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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Marine Environmental Management (MSc)

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


1 year full-time

This course has been exceptionally popular this year, and is closed to further applications for 2017 entry. Applications for this course will re-open in September for 2018 entry. You can register for a reminder to be sent to you once we're accepting new applications.

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.


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

Course content What you’ll study


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.

Read testimonials from our students


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)

Full list and descriptions of modules.

These modules are the ones that will run in 2016-17. Modules may be changed in later years to reflect the latest research.


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 external placement was a highly enjoyable and unique aspect to this course and definitely a personal highlight of the degree.
Alice, 2014/2015

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

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, including 10 scuba dives and daily sessions of snorkelling. You'll practise a variety of survey techniques and obtain reef identification skills.


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 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.
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 How to get here

Course entry

You should have at least a 2:1 honours degree or equivalent. We will also consider your application if you have a 2:2 honours degree and relevant work experience. Ideally you will have studied a science degree but if not and you have a passion for marine conservation then we will consider you.

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.

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.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions

Next steps

Apply now