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Marine and Freshwater Systems (Managing the Environment MSc)

Course Description

We offer 'Marine and Freshwater Systems' as a pathway in the internationally recognised MSc in Managing the Environment. This MSc provides modern and professional training in Environmental Management in areas including EIA, Environmental Auditing, Law and Professional Skills. Students selecting this pathway acquire additional field surveying and professional skills in Marine and Freshwater environments.

The Marine and Freshwater Systems pathway allows you to specialise in this key area of environmental management. This course benefits from the excellent coastal location and outdoor laboratory of the Cardigan coast along with specialist training at Dale Fort Field Studies Centre and Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire.

This MSc programme combines vocational and professional training in Marine and Freshwater systems including state-of–the-art technological advances. It delivers an innovative, fully integrated programme, at the cutting edge of the subject. You will acquire the practical skills, field experience and knowledge necessary for a career in this area. This is a skills-based course taught over one calendar year comprising both core and pathway-specific modules. By joining our Masters scheme you will become a member of a dynamic team, working together towards a sustainable future.

Examples of dissertation topics undertaken by past students:
* The behaviour of Bottlenose dolphins in Cardigan Bay
* The migration and populations of Marine salmonoids
* Tracking Leatherback turtles using satellites
* Studying the impacts of invasive algae in the UK

What students say about the course and location:
"This was a very professional course"
"It is a very adaptable course and for me has secured interviews for good positions"
"“I think doing the MSc was a fantastic way to gain a good grounding in a range of environmental matters."
"I was given the chance to work with great people and on great projects"
"Aberystwyth itself is a great town It’s full of friendly people, things to do and an absolutely amazing coastline."

Course keywords: Ecology, Animal, Plant. Community, Ecosystem, Habitat, Conservation

Visit the Marine and Freshwater Systems (Managing the Environment MSc) page on the Aberystwyth University website for more details!

(Student Profile)


20.png Jamie self funded his MSc via part‐time work. He joined the MSc because he was “serious and passionate about a career in the environmental sector”. This MSc gave him that “distinct advantage against BSc students”. He particularly liked how the course “integrated real/current environmental issues and research theory”. The transferable skills that Jamie took from the course to his work place included “time management, presentation, report writing and research skills, along with awareness of current environmental issues”. After completing the MSc Jamie worked as a research technician at Aberystwyth University and then as an Environmental GIS consultant for a local company. He then completed a PhD and now works as an Environmental consultant.

(Student Profile)


Jenny self-funded her MSc, she took a year working following her BSc. She felt that “the MSc was a fantastic way to gain a good grounding in a range of environmental matters". During the course she learnt about "environmental law, EIA as well as practical skills in survey and lab work“. Jenny loved Aberystwyth - "it is great coastal location and everyone is so friendly". She also enjoyed the travel associated with the course - "I particularly liked my period spent in Sweden, it was a great place to do part of my study". The transferable skills that Jenny took from the course to her work place included “critical analysis skills and evaluating information and dissemination to a range of users”.
Immediately after leaving the course Jenny got a job at the University of Bedfordshire in their Quality Assurance office. She then joined the Open University on a European wide public outreach project.

(Student Profile)


Natalie was fortunate to have her MSc tuition fees paud for by the James Panytfedwen Foundation. Remaining costs were self‐funded and supported by a part‐time job. Natalie felt that the MSc helped her "improve knowledge and understanding of a wide range of environmental issues and learn how to apply them". At the same benefitting from "improved analytical ability and team work skills as well as independent study skills”. She loved Aberysywyth, "the community and location and being so close to the sea and mountains". The transferable skills that Natlie took from the course to her work place included “initiative, team working skills, analytical skills, time management and organisational skills”.

Following completion of the MSc Natalie was appointed by the RSPB as an Information Assistant at a Peregrine viewing site at Symonds Yat Rock in Gloucestershire. She then moved to Newport City Council where she is their
Biodiversity in Schools Officer.

(Student Profile)


Rowan self-funded his MSc via part time work and his photography. Rowan decided to take the MSc because "there are so many BSc graduates out there - you need the edge on them if you are to be competitive in securing work in the Environmental sector“. He particularly appreciated the “support form staff on the course, dissertation support, the local area and atmosphere. Overall it was all very professional”. The transferable skills that Rowan took from the course to his work place included “working and learning about different environments. I am a marine biologist who now works in a forest and climate change”. After completing the MSc, Rowan secured a position "managing a small team of six persons working on fragment forest European research programme with one of the largest banks in the world HSBC and the NGO Earthwatch".

(Student Profile)


Kirsten too the MSc because she "realised that her career would benefit from advanced study skills". She wanted to "develop theoretical knowledge of the marine environment and practical experience”. She funded her MSc via summer work and note‐taking at the University. She was also lucky to gain some support from Countryside Council for Wales (now NRW). Kirsten believed that the MSc was "a very adaptable course that secured interviews for good positions within my field". She thoroughly enjoyed the study and "the chance to work with great people and projects. The work, although hard was satisfying and enjoyable (with a large proportion outside!). Aberystwyth is a great town full of friendly people, things to do with an amazing coastline”. Transferable skills that Kirsten took from her course to the workplace include “a range of practical sampling techniques, thorough research skills and flexibility in terms of responding to others”.

After completing the MSc she went to several interviews and secured a seasonal warden position with NRW then a position as Communications Officer with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. She is now Living Seas Manager (North Sea) at the Wildlife Trusts.

(Student Profile)


After leaving Aberystwyth I spent 3 months doing voluntary work with Middlemarch Environmental Ltd and was subsequently offered a position as a full time member of staff in January 2008. After spending a year with the company I was promoted from an Ecological Project Officer to an Ecological Consultant. I now specialise in conducting environmental surveys for BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes Assessments as well as a number of protected species surveys including great crested newt, bat and badger.


International Postgraduate Excellence Scholarship - 20+ Awards

The scholarships will be awarded for academic excellence (minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree or the equivalent award, either already achieved or predicted by the candidate’s awarding university).In order to be considered for one of these awards, an application for a place on a taught Masters degree at Aberystwyth University must be received by 31st August 2015.Up to 72 scholarships worth £2500 towards tuition fees for full-time non-EU students on taught Masters courses are available for students who commence their studies in September 2015 on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Up to 72 scholarships, each worth £2,500 towards tuition fees will be available for non-UK/EU students commencing full-time Taught Masters courses in September 2015.

Application Procedure

Separate application forms are not required. Therefore it is essential that the application for a place be received by the AU Postgraduate Admissions Office by 31st August 2015 at the very latest. Selection will be on the basis of academic excellence and the applicant’s suitability for their proposed course. A minimum (UK) 2.i Honours (or equivalent) is required for an award. Information on the comparability of non-UK degrees is available at http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/postgrad/howtoapply/before-you-apply/comparability/.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

We encourage applications from students with a 2(1) degree or higher (in a relevant discipline) but will consider applications from students with a high 2(2) degrees. Students with equivalent experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Recipient: Aberystwyth University

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