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.

Months of entry


Course content

Rapid climate change and the global expansion of human activities threaten the world’s oceans. The QS World University Rankings 2019 placed the University 18th in the world, and our unique Marine Systems & Policies programme stands out from others. Our core courses and skills development opportunities truly embrace integrated approaches to understanding the science, policies and practice of achieving sustainable ocean development.

For 2019/20, the programme has been re-designed to ensure students are equipped with a fully interdisciplinary understanding and the skills needed to develop science, policy and in-practice solutions to the challenge of changing oceans.

The programme breadth spans three spheres of marine systems:

  • Marine ecosystems – exploring marine ecosystems, their socioeconomic importance, and their conservation across marine biomes, habitats and species, spanning islands, coasts, estuaries, continental shelves, polar seas and the deep and High Seas;

  • Marine policy – examining different systems of ocean governance from codes of conduct to legally binding regional to international policies, marine planning, area-based management tools, to customs and traditional knowledge;
  • Marine built systems – exploring how the ‘blue economy’ including resource exploitation and infrastructure development affect marine species and ecosystems, and the practical management frameworks that aim for sustainable ocean development including marine spatial planning.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Susie Crocker
+44 (0)131 651 7126