Skip to main content

Master of Science in Oceans and Fisheries (MSc)

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Duration 4 semesters
Cost Tuition per year (Canadian citizen, permanent residents, refugees or diplomats): $5,095.68 CDN, Tuition per year (international): $8,952.27 CDN), Yearly student fees: $944.51 CDN

The Program is designed to train marine and freshwater scientists to undertake basic and applied research that will help foster healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems and sustainable resource use. Students will broaden their interdisciplinary expertise and acquire professional experience in areas including fisheries science, aquatic ecology, environmental physiology, natural resource economics, marine governance, and climate change.

The Program will be the only M.Sc. program in BC, indeed in Canada, that offers both 18-credit thesis and 12-credit thesis streams, and is interdisciplinary in providing training in both ocean and fisheries science.

Trained and supervised by leading experts, our M.Sc. and Ph.D. students develop and conduct independent research projects investigating a wide range of problems related to fisheries, freshwater systems, and the health of our oceans.

These include determining the effects of climate change, the assessment and management of artisanal and commercial food capture fisheries, recreational fisheries, coastal and watershed management, aquaculture biology and engineering, conflict resolution and the co-management of shared fishery resources, and the conservation of endangered exploited species in marine and freshwater environments.

Students in the Oceans and Fisheries graduate program (OCF) formulate and follow academic programs that are specific to their individual educational goals and that can draw on the expertise of faculty at UBC and other affiliated universities, and also the private and public sectors. To enable this, OCF offers either a 12 credit thesis or 18 credit thesis M.Sc. degree, and a Ph.D. degree. Graduate student supervisors are chosen from the IOF, and other units and departments within the faculties of Science, Forestry, Arts, and Land and Food Systems.

Structural components
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Application procedure

Identify a potential supervisor
While a prospective student is able to apply to the program independently, it is best to identify a potential supervisor or supervisors from our faculty. 
Although the minimum requirements for admission are set by the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS), students will not be admitted to the OCF graduate program unless a faculty member has agreed to accept the student into their laboratory group/research unit.
Applicants should contact potential supervisor(s), discuss their backgrounds and their future research plans, and provide them with draft versions of the items that are part of the online application (i.e., transcripts, letters from referees, etc.). 
It is therefore highly recommended that the potential supervisor(s) supports and encourages an application before proceeding to the next step.

Complete the application form and pay application fee.

Required Application Materials:
Statement of Intent: This outlines your research experience, your proposed research project (or ideas), and explains your interest in working with the particular faculty member(s). As indicated above, it helps if you mention that you have been in contact with your potential supervisor(s) and that they are aware of, and supportive of, your application.
Your Curriculum Vitae
Three (3) Letters of Reference: Ideally, the referees should be faculty members who have supervised your studies and/or research directly
Transcripts: Transcripts from all past post-secondary study. (Domestic and international student requirements may differ)
English proficiency exam scores (if required). Level of scores

Grant opportunities

UBC Awards listing:

International Tuition Award

Up to $3,200 per year. 

International Tuition Awards assist international graduate students with their tuition fees if they are registered full-time in research-oriented master’s and doctoral programs. International students are automatically considered for this award. No application is required. 

In addition to scholarships and awards, applicants may be eligible to apply for financial aid or other benefits in the form of loans, bursaries, tax credits, or similar.


Learning outcomes

The Program will produce uniquely trained highly qualified personnel with the research capacity and knowledge translation skills necessary for influential careers in academia, industry, government, consulting, and civil society, among others. The graduate students will gain exposure to potential future careers and develop professional connections through cooperation and continual interaction with a  diverse partner group in industry (e.g., fishermen’s organizations such as the United Fishermen and Allied Workers Union), consulting (e.g., LGL Limited), government (e.g., Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), B.C. Ministry of the Environment), and non-governmental organizations (e.g., Suzuki Foundation, Hakai Institute), and through public engagement.

The M.Sc. in Oceans and Fisheries requires a minimum of 30 credits, including either a 12-credit or 18-credit thesis (FISH 549(12/18)).Students completing a 12-credit thesis must complete:

FISH 500 (3)

FISH 520 (6)

9 credits of electives consisting of three credits from three of the elective categories listed belowStudents completing an 18-credit thesis must complete:

FISH 500 (3)

9 credits of electives consisting of three credits from three of the elective categories listed below

Elective Categories

Ocean and Fisheries Assessment and Scientific Methods: EOSC 478, FISH 504, FISH 505, FISH 509, FISH 510, EOSC 573, EOSC 578, EOSC 510.

Ecological, Economic & Social Studies. FISH 501, FISH 502, FISH 506, FISH 508, EOSC 575, RES 510.

Governance & Policy. FISH 503, FISH 507, RES 586, FISH 520 (if the student is in the 18 credit thesis stream (see below)).

Aboriginal Ocean and Fisheries Management. FISH 506.Conservation Science. BIOL 416, RES 506.

Science Communication. ANTH 478, FRST 544, FRST 545.

All students must complete a minimum of 10 days of supervised fieldwork.

No more than 3 credits at the senior undergraduate level (300- or 400-level) may count towards the 30 credits required to complete the M.Sc.

Students’ academic program must be approved by the supervisory committee and the IOF graduate advisor.

The expected time to completion is 2 years.


BA or BSc is required, with minimum grade averages set by UBC Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies (G+PS).

Admissions Requirements Canadian & United States Students:Normally, applicants for a master's degree program must hold the academic equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree from UBC including one of the following:

A minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC) in third- and fourth-year courses.Academic standing with at least 12 credits of third- or fourth-year courses in the A grade range (80% or higher at UBC) in the field of study.

Alternatively, applicants who do not meet the requirements stated above, but who have had other significant formal training, relevant professional experience, and/or otherwise possess demonstrable knowledge or expertise that would prepare them adequately for successful study in a specific graduate program, may be granted admission on the recommendation of the appropriate graduate program and approval of the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

Admissions Requirements International Students:Students with three-year bachelor's degrees from European institutions (except UK): Most three-year, Bologna-compliant degrees from research-intensive universities are acceptable as a basis for admission to master's programs at UBC.

General requirements listed by country:

English Proficiency Requirements:TOEFLReading: 22, Writing: 21, Listening: 22, Speaking: 21, Overall: 100IELTSReading: 6.5, Writing: 6.5, Listening: 6.5, Speaking: 6.5, Overall: 7.0

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management
Scientific modelling