Our ocean is the largest connected system on Earth, but it is under increasing pressure from expanding human activities and the climate crisis. As a future expert in marine science you will learn to identify sustainable development opportunities and assist conservation science, ‘blue economy’ industries, and ocean governance.
Our MSc Marine Science and Sustainable Development course aligns with the United Nations’ Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development to build relevant expertise and reverse the cycle of decline in ocean health. While critically examining the structure, function and benefits of marine systems in our taught modules in our School of Life Sciences, you will also have access to modules provided by our Department of Government, which is ranked 6th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education research power measure, Research Excellence Framework 2021), before embarking on a work placement with government, industry or non-government organisations to conduct an independent research project over the summer.
You will learn to develop your networks including carefully selected research providers, decision-makers and stakeholders with whom you can design and adapt existing policy to mitigate the impact of environmental change. Your developing skills will be underpinned by policy-oriented projects within our School of Life Sciences, support to find your own external placement, or a project with one of our external partners. Examples include collaborations with:
You will benefit from the vast breadth of research carried out by our internationally recognised academics, and will engage with research activities of our School both in the UK and abroad.
Specifically, you will explore topics including:
When you graduate from this course you will be part of the growing community of practitioners in marine sustainable development. You will have gained the most sought-after skills that make you well-placed for employment in the marine environment sector or provide an avenue for further academic study.
We’re ranked 31st for promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on life below water (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023). Learn more about the THE Impact Rankings 2023 as well as the partnership between The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the University of Essex to collaborate on training and research related to aquatic ecosystem science.
Visit our MSc Tropical Marine Biology course page for information about our other marine postgraduate degree.
To learn about the initiatives and actions the University of Essex is taking to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, visit our sustainability page.
As one of the largest departments at Essex, we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with research-led study and high-quality teaching. You will benefit will from the wide expertise of our research-active academics and their pioneering work on marine issues of national and global importance.
Current research topics include nationally and internationally recognised work on movement of life in the oceans, contributions to climate change from aquatic systems, sustainable fisheries and deep-sea biology. Our School houses expertise in aquaculture, community ecology of coastal seas, marine habitat restoration, the science-policy interface, effects of anthropogenic processes on marine ecosystems, fish and fisheries conservation and management, environmental biotechnology and environmental policy.
We are proud that one-third of students at the University of Essex are from outside of the UK. The University has a Women's Network to support female staff and students, and the School of Life Sciences has been awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award (2020) reflecting the work carried out by staff in our School to improve equality, including a mentorship scheme, support for postdoctoral research staff and financial help towards childcare costs for academics who wish to attend conferences.
Our School of Life Sciences contains fantastic, modern facilities for bioscience research. Most of the techniques we use routinely are available, where appropriate, to our students during their project work. All laboratory spaces are shared, meaning that you will work alongside your fellow students, PhD students and even post-doctoral researchers.
Recent investments in research infrastructure include cutting-edge bioimaging systems, videoscopy for behavioural research, brand new recirculating aquaria in the aquatic biology research labs and numerous accessory facilities for aquatic community ecology, photosynthesis and eco-physiology research.
On this course you have the opportunity to:
As mankind’s impacts on the environment become increasingly clear, the demand for qualified marine biologists continues to grow. Postgraduate study can be a requirement for a career in scientific research and help immensely when applying for jobs in consultancy, publishing, government, private industry or the third sector.
Many of our Masters students progress to study for their PhD, and we offer numerous studentships to support our students in their studies.
Our graduates go on to a range of careers. Some work with governmental and non-governmental environmental agencies, organisations, consultancies and voluntary organisations, or go on to conduct doctoral research. Many overseas students return to comparable posts in their home country.
We work with the University’s Careers Services to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
A degree with a 2.2 in a relevant subject such as : Marine Biology, Marine Chemistry, Oceanography, Environmental Sciences and tropical Biology.
Applications from students with a degree below a 2:2 will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.
Your Degree should contain some Ecology components including aquatic/marine Ecology, Biodiversity or Conservation.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
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If English isn’t your first language, we require IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
COMPONENT 01: CORE
COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 06: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS
We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:
If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.
We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.
For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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