Marine Ecosystem Management (MSc) 2021 entry
This MSc provides students with a superior understanding of marine systems, exploring the interconnections between the physical environment, biodiversity and the impacts of human activities. Taught by leading experts from the Scottish Oceans Institute, it is designed to prepare students for professional careers in research and management.
Applications open in autumn
Applications for this programme are not yet open, but will be available early autumn 2020. Please register your interest to find out more about this programme.
Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
- Start date: 6 September 2021
- End date: 30 September 2022
Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.
One year full time
- A first or upper 2.1 (Honours) undergraduate degree in a relevant natural science. Applications are welcome from students with backgrounds in biology or marine science, and also from students of physics and engineering. If you studied your first degree outside the UK, see the international entry requirements.
- Training in advanced mathematics and statistics (at least to UK school AS/A-level, Higher, International Baccalaureate or equivalent).
- Very good baseline IT skills including word-processing, spreadsheet use, email and internet.
- English language proficiency. See English language tests and qualifications. If you require a visa to study, see visas information.
Please contact the School if you are unsure about your qualifications.
In addition to the above minimum requirements, it is highly desirable for applicants to have:
- relevant field or lab experience from previous employment, project or volunteer work
- further IT skills, e.g. programming, database software and statistical packages for analysing (such as MATLAB, SPSS, SAS or R)
- dedicated calculus or statistics modules at university level.
The qualifications listed are indicative minimum requirements for entry. Some academic Schools will ask applicants to achieve significantly higher marks than the minimum. Obtaining the listed entry requirements will not guarantee you a place, as the University considers all aspects of every application including, where applicable, the writing sample, personal statement, and supporting documents.
2021 fees have not yet been set for this course. For the 2020 fees, please check the fees web page.
Friday 30 July 2021. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.
- completed supplementary Marine Ecosystem Management MSc application form - 2021 entry (Word)
- two original signed academic references
- academic transcripts and degree certificates
- evidence of English language proficiency (required if English is not your first language).
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
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The modules in this programme have varying methods of delivery and assessment. For more details of each module, including weekly contact hours, teaching methods and assessment, please see the latest module catalogue which is for the 2020–2021 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2021 entry.
During Semester 1, students follow a coherent course of modules that provides sound training in essential skills for managing marine ecosystems. The first semester combines two compulsory modules with a choice of one of two further optional modules.
- Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: provides core biological and methodological classes covering marine biodiversity and ecosystem function, their importance and evaluation; module involves local boat-based data collection and analysis.
- Mathematical and Statistical Modelling for Biologists: applies mathematical ideas to questions in biology and introduces methods for fitting models to biological data mainly using R software.
In addition, students choose one optional module from the following:
- Environmental Drivers of Marine Habitats: gives an overview of the different environmental drivers of marine ecosystems, including shorter-term processes in the ocean and atmosphere, as well as climatic processes that define marine habitats.
- Geographic Information Systems for Environmental Management: provides an introduction to GIS and its use in environmental problem solving.
Semester 2 combines one compulsory module with a choice of three optional modules.
The following module is compulsory:
- Ecosystem-based Management of Marine Systems: introduces the concept of 'ecosystem-based management', exploring its development from more simplistic, single-species approaches.
Students choose three optional modules. Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.
- Current Issues in Biologging: presents an introduction to the theory and practice of logging and relaying physical and biological data using animal-attached tags.
- Estimating Animal Abundance and Biodiversity: introduces the main types of survey methods for wildlife populations.
- Fisheries Research: provides an introduction to the utilisation of fish stocks in a sustainable way.
- Population Biology: covers the essentials of population dynamics and population modelling including population genetics, trophic interactions and spatial dynamics.
- Predator Ecology in Polar Ecosystems: field course located in southern Argentina and Antarctica (requires payment of an expedition fee which covers all costs, including travel and accommodation). See the students' Antarctic expedition blog.
- Scientific Diving: field course located in Indonesia (requires suitable diving qualifications and payment of expedition fee).
Optional modules are subject to change each year and require a minimum number of participants to be offered; some may only allow limited numbers of students (see the University’s position on curriculum development).
Throughout the academic year, students complete a research project which will culminate in a written dissertation and the presentation of a poster at the MSc student conference. Projects may involve some fieldwork but will be primarily focused on the analysis of existing data. Students can choose from a range of projects suggested by supervisors and also take an active role in designing their own project plan.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there is an exit award available that allows suitably qualified candidates to receive a Postgraduate Diploma. By choosing an exit award, you will finish your degree at the end of the second semester of study and receive a PGDip instead of an MSc.
The modules listed here are indicative, and there is no guarantee they will run for 2021 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.