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Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science (MAOS)

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is MAOS?

A. MAOS (Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Science), is a college preparatory academy located on the campus of 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, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), 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 his or her own internship in a math or science related field. Students complete 80 hours of work under the supervision of a professional who acts as a mentor. The purpose is best expressed by a quote from one student's internship journal.  This student wrote "All 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 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, www.maosmontereyhigh.orgThe due date to submit applications for the 2016-17 academic year is Thursday, January 7, 2016.

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 college visits, planning time for the staff, staff support, equipment, guest speakers, field trips, and 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.  For more information, please visit our website at or email us at

MAOS Director

Von Saltza, Geoffrey
Science Teacher
Mayone, Therese
MAOS Clerk