The MSc in Integrative Marine Data Skills is delivered by the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) at our Orkney Campus. It has been designed to promote an integrated, participatory approach to nurture and strengthen quantitative skills in science and environmental graduates using locally relevant issues. It will build a broad understanding of marine ecosystems, ecosystem services and associated management issues. Teaching is strongly reinforced with laboratory, fieldwork and project work, with emphasis placed on simulating real work situations. Strong links with industry partners, policy-makers and regulators ensure relevance within this sector. This programme will produce students who are quantitatively competent and literate, capable of interpreting and communicating findings, with work-ready skills (field and industry) to facilitate employment in a competitive marketplace where demand for data-savvy students is high.
If you are interested in an exciting career to develop these skills within the maritime sector, we are now recruiting for this new programme for 2017/2018.
Studying in Orkney
This MSc is based at our Orkney Campus. By studying in Orkney you will benefit from a number of activities including field trips, guest lectures and practical activities, which help to develop your skills and knowledge in your field of study, and offer opportunities to meet industry partners, policy-makers, renewables developers, community groups and others involved in the maritime sector.
Read more in this guide to Studying in Orkney.
Course contentDetailed course guide
Advanced Research Skills 1 – Data Collecting and Handling (core)
Data is becoming increasingly important in today’s society with huge quantities being generated by the maritime sector (e.g. fisheries, aquaculture, shipping, exploration, extraction, biotechnology, marine renewables) to address a range of environmental and economically important issues. However, a specific set of skills are required to handle, extract, manipulate, analyse and communicate these data sets. Students will collect data across three platforms: shoreline, oceanic and remote, providing work-ready technical, laboratory and field skills. This course will build quantitative confidence and competency, providing graduates with the skills essential to understanding, responding to, and mitigating today’s environmental challenges.
Advanced Research Skills 2 – Statistical and Numerical Techniques (core)
The ability to problem-solve, think critically and apply mathematics has been severely eroded across education sectors, with this deficit being transferred to the working environment. Employers and government agencies have recognised a weakness in quantitative skills in graduate employees. Skills in numeracy, data mining, data management and modelling have been highlighted as being in demand. This course will utilise environmentally relevant, local long-term data sets collected or accessed in Advanced Research Skills 1 to strengthen skills in data analysis using a range of methods. This course is not targeting students with a strong numerical or modelling background, instead it aims to build confidence with analytical techniques to produce data-savvy scientists with a broad, yet solid depth of knowledge.
Oceanography and Marine Ecology (core)
This course was designed to give an understanding of the science of waves and tides, and how this affects efforts to exploit energy from these resources and to develop other maritime industries. The challenges and impacts associated with engineering operations in the marine environment are examined. Marine ecosystems and ecosystems services are also studied and how these may be impacted by human activities.
Introduction to Marine Planning (core)
Introduces students to the emerging policy and practice of marine planning (global and regional). It examines political, jurisdictional and rights issues in the introduction of economic activities into the marine commons (the ‘Blue Growth Agenda’). The framework of marine legislation is explained and methods of conflict resolution are explored. A series of international case studies will identify the various tools and techniques being used around the world to manage human activity and balance conservation interests with demands for economic growth.
Case Study and Project Design (core)
This course will facilitate the interpretation and communication of data and promote teamwork skills and engagement with a broad range of end-users, fostering responsive management skills. It is an essential follow-on core component from Advanced Research Skills 1 and 2 in Semester 1 to further consolidate the quantitative learning experience and promote synergies with local industry, stake-holders and communities. The course will capitalise on the strong networks already in place at ICIT with staff members, local industry and community groups.
GIS for Marine and Environmental Scientists (optional)
Geographic Information System mapping is a tool which is now widely used by both developers and regulators in the management and development of marine resources. Within the context of Marine Spatial Planning the use of GIS has rapidly become the standard means of collating and analysing spatial information regarding resource use. This course will explain the principles and provide hands-on experience of applying state of the art mapping software in project based case studies.
Marine Resource in the Blue Economy (optional)
This course course considers man's current and future exploitation of the world's ocean and coastal zone resources. It explores the key themes of: Waste and Pollution; Extractives and Energy; Bioresources; and Transport and Tourism.
Students will develop an awareness of the local and global responsibilities which individuals, communities and nations have in recognising the limits to resource extraction and environmental loading.
Practical Skills in Marine Surveying (optional)
This course will enable students to effectively utilise scientific diving techniques as a means of studying and monitoring the marine environment.
Students entering employment in the sphere of marine conservation or marine resource management are often required to plan or manage surveys of the marine environment in the role of either client or contractor. Diving is often the most effective method for conducting surveys to monitor or map marine biota. This course is intended to provide students with the requisite knowledge for designing and managing such projects.
Marine Environmental Monitoring (optional)
This course will provide an understanding of: the scientific background of natural processes in estuarine and coastal environments as a necessary prerequisite for understanding of monitoring and management; the fundamentals of the design and applications of environmental monitoring programmes; the role of impact assessment in resource management, conservation and pollution control and the legal framework supporting this process; and the importance of the scientific dimension underpinning estuarine and coastal management.
Tropical Coral Reefs: Monitoring and Management Field Course (Malaysia) (optional)
Please note: this course carries an additional fee to cover flights and subsistence
This course give the students experience with the different techniques used for surveying and monitoring coral reefs, and give them an understanding of the sampling and other issues which influence which method is to be preferred for any particular study. It will provide students with an impression of the environmental pressures affecting reef habitats as a result of climate change, tourism related development, and of the range of management measures which may be introduced to promote sustainable use of reef resources. It will familiarise students with the main
For MSc level entry, students must hold a good degree in or a relevant discipline (e.g. life sciences, environmental studies, biodiversity, conservation, marine biology) from a UK or Overseas University. In addition to the academic qualifications, motivation, industrial experience and personality are taken into consideration.
Recognition of Prior Learning
Heriot-Watt University is committed to providing opportunities to applicants who have a wide range of prior experiences through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Prior learning at postgraduate level is normally recognised to gain exemption from individual courses within a programme based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the courses for which RPL is sought, yet credits from an award already held by an applicant can only contribute to a higher award in the same discipline, e.g. from PG Diploma to MSc. If you believe that you qualify for RPL, please contact the Learning & Teaching Support Team via firstname.lastname@example.org, who will guide you through the RPL application procedure.
The school will only consider students' requests for RPL at the time of application for their programme of study.
English language requirements
If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:
- 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
- 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
- 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)
|Scotland / Non-UK EU||£8448||£4224||£1056|
|England / Northern Ireland / Wales||£8448||£4224||£1056|
* If you are unsure which category you fall in to, you should complete a fee status enquiry form, which allows us to assess your fees.
** Fee per course
Additional fees information
All course costs are covered by the tuition fee. This includes electronic versions of the course notes.
Students should budget additional funds sufficient to cover living expenses such as accommodation, travel to and from the island, food, clothing and leisure pursuits.
Scholarships and bursaries
We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.
View our full range of postgraduate taught scholarships.