Marine Ecosystem Management (MSc) 2018 entry

The MSc in Marine Ecosystem Management provides students with a superior understanding of integrated marine systems, exploring the interconnections between the physical environment, biodiversity and the impacts of human activity and resource use. Taught by leading experts from the Scottish Oceans Institute, it is designed to prepare students for professional careers in research and management of marine ecosystems.

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Course type

Postgraduate; leading to a Master of Science (MSc)

Course dates

  • Start date: 10 September 2018
  • End date: 30 September 2019

Course duration

One year full time

Entry requirements

A good 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. Some undergraduate modules or training in mathematics and statistics is highly desirable. Please contact the School if you are unsure about your qualifications. 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.

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.

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Tuition fees

UK and EU: £8,500
Overseas: £20,980

Application deadline

31st July 2018. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.

Application requirements

For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes. 

Course information

The MSc in Marine Ecosystem Management is a one year course run by the School of Biology. The programme takes a holistic approach to understanding ecosystem goods and services, and draws on the quantitative and diverse academic expertise within the University's Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI)

Highlights

  • Modules include intense training in quantitative techniques (for example, statistical modelling and GIS).
  • Students have the exciting opportunity to conduct fieldwork and training in Antarctica or Indonesia as part of the optional modules in polar ecology or scientific diving.
  • The combination of core modules and a personalised selection of advanced optional modules allows students to tailor the programme to their individual interests.
  • Stimulating, small class sizes with a focus on student-led, experiential learning.

Teaching format

The modular curriculum is designed to be coherent, providing integrated training for future careers in marine management or scientific research. Teaching takes the form of lectures, tutorials, discussions, debates and workshops. Practicals involve laboratory work, field excursions, modelling and computer-based data analysis.

Class sizes range from 5 to 30 students, depending on the activity. There is a strong focus on small-group teaching so that students are individually supported and can ask for help when it is needed.

In Semester 2 there are optional field courses: a polar field course in Antarctica or a tropical scientific diving course in Indonesia.

From June to August, students focus solely on their research project leading to the submission of a 15,000-word dissertation.  

Further particulars regarding curriculum development.

Modules

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 2017–2018 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2018 entry.

During Semester 1 students follow a coherent course of modules that provide sound training in essential skills for the management of marine ecosystems. The first semester combines two compulsory modules with a choice of one of four further optional modules.

  • Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: provides core biological and methodological material covering biodiversity and its importance and evaluation, concepts of habitat connectivity and ecosystem services as well as stressors of ecosystem function (e.g. over harvesting, invasive species and pollution).
  • Mathematical and Statistical Modelling for Biologists: combines the basic numerical and computational skills necessary for visualising and summarising data sets, and introduces methods, mainly using R software, for fitting models to biological data.

In addition, students choose one optional module from the following:

  • Biological Oceanography: provides instruction on the fundamentals of biological oceanography, including physical and geochemical principles as they apply to biological oceanography.
  • 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. 
  • Tropical Marine Biology: examines the ecological and biological principles underpinning the major tropical marine ecosystems. The module provides an understanding of the ecological processes that control tropical marine ecosystems. 

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 from the following:

  • 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: introduces the main types of survey method for wildlife populations.
  • Fisheries Research: provides an introduction to the utilisation of fish stocks in a sustainable way.
  • Introduction to Global Environmental Change: provides students with the scientific background to past, present and future climate change and its consequences, globally.
  • Population Biology: reviews the fundamental concepts of population dynamics and how these are interpreted in the light of the various life-history strategies adapted by different species of marine mammals.
  • Predator Ecology in Polar Ecosystems: field course located in southern Argentina and Antarctica (requires payment of expedition fee).
  • Scientific Communication in Biodiversity and Conservation: focuses on the scientific problems associated with the conservation and sustainable use of animals and plants, and on the way in which scientific advice on these issues is provided.
  • Scientific Diving: field course located in Indonesia (requires suitable diving qualifications and payment of expedition fee).

During the final three months of the course, students complete a research project culminating in the presentation of a 15,000-word dissertation. This provides important training in lab, field and analytical methods, and also in scientific writing skills. 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 2018 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.

 

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Funding

Recent Graduate Discount
The University of St Andrews offers a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees to students who are eligible to graduate or who have graduated from St Andrews within the last three academic years and are starting a postgraduate programme with the University of St Andrews.

Find out more about postgraduate scholarships. 

After the MSc

Research degrees

After successful completion of the taught Masters component in Marine Ecosystem Management, students can change from the MSc degree route to a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree, which requires a further year of dedicated research.

Many MSc graduates continue their education by enrolling in PhD programmes at St Andrews or elsewhere. PhD students at the School of Biology at St Andrews have the opportunity to undertake a research degree in their chosen subject area where research interests span the breadth of biological science.

PhD studentships are offered by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

PhD in Biology

Careers

The aim is that graduates of this course will be part of the next generation of managers and marine scientists delivering integrated ecosystem management around the world. 

Graduates of the course have undertaken careers in government agencies, environmental consultancies and the commercial marine sector both within the UK and abroad. 

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students on a taught postgraduate course and offers a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

Contact information

General inquiries
Katrina Gatherum and Louise Docherty
Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI)
University of St Andrews
St Andrews 
KY16 8LB

Course organiser
Dr Iain Matthews
Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3004 
Email: imm7@st-andrews.ac.uk

Biology website

Policies

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB).