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MSc Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Duration 3 semesters
Cost Tuition fees for 2020 entry (by residency status): Scotland / Non-UK EU £8,680; England / Northern Ireland / Wales £8,680; Overseas £21,800


The biodiversity of the marine environment is of enormous importance to humans as a resource for food, pharmaceuticals and ecosystem services. The School's Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology (CMBB) focuses on research using traditional and newly developing molecular methods to study these important marine resources and products. The rapid loss of biodiversity both on land and in the sea makes it especially important that good knowledge is obtained to enable the appropriate management of the lesser known marine resources.

Course content

The programme covers a broad range of issues in four taught core courses enabling students to choose four other taught courses from a variety of options available within the School and elsewhere in the University's programme of MSc programmes.

Core (Mandatory) courses

  • Diversity of Marine Organisms
  • Marine Resources and Sustainability
  • Applied Research Design & Analysis
  • Marine Biotechnology
  • Practical Skills in Marine Biotechnology
  • Research Project (MSc only)

Please refer to the Detailed Course Guide for further particulars and optional courses.

Mode of study

Full-time, Part-time, Per course

Industrial Project Placements

Now offering project placements through an ERASMUS scheme with the European Society of Marine Biotechnology (ESMB).

Go Global

Some of our Postgraduate Taught Masters Programmes are eligible for Inter-Campus Transfer. Please contact for further information.

Tropical Coral Reef course

Tropical Coral Reefs: Monitoring and Management (A11CR) is an optional course available to all students on any of our PGT Marine programmes. It involves a two week field trip where students are given the opportunity to explore the marine environment whilst learning different techniques for surveying and monitoring coral reefs. See this short film from the 2016/17 course.

Structural components
Industry partners
Internship/Workplace experience
International component
Practical/Field work
Language training
Research Project

Application procedure

You can apply for all postgraduate programmes (except Edinburgh Business School programmes) using our online application form.


You must create an account to use the online application form. You don't have to complete the application in one session; you can save what you have done so far and return to complete it at a later date.

Grant opportunities

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of postgraduate scholarships.

Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) Scholarships

For students interested in MSc research projects in the area of aqauculture, a limited number of fees-only scholarships are available. For more information, please contact Dr Mark Hartl on

Learning outcomes


Understanding, Knowledge and Cognitive Skills Understanding

  • Critical understanding of the theory underpinning biodiversity and biotechnology
  • An understanding of basic techniques used to identify potential sources of naturally occurring substances
  • An understanding of the use of biotechnological techniques
  • An understanding of how to approach and plan research, keep accurate records and present the results Knowledge
  • A detailed knowledge of techniques, their applications, advantages and shortcomings, will be obtained
  • How to use this theoretical knowledge in practical applications
  • A knowledge of how to present scientific data in written and oral forms to a diverse audience Cognitive skills
  • Develop critical skills in research planning
  • Develop and demonstrate critical knowledge on how to merge and apply skills from various disciplines
  • Develop critical skills in research data evaluation
  • Develop critical skills in research data presentation

Scholarship, Enquiry and Research (Research Informed Learning)

  • Develop and demonstrate skills and techniques in oral and written communication skills with peers and academic staff, using a range of appropriate methods to suit different levels of knowledge and expertise within the audience 
  • Develop and demonstrate scientific writing skills
  • Develop and demonstrate critical knowledge on how to merge and apply skills from various disciplines
  • An ability to identify, formulate and resolve problems


Industrial, Commercial and Professional Practice

  • Adopt a mature, ethical and professional attitude to research
  • Be able to make informed judgements with incomplete or inconsistent data
  • The students will be in a position to work in both a marine field setting as well as a high-tech laboratory environment

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

  • Be able to work autonomously or within teams, where appropriate, demonstrating a capability for both taking and critically reflecting on roles and responsibilities

Communication, Numeracy & Information and Communications Technology

  • Select appropriate methods to data reduction and statistical analysis
  • Communicate effectively at all levels, using a range of media
  • Produce scientific reports for conferences and journal papers


Entry requirements

Masters (MSc) level entry applicants must have one of the following:

  • Minimum of 2:2 honours degree or equivalent academic qualification in a related subject area
  • For postgraduate conversion courses, non-related degrees will be considered
  • Corporate (or chartered) membership of relevant professional institutions will also be considered

PG Diploma level entry applicants must have an ordinary degree in a related subject area and relevant post qualification industry experience.

Candidates who do not meet the above entry requirements or have no formal academic qualifications will be considered individually based on their CV and possibly interview. Admission via this route will be at the discretion of the Director of Recruitment.

English language requirements

If English is not the applicant’s first language a minimum of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent is required with all elements passed at 6.0 or above. Please refer to English language requirements for further details.

Some applicants may be asked for alternative evidence in line with UKVI recognised English speaking countries. Applicants who have previously successfully completed courses delivered in the medium of English language may be considered and will be required to provide documentary evidence of this. Examples would be secondary school education or undergraduate degree. A minimum of at least one year of full time study (or equivalent) in the medium of English language will be required.

All evidence of English language needs to be dated within two years of the commencement of study.

We also offer a range of English language courses to help you meet the English language requirement prior to starting your master’s programme:

  • 14 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with no more than one skill at 4.5)
  • 10 weeks English (for IELTS of 5.5 with minimum of 5.0 in all skills)
  • 6 weeks English (for IELTS 5.5 with minimum of 5.5 in reading and writing and minimum of 5.0 in speaking and listening)

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management
Physical and chemical oceanography
Offshore and renewable energy
Marine spatial planning