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MSc Marine Environmental Management

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

Year of entry: 2020


1 year full-time

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

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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.

Please note this course is currently under review and may not recruit for 2020/21 academic year. Please contact the Department of Environment and Geography (+44 01904 324010) for further advice.

Summer experience

An integrated part of the course is your summer placement which allows you to explore a project with an external organisation

Course content

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 research dissertations: one based in York, the other with an external organization.

Study abroad

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. Previous students have studied:


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.

Core modules

Option modules

Choose 50 credits from:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.


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.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Debate, interpret and explain the ecological principles and human interactions which underlie marine environmental management at a range of scales using appropriate methods and norms, and engage critically with theory, knowledge and emerging issues in marine biology and marine environmental management
  • Identify, synthesise and critically evaluate information from a wide range of reliable sources, and collate this information to establish current understanding and independently identify key research questions in specialised areas of marine biology and marine environmental management.
  • Cut across disciplinary boundaries to link knowledge and experience from a wide range of research areas to understand the relationship between economic and social pressures and their impacts on the sea.
  • Identify knowledge gaps and to plan, design and execute advanced research in marine environmental management as an individual or as part of a team using critically-selected qualitative, quantitative or field-based methods.
  • Design and undertake critical analyses of quantitative data using appropriate tools to draw conclusions from advanced research on the ecological and economic implications of human interactions with the sea.
  • Effectively communicate knowledge, complex ideas and persuasive arguments to professional and non-specialist audiences using oral, written, visual and digital media.
  • Recommend and criticially evaluate sustainable solutions to environment and development problems affecting the sea that consider broader social, political, economic and environmental contexts, and the ethical implications of their application by applying knowledge, theories and approaches from marine biology, economics and policy studies.
  • Work responsibly as part of a team or as a team-leader in a range of settings to attain goals in marine environmental management.
The external placement was a highly enjoyable and unique aspect to this course and definitely a personal highlight of the degree.
Alice, 2014/2015

Innovative facilities

Our superb £12.5m state-of-the-art building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatre and seminar rooms as well as featuring a spectacular living wall

Weekly seminars

Academic and industry speakers are invited to talk about key and policy-relevant areas of environmental research

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2020/21

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year) £8,040£18,240

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

You will be responsible for the living and travel costs associated with your placement. However, you should not be responsible for the research costs for this.

You may also join the optional Maldives field trip, this trip costs an estimated £1,800, including flights. However the price of staying at the field station is subject to change and calculated from a fee in Euros.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Teaching format

This Masters combines formal lectures, practicals, computer labs, seminars and field trips.

  • Guest lecturers feature whenever possible in several modules
  • You'll use the University's Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to supplement lectures and practicals.
  • Some modules offer optional drop-in help sessions.

There is also an opportunity to take part in a field tip to the Maldives during the Easter holiday. On the trip you'll undertake a great deal of field work, where you'll have the chance to scuba dive (if you can pass the University's dive requirements) and you'll have daily sessions of snorkelling. You'll practise a variety of survey techniques and obtain reef identification skills.

You will generate your own placement with a external organisation, but you will be guided through this process. Your placement can be local, national or international depending on your interests. 


Our state-of-the-art building contains purpose-built labs, lecture theatre and seminar rooms.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Environment and Geography on Campus West.

Most of your contact hours will be in the Environment Department with some additional teaching on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Types of assessment in this course include:

  • Essays of around 3,000 words
  • Exams
  • Presentations and reports
  • Lab reports
  • Press release and articles for a general audience
  • Two 5,000 word dissertations.

As you study modules formative assessment will give you useful feedback on your progress and understanding.

Careers and skills

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
I truly recommend the MSc in Marine Environmental Management to anyone with a passion for the oceans, and if you are willing to work hard, you are going to have an absolutely brilliant year!
Beth, 2014/15

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:1 or equivalent. Ideally you will have studied a science degree but if not and you have a passion for marine conservation then we will consider you.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, minimum 6.5 in Writing and 6.0 in all other components
PTE Academic 61, minimum 61 in Writing and 55 in all other components
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, minimum 176 in Writing and 169 in all other components
TOEFL 87, minimum 23 in Writing and 21 in all other components
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components
Duolingo Minimum overall score of 115

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Next steps

Contact us

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Department of Environment and Geography

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