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Ecosystem based Management of Marine Systems (MSc)

Course Description

Marine environments are treated as integrated systems, exploring the interconnections between the physical environment, biodiversity and the impact of human activity and resource use. This holistic approach achieves a superior understanding of ecosystem goods-and-services and how to protect and manage marine systems.

The programme is jointly organised and delivered by two internationally renowned organisations: the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) at the University of St Andrews and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) on the west coast of Scotland near Oban.

The programme provides intensive expert tuition in the ecology and management of marine systems with a strong practical and research basis. Laboratory and practical fieldwork takes place at field stations in the UK, and includes the use of the SAMS research vessel MV Calanus. Students learn to use models and protocols to assess ecosystem health and the socioeconomic status of marine systems.

The first semester taught component of the programme is delivered at SOI in St Andrews, with the second semester delivered at SAMS in Oban on the west coast of Scotland (with options of a polar field course in Antarctica or a tropical scientific diving course in Indonesia).

Research Project (dissertation)

From May to August, students focus solely on their research project leading to the submission of a dissertation. Assessment for this part of the course contributes one third of the total mark for the MSc. The topic and plan for the project will be developed by the student in collaboration with one or more academic supervisors at SAMS or at St Andrews.

Additional Entry Requirements

Proof of satisfactory English Language competence for applicants whose first language is not English (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Proficiency Exam). Students must be able to communicate their ideas effectively in writing, in discussions and presentations. Please see the University of St Andrews list of minimum language requirements for postgraduate study http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/elt/entry/ . Note that additional requirements may apply depending on the test taken, e.g. IELTS of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each paper.

Visit the Ecosystem based Management of Marine Systems (MSc) page on the University of St Andrews website for more details!

(Student Profile)


4750.jpg Hi I’m Karen, a 31 year old mature student with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Conservation (Industrial) from University of Leeds. I have always had a fascination for the marine environment, UK species in particular and I took every opportunity to study marine science throughout my BSc, including learning to SCUBA dive. During the course I completed a year in industry at a marine services company, working offshore and analysing data to produce seabed investigation reports and habitat surveys, this placement cemented my career direction. After graduating I wanted to specialise in marine science, the EMMS MSc was the perfect combination of research, statistics and environmental modelling. It provided me with many new skills as well as enhancing those I’d already been taught. The opportunity to be involved not only with St Andrews, but with two highly regarded marine laboratories (Scottish Oceans Institute and Scottish Association for Marine Science) meant I had exposure to many great minds in marine science. The lecturers and guest speakers discussed current, innovative and thought provoking topics which were all of great interest to me. Moving to St Andrews and then to SAMS was fun as life is very different on both coasts, with both equally enjoyable. St Andrews was a welcoming bubble of student life whilst Oban is a beautiful seaside town with the most amazing scenery. I stayed in Oban to complete my thesis, spent my evenings diving and also volunteered at the local sealife centre. I enjoyed it so much that I never left. Since graduating I have gone on to work as a marine wildlife tour guide for Sealife Adventures, conducting wildlife boat trips within the Firth of Lorn Special Area of Conservation, I live on an idyllic island called Seil, just south of Oban. Since moving here I have become a Sea Champion and beach clean organiser for Marine Conservation Society. In October I will be starting a PhD at SAMS where I will be assessing the suitability of Automotive Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for mapping and monitoring the seabed within Marine Protected Areas, and designing GIS desktops for multi-stakeholder use.

(Student Profile)

Guillermo Ortuno Crespo

4751.jpg My name is Guillermo Ortuno Crespo. I completed the M.Sc. in Ecosystem-based Management of Marine Systems in 2014-15. The program was a good introduction to the underlying theory and some of the tools used to implement ecosystem-based conservation and management strategies in marine ecosystems impacted by human activities. Ecosystem-based management requires managers to integrate various expertise from social, institutional and natural sciences; the Master’s program at St. Andrews provides many and varied useful skills to accomplish this.
I am now a Marine Science and Conservation Ph.D. student at the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke University. I am also a Nereus Fellow with the Nereus Program, which is a global interdisciplinary initiative created by the Nippon Foundation to further our knowledge of how to best attain sustainability for the world’s oceans. In my current research I explore the spatiotemporal distribution and ecology of marine migratory species and pelagic ecosystems, to better understand the potential direct and indirect impacts that commercial fisheries may be having on them. I am involved in a long-term project to map the main migration corridors of marine migratory species worldwide. In the next few years, my research will expand into studying the connectivity between different marine ecosystems and the habitat preferences of pelagic predators.


Entry Requirements

A 1st or good 2.1 undergraduate (Honours) degree (or equivalent) in a relevant natural science. Maths and Stats at AS/A-level, Higher, Advanced Higher, or International Baccalaureate. Some undergraduate modules or training in Maths and Stats is highly desirable. Good baseline IT skills: word-processing, spreadsheet use, email and Internet.

Course Fees

2017/18: Home/EU £7,500; Overseas £20,370

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