MSc Oceanography

General information

The MSc Oceanography programme enables students from any science or maths background to apply the knowledge of their first degree to the marine environment, gain a foundation in interdisciplianry marine science, and develop advanced level specialisation in one or more discipline areas such as marine biology, physical oceanography, marine geochemistry, or marine geosciences. The MSc Oceanography degree is designed primarily for students with no previous specialisation in marine science.

To highlight the specialisations possible through the option modules of the programme, we have developed "pathways" of suggested module choices. Students can either follow one of these "pathways", or mix options from different pathways, where the timetable allows, to pursue broader interests:

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

Programme Structure
The MSc Oceanography degree consists of formal instruction including lectures, practicals, and boat work and an individual research project. The programme concentrates 90 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits of study into a full-time one-year programme, which runs from induction in late September to dissertation submission in the following September. 

During Semester One, all MSc Oceanography students complete a series of introductory modules, which provide a foundation in multidisciplinary marine science. Boat-based practicals in local waters also introduce students to standard measurement and analysis techniques in marine sciences. In addition to these compulsory modules, students also choose two option modules during the first Semester, to develop advanced specialisation in particular areas of marine science.

During Semester Two, students take three option modules to continue their advanced specialisation, and also undertake background study for their research project work. Following the end of Semester Two, all students work full-time on their chosen research project from late May until the deadline for dissertation submission in late September.

An overview of all offered modules can be found here

Learning outcome:

Employment in the marine environmental sector is a common destination for MSc Oceanography graduates, and as the degree is a "conversion" to marine science from "pure" science backgrounds, around one-third of graduates also go on to PhD research in marine sciences.

Contact Person: (


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

0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0532 - Physical and chemical oceanography", "0532 - Marine Geology", "0421 - Marine and maritime law", "0713 - Offshore and renewable energy", "0731 - Surveying


Venue: University of Southampton
Southampton, United Kingdom

Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton
Waterfront Campus, European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH


Open from
1 Sep 2016 to 30 Jun 2017

  • EU/UK: £ 9.000
  • International: £ 19.570
  • Channel Islands: £ 9000

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study. More information can be found here


Degree Requirements
Graduates in any scientific discipline are eligible to apply, usually with a strong background in one of the following: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, a Biological science, Environmental Science, Geology. An upper second-class Honours degree is recommended, though students with other backgrounds may be considered. Students without AS-level (or equivalent) mathematics may need to undertake additional individual study for some parts of the course.

International students
If you are an international student you will need to ensure that your academic and English language qualifications meet the entry requirements. Visit the University’s English language requirements page for more details. 

Application Procedure:

Applications are made using the online application form. You can go to the online application form and find your programme via the Programme Search page. You will be sent an acknowledgement email as soon as we have received your application and you can use the online tracking function to track the progress of your application. You must submit a:

  • curriculum vitae
  • original academic transcript copy of your degree certificate (if graduated at the time of application)
  • Reference (either be an academic or employer reference)

Application Deadlines
Applications are considered throughout the year; most candidates will be invited to interview to discuss the programme in more detail. Applications for October entrance to Ocean and Earth Science programmes should be submitted before 31 July of the same year. If you are a UK/EU applicant and would like to be considered for Ocean and Earth Science or equivalent funding, your application must be submitted before the end of June.

MSc Oceanography applications are considered throughout the year; eligible UK candidates will be invited to interview at the National Oceanography Centre Southampton.
This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.

Grant Opportunities:

Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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