MSc Marine Environmental Management

General information

Overview. Exploring the principles of marine ecology and management, the dynamics of marine ecosystems and how human activity affects the marine environment.

The relationships between coastal and marine ecosystems and human activity make for fascinating study. With a worldwide consensus that the marine environment needs better management there is a growing demand for people who have been trained in marine resource management. This MSc will equip you to work for a wide range of marine environmental organisations or to progress to a PhD.

General. Our MSc in Marine Environmental Management provides exceptional teaching across a range of marine management modules. You'll be introduced to different marine ecosystems, key species and the impact of humans, now and in the past.

You'll get a chance to examine contemporary marine issues, including:

  • problems associated with fishing including: over-fishing, bycatch, habitat destruction and illegal fishing
  • aquaculture
  • how a multitude of human activities affect marine ecosystems
  • marine protected areas.

You'll undertake two reserach dissertations: one based in York, the other with an external organization.

As part of your course you'll undertake an external research placement that can be anywhere in the world. This also provides a great opportunity to increase your work experience.

Modules. For the Masters you will need to take a 80 credits of taught modules as well as 50 credits for your dissertation and 50 credits for your summer placement.

There are two core modules, giving 30 of your 80 required taught credits:

  • Fisheries Ecology and Management (10 credits)
  • Research Skills and Statistical Methods (20 credits)

You'll also choose 50 credits from a range of optional modules:

  • Marine Ecosystems (10 credits)
  • Ocean and Coastal Science (10 credits)
  • Spatial Analysis (10 credits)
  • Maldives (10 credits) - requires at least 12 students to run and incurs additional cost
  • Current Research in Marine Conservation (10 credits)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (10 credits)
  • Ecotoxicology (10 credits)
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Protected Areas (10 credits)
  • Environmental Governance (10 credits)

Dissertation. Your 5,000 word dissertation is chance to explore in depth a research project in an area that interests you. You can design your own dissertation in consultation with potential supervisors or you can chose from a list compiled by the department. Before you submit your dissertation you'll give a presentation that summarises your work and allows you to get some feedback on your progress.

This course is aimed at people who want to pursue a career in marine conservation or marine resource management. It can be taken either as a twelve-month Masters degree or nine-month Diploma. During the course, students will be thoroughly grounded in environmental problems affecting the oceans and will discover the latest thinking in how to manage marine resources. The course will place a strong emphasis on the importance of understanding marine ecosystem structure, function and processes and how human activities and global change are affecting these. It will also consider the socio-economic implications of these.

The course will enable students to develop their research and practical skills to a high level. These skills will be built through the dissertation project, a "term paper" which is written on an issue that is suggested by the student and a summer placement at an organisation outside the University of York. For their placement, students undertake a study of relevance to marine environmental management, which they write into a report that is assessed for their degree. Institutions where placements can be done include government agencies, NGOs, other universities or research institutes.

The course design has a 'modular' structure, where each module comprises a 10 credit unit or multiple of this. Students must accumulate 180 credits for the MSc and 120 credits for the diploma from compulsory and optional modules. Dissertations are compulsory and worth 30 credits for the MSc and 20 credits for the Diploma. MSc students must also complete a summer placement project, worth 50 credits, which is usually done outside the university.

Learning outcome:

Careers: Where you’ll go from here. This course is for people who want to work in marine conservation or marine resource management. Potential employers will value the experience you'll get on your placement. The MSc is also an ideal basis for progression to a PhD.

Career opportunities. You'll gain skills that will allow you to work in a variety of organisations:

  • Non-governmental conservation organisations
  • Government environmental, conservation or fishery agencies
  • Environmental consultancies.

Transferable skills

  • Independent working
  • Producing scientific reports
  • Perform statistical analysis
  • Time management and people skills
  • Analytical and technical research skills
  • Communicating research
  • Ability to produce a geographic information system.
Contact Person: Dr Julie Hawkins (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0831 - Aquaculture", "0542 - Statistics", "0512 - Toxicology", "0312 - Policy and governance


Venue: University of York
York, United Kingdom

Environment Department
Heslington, York, YO10 5DD


Open from 30 Sep 2016

  • UK/EU students: £6.650
  • Overseas students: £15,680

All information on fees and funding


You should have at least a 2:1 degree. Ideally you will have studied a science degree but if not and you have a passion for marine conservation then we will consider you.

Application Procedure:

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically with our online system, which allows you to save progress and return later to finish. If you're unable to apply online, you can submit a paper application.

Apply for this master using the online application system. You may be asked for the following documents:

  • Transcripts
  • CV
  • Language Certificate
  • Personal Statement
  • Evidence of Financial Support (if applicable)
  • Sample of written work

International options. General guidance on international entry requirements: email for details for this course.

English language. If your native language is not English you must provide evidence of your English language ability:

  • IELTS: at least 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing and no less than 6.0 in each other component
  • PTE: 61, with no less than 55 in each component
  • TOEFL: 87, with no less than 21 in each component
  • Trinity ISE: level 3 with Merit in all components

We accept other English Language Tests.

Students who have successfully completed a recent undergraduate degree at a UK University are exempt from the English Language requirement.

You may also want to attend the University's Pre-sessional courses.

Grant Opportunities:

More information is available on the Funding section of the University's website.


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
Spotted a mistake in this page? Click here to request a change.