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MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Cost Irish/EU students: € 6.000 Non-EU students: €13.000

The programme focuses on the science (including the social sciences) of Coastal and Marine management and policy-making today. Designed and presented in close collaboration with the state-of-the-art Beaufort Institute and the University’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre, it is designed to give students professional competency to make sound, scientifically-informed, strategic and operational decisions regarding the sustainable governance, use and protection of coastal and marine environments. It also provides training in applied practical skills, with an emphasis on geospatial techniques relevant to coastal and marine data capture, analysis, integration and visualisation. Students will also receive training in important transferrable skills including principles and practice of scientific research, effective communication and presentation techniques, and sound project management

The degree offers a combination of theory, practice and technical skills relevant to the needs of environmentally sustainable coastal and marine governance.

Topics to be studied include different models of governance, marine spatial planning, and the basics of coastal and marine law; the physical functioning and key processes controlling coastal and marine environments; the biological components of coastal margins and the ecosystems they are part of, at varying spatial and temporal scales, and especially the interactions and exchanges between these; and the approaches available in coastal management and physical protection techniques. In addition, training will be provided in the application of core technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing and Earth observation, and hydrographic survey and mapping from ship-borne platforms.

A unique feature of the programme is that students will spend time at sea, onboard the Irish research vessel Celtic Voyager (or equivalent), at no additional cost, so that they may experience marine surveying and other techniques in a working research environment.

Upon successful completion of this programme, students should have a clear understanding of the theory, principles and concepts that underpin the management of coastal and marine spaces; will have practical skills to equip them for making policy, and for taking management-level decisions, regarding the strategic and operational use of coastal and marine spaces; will know how to work with coastal and marine data originating in a range of scientific disciplines (physics, biology, geology, oceanography, etc.); and will have a good scientific understanding of the physical, environmental and human processes that affect, and are impacted by, the world’s oceans. The frame of reference will range from the global to the local, but with particular emphasis on the sustainable development and management of Ireland’s coastal and marine territories and resources

The programme will consist of two parts. Part I will consist of eight taught modules to the value of 60 credits involving lectures, practicals, seminars and workshops. Part II will be a substantial piece of Independent Research to the value of 30 credits (GG6514). Each of the prescribed taught modules will be examined by a written paper and/or continuous assessment. Each candidate progressing to Part II of the programme must submit the research project (GG6514) in an area of Applied Coastal and Marine Management by 4.00pm on the Friday of the third week in September  in the academic year of registration for the programme. Independent research projects can be carried out on the main university campus, through the Programme and other linked University Staff; or, with support from relevant Research Staff, within the commercially-focussed environment of the Beaufort laboratory in Ringaskiddy. Other commercial and practitioner placements with relevant coastal and marine-focussed industries, semi-state bodies and government will be considered, as appropriate to project proposals submitted by students.

Students take 90 credits as follows:

PART I (60 Credits)

  • BL6016 Marine Ecology and Conservation (10 credits) 
  • BL6025 Innovation and Ocean Sustainability (5 credits)
  • GG6501 Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (5 credits) 
  • GG6502 Introduction to Remote Sensing (5 credits) 
  • GG6512 Coastal and Marine Resource Use Practices (10 credits) 
  • GG6513 Coastal and Marine Governance (10 credits) 
  • GG6516 Coastal and Marine Processes (10 credits) 
  • GL6023 Offshore Environmental Geology (5 credits)

PART II (30 Credits)

  • GG6514 Research Dissertation in Applied Coastal and Marine Management (30 Credits)


Application procedure

1. Choose Course

Firstly choose your course. Applicants can apply for up to three courses under one application. Details of taught courses are available on our online prospectus.

2. Apply Online

Once you have chosen your course 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 apart from the Education - Professional Master of Education - (Secondary School/Post-Primary Teacher Training) which has a €100 application fee.

3. Gather Supporting Documents

Scanned copies of the following documents will 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.

4. Application processing timeline

Our online application system PAC opens for applications for most courses in early November of each year. Check specific course details. 


For courses that are in the rounds system (Irish and EU applicants), please check the rounds closing dates here

Questions on how to apply?

Please use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note that you will also be asked to fill in a special supplementary information form as part of the applications process for this programme. The selection committee attaches strong importance to the supplementary questions.  A copy of this form is available to view here: CKE39AdditionalQuestions.  

The closing date for non-EU applications is 15th June 2019

Grant opportunities

Funding opportunities can be found here.

Learning outcomes

The programme aims to consolidate Cork’s position as a national, European and international hub of expertise in marine and coastal science and management. Successful completion of the MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management should provide opportunities for a variety of professional careers at home and abroad, in the public, private and non-governmental sectors, including local and national government; civil engineering and coastal defence; renewable energy; petroleum and mineral exploration and development; environmental management; cultural heritage management; fisheries management and protection; aquaculture; the Defence forces; marine transport; marine spatial planning; town and country planning; port and harbour administration; etc.


The programme is intended to give students a comprehensive understanding of coastal and marine environments subject to multiple human uses and impacts and to equip them with tools and knowledge necessary to evaluate and manage these complex, dynamic systems in ways that are both sustainable and economically productive.


Degree Requirements 

1. A primary degree to at least second class honours level (2H2) (180 ECTS credits or equivalent) from a recognized third-level institution, in Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Biology, Oceanography, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering or a related discipline.  Applications will also be considered from graduates in other disciplines, including those in the Arts or Social Sciences, who have a demonstrable interest and/or experience in coastal and marine management, and who can offer sufficient numerical abilities. 

2. A primary degree (180 credits or equivalent), in a cognate area, as detailed in 1 above, plus at least 2 years' experience in a relevant maritime industry (applied) as approved by the Director of the MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management on a case by case basis.


Additionally, students whose native language is not English must provide evidence of competence in both written and spoken English, according to standard criteria set out by the UCC International Education Office (IELTS overall score of 6.5 or above, and a score of no lower than 6.0 in each category).

The selection committee for the MSc also attaches strong importance to the additional supplementary online questions for the CKE39AdditionalQuestions

The programme Director and/or Programme Board must approve candidates. The number of places is limited and selection will be based on academic achievement, relevant work experience and a personal statement.

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic requirements for this programme please click here to view the grades comparison table by country

ISCED Categories

Project management
Policy and governance
Conservation and environmental management
Marine Geology
Marine spatial planning