Erasmus Mundus MSc in Marine Environment and Resources (MER+)

General information

This Joint European MSc Programme is aimed at forming such multidisciplinary graduates of transverse research profile, by attracting highly qualified and motivated students from around the world into a fully integrated world-class EU MSc programme. The original programme was conceived by SOTON, UPV/EHU, UB1 and ULg, utilising the extensive marine science expertise and experience of the (4) institutions. As a part of the construction of the EHEA, a pivotal goal of the MER MSc Programme is to promote international and European cultural exchange and interactions between students. Student mobility is designed with this objective.

The MER MSc programme runs full-time over 24 months (120 ECTS) and consists of advanced courses (90 ECTS) and a Master Thesis, with a dissertation (30 ECTS). Every student will follow an individually-tailored study programme, by combining the different disciplines that can be studied at each of the Partner universities:

  • Coastal Management or Advanced Oceanography, in SOTON
  • Marine Non-living Resources or Marine Environment, in UB1
  • Marine Living Resources or Marine Pollution (Ecosystem Health Assessment included), in UPV/EHU
  • Marine Biology and Ecology, in ULg

The coursework is arranged in six modules:

  • Fundamental: Ocean Science
  • Framework: Global Ocean Environment
  • Scientific Challenges and Opportunities: Marine Environment Protection and Resources exploitation
  • Socio-economic Commitment: Marine Environment and Resources Management
  • Data Analysis: Interpretation of Environmental Data
  • Discovery: Marine Environment and Resources Research

A full list of courses and their associated learning outcomes, credit point values, assessment methods, and pre-requisites is available Module Description Book. The MSc Thesis research (Module 6) is undertaken during Semester 4. The MSc Thesis research work can be entirely, or jointly, undertaken in SOTON, UPV/EHU, UB1 and ULg or in an associated institutions in Europe or overseas. All the MSc Theses are presented at Joint Viva Sessions at the end of September, in UPV/EHU, with members of all the Partner universities, staff from associates and external (invited) examiners.

The MSc MER degree is designed to allow specialisation in particular areas of marine science. Two specialisations are available -Marine Environment and Marine Resources- designed to provide in-depth knowledge in individual marine disciplines. Selecting one of these pathways is not a requirement; students can still maintain a multidisciplinary choice of options, within the timetabling constraints of the programme.

Learning outcome:

In view of the needs analysis and future career prospects (both academic and non-academic), the learning outcomes prepare students to undertake integrated, multidisciplinary, research into the marine environment and marine resources, together with their interactions (ocean health, biodiversity conservation, resources exploitation, pollution control and coastal zone management). MER MSc graduates are/will be able to integrate into multidisciplinary teams, contributing expertise in a given marine discipline or at the overlap of distinct disciplines within the field. Students must be able to communicate with marine scientists and technologies of diverse expertise, facilitate communication between co-workers (e.g. between a coastal engineer and a marine biologist) and promote synergies. They must be able to accomplish transverse research (from nm/µm scale, to km phenomena/data; from sec/min scale to decades/centuries).


The programme is aimed at:

  • forming multidisciplinary graduates of transverse research profile in a fully integrated world class EU MSc programme;
  • developing the student's critical understanding of technical and scientific tools together with excellent management abilities and personal skills;
  • achieving high academic standards, which is supported by recognised quality assurance (QA) procedures;
  • promoting both staff exchange and student mobility under a balanced ECTS scheme.
Contact Person: MER Secretariat (


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0311 - Maritime economy", "0312 - Policy and governance", "0421 - Marine and maritime law", "0512 - Biotechnology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0532 - Marine Geology", "0831 - Fisheries


Venue: Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (Programme Administration)
Plentzia, Spain

Research Centre for Experimental Marine Biology and Biotechnology
Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea
Areatza z/g, E-48620 Plentzia-Bizkaia; Basque Country


Open from
30 Sep 2016 to 15 Jan 2017


Two student populations are distinguished (see below). 

  • Category B students are from the 27 EU Member States, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.
  • Category A students are from any other country, provided they are not currently residents of these eligible countries (above), nor have carried out their main activity (studies, work, etc.) for more than a total of 12 months over the last five years in one of these countries.

All MSc students pay an annual fee (i.e. Category A students 9.000€ and Category B students 4.500€ in 2015-2017) to the MER Secretariat, towards tuition and coordination costs. These registration fees cover tuition fees and insurance coverage - and include free access to libraries, labs, or internet inside the Consortium Universities (UPV/EHU, SOTON, UB1, or ULg) or Associates through which the study programme is completed. Additional costs due to special activities (i.e., boarding in oceanographic vessels, accommodation during the RiMER course in the SS Aquarium) are also covered. 


Degree Requirements 
The Programme is open to holders of a first cycle higher education degree (Bachelor degree, or equivalent) from European and Third-Country universities, in the field of biosciences, chemical sciences, geosciences, physical sciences and engineering. As such, the MER MSc acts as a conversion for aspiring marine scientists.

Language Requirements 
Proof of proficiency in English is essential. Proficiency in French, Spanish and/or Basque is optional. The minimum requirements for non-native speakers in English are by an IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL 570/227, or an equivalent approved by the Joint Programme Board. 

Application Procedure:

 Applicants are required to complete the on-line application procedure, providing documents and forms required:

  1. Copy (pdf) of the official transcript of records of all courses taken to achieve the BSc degree
  2. Copy (pdf) of the highest degree obtained (e.g., BSc), stating credits, average grade and workload
  3. Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
  4. Personal statement of motivation to participate in the MER Programme (Letter; pdf)
  5. Two Reference Forms or Recommendation Letters submitted by academic/professional staff following the on-line application procedure
  6. Completed Study Plan Form (on-line), indicating the teaching modules of preference
  7. Photocopy of your passport or national identity card (pdf or image file)
  8. Proof of proficiency in written and spoken English
  9. Photograph (passport type)
  10. Any supplementary information/work

Application Deadlines
Application deadline is January 15th each year for students applying for Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, as well as to other Third-Country students that require a conditional pre-acceptance letter that might assist them in obtaining grants to enrol in the MER Programme - as well as the necessary visas. Applications are extended to June 13th for students that have not applied for Mundus Scholarships.


Academic level: Master


Examinations are run according to local regulations, which have been laid out by the Partner Universities. To test knowledge and understanding of material presented in the lectures and associated practicals, the student will be assessed via a combination of written examinations, oral presentations, essays, poster presentations, laboratory experiment write-ups, and fieldwork/boatwork reports.

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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