MOP Skill Project

People viewing a posterWhat is the Skill Project?

MOP students are required to complete a MOP Skill Project of their choice and design. Student internships and research projects have encompassed a wide variety of topics including:

  • Marine mammal communication
  • Summer research cruises
  • Artificial reef construction
  • Marine photography and videography
  • Underwater surveys of marine habitats
  • Marine paintings and sculptures

Past projects have run from scientific research to endeavors in the arts. Each year, students from all UH campuses have the opportunity to present the results of their projects at the annual MOP Student Symposium.

Details of the Skill Project

The MOP philosophy is that with only classroom and laboratory learning, you leave college incompletely educated about the ocean. Therefore, first-hand experience is central to the MOP Certificate requirements.

The MOP Seminar (IS/BIOL 104) is designed to help you choose a topic and develop a written plan or proposal for your independent project. By enrolling for credits while carrying out the project, it becomes part of your academic record.

MOP staff help you survey potential topics, identify an appropriate mentor, prepare your proposal and carry out your project in a timely fashion. You can come into the MOP office with an idea, find a ready-made opportunity by reading Seawords (the MOP newsletter), or scan the bulletin board in your campus MOP office for ideas. Not all projects fit the academic calendar; however, such projects can be accommodated. You may undertake a project alone or with one or more MOP students. The projects can be based on- or off-campus. Often MOP can provide supplies, equipment, or funds to assist with your project.

Keep in touch with your MOP Coordinator during the project by submitting periodic progress reports. Projects are concluded by a final report which may be in the form of a written paper, an oral presentation at the annual MOP Student Symposium, a performance, an art show, or in whatever medium best displays your work. MOP Coordinators assist students in selecting an appropriate format for the final report and guide students in evaluating their learning.


No “double dipping” with your major requirements is allowed. No more than six (6) credits may be from a non-UH institution. Three (3) credits should be from a course that shows human impact on the ocean. For UH Mānoa MOP, nine (9) of the 12 credits must be 300 level or higher.

An identical project report may not satisfy both the MOP Certificate requirement and the requirement for another UH certificate or degree. However, the MOP project can be a section or phase of a larger project, such as a senior thesis, or vice versa. This relationship should be clearly stated in the project proposal and discussed with your MOP Coordinator.

Still Have Questions?

For more information on the MOP Skill Project, or for project guidelines, contact Director Cynthia Hunter, or MOP Coordinator Jeff Kuwabara, or stop by our office at Dean Hall 105A during regular office hours (9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.). You can also download helpful information about preparing your Project Proposal on our Skill Project Guidelines page.