It is the only subtropical applied and basic marine and atmospheric research institute in the continental United States.
The school is divided into six academic divisions:
Additionally, professors from RSMAS teach undergraduate courses on the main University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Florida.
In 1947 the Florida legislature, actuated by the Dade delegation, supports the Marine Laboratory as an agency of the State Board of Conservation, which had no research facility and little budget of its own. In 1953, on Virginia Key, the actual location of the School, classrooms and laboratories were built. Renamed the Institute of Marine Science in 1961, during the 1960s it was part of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences.
By 1969, the institution was a School and named after Dorothy H. and Lewis Rosenstiel, after a major contribution from Rosenstiel’s foundation to support progress in atmospheric and marine sciences. Research vessels are bought and more facilities are built during further years to bear research projects. Oceans and Human Health Center, Pew institute for Ocean Science, National Resource for Aplysia, National Center for Coral Reef Research, the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing (CSTARS), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences sites for the Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center are research programs developed and added to the Rosenstiel School. Today, at Rosenstiel School, over 100 scientists conduct research programs and teach.