Biology - Marine Biology

University College Cork

Biology - Marine Biology

Course Outline
Our MSc Marine Biology programme aims to train graduates in multiple areas of marine biology and includes the acquisition of necessary field skills in sea survival, powerboat handling and marine radio.

This popular course includes modules in fisheries and aquaculture, genetics, marine ecology and conservation, marine mammals, and ecological aspects of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). In addition, the course has a significant fieldwork component including ship work as well as survey and sampling techniques training.

This masters’ course, run entirely by the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) at University College Cork, provides students with a keen understanding of these various disciplines and the skills necessary to meet the growing demand for trained marine biologists both in Ireland and abroad.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Describe key 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.

The MSc in Marine Biology is a full-time multidisciplinary degree running for 12 months from the date of first registration for the programme.

Placement or Study Abroad Information
A number of recent graduates in this course have undertaken their Part II research project either abroad or with significant research cruise time in their projects. Overseas locations have included Holland, UK, Singapore and Portugal as well as on placements at various locations within Ireland (Marine Institute, NUI Galway, BIM, NPWS). Others have spent significant time at sea aboard research vessels from Ireland, Holland and the UK.

Subjects taught

This programme consists of two parts:
Part I consists of eight taught modules to the value of 60 credits involving lectures, practical work, seminars and fieldwork.

Part II comprises a substantial Research Dissertation (BL6017) to the value of 30 credits for those meeting progression requirements of Part I of the programme.

In total students take 90 credits as follows:
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)
BL6026 Introductory Quantitative Skills for Biologists using R programming (5 credits)

Part II
BL6017 Dissertation in Marine Biology Research Project (30 credits)

Entry requirements

- A candidate for the MSc in Marine Biology must have obtained at least a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ Level 8) in any Biological Science or relevant equivalent area.

- In addition, under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), 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.

Application dates

Closing Date: Rolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.

Assessment Info

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 four-month research project is assessed by a dissertation, project seminar and an assessment of your practical ability throughout the duration of the project.


1 year full-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 9th September 2024.

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
As well as a number of professionally certified courses that will be provided throughout the course, students will also gain a variety of technical skills associated with research and computer skills (GIS in particular). Many transferable skills are also fostered through different learning approaches, including critical thinking, problem-solving, report writing, oral presentations, statistical analysis, independent research, and time management.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider