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Postgraduate Taught

MSc Marine Environmental Management

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2024
Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Ecology and Conservation
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. Please note, a low-carbon alternative programme is also available.
  • 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

Due to the high demand for this programme we highly recommend that you apply early. Applications can be made from September 2023. If we experience high demand it may be necessary for us to operate waiting lists or close the programme.

Apply online

View 2024 Entry

Fast Track (current Exeter students)

Open days and visiting us

Get a prospectus


Programme Director: Dr Julie Hawkins

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

9th in the world for Ecology

ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022

90% of our Biological Sciences research is internationally excellent

Based on research rated 4* and 3* in the Research Excellence Framework 2021

High-quality research supervision, with access to excellent facilities

Course variants

In line with our commitment to tackling the global climate emergency, we offer this programme with a low-carbon UK field course destination. This allows you to make an alternative choice when applying for this course. This programme also offers lower tuition fees.

The MSc Marine Environmental Management with UK field course offers the alternative field course option and allows you to consider the meaning of the word “wild” in the UK. Topics will include exploitation of the UK’s ecosystems, global policy impact and the behaviour and ecology of the UK’s fauna and flora.

This residential field course will perform a transect through the United Kingdom’s hotspots of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, human-wildlife conflict and ecological restoration. You will see the endangered wildlife of the UK, and meet the people who are stakeholders in their management or their conservation: National Park authorities; farmers; Natural England employees; conservation charity managers; people delivering species translocations; researchers; ecological consultants; tourism operators and the general public.

When participating in field courses, you may be required to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination, e.g. walking boots, rucksack.

Fieldwork is an integral part of the programme and 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 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.

Entry requirements

A 2:1 degree or above in a relevant science subject* is normally required. We will be happy to consider applicants with a non-scientific background who have a strong academic profile and/or significant relevant work experience of 2+ years, on individual merit. 

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

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

Being on a campus where everyone is interested in conservation, the environment and sustainability was such an encouraging environment to develop views and opinions, and discussing with different people about their research was very inspiring. I had studied fisheries management solely from an ecological perspective until I took the Marine & Coastal Sustainability module, which completely turned around my view on the management of fisheries and convinced me of the need for interdisciplinarity in conservation and management. 

Since graduating I moved to the Falkland Islands to work on fishing vessels and collect data for the Falkland Islands Government. It can be quite a tough job, but it's teaching me so much on the amount and quality of data required to manage fisheries. I'm so excited to apply everything I've learned in this position into managing fisheries! I was a member of the Sea Swimming Society at Exeter, and am proud to say I'm continuing to do this in the South Atlantic, where the water is much colder than in Cornwall...

Read more from Lise, France

Lise, France

Scientific Fisheries Observer, Falkland Islands Government
Studied MSc Marine Environmental Management, 2022

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.

135 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows, and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.

If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking intensive fieldwork, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment can be considered. This could include replacing a fieldwork module with an alternative in agreement with the Director of Education.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIOM4009 Research Project 90
BIOM4025 Statistical Modelling 15
BIOM4040 Fisheries Management 15
BIOM4050 Marine Protected Areas 15

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
BIOM4043 Rewilding the United Kingdom 30
BioP MSc MEM opt 2024-5
BIOM4030 Planning and Leading Conservation Projects 15
BIOM4031 GIS in Conservation Science 15
GEOM418 Marine and Coastal Social-ecological systems 15
GEOM424 Governing the Seas in a Changing World 15

135 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIOM4009 Research Project 90
BIOM4025 Statistical Modelling 15
BIOM4040 Fisheries Management 15
BIOM4050 Marine Protected Areas 15

Optional modules

a You may select only one of the field course modules. If you have mobility or health disabilities and want to undertake fieldwork, then reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment can be considered.

CodeModule Credits
BIOM4042 Coral Reef Field Course 30
BioP MSc MEM opt 2024-5
BIOM4030 Planning and Leading Conservation Projects 15
BIOM4031 GIS in Conservation Science 15
GEOM418 Marine and Coastal Social-ecological systems 15
GEOM424 Governing the Seas in a Changing World 15


2024/25 entry - UK fees per year:

with UK Field Course with International Field Course
£14,500 full-time; £7,250 part-time £15,700 full-time; £7,850 part-time

2024/25 entry - international fees per year:

with UK Field Course with International Field Course
£28,300 full-time; £14,150 part-time £29,500 full-time; £14,750 part-time

The fees include costs of field trips. 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. You will need to cover the cost of having a business visa and a diving medical for the field trip.


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students. This includes over £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*.

For more information on scholarships, please visit our scholarships and bursaries page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further 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.

Graduate School of Environment and Sustainability

You will become part of Exeter's Graduate School of Environment & Sustainability - a vibrant and supportive postgraduate community based here on our Penryn campus in Cornwall. The Graduate School brings together experts from across the spectrum of earth and life sciences, engineering, humanities, social sciences and business. You will interact with students from other MScs and have the opportunity to explore issues from a range of perspectives, benefiting from a truly interdisciplinary experience. All our programmes are designed with a focus on developing solutions to global challenges and creating a better future for our planet and its people.

Read more


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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