Taught course

Ecosystem-based Management of Marine Systems

University of St Andrews · School of Biology

Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a UK first or upper second class degree, or equivalent from a recognised overseas institution.

Months of entry


Course content

The MSc in Ecosystem-based Management of Marine Systems provides students a superior understanding of integrated marine environment systems, exploring the interconnections between the physical environment, biodiversity and the impacts of human activity and resource use.

Course highlights

  • The programme is run jointly by two internationally renowned organisations: the Scottish Oceans Institute and the Scottish Association of Marine Science.
  • The programme takes a holistic approach to understanding ecosystem goods and services, and how to protect and manage marine systems.
  • All students have the exciting opportunity to conduct field work and training on board the SAMS vessel Calanus. Students may also take optional courses in either Antarctica or Indonesia (requiring additional payment of a substantial expedition fee).
  • The course provides strong preparation for future employment: 77% of the 2015 graduate now have a job or PhD studentship that is directly related to their studies in marine ecosystem management during the EMMS year.

Teaching format

Students spend the first semester of the taught component at the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI)at the University of St Andrews and the second semester at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) on the Scottish west coast.

The modular curriculum is designed to be coherent, providing an excellent integrated training for future careers in marine management or scientific research.Teaching takes the form of lectures, tutorials, discussions, debates and workshops. Practicals involve laboratory work, field excursions, modelling and computer-based data analysis. Class sizes range from 5 to 30 students, depending on the activity. There is a strong focus on small-group teaching so that students are individually supported and can ask for help when it is needed.

In Semester 2 there are optional field courses: a polar field course in Antarctica or a tropical scientific diving course in Indonesia.

From May to August, students focus solely on their research project, which can be undertaken at either SOI or SAMS, leading to the submission of a 15,000-word dissertation.

Information for international students

A minimum of IELTS 7.0 or equivalent

Fees and funding

UK students
International students


Qualification and course duration


full time
12 months

Course contact details

Postgraduate Secretary
+44 (0) 1334 463441