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MSc Marine Science and Sustainable Development

University of Essex

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:

  • The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) – setting standards for the ornamental aquatic industry
  • The Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) in Lowestoft, Suffolk – the marine and freshwater agency of the Government’s Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)

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:

  • Adaptation strategies, mitigation strategies and science-informed policy responses.
  • The state of the environment and the politics of environmental challenges
  • Characteristics of marine environments and anthropogenic pressures
  • Sustainable marine resource management and conservation

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.

Visit our MSc Tropical Marine Biology course page for information about our other marine postgraduate degree.

Sustainability at Essex

To learn about the initiatives and actions the University of Essex is taking to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, visit our sustainability page.

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Listed below are the documents required to apply for this course.
1 year


Oct 2024

Start Month

Sep 2024

Application Deadline

Upcoming Intakes

  • October 2024
  • October 2025

Mode of Study

  • Full Time