Taught course

Integrative Marine Data Skills

Institution
Heriot-Watt University · School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
Qualifications
MSc

Entry requirements

For MSc level entry, students must hold a good degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. life sciences, environmental studies, biodiversity, conservation, marine biology) from a UK or Overseas University. In addition to the academic qualifications, motivation, industrial experience and personality are taken into consideration.

Months of entry

September

Course content

Integrative Marine Data Skills

This MSc programme is delivered by the International Centre for Island Technology (ICIT) at our Orkney Campus. It has been designed to promote an integrated, participatory approach to nurture and strengthen quantitative skills in science and environmental graduates using locally relevant issues. It will build a broad understanding of marine ecosystems, ecosystem services and associated management issues. Teaching is strongly reinforced with laboratory, fieldwork and project work, with emphasis placed on simulating real work situations. Strong links with industry partners, policy-makers and regulators ensure relevance within this sector. It will produce students who are quantitatively competent and literate, capable of interpreting and communicating findings, with work-ready skills (field and industry) to facilitate employment in a competitive marketplace where demand for data-savvy students is high.

Course content

Semester 1:

Advanced Research Skills 1 – Data Collecting and Handling (core)

Data is increasingly important in today’s society with huge quantities generated by the maritime sector to address a range of environmental and economically important issues. However, a specific set of skills are required to handle, extract, manipulate, analyse and communicate these data sets. Students will collect data across three platforms: shoreline, oceanic and remote, providing work-ready technical, laboratory and field skills. This course will build quantitative confidence and competency, providing graduates with the skills essential to understanding, responding to, and mitigating today’s environmental challenges.

Advanced Research Skills 2 – Statistical and Numerical Techniques (core)

The ability to problem-solve, think critically and apply mathematics has been severely eroded across education sectors, with this deficit being transferred to the working environment. Skills in numeracy, data mining, data management and modelling have been highlighted as being in demand. This course will utilise environmentally relevant, local long-term data sets collected in Advanced Research Skills 1 to strengthen skills in data analysis using a range of methods. This course is not targeting students with a strong numerical or modelling background, instead it aims to build confidence with analytical techniques and provide a broad, yet solid depth of knowledge.

Oceanography and Marine Ecology (core)

This course will give an understanding of the science of waves and tides, and how this affects efforts to exploit energy from these resources and to develop other maritime industries. The challenges and impacts associated with engineering operations in the marine environment are examined. Marine ecosystems and ecosystems services are also studied and how these are impacted by human activities.

Introduction to Marine Planning (core)

Introduces students to the emerging policy and practice of marine planning (global and regional). It examines political, jurisdictional and rights issues in the introduction of economic activities into the marine commons (the ‘Blue Growth Agenda’). The framework of marine legislation is explained and methods of conflict resolution are explored. A series of international case studies will identify the various tools and techniques being used around the world to manage human activity and balance conservation interests with demands for economic growth.

Semester 2:

Case Study and Project Design (core)

This course will facilitate the interpretation and communication of data and promote teamwork skills and engagement with a broad range of end-users, fostering responsive management skills. It is an essential follow-on core component from Advanced Research Skills 1 and 2 in Semester 1 to further consolidate the quantitative learning experience and promote synergies with local industry, stake-holders and communities. The course will capitalise on the strong networks already in place at ICIT with staff, local industry and community groups.

GIS for Marine and Environmental Scientists (optional)

Geographic Information System mapping is a tool which is now widely used by both developers and regulators in the management and development of marine resources. Within the context of Marine Spatial Planning the use of GIS has rapidly become the standard means of collating and analysing spatial information regarding resource use. This course will explain the principles and provide hands-on experience of applying state of the art mapping software in project based case studies.

Environmental Policy and Risk (optional)

This course explores the legal and policy context of marine governance. You will gain an understanding of international law, particularly the Law of the Sea, property rights and how these relate to different energy resources. The course examines regulatory issues at the international, European and UK level, as well as risk assessment and management in the context of marine developments. A practical EIA exercise is undertaken.

Practical Skills in Marine Surveying (optional)

Students entering employment in marine conservation or marine resource management are often required to plan or manage surveys of the marine environment in the role of either client or contractor. Diving is often the most effective method for conducting surveys to monitor or map marine biota. This course will provide students with the requisite knowledge for designing and managing such projects utilising scientific diving techniques.

Marine Environmental Monitoring (optional)

This course will provide an understanding of: the scientific background of natural processes in estuarine and coastal environments as a necessary prerequisite for understanding monitoring and management; the fundamentals of the design and applications of environmental monitoring programmes; the role of impact assessment in resource management, conservation and pollution control and legal framework supporting this process; and the importance of the scientific dimension underpinning estuarine and coastal management.

Tropical Coral Reefs: Monitoring and Management Field Course (Malaysia) (optional)

(Additional fee for flights and subsistence)

Students will experience different techniques used for surveying and monitoring coral reefs, to provide an understanding of the sampling and other issues which influence choice of method. It will provide students with an impression of the environmental pressures affecting reef habitats as a result of climate change, tourism related development, and of the range of management measures which may be introduced to promote sustainable use of reef resources. It will familiarise students with the main forms of fish, coral and invertebrates which characterise reefs. In addition, the course gives the chance to examine other marine habitats that are often closely inter-related with reefs: e.g. sea-grass beds.

More information:

Information for international students

If your first language is not English, or your first degree was not taught in English, we’ll need to see evidence of your English language ability. The minimum requirement for English language is IELTS 6.5 or equivalent. We offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your masters programme:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5);
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills);
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading & writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking & listening)

Visit our website for information on Academic English for university study.

Fees and funding

UK students
£7,960
International students
£19,580

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships and more than 400 students benefit from this support. View our full range at: Postgraduate taught scholarships

This programme has been selected to support the skills demand in Scotland's key economic growth areas. A number of full fee bursaries are available to applicants permanently resident in Scotland. Download an application form and submit to scholarships@hw.ac.uk.

Qualification and course duration

MSc

full time
12 months

Course contact details

Name
A/Prof Angela Capper
Email
icit@hw.ac.uk
Phone
+44 (0)1856 850605