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Postgraduate taught

MSc Marine Environmental Management

Please note: The below is for 2022 entries. Click here for 2021 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2022
Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Biosciences

Programme Director: Dr Julie Hawkins
Web: Enquire online 
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801 

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

Normally at least a high 2:1 Honours degree or equivalent in a relevant science subject

Contextual offers


  • Explore the relationships between coastal and marine ecosystems and human activity
  • Includes an international field course to the Maldives with up to ten dives possible and UK-based fieldwork
  • Gain transferable skills for marine environmental management, and learn to use 'R' and GIS
  • Dissertation can involve external placement/s
  • Delivered by internationally recognised experts in a location surrounded in coastal and marine biodiversity

Apply online

View 2021 Entry

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Please note: Due to the high demand for this programme, we recommend that you apply early to avoid disappointment. 

Top 10 in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research

Research Excellence Framework 2014 based on the percentage of research categorised as 4* and 3*

11th in the world for Ecology

ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2021

14th in the UK for Biological Sciences

The Complete University Guide 2022

High-quality research supervision, with access to excellent facilities

Entry requirements

Normally a 2:1 degree of 65% or above in a relevant science subject* is required, although we will consider all applications with a 2.1 where there is evidence of exceptional performance in modules relevant to the programme of study (research and/or numerical skills), and/or significant relevant work experience of 2+ years.

*Relevant subjects include: Biosciences, Ecology, Geography, Marine Biology, Marine Sciences, Natural Sciences, Zoology.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements


Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

Course content

The ocean covers 71% of the surface of the Earth, but when depth is accounted for, occupies 97% of the volume of the biosphere. This means that the sea and life within it has a profound influence on the processes which keep the planet habitable. Yet until recently the ocean has been neglected in terms of management and protection, despite growing evidence of adverse impacts from a long list of human influences, such as overfishing, habitat damage and biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

Global attention is now turning rapidly to how to safeguard ocean life and the people and industries that depend on it, leading to increasing demand for trained practitioners of marine environmental management. MSc Marine Environmental Management delivers this training, giving you a thorough grounding in a wide diversity of marine ecosystems, their ecology, functioning, and values to people.

The programme explores the diverse ways in which human activities affect marine life and introduces management approaches to alleviate pressures from activities such as fisheries, tourism, coastal development and climate change. It examines in depth the science and practice of creating and managing marine protected areas to safeguard marine life and promote human livelihoods and wellbeing.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.


2022/23 entry

UK fees per year:

£14,500 full-time; £7,250 part-time

International fees per year:

£25,500 full-time; £12,750 part-time

Additional course costs

When participating in field courses, you will need to cover the cost of any relevant immunisations, if necessary. For the Maldives field trip, you will be required to provide your own mask, fins, snorkel, booties and thin wetsuit, if you prefer to wear one. Additional costs may be incurred for your research project, depending on what you choose to study.


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* for international fee paying students.  

For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.

*Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.

Teaching and research

Our research

In recent years the University of Exeter’s marine education and research has been growing fast. Our interdisciplinary marine research spans the humanities, physical, social and natural sciences. Marine research groups, containing over 350 researchers, can be found in all of our Colleges and interdisciplinary research institutes.

Research is organised into nine major interdisciplinary themes which sees us working collaboratively with a wide range of partners locally, regionally and across the world’s oceans to shape positive changes in practice, policy and innovation. The research groups include:

How will I learn?

  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Fieldwork
  • Group discussion
  • Independent study

There is considerable scope for you to direct your learning towards fields of particular interest, especially through your choice of research project. Research seminars will enable you to interact with a diversity of top academics and get to know about their ongoing research.

Research project

A large number of Exeter academics will be involved with this programme and they will offer a great diversity of research topics in the UK and overseas. There is also the option to work with an external collaborating organisation as a placement student during your research project, which could be located anywhere in the world.

Tutorial support

Each student is allocated a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There is also a postgraduate tutor available to help with further guidance and advice.


Taught modules will be assessed through formal oral presentation, written reports, essays and discussions, during or upon the immediate completion of the modules. The research project makes up a significant proportion of the assessment and is mainly based on the dissertation write up.

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Fieldwork is an integral part of the programme with a field course opportunity in either the Maldives or the UK, depending on your preference. The location of the Penryn Campus provides excellent access to local marine and coastal environments, allowing short field trips to be embedded within the modules.

The eight-day field course to the Maldives will allow you to learn about the wonder of Maldivian coral reefs, their rich biodiversity, structure, functioning, threats from climate change, and management needs. Daily practicals will involve snorkelling and also some diving for those with a Rescue Diver qualification. During these you will practice a variety of the reef survey techniques taught. Impacts of climate change and capacity for reef recovery are evident during fieldwork and your data will contribute to long term monitoring of the reefs. Topics covered in daily lectures will include coral reef ecology, human impacts to reefs, and taxonomy.

Alternatively, you might wish to focus on UK marine ecosystems in a no-fly alternative to an overseas field course. Topics will include exploitation of the UK’s ecosystems, global policy impact and the behaviour and ecology of the UK’s fauna and flora.

Please note that some field courses may incur additional costs - see the Fees section for more information.



Employer-valued skills this course develops

This programme will provide you with a diversity of skills that will equip you for a range of sectors of work and further study of marine environments. Skills include:

  • Scientific writing and poster preparation
  • Grant writing
  • Public speaking
  • Short film production
  • Press release and the professional use of social media
  • Data analysis
  • Writing scientific information for a lay audience
  • Use of “R” and GIS.

Career paths

The programme will prepare students for careers in environmental NGOs, fisheries management bodies, government agencies, consultancy companies and marine-related businesses such as aquaculture, shipping, offshore energy, etc. The degree also offers a thorough training in research skills and methods so provides an excellent basis for an academic career.

Careers services

Our careers teams at the Career Zone can help guide you through a wealth of information to match your skills and interests to a career that will suit you. Our staff work with regional, national and international employers to develop new work placement, project and graduate opportunities.

Supporting your career

Being part of a large research-intensive department such as the Centre for Ecology and Conservation means there are multiple extracurricular research seminars per week and frequent on-campus symposia and employability focused seminars involving invited external stakeholders offering extensive networking opportunities.

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