Ocean Policy Course

The next Ocean Policy Course will take place between July 16th-28th, 2017. Applications for the course are now closed.



The MARINE Ocean Policy Course introduces ocean-interested early career professionals to ocean policy and governance, and how science influences public policy decisions at the international, national, and state levels. Participants learn about pressing challenges to ocean health, and together with leaders in ocean science and policy, examine how scientists (e.g., social, economic, natural) and researchers can and do work within the policy-making process to address these challenges.

The course uses pressing ocean policy issues to demonstrate the complexity of ocean-related decision-making. Participants examine the roles of natural science, social science, and government institutions in ocean management. Participants engage with experts in ocean science and policy, and participate in field trips, group projects, and other interactive activities. Participants also learn how to communicate with ocean policymakers through hands-on practical exercises. Course materials for other educators to use can be downloaded from the course curriculum package.

For more information about the Ocean Policy Course, please contact: marine@centerforoceansolutions.org 


Teaching Objectives

  1. Provide insight into the structure and practice of ocean governance in the United States at multiple scales.
  2. Explain best practices in ocean and coastal management, and how science and application of these practices have trended over time.
  3. Introduce the basics of environmental law and policy, discussing how it is or may be relevant to students' current and future work.
  4. Engage students in a discussion of how their research and/or academic interests intersect with ocean and coastal law and governance, and the interplay between the two.
  5. Provide practice in skills relevant to ocean governance processes, including interdisciplinary decisionmaking through exercises between students and experts from diverse disciplines.


Underlying Course Themes

  • Ocean issues across scale, scope (e.g., coastal v. pelagic), geography
  • Role of applied science/information in decision making and advocacy
  • The gradient of ocean policy from government sponsored to community-driven
  • The role of interdisciplinary problem-solving
  • Stakeholder perspectives and influences in decision making



Past Speakers

Meg Caldwell, Center for Ocean Solutions
Mark Carr, UC Santa Cruz
Larry Crowder, Center for Ocean Solutions
Nora Deans, Center for Ocean Solutions
Letise LeFair, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Sara McDonald, Seafood Watch
Leila Monroe, Clear Resource Law, LLC
Sarah Newkirk, The Nature Conservancy
Sarah Reiter, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Lisa Tucker, Seafood Watch


Past Course Activities

  • Case-based learning
  • Field trips
  • Group discussion
  • Group project
  • Lecture
  • Personal reflection
  • Professional networking
  • Skills-based trainings


Past Syllabi

2015 Course Syllabus

2013 Course Syllabus