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Master of Marine Biology

Course Description

The Master of Science (MSc) by thesis consists of two parts and is normally completed in two calendar years. Part I involves three courses of 30 points each and a research preparation course. Part II is a full-time research project, leading to a thesis.

Visit the Master of Marine Biology page on the Victoria University of Wellington website for more details!

Student Profiles

New Zealand Seafood Scholarships 2016 - 4 Awards

Victoria University of Wellington, the Deepwater Group, and Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, are offering Masters Degree Thesis scholarships. Each scholarships award pays $25,000 NZD, for the thesis year only. The scholarship committee welcomes research ideas from potential students. Some suggested projects are also available. The scholarships provide an excellent opportunity to conduct genuinely applied research. Some potential thesis research projects aligned with seafood industry research objectives are given below: (1) Nothing is constant. The thesis will evaluate the impact of changes over time in fish body condition, growth, and maturity schedules, on the estimation of fish population size and status. The research will be desk-based, and involve statistical analyses of large fish biology data sets, and the use of statistical population model software. The project would best suit a numerically-competent biology student, perhaps with a double-major in statistics and biology. (2) Counting rings. The thesis will evaluate the potential use of image-analysis software to count the growth rings on fish bones (otoliths). The growth rings on fish bones are used to age the fish (like rings on a tree), but human counting of these zones can be slow and subjective. Therefore, a reliable computer-based solution is being sought. The research would involve the evaluation and development of software for image capture and analysis. The project would best suit a student with a degree in engineering and computer science. (3) Fleet complexes. The thesis will consider the management of fisheries resources in New Zealand. More specifically, it will identify fisheries not by where, when, and how they operate, but by using the species composition of the catch. Identifying these functional groups based on catches (groups known as “métiers”) will make explicit how management of one species influences others. The research would be desk-based, and involve the statistical analysis of large data sets. The project would best suit a student with a degree in statistics, or a double-major in statistics and management or biology. (4) Deep-sea visualisation. The thesis would develop a wide-view camera (or other sensing device e.g., acoustic) for observing large marine mammals, and fishes, in low light and high pressure (in the deep-sea). The objective is to have a visualisation and recording system that can measure the entry and exit of marine mammals and large fishes from fishing trawl nets. The project would best suit a student with a degree in engineering.

Value of Scholarship(s)

11,750 GBP


To be eligible for the scholarship, your research must be of interest to the sponsors, and you must enroll for a Masters-by-thesis degree at Victoria University of Wellington. This opportunity is open to individuals of all nationalities. If English is not your first language, then please see the English language requirements (http://www.victoria.ac.nz/fgr/prospective-phds/qualifications-required). Please also note postgraduate fees for Masters degree in New Zealand are different for domestic and international student.

Application Procedure

Applications for the New Zealand Seafood Scholarships can be via the university scholarships website (http://www.victoria.ac.nz/study/student-finance/scholarships), and must include a completed application form including research interests/proposal, a full CV, and two letters of academic reference. Please note that PhD scholarships are not being offered at this time. Although linked to the Marine Biology MSc programme, these scholarships are not restricted to marine biology; the student may be registered in marine biology, statistics, engineering, or other relevant school at Victoria University of Wellington. Students can be registered in biology, statistics, or other relevant school at Victoria University of Wellingto. Informal enquires about these scholarships can be made directly to Associate Professor Matt Dunn ([email protected]).

Further Information


Entry Requirements

Master's candidates should have previously completed a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree with an average grade of B+ or higher in their 300 level (3rd year undergraduate) courses. Prospective students must also agree a thesis topic with a supervisor before enrolment in the programme.

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