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This International Marine Science course offers students with a background in marine biology, geology or geography the opportunity to integrate their expertise in the wider marine science context.
The highly interdisciplinary field of Marine Science aims to understand the biology, chemistry, geology and physics of this dynamic system so central to all our lives. It also considers the overarching influence of climate change and how policy can be brought to bear on managing the resources of the ocean as part of the Blue Economy.
The course has two core courses in Oceanography and GIS and offers a wide variety of options with maximum flexibility allowing students to pursue their studies either at our Orkney Campus or in Edinburgh. Furthermore the course offers an online study, through our Distance Learning option, with field work options in Malaysia and Orkney. Depending on the courses selected, Distance Learning students will be required to complete practical lab sessions in Edinburgh – students are responsible for meeting the costs of the travel and maintenance during these periods.
Flexible study options
This course can be studied full-time or part-time at our Edinburgh or Orkney Campus.
It can also be studied via Online Learning, ideal for those in employment or with other commitments, providing flexible study options that fit around work or family.
MSc: 1 year (full-time), 2 years (part-time), 3-7 years (independent distance learning)
Throughout the course, students are provided with internal expert supervision as well as opportunities to work with external partners, both in the UK and internationally including Marine Conservation International, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and 5 Oceans (5OES) as well as other industry partners.
Course contentDetailed course guide
Programme lead: Dr Mark Hartl
Distance Learning Inquiries: Dr Joanne Porter, email@example.com
Semester 1: September – December, 2 mandatory course and 2 optional courses
Semester 2: January – April, 1 mandatory course and 3 optional courses
Semester 3: May – August, dissertation (MSc students only)
|Semester 1||Semester 2|
1 Edinburgh Campus only due to labs and practicals.
2 Orkney Campus only where students will do field work.
Tropical Coral Reefs: Monitoring and Management
(2 week field course)
This is an optional course available to all students on any of our Postgraduate taught Marine courses. It involves a two week field trip to Malaysia where students are given the opportunity to explore the marine environment whilst learning different techniques for surveying and monitoring coral reefs.
Watch the video from the latest trip to Bidong Island in Malaysia
This course also offers students incredible opportunities during their MSc to work extensively with academics in active research groups, often leading to co-authorship on peer-reviewed publications.
Our Marine Environment and Climate Change programmes prepare our graduates for a career in Marine Environmental Consultancy, Basic Research and Marine Conservation. Employers include Industry, Government Agencies, Universities and NGOs.
The International Marine Science MSc takes this approach a step further and will equip our graduates with the skills to operate on an international stage, as marine environmental issues increasingly require attention on a global scale.
Recent student publications
These publications result from MSc research projects (student co-authors are highlighted):
- Gore, M., Abels, L., Wasik, S., Saddler, L., Ormond, R., 2018. Are close-following and breaching behaviours by basking sharks at aggregation sites related to courtship? , 1-13.
- Brash, J. M., Cook, R. L., Mackenzie, C. L. and Sanderson, W. G. (2017). The demographics and morphometries of biogenic reefs: important considerations in conservation management. 1-10.
- Blumenröder, J., Sechet, P., Kokonnen, J. and Hartl, M. G. J. (2017). Microplastic contamination of intertidal sediments of Scapa Flow, Orkney: a first assessment. Mar Pollut Bull. 130, 293-302.
See our full list of Student publications.
Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:
- Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a related subject area
- For postgraduate conversion courses, non-related degrees will be considered
- Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered
PG Diploma level entry applicants must have an ordinary degree in a related subject area and relevant post qualification industry experience.
Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment.
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 modules within a course based on an existing academic qualification. Note that the prior learning must have been rated at the level of the modules 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 and 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 course of study.
English language requirements
If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.
Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.
All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.
We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s 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 and writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking and listening)
|Scotland / Non-UK EU||£8448||£4224|
|England / Northern Ireland / Wales||£8448||£4224|
* 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.
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.