College of Science

Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Program

Graduate Students

CMEP offers a number of funding and research opportunities for graduate students. A complete listing of our programs can be found below.

  • Lauren Parker conducting a scuba dive survey
    NOAA CCME graduate student Lauren Parker conducting a scuba dive survey
    Taylor Eddy conducting drone surveys at Catalina Island
    NOAA CCME graduate student Taylor Eddy conducting intertidal monitoring studies using aerial drones on Catalina Island

    Through membership in the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems, CMEP provides financial support for graduate studies leading to the Master of Science degree at CSU Monterey Bay. Center research emphases include Coastal Resilience, Coastal Intelligence and Place-Based Conservation. Visit the CCME research page for a comprehensive review of the center's research areas. Students applying to the thesis program in Environmental Science at CSUMB or the Marine Science Program at Moss Landing Marine Labs are eligible for funding. Prospective students must have a CSUMB faculty member as their primary advisor. The application for fellowships is now open.


    • U.S. Citizen
    • Undergraduate degree in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
    • Must plan to enroll or be enrolled in the thesis track in or the Marine Science Program at Moss Landing Marine Labs
    • Must earn and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA

    Student Support

    • One year of stipend ($20,000)
    • Full in-state tuition support
    • $10,000 research scholarship
    • $5,000 scholarship to participate in a virtual NOAA internship
    • Additional travel and research support available

    Application Instructions

    To begin the application process follow the steps below.

    1. Contact a participating faculty member from the list below about your interest in graduate school and the NOAA funding.
    2. Contact the coordinator for your preferred graduate program (contact information below), Environmental Science at CSUMB or Marine Science at Moss Landing. The graduate coordinators can provide you with information on admission requirements for each program.
    3. Complete the application for the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Graduate Fellowship. Access the application here: 1 Year NOAA CCME Graduate Opportunity Application

    The application will require the following documents:

    • Personal Statement (The personal statement submitted as part of your graduate school application will suffice.)
    • Proposed Plan of Research: This should be no longer than 2 pages and should cover your proposed graduate research and how it aligns with at least one of the research focus areas of the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME). Visit the CCME research page for a comprehensive review of the center's research areas.
    • Academic Resume or CV
    • College Transcripts (Unofficial or "released to student" version is fine!)

    Application Deadline: September 24, 2020 at 11:59 PDT

    If you require assistance during the application process, please contact us at

    Environmental Science

    Susan Alexander, ES Program Coordinator,, (831) 582-3718

    Dr. John Olson (, Research Interests: Freshwater Ecology, Water Quality, Bioassessment

    Dr. Arlene Haffa (, Research Interests: Sustainable Agriculture, Climate Change, Microbial Bioremediation

    Dr. Daniel Fernandez (, Research Interests: Physics, Sustainability and Alternative Energy, Fog Water Collection

    Dr. Nathaniel Jue (, Research Interests: Functional, Evolutionary, and Ecological Genomics, Bioinformatics

    Marine Science

    Terra Eggink, MLML Graduate Coordinator,, (831) 771-4401

    Dr. Corey Garza (, Research Interests: Marine Landscape Ecology, Intertidal Community Dynamics, Geospatial Technology

    Dr. Alison Haupt (, Research Interests: Kelp Forest Ecology, Anthropogenic Effects on Marine Ecosystems, Population Connectivity, Conservation Genetics

    Dr. James Lindholm (, Research Interests: Sub-Tidal Ecology, Approaches to Image Analysis, Science-Policy Interface

    Dr. Steve Moore (, Research Interests: Benthic Marine Ecology, ROV Engineering, Biomechanics

    Dr. Sherry Palacios (, Research Interests: Phytoplankton Biodiversity, Meso-Scale Ocean Features, Remote Sensing, Aquatic Optics

  • Cecelia in the marsh.
    Students in Elkhorn Slough

    The NOAA Office for Coastal Management is pleased to announce that the federal funding opportunity (FFO) for the Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship has been published. This new program will offer graduate students admitted to or enrolled in a Master’s or Ph.D. program the opportunity to conduct estuarine research within a National Estuarine Research Reserve. One fellowship will be offered at each of the 29 reserves in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. In 2020 one position will be available for a graduate student to conduct research at Elkhorn Slough Research Reserve. Fellows will focus their research on key reserve management questions. Each 2-year project will employ the tenet of collaborative research, including engaging end-users, incorporating multi-disciplinary perspectives, and ensuring outcomes are applicable to local management needs and decision-making. A strong focus will be placed on mentoring the fellows at a local and national level, as well as providing professional development opportunities to build the next generation of coastal professionals.

    Fellowship Benefits

    • The ability to develop meaningful cross-discipline research projects in conjunction with scientists, community leaders, and other organizations.
    • Networking opportunities with the annual fellowship class of 29, plus the other professionals across the reserve system, NOAA, and community partners.
    • Personal guidance and mentoring in a variety of disciplines, including facilitation and communication. Fellows will also have quarterly career-readiness training.

    Student Support

    • $41,000 per year stipend, includes research and travel support.
    • $7,000 annual supply and equipment budget

    Application Deadline: December 20, 2019

    Application and additional information can be accessed here: Margaret A. Davidson Fellowship

    For additional information on the program and research projects available at Elkhorn Slough, please contact Dr. Kerstin Wasson at

  • The NOAA Graduate Research and Training Scholarship Program (GRTSP) leverages the initial investment made by the agency in the NOAA EPP/MSI Cooperative Science Centers (CSC) to provide funding opportunities for current CSUMB graduate students. GRTSP is intended to help establish a pipeline of well-trained and educated individuals who attend Minority Serving Institutions, and earn degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines that support NOAA’s mission.

    Applicants must be currently enrolled as a full-time student at one of NOAA’s EPP/MSI Cooperative Science Centers in an accredited graduate degree program. Applications are accepted twice a year.

    Students looking at a tide pool
    Night divers collecting data


    • Minimum GPA 3.5 or above for the duration of GRTSP financial support.
    • US Citizen
    • Undergraduate degree in STEM
    • Enrolled in a CSUMB related MS program and matriculated in STEM discipline that directly supports NOAA's mission.
    • Must have completed 1 academic term of graduate coursework.

    Student Support

    • $36,000 to support tuition and fees as well as other costs associated with opportunities for professional development
    • $7,000 (maximum) travel cost to support research travel and to present findings at conferences.

    For application information, please contact CMEP Director Dr. Corey Garza, Additional program details and examples of previously funded students can found at the main GRTSP site.