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Marine Geography

Cardiff University
4 years
Full time
Master's degree
Scholarships available
On campus
September 2021
Application deadline: UK and EU - 15 Jan; International Students - 30 June

Program description

Marine Geography

This four year marine geography degree covers a broad range of marine and coast-related subjects and includes an independent research project.

The world’s oceans and coasts are full of amazing habitats and wildlife and they sustain many important and growing industries including shipping, tourism and renewable energy. As a marine geographer, you will have the skills and knowledge needed to keep our oceans healthy and support traditional and emerging marine industries to be sustainable.

This course covers a unique mix of physical and environmental geography. You will explore the science behind the relationship between society and the sea, and investigate global challenges such as rising sea levels. You will study the physical, hydrographical and managerial issues relating to the ocean, with a focus on developing the advanced research skills needed for a career in academic research and consultancy. Our Master's degree involves a fourth year of study where you work on an exciting research project with an academic from the School and their research staff.

We make the most of our location and take regular trips to the Bristol Channel, the Glamorgan Heritage Coast and the Gower, as well as overseas trips to places such as Malta, Jersey and Greece. You will get involved in activities like offshore surveying, water quality monitoring, ecological mapping and beach profiling.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September.

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Admission requirements

Typical A level offer

Grades ABB - BBB, including one science or grades BBB-BBC with two science subjects. Science subjects include Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Geology, Biology, Geography, Computer Science, Environmental Science. Please note, General Studies will not be accepted.

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website

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Program content

  • In your first year, you will study core modules designed to give you a strong foundation in marine geography. Topics include
    • Oceans
    • Climate
    • Earth processes
    • Global environments
  • In your second year, you will build on the knowledge from year one and start exploring more advanced concepts like marine ecology, coastal processes and the ocean-atmosphere system.
  • In your third year you will have more freedom to shape your degree and choose modules that fit with your career ambitions. You will also develop essential professional skills and knowledge that all employers are looking for.
  • Year four is when you study for your Masters. Your core modules include your dissertation and a fieldwork module. For your optional modules you can choose from topics like business and consultancy and advanced geographical modelling.

Scholarships & funding

For more information about scholarships, please visit the university website.

Tuition fees

Tuition Fees for UK and EU students is £9,000

Tuition Fees for students from outside the EU is £21,950


What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding

On successful completion of the entire program students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A systematic and critical understanding of spatial and temporal processes relating to marine and coastal environments, and a broad comprehension of the inter-relationships between ocean, coastal and catchment systems
  • A broad and critical understanding of marine and coastal resources and associated global challenges, including approaches to the governance of these
  • A critical systematic understanding of the multi-disciplinary nature of Marine Geography, including its content, methods and philosophy, and an associated critical awareness of the need for integration of knowledge from cognate sciences, including those related to ocean, atmospheric, physical and environmental sciences
  • Rigorous appreciation and application of the scientific process, including the design and testing of hypotheses, and the formulation of new concepts.
  • Formulation, design and use of appropriate laboratory, field, and/or computational methodologies relevant to a high level research project

Intellectual Skills

On successful completion of the entire program students will be able to demonstrate the following :

  • Debate, interpret and evaluate the causes, scales and impacts of contemporary and future marine environmental issues whilst critically applying relevant ideas, concepts and methods
  • Collect, collate, synthesise and critically evaluate a wide variety of data and information associated with marine and coastal environments, drawing from relevant approaches in cognate areas of environmental science
  • Critically evaluate current research on selected aspects of the marine environment, demonstrating an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of associated scientific understanding
  • Work across disciplines to link knowledge and experience from allied sciences to critically understand the science related to the marine environment and to evaluate the relationship between marine environmental processes and society
  • The ability to solve complex scientific problems both creatively and independently
  • Model and interpret environmental geographical data to generate hypotheses that can be tested with additional data or observation.

Professional Practical Skills

On successful completion of the entire program students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Critically analyse and interpret a range of different types of data related to the marine environment as part of research processes to investigate a range of topical marine environmental issues and theoretical concepts
  • Plan, design and execute research related to the marine and coastal environment, critically using a range of qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection and analysis in field, offshore, laboratory and desk-based studies
  • Critical application of methods used to acquire geospatial data and represent such data in appropriate cartographic and graphic formats using appropriate platforms, including GIS
  • Address research problems involving the integration and analysis of diverse and often incomplete and uncertain data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative methodologies and approaches
  • Demonstrate advanced practical skills and competence in information technology, geographical information systems, cartographic, statistical and other analytical techniques
  • Undertake effective project management and organisational skills through independent working and team work
  • Understand and the practical limitations, logistics, safety and ethical aspects of data gathering in marine and coastal environments, and apply this understanding, as appropriate to advanced, applied research
  • An ability to independently plan a complex project at the frontier of a research topic
  • Model complex numerical marine geographical data and draw appropriate conclusions from such modelling

Transferable/Key Skills

On successful completion of the entire program students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • An ability to effectively communication of knowledge, ideas and arguments in a variety of formats using oral, written, and visual media to both specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • An ability to work competently individually or as part of a team in both problem-setting and problem-solving within a range of advanced, applied research environments where decision-making is complex and multi-disciplinary
  • An ability to undertake independent study and advanced personal scholarship, fostered through enhanced personal responsibility, initiative and self-learning experiences
  • A commitment to lifelong learning through engaging in the process of personal development planning and ownership of own learning
  • An ability in problem-solving as well as reliability, loyalty, social conduct, tact, attitude to learning and research, leadership, resilience, decision-making and reasoning

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About this institute

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University combines a prestigious heritage with impressive modern facilities, on one of the most beautiful campuses in the UK. As part of the Russell Group, our students benefit from our outstanding research quality and reputation, while...

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Contact info

Cardiff University

CF10 3AT Cardiff

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