Oct 22, 2018  
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog 
2012-2013 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Fisheries and Mariculture, MS

Program Description

The Fisheries and Mariculture Program offers an M.S. degree with a choice of emphasis in either fisheries or mariculture. Our students enjoy a low student-faculty ratio and opportunities to study the biology of ecologically and commercially important Gulf of Mexico species as well as economically important cultured marine species. Nearly all students receive financial support from assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships awarded by the university and by private and public agencies.

Faculty members supervise student research on topics ranging from fisheries ecology to habitat restoration and aquatic animal nutrition. In addition to university facilities, students can also conduct research at partner institutions including the Texas AgriLife Mariculture laboratories in Flour Bluff and Port Aransas and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Marine Development Center fish hatchery.

Our students learn the skills necessary for positions in both the public and private sectors of the fisheries and mariculture industries. Student research topics have ranged from life history and distribution of dolphinfish, to culture of Pacific white shrimp under limited water exchange, to the relative value of estuarine habitats for finfish and crustaceans. Researchers use an array of quantitative research tools ranging from statistical analyses, to molecular techniques to GIS.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • Exhibit knowledge (breadth and depth) in the fields of fisheries and mariculture including an understanding of the basic skills, techniques and methods necessary for the successful management and culture of select marine species.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct a thorough and complete survey of the relevant scientific literature pertaining to their approved topic of study.
  • Submit for approval a detailed plan of their proposed study in the form of a proposal and incorporate the scientific method into its design.
  • Demonstrate the ability to collect, organize and interpret data and produce a thesis or professional paper from an experiment, study or project.
  • Develop technical writing and communication skills that will benefit them in their professional careers.

Admission Requirements

Individuals seeking admission to the Fisheries and Mariculture Program should apply through the Office of Graduate Studies. In addition to the basic university requirements, the Fisheries and Mariculture Program requires that applications from potential students include an essay explaining the student’s educational and career goals, three letters of evaluation from people familiar with their potential for graduate studies, transcripts of all previous undergraduate/graduate work, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores that are not more than 5 years old. Applicants must include a list of the names of faculty members whom they have contacted concerning mentorship prior to application submission. Although most faculty members in the Department of Life Sciences can mentor a FAMA student, the Fisheries and Mariculture Program Coordinator can provide a current list of faculty actively involved in the FAMA Program and a description of their research. Additional requirements exist for international students, including TOEFL scores from ETS taken within the last two years for students from countries where English is not the native language, and a course by course foreign transcript evaluation through an approved service (refer to the Admissions  section of this catalog). All relevant supplemental materials (such as publications or resumes that include information about relevant experiences) that are submitted with the application will be considered. Send application documents to the Office of Graduate Studies. A campus visit including personal interviews with prospective faculty mentors is highly recommended.

Completed applications must be received by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies by the specified priority deadlines:

Fall Semester: March 15
Spring Semester: October 15

Incomplete applications are not considered. The applicant will be notified of acceptance or rejection by letter.

Teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships, and fellowships may be available to admitted degree-seeking students who maintain full-time graduate student status (9 hours/fall and spring semester, and 3 hours/summer). The completed Teaching Assistant Application (http://www.sci.tamucc.edu/stweb/students/gradfunding.html) and all other materials requested for evaluation should be submitted to the office indicated on that form. For full consideration, the deadline for submitting applications is February 1 for the following academic year. A limited number of fellowships are available, and faculty members conducting funded research projects often hire qualified graduate students as Research Assistants. Students will need to contact faculty members in their field of interest for information on these opportunities.

Non-degree students may enroll in courses for which they have adequate academic preparation, but they may not apply more than nine credit hours of work taken in non-degree status to a graduate degree program. Non-degree students must consult with the Fisheries and Mariculture Program Coordinator to determine those courses in which they may enroll and those courses they may later apply to a Fisheries and Mariculture degree, should they be admitted into the program. Students must earn a grade of “B” or better in each of the prescribed courses in order to have the courses apply to the plan of study.

Academic Preparation

Students entering the Fisheries and Mariculture Program are expected to have a strong background in biological and physical sciences, with competencies equivalent to those required of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi undergraduate biology majors (see the biology section of the undergraduate catalog). A student who lacks adequate academic preparation in a particular subject area, but who is otherwise well-qualified to enter the graduate program, may be required to complete appropriate leveling courses at the undergraduate level in addition to courses specified for the graduate degree. Such courses (4000-sequence or lower) do not count as credit towards the total required for completion of the graduate degree.

Coursework and Research

Courses and research for the graduate degrees are taken with the approval of the student’s committee. Students must demonstrate that the selection of classes or research projects produces a coherent course of study focused on the student’s particular area of emphasis. Depending on the emphasis area, elective and specialized coursework selections may be chosen from biology, chemistry, coastal and marine system science, computer science, environmental science, geographic information science, geology, marine biology, mathematics, or other course offerings as approved by the student’s committee.

The Fisheries and Mariculture Program requires 36 semester hours of coursework. Students are required to take a minimum of 21 semester credit hours (SCH) from regular, graded (non-research, non-variable credit) coursework. Classes or research projects designated as part of the specialized coursework requirement must receive the approval of a student’s committee.

Format and Style of Theses and Professional Papers

The non-thesis professional paper and thesis must follow format requirements established in the Fisheries and Mariculture Graduate Handbook and must be approved and signed by the members of the student’s committee, the Chair of the Department of Life Sciences, the Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, and the Dean of Graduate Studies. For more information, consult the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.

Once the thesis/professional paper is completed and approved by the committee, the results of the research must be presented orally and publicly. The final defense/oral examination usually takes place immediately following the seminar. Graduate students are expected to present their research at a scientific meeting (other than their graduate seminar) prior to graduation.

Upon approval by a student’s committee, a copy of the thesis/professional paper will be sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies. At the time of successful completion of the thesis exam, committee members will sign the thesis and return it to the Dean of Graduate Studies for final approval and signature.

Final Presentation and Examination

All students must successfully present a summary of their research/internship results and complete a comprehensive oral examination during their final semester. During their last semester, students must enroll in FAMA 5102 - Graduate Defense Seminar . To successfully complete this requirement, the student must 1) present and defend his/her thesis research in front of an audience including his/her Graduate Advisory Committee, peers, and other faculty, and 2) pass a final oral examination. This examination will be administered by the student’s graduate advisory committee and will include topics related to: (1 all graduate coursework undertaken in the Fisheries and Mariculture Program, (2 the student’s internship or research project, and (3 broad concepts of fisheries or mariculture, including a familiarity with the literature and pertinent professional societies. Students are responsible for scheduling the presentation and oral examination with their graduate advisory committees. A student failing to successfully complete the comprehensive oral examination may repeat it once by the end of the next long semester. A student failing the oral examination for the second time will be terminated from the program.

The Master of Science in Fisheries and Mariculture

The MS in Fisheries and Mariculture requires 36 semester hours of coursework. A student may request approval for transfer of a maximum of nine semester credit hours of graduate courses from other colleges to a MS in Fisheries and Mariculture degree plan. Thesis students may change between the Thesis and Non-Thesis option at any time with the approval of their committee. Specific option/degree requirements must be met.

1. Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis Master’s Degree is designed to provide a broad understanding of fisheries and mariculture. The student is required to write a professional paper based on research conducted in FAMA 5398 - Internship . The paper will be on a topic approved by the student’s committee and will demonstrate the student’s ability in organization, data collection, and scientific writing. To graduate under the non-thesis degree plan, a student must complete a minimum of 36 graduate semester credit hours.

For non-thesis MS students, three courses form the required research component of the degree: FAMA 5398 - Internship  (taken twice for a total of 6 SCH), FAMA 5397 - Professional Paper Submission , and FAMA 5102 - Graduate Defense Seminar . Students must enroll in FAMA 5102 - Graduate Defense Seminar  and FAMA 5397 - Professional Paper Submission  during their last semester when the professional paper will be completed.

To graduate under the non-thesis degree plan, a student must complete:

Total: 36 sem. hrs.

2. Thesis Option

The thesis Master’s Degree requires a thesis based upon original research conducted during the period that the student is enrolled at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The research must include a review of relevant literature, a description of the results from original research on a topic approved by the committee, statistical analysis when appropriate, and an appropriate discussion of the results. To graduate under the thesis degree plan, a student must complete a minimum of 36 graduate semester credit hours.

Four courses form the required research component of the degree for MS (thesis): FAMA 5392 - Thesis Proposal , FAMA 5393 - Thesis Research , FAMA 5394 - Thesis Submission , and FAMA 5102 - Graduate Defense Seminar . Students must enroll in FAMA 5102 - Graduate Defense Seminar  and FAMA 5394 - Thesis Submission  during their last semester when the theses will be completed.

To graduate under the thesis degree plan, a student must complete:

Total: 36 sem. hrs.


Elective, specialized or topical coursework must be approved by the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee in order to be counted for credit towards the graduate degree. Students may apply 6 hours of FAMA 5940 - Project Research  toward their degree with the approval of the committee.

Master's International Program Option

Master’s International (MI) is a joint program between the Peace Corps and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC). Students in this program participate in Peace Corps volunteer service while earning a Master of Science in Fisheries and Mariculture. Students first apply and are accepted to TAMUCC and then apply to the Peace Corps to participate in the MI program. Eight hours of research or internship credit are earned during Peace Corps service, during which project updates are submitted from the field. At the beginning of their program, each student will develop an appropriate Degree Plan with their graduate committee in order to customize their curriculum.

Students generally complete their required coursework during two semesters prior to Peace Corps service and one semester following Peace Corps service. After their service, students return to campus and enroll in Thesis or Professional Paper Submission, Graduate Defense Seminar, and final electives or research hours. With appropriate graduate committee approval, students in good standing who are unable to complete their Peace Corps service may continue in the Fisheries and Mariculture Program.

Master’s International students will follow the requirements of the thesis or non-thesis track, as determined by their committee.

For Additional Information



Campus address:

Science and Technology Building 319, phone (361) 825-2754

Mailing address:

Fisheries and Mariculture Program, Unit 5800
College of Science and Engineering
Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412-5800