion of marine organisms,migration, nutrition cycles, productivity andcatches of fish, food chains and models of thesea. Prerequisite: An introductory Biology, Botany or Zoology course and a course in Ecology.

BIOL 601 Environmental Microbiology (4) Topics include microbial ecology of plants andanimals, aquatic microbial ecology (includingmedical implications), soil microbial ecology,biodegradation, microbial insecticides,gastrointestinal microbiology, microbiology offoods and management of environmentalproblems. Each student will be required tocomplete an independent research project. Prerequisite: General Microbiology

BIOL 621 Environmental Endocrinology (3) Topics include impact of environmental factorson endocrine and neuroendocrine systems invarious animal species; hormonal andadjustments to environmental stress; and reviewof pertinent scientific literature. Prerequisite: One year of Biology and one semester of Biochemistry.

BIOL 633 Adaptations to the Marine Environment (3)Topics include physiological adaptation, perception of the environment, feeding and energy budgets, gases and respiration, circulation, reproduction and development. An independent research project is required. Prerequisite: One year of college Biology and one year of college Chemistry or permission of the instructor.

BIOL 661 Community Ecology(4)This course is an in-depth study of the biology of communities with emphasis on factors that regulate abundance, diversity and stability of communities. Current theories on community dynamics will be combined with field experiences and detailed analyses of selected field projects.

BIOL 662 Population Ecology(4)The course is an in-depth study of the biology of populations with emphasis on population structure, factors that regulate populations, and the effect of individual behavior on population characteristics. Field studies and computer simulations will explore selected areas of study.

BIOL 681/ENVS 681 Ichthyology (3) The course covers the diversity, biogeography, and ecology of fishes and provides an understanding of the basic biology and ecology of fish through lectures.  Lectures survey major fish groups that are distributed world-wide, but with emphasis on fishes of Maryland.  This course must be taken concurrently with BIOL 683/ENVS 683 which is a laboratory course part of the course.  Field collection trips are routine for the course.  Prerequisites: BIOL 111/111H; BIOL 112/112H; BIOL 201; or permission of instructor.  Co-requisite:  ENVS 683 / BIOL 683

BIOL 683/ENVS 683 Ichthyology Laboratory(1)This laboratory course covers field collections, processing of fishes, as well as anatomy, osteology, and taxonomy of fishes.  Field collection trips are routine for the course.  Students will be expected to take some leadership roles in the field and organize some field activities.  This course is open to seniors and graduate students.  It must be taken with BIOL 681/ENVS 681 which is a companion lecture course.  Prerequisites: permission of instructor.  Co-requisite:  BIOL 681/ENVS 681

BIOL 688F Fish Physiology(1-4)The course is an overview of fish physiology which fishery biologists and others can supplement with readings in current texts, reviews and research articles. Applicable points of general and comparative physiology are included. Summaries of important anatomic considerations are included where relevant, but the course is primarily for those who have already completed courses in general physiology, chemistry, biochemistry and fish anatomy. It is an IVN offered course.

CHEM 621 Advanced Environmental Chemistry(4)The origin, transport and effects of atmospheric and aquatic pollutants are studied, with emphasis on energy-related pollutants including coal, oil and synfuels. Prerequisites: One year of General Chemistry, one semester of Organic Chemistry and one semester of Analytical Chemistry or permission of the instructor.

CHEM 632 Applied Water Chemistry(3)The course studies the chemistry of both municipal and industrial water treatment processing. Topics include water softening, stabilization, chemical destabilization of colloidal materials, ion exchange, disinfection, chemical oxidation and oxygenation reactions. Prerequisites: B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science. One year of undergraduate courses in Analytical Chemistry and Environmental Science. Permission of instructor required.

CHEM 670 Advanced Biochemistry(3)The course covers the classification, chemistry and metabolism of protein, amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids. Prerequisite: One semester of Biochemistry.

CSDP 604 Computer Methods in Statistics (3)The course is an introduction to principles and applications of probability and statistics needed in graduate studies in various academic areas and to computer realization of these methods. The course begins with a brief intensive review of basic statistical principles. Prerequisite: One semester of calculus.

ENVS 428W/628W Restoration Ecology (3)The purpose of this course is to teach students about mitigation and remediation of altered or deteriorating landscapes.  Restoration ecology is concerned with the effect and control of invasive species, restoring and protecting endangered species or natural habitats, which include streams, lakes, wetlands, salt marshes, salt water reefs, and forests.  This is a graduate, online course offered through WEB-CT and requires written reports and discussion in an online chat room.  Graduate students will be required to generate a proposal for hypothetical restoration research, develop a presentation, and present both online through WEB-CT.  The proposal pitches will be evaluated by other students in the course and hypothetical funds will be partitioned out to successful pitches.  While this course requires no co-requisite, it is strongly encouraged that graduate students co-enroll in the lab component of this course, ENVS 630.  Prerequisites: BIOL 402; or permission of instructor.  Co-requisite: none.

ENVS 430/ 630 Restoration Ecology (1)The purpose of this course is to train students to identify plants, fish, birds, mammals, herpetofauna of sites currently undergoing restoration, as well as measure water quality.  Students will be responsible for leading teams of undergraduate students who will survey three restoration sites.  Students will oversee data entry and be responsible for compliance with quality assurance/quality control procedures adopted by federal agencies. It is a 3 hour/week laboratory and a lab fee of $25.00 applies.  This is the companion course to ENVS 428W/628W.  Prerequisites:  BIOL 402; or permission of instructor.  Co-requisite:  ENVS 428W/628W.

ENVS 437/637 Environmental Soil Chemistry(3)The course extends the concepts of chemistry and physics to the physical, chemical and biochemical characteristics of soil/water systems and their implications for managing contaminants, pesticides and agricultural inputs. Prerequisites: Senior standing or Graduate status. Co-Requisite: ENVS 438/638

ENVS 438/638 Environmental Soil Chemistry Laboratory(2)This is a companion laboratory to ENVS 437/637. The course studies determination of soil properties such as salinity, pH and redox potential, organic matter content, surface area, carbonates and lime requirements, including quality assurance and GIS-based chemical data acquisition.

ENVS 488/688 Coastal Ecology(3)This course provides an overview of ecological principles as they apply to coastal and estuarine environments. The major coastal ecosystems will be discussed and emphasis will be placed on sandy and rocky coasts, marshes, subtidal environments, coastal shelf systems and upwelling, sea grass beds, coral reefs and the rocky intertidal. The effects of detritus, primary and secondary biomass production, plankton, nekton, benthos, and fish stock production will be explored and related to physical processes of the coast. Graduate student credit will require the in-depth research of a topic relevant to coastal ecology and selected in consultation with the instructor. Once approved, the graduate student must research the topic, write a referenced report, and make an oral presentation to the class. Prerequisite: ENVS 201 General Oceanography; BIOL 201 Marine Zoology, or permission of the instructor.

ENVS 603 Marine Ecotoxicology (3)This course cuts across traditional subject boundaries by integrating different disciplines such as chemistry and biochemistry through ecology and statistics.  It provides students with a distinct approach for solving marine environmental pollution issues stemming from stable pollutants and how they interact with biotic and abiotic components of the marine ecosystem.  Course pre-requisites are: CHEM 112, CHEM 211, BIOL 112, MATH 210 and co-requisite ENVS 605.

ENVS 605 Marine Ecotoxicology Laboratory (1)This course is comprised of two hours of laboratory per week and is designed to accompany ENVS 603.  The course will provide hands-on research training to students in Marine Ecotoxicology. Students will learn among other things wet chemistry, instrumental analysis, environmental data analysis and environmental modeling.  Course pre-requisites are: CHEM 112, CHEM 211, BIOL 112, MATH 210 and Co-requisite ENVS 603.  The laboratory fee associated with this course is $25.00

ENVS 611Water Pollution(4)Biological, chemical and physical impurities in water with emphasis on agricultural, industrial and municipal waste pollution including acid mine drainage, detergents and eutrophication, thermal pollution, oil spills and other non-point source pollution will be studied. Further study will include the physical and biochemical processes for wastewater treatment, sludge handling and disposal and land disposal of wastewaters. Prerequisites: B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science. One year of undergraduate courses in Water Pollution and Environmental Science.

ENVS 622 Solid and Hazardous Waste Management(3)The course introduces fundamentals of solid and hazardous waste management that includes their source, characterization, collection, transportation, storage and final disposal.  It also deals with resource recovery and utilization, risk assessment, biological, physical and chemical waste treatment methods/technologies and various waste legislation and implementation.  The course includes field trips to landfills, recycling facilities and waste-to-energy facilities.  A project paper and oral presentation are required. Prerequisite:  Graduate standing in Science or Engineering.

ENVS 634 Air Pollution and Control(4)Classification of atmospheric pollutants and their effects on visibility, inanimate and animate receptors will be discussed. Evaluation of source emissions and principles of air pollution control, e.g., meteorological factors governing the distribution and removal of air pollutants, air quality measurements and air pollution control legislation will also be studied. Prerequisites: B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science. One year of undergraduate courses in Air Pollution and Environmental Science.

ENVS 639 Sources and Effects of Pollutants(3)The course is a study of the sources, fate and effects of various toxic pollutants on man and the environment with emphasis on aquatic and atmospheric pollutants. Prerequisites: B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science with some background in environmental pollution or consent of the instructor.

ENVS 641 Environmental Toxicology(3)Organisms in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere and the effects of foreign chemical and other stress on their health and well-being will be discussed. Prerequisites: B.Sc. in Biology, Chemistry or Environmental Science with some background in environmental pollution or consent of the instructor.

ENVS 660 Earth Science(4)This is an interdisciplinary course designed to show how geology, meteorology, physical geography, soil science, astronomy and oceanography are interrelated in the study of earth and its environment in space. Prerequisites: One year of Chemistry and one year of Physics.

ENVS 684 Natural ResourceManagement(3)Topics include discussion of the availability, use, abuse, depletion and pollution of various natural resources humans need for their survival. The cost-benefit analyses and systems management concepts for natural resource conservation enabling us to save the ‘earth’ for future generations will be addressed. Prerequisites: B.S. in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science or Agricultural Sciences or consent of the instructor.

PHYS 621Physical Principals of Environmental Instrumentation(3)The course is a discussion of advanced physical concepts and their applications in instrumentation used in contemporary research. Construction details and the computer interfacing of selected instruments will also be discussed. Prerequisites: One year of Physics and one year of Calculus.

MEES 608 MEES Seminar(1)
This is repeatable credit with different topics.

MEES 610 Experimental Design Seminar(1)
The course is an exploration of research issues in experimental design. Seminar format includes student presentations and literature searches. Prerequisite: course in basic statistics or permission of instructor.

MEES 698 Special Topics in MEES  (1-3)
This is repeatable credit with different topics.

MEES 699 Special Problems in MEES (1-3)
Special problems in areas related to the natural sciences, agriculture and nutrition are explored.

MEES 799 Master Thesis Research (1-6)
This is repeatable credit.

MEES 899Doctoral Dissertation Research(1-12)
This is repeatable credit.

The following undergraduate courses are available for MEES graduate students to take. No more than 12 credits of 400 level courses may be used towards the minimum 24 credits of course work required of master’s students.

  • BIOL 402        Ecology
  • BIOL 404        Conservation Biology
  • BIOL 420        Animal Histology
  • BIOL 431        Mammalogy
  • BIOL 432        Herpetology
  • BIOL 436        General Endocrinology
  • BIOL 440        Plant Physiology
  • BIOL 441        Comparative Physiology
  • BIOL 461        Invertebrate Zoology
  • CHEM 401     Principles of Physical
  • Chemistry I
  • CHEM 402     Principles of Physical
  • Chemistry II
  • ENVS 411       Water Pollution &
  • Purification
  • ENVS 434       Air Pollution
  • MATH 410     Mathematical Statistics

Graduate statistics options include AGSC 605 Statistics in Agricultural Research and CSDP 604 Computer Methods in Statistics. Variable credit MEES 688 experimental courses may be offered periodically with specialty topics of various faculty members. ***See for other MEES courses offered over the Interactive Video Network (IVN).

Facilities, State-of-the-art Equipment and Field Sites

 Excellent research laboratories exist on campus in the G. W. Carver Science Hall. Research laboratories are also located in Trigg Hall and on the campus farm (Department of Agriculture). For a listing of the laboratories and major equipment and the UMES MEES faculty, see the website: UMES is uniquely situated for studying marine and estuarine habitats. Students have access to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as rivers, ponds and marshes.

External Support of Research Activities

 UMES faculty have received funding for research from a number of federal and state agencies and private organizations, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U. S. Department of Agriculture, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U. S. Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Development Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Forest Service, Agency for International Development and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

UMES Combined B.S./M.S. Degree Program

UMES offers a combined B.S./M.S. degree program in the Environmental Sciences area (Environmental Chemistry or Marine Science option). This is an accelerated program designed to enable students to obtain both the B.S. degree and the M.S. degree in five years. The curricula for the two degrees are administered under the auspices of the undergraduate Environmental Science Program and the graduate MEES program. The combined degree program offers an option or track in either Environmental Chemistry or Marine Science.This is an undergraduate admission into the B.S. degree program in Environmental Science, which allows for subsequent application for admission to the MEES graduate program in pursuit of the M.S. degree in Marine- Estuarine-Environmental Sciences.

MEES Program Time Limits

 Full time master’s students will be limited to four years in which to graduate.

Full time doctoral students will be limited to seven years in which to graduate. Students must be advanced to candidacy, i.e., taken and passed the written and oral comprehensive examination and the dissertation proposal defense, within six semesters after initial enrollment.Part time doctoral and master’s MEES students will follow the Graduate School’s time limits for master’s degrees (5 years) and doctoral degrees (5 + 4). An extension of these time limits may be granted upon request of the student’s research advisory committee, and with the approval of the MEES Program Director and the UMES Graduate Dean.


For further information on the MEES program, please contact:Joseph Pitula, Associate Professor  Graduate Coordinator, Marine Estuarine Environmental Science program  2107 Carver Hall  Department of Natural Sciences  University of Maryland Eastern Shore  Princess Anne, MD 21853  Email:  jspitula@umes.eduPhone: 410-651-6128

Or for the MEES program comprehensive website  MEES Director’s Office –

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