Marine Mammal Science (MSc) 2020 entry
The MSc in Marine Mammal Science prepares students for professional careers in the research and conservation of marine mammals. It is the only research-focused MSc degree in this popular subject worldwide, and is taught by leading experts at the Sea Mammal Research Unit and the Scottish Oceans Institute.
Postgraduate, leading to a Master of Science (MSc)
- Start date: 7 September 2020
- End date: 30 September 2021
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 or equivalent in a biological science. Other scientific, engineering or mathematics degrees may be acceptable. 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.
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.
UK and EU: £9,450
3 April 2020. Decisions on applications will only be communicated after the application deadline. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be eligible for certain scholarships and for international visa purposes.
- completed Marine Mammal Science MSc application form - 2020 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).
Marine Mammal Science applicants should not submit a cover letter or writing sample with their applications.
For more guidance, see supporting documents and references for postgraduate taught programmes.
What our students say
“Getting taught at the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) was an honour due to the many experts concentrated there, who all were very helpful. This also makes it a great place to network and get a taste of the working environment you are being prepared for during the Masters. Besides, the town of St Andrews offers many ways to enjoy and relax after study.”
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 2019–2020 academic year; some elements may be subject to change for 2020 entry.
- Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals: explores human and marine mammal interactions.
- Principles of Marine Mammal Biology: introduces the zoogeography of marine mammals and the morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations that have enabled this diverse group to successfully colonise all of the world's oceans and some freshwater systems.
- 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.
Students choose three optional modules in Semester 2. Optional modules require a minimum number of five students to be offered (see the University’s position on curriculum development).
Here is a sample of optional modules that may be offered.
- Advanced Bioacoustics for Marine Mammal Science: theoretical and practical application of techniques used to study marine acoustics.
- Current Issues in Biologging: presents an introduction to the theory and practice of logging and relaying physical and biological data using animal-attached tags.
- Current Issues in Marine Mammal Behaviour: current views and recent advances in the study of marine mammal social behaviour and cognition.
- Estimating Animal Abundance: introduces the main types of survey methods for wildlife populations
- 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.
Throughout the academic year, students complete a research project which will finish in a 15,000-word 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. Projects will be supervised by SMRU staff but may be carried out with joint supervision from staff in other institutions. Students can choose from a range of projects suggested by supervisors and also take an active role in designing their own project plan.
Find out more about Marine Mammal research projects at St Andrews.
If students choose not to complete the dissertation requirement for the MSc, there are exit awards available that allow 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 2020 entry. Take a look at the most up-to-date modules in the module catalogue.