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.
The programme presents a full-time day course of study (Monday to Friday), with delivery through an integrated combination of methods including lectures, seminars and workshops; 'dry' and 'wet' laboratory work; computer-based exercises; private study; field work (onshore and also at sea); and an independent supervised research project.
As part of the development of their thesis, students will be offered placements in the state-of-the-art Beaufort laboratory with direct access to academic and research staff. This should assist students in producing robust research as well as an appreciation of working in an active research environment.
Teaching on the course will be overseen by academic staff from the departments of Geography, Civil Engineering and Biology, with support and specialist inputs from researchers at the university's state-of-the-art Beaufort Laboratory. Visiting academics, and practicing coastal or marine scientists and managers from the private and public sectors, will be invited to give one-off seminars according to their availability.