MSc Tropical Marine Biology

General information

Tropical ecosystems provide important resources locally and globally, and coral reefs are the most diverse of marine ecosystems threatened by human activities. The MSc Tropical Marine Biology, is designed to deliver advanced tropical marine biology theory and to facilitate the development of practical and professional skills required by today’s employers.

As a student you will benefit from the breadth of research carried out by the School's internationally recognised academics, and will engage with current research activities both in the UK and abroad. You also have opportunity to put theory into practice and study coral reef conservation first hand during the School’s annual field trip to the Coral Triangle, Indonesia. 

Explore topics including:

  • Hands-on experience of coral reef conservation on our pioneering underwater lectures in Indonesia
  • The biotechnological ‘treasure chest’ of marine microbes, algae and invertebrates
  • Tropical oceans, seagrass beds, mangroves and coral reefs
  • Coral reef resource management

During the summer term, you will embark on your own extensive research project under the supervision of researchers at the forefront of their fields. This can be conducted within our in-house Coral Reef Research Unit, or alongside one of our research partners from across the globe, addressing key questions on the functioning of and threats to tropical marine ecosystems.

Two-thirds of our research is rated “world-leading” or “internationally excellent” (REF 2014), and you learn from and work alongside our expert staff.

To expand your skillset and boost your employability, you will be provided with £125 to spend on externally accredited learning, such as certification as a Marine Mammal Surveyor, participation in Sea Survival courses or gaining the skills and background knowledge needed to drive a powerboat.

A masters course lasts for twelve months (full-time), starting in October, and consists of taught modules during your autumn and spring terms, and normally a research-based dissertation or other project-based work submitted in September. Teaching is carried out using a combination of lectures, laboratory practicals, tutorials, seminars, fieldwork, independent reading and research projects.

Core modules
Research Project: Msc Tropical Marine Biology

Compulsory modules
Methods In Tropical Marine Biology
Professional Skills In Tropical Marine Biology
Tropical Marine Resources
Tropical Marine Systems


Learning outcome:

Your future. As the world's environmental problems increase, the demand for qualified marine biologists continues to grow, and postgraduate study is often a requirement for becoming a researcher, scientist, academic journal editor and to work in some public bodies or private companies.

Many of our Masters students progress to study for their PhD, and we offer numerous studentships to support our students in their studies.

Our graduates go on to a range of careers. Some work with governmental and non-governmental environmental agencies, organisations, consultancies and voluntary organisations, or go on to conduct doctorate research. Many overseas students return to comparable posts in their home country.

We work with our university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Contact Person: (


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

0511 - Biology", "00 - Generic programmes and qualifications", "0521 - Ecology", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management", "05 - Natural sciences, mathematics and statistics


Venue: University of Essex
Colchester , United Kingdom


Open from
1 Jan 2017 to 1 Jul 2017


UK/EU students: £5.950

Overseas students: £15.500


Applicants should have a 1st, 2:1 or high 2:2 degree, or equivalent, in relevant subject. If English is not your first language, then a IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required.

Application Procedure:

Applications are carried out online. If you apply for the first time you must first create an account. The application takes about 20 minutes to complete and you will need to include the following supporting documents:

  • English language qualifications (if you have received your test results)
  • Transcripts of your university-level studies to date
  • Copies of certificates for any degrees or other awards already completed
  • A personal statement or CV
  • At least one verifiable reference (two for research degrees)

Application Deadlines: there is no deadline for applications but we advise you to apply by 1 July. Many funding deadlines are much earlier in the year, so check your options and get your application in promptly.

Grant Opportunities:

Find available funding bu using the university's scholarship finder.


Academic level: Master


Modules are assessed by a combination of exams, essays, verbal/visual presentations and written reviews. Some are assessed solely on coursework.

Qualification: Master of Science

Occupations (not validated):
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