Taught course


University of Southampton · Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Entry requirements

Usually first- or upper second-class degree in any scientific discipline; ideally AS level mathematics or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Months of entry


Course content

This degree is designed primarily for students with no previous specialisation in marine science such as graduates with a degree in biological sciences, chemistry or materials science, physics, mathematics, environmental science, physical geography or related disciplines. The programme includes compulsory introductory modules that provide a foundation in interdisciplinary marine science, along with the opportunity to specialise in particular areas through an option of modules, as well as research project experience.

To highlight the specialisations possible through the option modules of the programme, we have developed “pathways” of suggested module choices, which include:

  • Marine Biology and Ecology
  • Physical Oceanography and Climate Dynamics
  • Marine Biogeochemistry
  • Marine Geology and Geophysics

Students can either follow one of these ‘pathways’, or mix options from different pathways, where the timetable allows, to pursue broader interests. Graduates often pursue careers in the marine environmental sector or undertake PhD research in marine sciences.

Programme structure:

Semester one
Core introductory modules: Introductory Biological Oceanography; Introductory Chemical Oceanography; Introductory Marine Geology; Introductory Physical Oceanography Plus: Key Skills and Literature Review

Optional modules: two from: Applied and Marine Geophysics; Biogeochemical Cycles in the Earth System; Coastal Sediment Dynamics; Computational Data Analysis for Geophysicists and Ocean Scientists; Deep-sea Ecology; Geodynamics and Solid Earth Geophysics; International Maritime and Environmental Law; Introductory Remote Sensing of the Oceans; Large-scale Ocean Processes; Microfossils, Environment and Time; Zooplankton Ecology and Processes

Semester two
Optional modules: three from: Global Ocean Carbon Cycle, Ocean Acidification and Climate; Modelling coastal Processes; Climate Dynamics; Ecological Modelling; Environmental Radioactivity and Radiochemistry; Global Climate Cycles; Global Ocean Monitoring; Seafloor Exploration and Surveying 2; Structure and Dynamics of Marine Communities Plus: Key Skills and Literature Review

Research Project:
From June to September, students work full time on an independent research project that represents one-third of the MSc degree, supervised by a research scientist at the NOCS with opportunities for collaboration with colleagues at other institutions and organisations. Project topics span the range of research areas at NOCS.

Information for international students


Fees and funding



Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Natural and Environmental Sciences
+44 (0)23 8059 5899