Taught course

Marine Systems and Policies

University of Edinburgh · School of Geosciences

Entry requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in natural sciences or social sciences, but with clear evidence of experience and interest in marine topics.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration
  • UKVI list of majority English speaking countries
  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Months of entry


Course content

This programme is unique in Europe and beyond. It embraces a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to understanding the roles of humans and their connection to marine ecosystems for survival and prosperity.

This MSc approaches marine systems as an integrated socio-ecological system through focusing on three spheres of marine systems:

  • Marine natural systems – exploring diverse scales and functions of key marine biomes, habitats and species, spanning islands, coasts, estuaries, continental shelves, polar seas and global oceans.

  • Marine policy systems – examining different approaches to marine spatial planning and governance of marine ecosystems and services, through formal policies, laws and informal customs and practices.

  • Marine built systems – exploring ‘blue growth’ opportunities e.g. the ingenuity and impact of human built environments in marine settings, from reshaping coastlines for cities, travel and trade, to the urbanisation of ocean environments through innovations in energy infrastructure.

    Programme details:
  • Compulsory courses typically will be:

    • Marine Systems and Policies
    • Marine Infrastructure & Marine Fields Methods in Research & Practice
    • Marine Infrastructure & Environmental Change
    • Research Project in Marine Systems and Policies

    Option courses:

    In consultation with the Programme Director, you will choose from a range of option courses. We particularly recommend:

    • Principles of GIS
    • International Law of the Sea
    • Applications in Ecological Economics
    • Analysing the Environment
    • The Ecology of Ecosystem Services
    • Principles & Practice of Remote Sensing
    • International Law of the Marine Environment
    • The Ecology of Ecosystem Services
    • Water Resource Management
    • Human dimensions of environmental change and sustainability
    • Ecosystem Service Values

Information for international students

See Scholarships and Student Funding Services for other funding opportunities:

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Visit Scholarships and Student Funding Services at: http://www.ed.ac.uk/student-funding.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24, 36 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

Programme Secretary, Susie Crocker
+44 (0)131 651 7126