MSc in Biology - Marine Biology

General information

The MSc Marine Biology aims to train graduates in multiple areas of marine biology and equip them with professional certificates in Sea Survival, Powerboat Handling, Marine Radio and First Aid as well as necessary field skills.

The areas of marine biology covered in this master’s course include fisheries and aquaculture, genetics, marine ecology and conservation, marine mammals and ecological aspects of Geographic Information System (GIS). In addition, the course has a significant field work component including ship work as well as survey and sampling techniques training. This course, run entirely by the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at University College Cork, will provide an understanding of these various disciplines and skills needed in order to meet the growing demand for trained marine biologists at home and abroad.

Part I 

  • BL6012 Marine Megafauna (10 credits)
  • BL6013 Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture (10 credits)
  • BL6014 Marine Fieldwork and Survey Techniques (10 credits)
  • BL6015 Practical Marine Workplace Skills (5 credits)
  • BL6016 Marine Ecology and Conservation (10 credits)
  • BL6019 Ecological Applications of Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
  • BL6020 Genetics and the Marine Environment (5 credits
  • BL6025 Innovation and Ocean Sustainability (5 credits)

Part II Four-Month Research Project

  • BL6017 Marine Biology Research Project (30 credits)

Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.

This full-time 12-month course is split into Part I taught modules running from September to April and Part II, a five-month research project for students passing Part I. The course includes ship time experience aboard the Irish State research vessel, Celtic Voyager and field work day trips to various locations in County Cork as well as a week-long residential field course in the West of Scotland in March. In addition, students undertake professional certificate courses in January and February at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Ringaskiddy, Cork.

The core teaching team on this course are from the School of BEES and include researchers with expertise in marine mammal biology, fisheries and aquaculture, intertidal and subtidal ecology, seabird ecology, marine conservation, shellfish disease and immunology. The core team are supported by occasional visiting and guest lecturers.

Learning outcome:

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a clear understanding and integration of knowledge of marine flora and fauna, the marine environment and its biological and physical properties and processes
  • Assess the sustainability of exploitation (fisheries and aquaculture) and assess the impact of other anthropogenic factors on the marine environment
  • Define the roles of management and conservation across the marine environment
  • Demonstrate a wide range of research skills (field and laboratory) including safety-related and professional qualifications
  • Apply the knowledge and skills acquired in this course in the working environment enabling the development of policy
Contact Person: Dr. Rob McAllen (


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

0031 - Project management", "0511 - Biology", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "0532 - Marine Geology", "0731 - Surveying", "0831 - Fisheries", "1041 - Navigation and seamanship


Venue: Univeristy College Cork
Cork, Ireland


Click here to apply:


The EU fee for this course is €6,000 (excluding €2,000 bench fee).

The Non-EU fee for this course is €22,000 (excluding €2,000 bench fee).


Bench Fee

There will be an additional bench fee of €2,000 to cover the costs associated with undertaking the professionally certified courses (Sea Survival, Boat Handling and Marine Radio Use) as well as an introductory fieldwork first aid course and all field work (including a residential course in Scotland) undertaken as part of the taught component of the course.


EU student fee payment:

Fees for EU students are payable in two equal instalments. First payment at registration in August and the second in January.

International student fee payment:

Fees for Non-EU Students are payable in one instalment in August.

If you have any questions on fee payment, please direct them to the Fees Office at


Degree Requirements
A candidate for the MSc in Marine Biology must have obtained at least a Second Class Honours, Grade II degree in any Biological Science or relevant equivalent area. In addition, NFQ Level 8 graduates with relevant professional qualifications or relevant experience but not the relevant degree classification may also apply for entry and each case will be judged on a case-by-case basis as to their suitability for the programme, subject to the approval of the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here

Application Procedure:

You can apply online at the Postgraduate Applications Centre (PAC). Applicants will need to apply before the course closing date. There is a €50 application fee for all courses.  Scanned copies of the following documents will also need to be uploaded to PAC in support of your application. Applicants may need to produce the original documents if you are accepted onto a course and register at UCC.

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC
  • Any supplementary forms requested for your course.

Please log into PAC for more details.

The online application system PAC opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year.  UCC operates a rounds closing date system for the majority of postgraduate taught courses, which means offers are made four times a year on a rolling basis. Some courses have one specific closing date, please check your course prospectus page for this information. 

The UCC rounds closing dates for postgraduate taught courses are below. Applicants are advised to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of full applications:Offers will be made:

  • For all completed applications received by January 11th 2019 Offers will be made by January 25th 2019
  • For all completed applications received by March 1st 2019 Offers will be made by March 15th 2019
  • For all completed applications received by May 1st 2019 Offers will be made by May 15th 2019
  • For all completed applications received by July 1st 2019 Offer will be made by July 15th 2019

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity. 

Non-EU Applicants: Information for Non-EU applicants may be found on the International Office Website

The closing date for non-EU applications is Applications are now closed for September 2019 intake



Grant Opportunities:

Funding opportunities can be found here.


Academic level: Master


The taught modules in the course are assessed by a combination of written examinations and continuous assessment elements (including essays, practical reports, critiques, seminars, dossiers and analytical elements). The five-month research project is assessed by a dissertation, project seminar and an assessment of your practical ability throughout the duration of the project.

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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