Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science
The Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science (MAOS) located at Monterey High School, prepares public high school students from throughout Monterey County for academic and career success. This is accomplished through a challenging curriculum enhanced by collaboration with the many marine related academic programs, research organizations and businesses in the area. Students achieve success through a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to science and technology, with an emphasis on real-world problems, contact with oceanographic experts, hands-on science labs, field studies, and internships.

Guiding Principles:

1. Rigorous, interdisciplinary courses are key to academic success. Direct personalized instruction and support creates a sense of community and improves academic achievement
2. Computer technology in class and lab assignments is critical to student skill development. Using real-world problems in the classroom ensures relevant application of theory, and better prepares students for their future.
3. Developing in-depth organizational, communication, and presentation skills is key to preparing students for success in their careers.
4. Hands-on science labs, field studies, collaborative research projects, and guest speakers are integral components of the science curriculum, and make the connection for students between academic learning and their future career choices.
5. Internships provide students with a meaningful experience, which enhances their understanding of working in the professional scientific community.
6. A student population representative of the ethnic and socio-economic population of our community is ideal to ensure a rich academic and social learning experience.
7. Public high school programs that provide a high degree of challenge for capable and motivated students are a critical element in addressing the national shortage of qualified graduates in the fields of math, science, and engineering.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. What is MAOS?
A. MAOS (Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science), is a college preparatory academy located at Monterey High School. The program is designed for motivated students who are interested in a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with a focus on math and science.

Q. What is the purpose or mission of the program?
A. The mission of MAOS is to prepare high school students for academic success in college by offering an engaging, integrated, hands-on curriculum organized around the Monterey Bay region's rich marine environment. This is accomplished through collaboration with the many marine related academic programs, research organizations and businesses in the area. MAOS is distinguished by its challenging curriculum offerings, hands-on lab experiences, field studies, research projects and internships and its partnership with the community. Student success is achieved through a rigorous, interdisciplinary approach to science and technology, with an emphasis on real-world problems and connections with local oceanographic experts.

Q. What's the difference between MAOS and a regular school?
A. MAOS has a small-school environment, an integrated curriculum, hands-on learning through labs and field studies, and many activities focusing on the ocean, science and technology. Students participate in field studies and hear guest speaker presentations, as well as completing a mandatory 80 hour internship in a math or science related field. Completion of the MAOS program assures that students have completed all admission requirements for the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems.

Q. What is the benefit of the field studies and guest speakers?
A. MAOS goes on a variety of field studies that deal with ocean, sciences and technology. Past visits include Monterey Bay Aquarium, Moss Landing Marine Lab, Naval Postgraduate School, Hopkins Marine Lab, The Steinbeck Center, Elkhorn Slough, Asilomar and Del Monte Beach. Guest speakers are usually representatives of local scientific and research organizations working in the fields of oceanography and marine science. This aspect of the program makes the connection for students between academic learning and real world application.

Q. What is the purpose of the Internship requirement?
A. Each student arranges for their own internship in a math or science related organization that interests them. They complete 80 hours of work under supervision of a professional who acts as a mentor. The purpose is best expressed by a quote from one student's Internship Log, "In all, this is probably one of the most memorable periods of my life……I now have an understanding of the scientific process through real world experience and know what to truly expect in going into a scientific field.”

Q. Do you have to want to be a scientist to participate?
A. No. MAOS is a college preparatory academy with academically rigorous classes across the entire curriculum. However, the program’s focus is on math, science and marine studies to bring relevance to the curriculum and to give students the opportunity to learn by doing hands-on activities. Students should have an interest in math, science and marine studies since these subjects are a focus of the program. MAOS students are required to take a minimum of four years of math, science, and English.

Q. Can MAOS students participate in other high school activities?
A. Yes, of course. Students participate in many other activities such as orchestra, chorus, band, sports and other extracurricular activities found at Monterey High School. This is one of the advantages of the MAOS location on the Monterey High campus.

Q. What are the requirements to apply and how are applications obtained?
A. Student should be willing to learn and interested in rigorous classes which MAOS offers in preparation for college. Selection is open to students throughout Monterey County and is increasingly competitive. Admission is based on an application process, which includes transcripts, teacher recommendations and an essay. Applications may be downloaded from the MAOS website at or this web page (on the right side of the page).

Q. Is there a cost involved in enrolling?
A. MAOS is a non profit academy located at Monterey High School. There is no “tuition”; however grants and parent donations provide the necessary funding for the program. A donation of $650 per year (per student) is requested from each MAOS family.

Q. Are MAOS graduates prepared for college?
A. Yes. Completion of the MAOS curriculum assures that students have completed all requirements for acceptance into California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) systems. Nearly 100% of our graduates have been accepted into four year universities where they have been very successful.

Q. How much does it cost to operate the program?
A. Ongoing operation of the program costs approximately $160,000 per year, above the standard district budget. This averages to about $650 per year per student. These funds cover the cost of planning time for the staff, staff support, equipment, field studies, and operation of the internship program.

Q. Who oversees the program?
A. MAOS is currently overseen by Friends of MAOS, a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose community based board of directors, together with the MAOS staff, are responsible for long-range planning, community relations and funding for the program. MAOS receives funds through grants, parent donations, and fundraisers held throughout the year.
MAOS | Excellence in Math & Science
Contact: (831) 402-5776
Ron Woods
MAOS Director
Kelly Hertlein
MAOS and Alpha A-Co Counselor