Best Marine Law Schools: List of Top Degree Programs

Learn about degree programs in marine law offered by several colleges and universities in the United States. Discover degree options and courses at four top-notch institutions, and find a table with at-a-glance information about other schools in the country that offer programs in marine law.

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Marine law, or maritime law, is a specialized field of study that examines ocean policy, admiralty and maritime commerce. Universities may offer a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or a Master of Laws (LL.M.) in marine affairs. Or they may provide internships or externships for law students. Many schools have combined J.D. and LL.M. in marine law programs, as well as internships and externships.

We'll take a look at four of the top schools that cover a variety of topics within the interdisciplinary field of marine law.

The University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL

The University of Miami offers over 150 master's and doctoral degree programs. Their School of Law and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science offer a Master of Professional Science and a Master of Science in Marine Affairs and Policy. Various other degree programs are available in areas of study, such as applied marine physics, marine biology and fisheries, and marine geology and geophysics.

Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, RI

Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI, offers four joint-degree programs at the graduate level. In partnership with the University of Rhode Island's Department of Marine Affairs, RWU Law offers a joint J.D. and Master of marine affairs. The program combines legal studies with social science research, emphasizing the preservation of marine resources and maritime commerce.

Tulane University in New Orleans, LA

Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, has an externship program in maritime law that is offered via government offices, federal and state courts, and at nonprofit organizations.

Tulane's Law School offers a J.D. Certificate of Specialization in maritime law, which students may pursue during the last two years of their law programs. Requirements include 12 credit hours of coursework in admiralty, tort remedies and charter parties. Students may also join the Maritime Law Society and take trips to marine industry locations.

College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia

Law students at the College of William and Mary can complete a Coastal and Marine Law and Policy internship. Each semester, students in the program dedicate 2-3 credit hours to the research and analysis of issues relating to coastal and marine law, such as special planning, fisheries management, and jurisdictional regulations. Students work closely with public administration officials, as well as marine scientists, so they build a broad foundational understanding of the field. William and Mary's J.D. program also offers over 100 elective courses for students, including admiralty law.

Top Marine Law Schools

Students can also study marine law at the following schools:

School Name Distinction Location
University of Hawai'i Environmental Law program offers a summer internship and a post-graduate fellowship in marine law Honolulu, HI
University of North Carolina Offers a combined maritime law program with North Carolina Central University Wilmington, NC
University of Oregon Ocean and Coastal Law Center offers a fellowship program in marine law or policy Eugene, OR
University of Virginia Through the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy, faculty members from around the globe lecture on international law Charlottesville, VA

Although marine law programs are not widely available, there are several universities that provide comprehensive education in this interdisciplinary subject.

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