Postgraduate study

Marine Systems & Policies

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Marine Systems & Policies

This programme is unique in Europe and beyond. It embraces a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the roles of humans and their connection to marine ecosystems for survival and prosperity.

This MSc approaches marine systems as an integrated socio-ecological system through focusing on three spheres of marine systems:

  • Marine natural systems – exploring diverse scales and functions of key marine biomes, habitats and species, spanning islands, coasts, estuaries, continental shelves, polar seas and global oceans.

  • Marine policy systems – examining different approaches to marine spatial planning and governance of marine ecosystems and services, through formal policies, laws and informal customs and practices.

  • Marine built systems – exploring ‘blue growth’ opportunities e.g. the ingenuity and impact of human built environments in marine settings, from reshaping coastlines for cities, travel and trade, to the urbanisation of ocean environments through innovations in energy infrastructure.

This programme involves two semesters of classes followed by an individual research project. The curriculum consists of compulsory and optional taught courses followed by a period of individual dissertation project work. There will also be local and international fieldtrips.

Compulsory courses:

  • Marine Systems and Policies
  • Marine Infrastructure and Environmental Change
  • Marine Field Methods in Research and Practice
  • Research Project in Marine Systems and Policies
  • Dissertation

Option courses:

Through consultation with your Programme Director you will choose three option courses from areas such as:

Policy/society:

  • International Law of the Sea
  • International Law of the Marine Environment
  • Human Dimensions of Environmental Change and Sustainability
  • Foundations in Ecological Economics
  • Applications in Ecological Economics
  • Global Environmental Politics
  • Energy Policy and Politics
  • Energy and Society

Environment:

  • Ecosystem Dynamics and Functions
  • Ecosystem Values and Management
  • Water Resource Management
  • Values and the Environment

Analytical:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Principles of GIS
  • Fundamentals for Remote Sensing

Field trips

Our field trips provide site-based learning of both natural and social science practices, a key dynamic of this MSc. The core field trip is provisionally during April at the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory in Jamaica. In addition, there will be Scottish field trips throughout the year.

This MSc provides a foundation for work up to international level, for government bodies, think-tanks, consulting firms and NGOs where an integrated understanding of marine ecosystems, policies and practice is required.

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A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in natural sciences or social sciences, but with clear evidence of experience and interest in marine topics.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • UKVI list of majority English speaking countries
  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a reference with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of GeoSciences
  • Institute of Geography
  • Drummond Street
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9XP