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Marine Ecosystems and Governance (Taught)

Newcastle University
2 years
Master's degree
On campus
Newcastle upon Tyne
Contact school for start dates

Program description

This course provides you with an exceptional grounding in marine environmental research. You’ll develop your understanding of key concepts and issues. You’ll also develop the skills and qualities required for a career in academia or industry.

Through a combination of taught and research modules, our course develops your understanding of:
•the roles of science, policy, technology and economic development in the marine environment
•marine environmental issues, their origins and possible solutions
•the principal processes maintaining and altering structure, function and ecosystem services of coastal waters
•the key concepts and methodologies used in ecosystem, environmental management and conservation science
•the context, purpose and implementation of resource mapping and evaluation
•the theory, principles, concepts and practices in marine governance

Our staff have over 30 years of research and teaching experience, both in the UK and overseas. Their expertise spans the natural and social sciences in coastal-marine science and management.

Our taught modules will ground your understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics, research methodologies and environmental governance. You will develop your research skills by designing and completing a supervised project.

Major sites for projects include the:
•Red Sea
•Northumberland coast (UK)

The project will develop a detailed knowledge of your chosen research topic by drawing on the research communities within the School of Marine Science and Technology. These include:
•Marine Biology, Ecosystems and Governance (MBEG)
•Oceans and Climate (OC)

These research groups have had notable successes in their work on:
•coral reefs (Prof John Bythell, Prof Alasdair Edwards, Prof Nicholas Polunin)
•physical oceanography and climate modelling (Prof Andrew Willmott, Dr Miguel Maqueda)
•marine spatial mapping and systems planning (Dr Clare Fitzsimmons)
•marine protected areas and management (Prof Nicholas Polunin, Prof Selina Stead)
•food webs (Prof Nicholas Polunin)

They are also active in:
•marine mammal monitoring (Dr Per Berggren)
•citizen science and outreach (Dr Jane Delaney)
•deep sea ecology and marine time series (Dr Ben Wigham)


There are exceptional opportunities if you see yourself in a marine environmental science research career. We have official partnerships with:
•Northumberland Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority
•Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia
•Haribon Foundation, Philippines (a major non-governmental organisation)

Our partnerships provide you with the opportunity for exchanges and involvement. We also have strong links with:
•King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia
•Cape Eleuthera Institute, Bahamas
•Banyan Tree Global Foundation, Maldives

Previous students have worked with KAUST on a project based at a Red Sea facility. The focus of this project was the environmental impact of land based agriculture.

Papers and projects

There are also opportunities for involvement in key papers and projects. Previous students have often led on papers and projects in areas that include:

Tropical coastal management
Marine ecosystem services
North Sea marine policy
Marine biology
Coral reef ecology
Marine protected area management
Fisheries ecology and sustainability


Three taught modules worth 60 credits are delivered in week blocks during semester one. A research project worth 120 credits is undertaken across semesters 2 and 3.

The course is delivered by the School of Marine Science and Technology.


You will have access to a wealth of excellent facilities, including:
•the Dove Marine Laboratory (Cullercoats)
•our versatile twin-hulled research vessel, The Princess Royal
•our shore station at Blyth
•dedicated computers and laboratories.

Admission requirements

For more information about this program, please contact the school directly.

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About this institute

Newcastle University

Newcastle University is a world-class research and teaching university, ranked in the top 200 of the world’s best universities. We are proud to have been awarded Gold status by the UK government in the Teaching Excellence Framework in recognition of our provision of consistently outstanding teaching,...

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