The Five College Coastal and Marine Sciences (FCCMS) Certificate enables students to select from a variety of marine science-related courses, including oceanography, coastal and marine ecology/geology, resource management and policy, and other selected courses to create a cohesive concentration. Under the guidance of faculty advisors on each campus, students choose a progressive series of courses available within the five campuses and in academic off-campus programs (Sea Education Association, Williams-Mystic, Shoals Marine Laboratory, Marine Biological Laboratory, Duke Marine Laboratory, and other approved semester-away programs). Students are required to gain proficiency in data collection through intensive field courses or internships. Students must also participate in a “capstone” independent, marine-related research project, culminating in a poster presentation to members of the program.Students interested in working toward the certificate must first meet with the FCCMS Program Coordinator to determine an introductory course of study. Certificate students are then assigned a FCCMS faculty advisor who ensures a strong concentration in marine sciences, and who reviews and approves the field experience and independent research project. For the 2015-16 academic year, the Amherst College FCCMS advisor is Professor Ethan Clotfelter of the Biology Department.
Requirements:1. Courses A minimum of six courses is required, with at least one course in each of the following categories:Marine ecology and biodiversity
Marine geology, chemistry, and other related sciences
Resource management and policy
At least two marine-dedicated courses must be taken to complete the certificate requirements (listed in bold on the certificate course list on the FCCMS website).An introductory course in marine science is strongly recommended, either through Five Colleges or an approved semester-away program.At least three of the six courses must be above the introductory level and from two fields of study (biology, geology, etc.).Students must receive a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better for all courses contributing to the certificate requirements.
2. Field/Lab Work:Each student must demonstrate competency in data collection by completing a minimum of 80 cumulative hours of coastal and marine-related field and/or lab work. This can be achieved with a combination of courses within the Five Colleges and approved study away programs, summer internships, employment, or volunteer experience.
3. Independent Research Project:Students are required to complete an independent, marine-related research project, culminating in a poster which students will present during a FCCMS poster session. Research projects may be undertaken as an internship, thesis, independent study or other activity acceptable to the FCCMS advisor. Students must submit a Research Project Proposal Form to the FCCMS advisor for approval prior to beginning the research project.
4. Certificate Application Form and Transcripts:Upon completion of courses, field/lab experience, and research project requirements, the student completes the certificate application and meets with the FCCMS advisor for review and signature. Once signed, the student submits the completed application and transcript to the FCCMS Program Coordinator for review by the Steering Committee (January graduation deadline is December 1; May graduation deadline is April 15).
Certificate Award:After the committee certifies that a student has completed all program requirements, Five Colleges, Inc. contacts campus registrars so that the certificate can be noted on the official transcript. Eligible students receive a certificate recognizing their achievement in Coastal and Marine Sciences.
The requirements, application form, and current list of approved courses can be downloaded at www.fivecolleges.edu/marine/certificate.