Masters degrees in Marine Biology train postgraduates in techniques for examining oceanic biology, from microorganisms to fish, fauna, and sea mammals.
Opportunities for specialism and interdisciplinary study exist in areas such as Aquaculture, Marine Engineering and Conservation Studies. Entry requirements normally include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Environmental or Biological science.
You will explore the biological and physical properties of marine environments, from fisheries, to estuaries and oceans. Alongside genetics and quantity marine ecology, you will investigate topics such as animal behaviour, sustainability, and the influence of anthropogenic (human) factors on marine environments.
You will examine tropical and temperate habitats through a scrutiny of plants, organisms, coral reefs, and benthic areas using various analytical and methodological approaches This includes lab-based work such as experiment design, bioimaging and electron microscopy, to fieldwork undertaking survey and sampling techniques. These include GIS (Geographic Information Systems), satellite imaging, and radiochemical analyses.
Careers may include: journal editing and scientific writing; consultancy or policy-making for environmental agencies, government agencies, and NGOs; marine conservation practise; laboratory research; further study at PhD.
With the increasing pressures on the marine environment, both in the South Pacific region and worldwide, experts in the conservation and management of marine organisms and ecosystems are in demand.
As a world-leader in marine conservation, New Zealand is a great place to develop your expertise in the field. Its unique and lengthy coastline is home to numerous marine organisms—from the tiny phytoplankton to the endangered New Zealand sea lion.
Study with Victoria's School of Biological Sciences, a leader in marine biology research. Examine marine conservation issues and practice using examples from New Zealand, Australia, South Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific region, which can be applied worldwide.
Marine Conservation can be studied through two qualifications. The Master of Marine Conservation (MMarCon) is a taught Master's with no thesis component and is the only taught Marine Conservation Master's degree in New Zealand.
Or you can choose to study the Postgraduate Certificate in Marine Conservation (PGCertMarCon), a shorter qualification for those who want to expand their expertise into a new area of interest.
The 180-point Master of Marine Conservation consists of three core courses and three courses chosen from a range of marine biology, biodiversity, ecology, ecological restoration and conservation courses. You can also choose courses that specialise in environmental management and conservation issues relating to New Zealand Māori and Pacific Island communities.
Two of your core courses, BIOL 424 New Zealand Conservation Practice and BIOL 529 Tropical Marine Conservation Practice, are field courses. You'll visit several world-renowned marine conservation sites in New Zealand and overseas.
The field courses will have costs over and above the course fees.
You'll also examine marine conservation issues of cultural and socioeconomic significance to Māori and Pacific peoples, such as exploitation of coastal regions and ecotourism, seabed and foreshore rights, and community-led conservation strategies.
The Postgraduate Certificate is made up of three courses totalling 90 points chosen from any of the courses in the MMarCon programme; however, you must include at least one of the core courses.
If you are studying full time you can expect a workload of 40–45 hours a week for much of the year. Part-time students doing two courses per trimester will need to do around 20–23 hours of work a week. Make sure you take this into account if you are working.
You can estimate your workload by adding up the number of points you'll be doing. One point is roughly equal to 10–12 hours work.
The Master of Marine Conservation can be completed in 12 months of full-time study, or in 24 months part time.
The Postgraduate Certificate in Marine Conservation can be completed in six months of full-time study or in 12 months part time.
Postgraduate study at Victoria will help you build valuable relationships and networks with peers, university staff and future colleagues. You'll have opportunities to attend events, workshops, social functions and seminars.
The Postgraduate Students' Association can give you information and provides a voice for you on campus.
You'll gain skills and knowledge in a wide range of areas within the conservation and management of marine organisms and ecosystems, in both temperate and tropical climates. You might find work at Crown Research Institutes, private research institutes or with national government agencies managing marine conservation and fisheries.
Other organisations you may work with include regional authorities such as city, regional and district councils, consultancy firms carrying out contract marine biology work or non-government agencies and not-for-profit organisations.
The master's Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management is a two-year MSc programme. You can specialise in Aquaculture; Marine Governance; Marine Resources and Ecology.
Oceans, seas, estuaries and lakes are major providers of ecosystem goods and services such as food, tourism and coastal protection. In many cases, exploitation levels have bypassed the carrying capacity of these ecosystems leading to devastating effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
To preserve marine biodiversity and its ecosystem functions innovative and sustainable solutions are necessary. Therefore, young professionals are needed with an integrative approach to marine ecosystem management.
You start the MAM programme by taking courses that will give you a common basis on aquaculture and marine resources management. Then you chose one of three specialisations in which you will take deepening courses that will prepare you for your thesis.
In the Academic Consultancy Cluster you will share (interaction) and intergrade your knowledge with (the knowledge of) other students in multidisciplinary teams. On the programme of Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management page you can find the general outline of the programme and more detailed information about courses, theses and internships.
Within the master programme you can choose one of the following Specialisations to meet your personal interests.
As an alumni of the MSc programme Aquaculture and Marine Resource Management there are many job opportunities. To give you a small idea how your career could look like after your study we highlight some of the most common job types. Also, a few of our alumnus tell about their jobs. Read more about career perspectives and opportunities after finishing the programme.
The Master of Science by Research degree in Marine Biology is a 12-month, research only degree, in which the candidate will undertake a supervised research project in the area of Marine Biology, in the School of Biology, University of St Andrews.
The candidate will be based in the interdisciplinary Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI), based at East Sands, St Andrews. The SOI is home to the world famous Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU), and hosts a wide-range of researchers with interests ranging from the deep oceans to the coasts, and from the people who use and interact with the sea, to the biological and physical processes that make the oceans function.
There are four research themes running through the SOI: Global Change and Planetary Evolution; Ecology, Fisheries and Resource management; Developmental and Evolutionary Genomics; the Sea Mammal Research Unit. As such, the SOI brings together behavioural and population ecologists, evolutionary biologists, geneticists, conservationists, mathematicians and environmental scientists to contribute towards understanding and managing the future of our oceans and the organisms, big and small, that live within them. Further details about the SOI can be found here: http://soi.st-andrews.ac.uk/.
Candidates may approach potential supervisors in the SOI directly (https://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/research/phd-study/phd-study-supervisors/phd-study-soi-supervisors/) or via advertised projects listed here (https://synergy.st-andrews.ac.uk/research/mscres/). We strongly recommend that potential candidates make contact with a potential supervisor before applying.
The School of Biology provides a unique and supportive environment for scholarship, amid a beautiful setting for university life. We are a highly research active School, with a diverse and vigorous post-graduate community. The School comprises a large number of research groups organised into three interdisciplinary Research Centres: the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI), the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex (BSRC) and the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD). Together these centres encompass the full spectrum of research in biological sciences, spanning investigations on the properties and behaviour of individual molecules through to planetary environmental dynamics. Our postgraduate students enjoy a supportive and welcoming environment, including the student-led ‘Bionet’ society that provides a wide range of networking and social opportunities.
Students in the MSc(Res) program will be assigned an Internal Examiner (IE) and Post-Graduate Tutor by the School. There will be a progress review meeting at three months to monitor and evaluate student progression, convened by the IE, with the student and Tutor in attendance.
In addition to the project-specific training that you will receive during your degree, Msc(Res) students will also have access to a wide range of training in transferable skills through the award-winning University of St Andrews GradSkills program, run by our Professional Development Unit CAPOD. Specific post-graduate programs run within the School of Biology may also offer additional training, for instance in statistical, bioinformatics or molecular techniques.
The degree requires submission and examination of a dissertation at the end of the one-year program. This thesis will consist of up to 30,000 words. The thesis will be evaluated by the IE and an External Examiner appointed at time of submission. Evaluation will be based on the written submission and there is no requirement for a viva voce examination.
For details of post-graduate tuition fees relevant to our research degrees including the MSc(Res), please visit:
Please apply via the University’s Post-Graduate Application portal: https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/pgr/home.htm
Plants, animals, and microbes all play a key role in the sustainability of life on Earth. The Master's programme in Environmental Biology offers you the opportunity to explore different organisational levels of life – from genes, cells, and organisms to populations and entire ecosystems.
In this programme, you will study the fundamental life processes of plants and microbes. The interdisciplinary course content also offers you the chance to examine animal behaviour from an ecological and evolutionary perspective.
Within the Environmental Biology Master, you can select a specialised track from the following:
Alternatively, you can develop an individualised curriculum suited to your unique interests. We offer you considerable flexibility in choosing specific subfields or topics within Environmental Biology. See the study programme and courses page.
Applied Marine and Fisheries Ecology gives you the skills and knowledge to understand environmental and other impacts to fish ecology and aquaculture applied to fisheries industries and management. The programme is relevant internationally to major areas of fisheries industries around the Scottish mainland and islands with a need to help to manage and maintain the industry in the short term and long term. There are many new industries within Scotland and established industries which supply mainstream supermarkets and specialist retailers with fish supplies on a regular basis and which need to be managed. Many of these industries are global or specific to the geographical area and type of fish available in that vicinity.
Run in collaboration with staff at Marine Scotland Science, this MSc programme will provide you with an appreciation of the key issues that are central to the management of marine resources, practical skills and field work experience that you can apply to real world situations, and opportunities to expand your professional network.
Find out more detail by visiting the programme web page
Find out about international fees:
Find out more about fees on the programme page
*Please be advised that some programmes also have additional costs.
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Find out more about living in Aberdeen and living costs
The MSc in Marine Ecosystem Management is a one year course run by the School of Biology and 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. 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). It is designed to prepare students for professional careers in research and management of marine ecosystems.
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.
For more information about the course, please visit our website.