find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

The University of Edinburgh: Marine Systems and Policies

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of GeoSciences
Study type Taught


Rapid climate change and the global expansion of human activities threaten the world's oceans.

How do we realistically balance development with ocean conservation in a rapidly changing climate? And how do we do this in ways that are also equitable and fair to society?

Our MSc programme places you right at the forefront of the fast-paced interface between marine science and policy that deals with these sustainability challenges.

We designed a broad programme around policies dealing with:

  • marine nature conservation

  • environmental protection

  • marine planning

You can learn how to apply marine science and knowledge to critically evaluate and enrich these policies and influence how new policies can be created.

You will get to learn from real-world practitioners and people with lived experiences through global case studies as well as domestic and overseas field trips. These experiences will be under the guidance of a research-active team of highly supportive and motivated university scientists with decades of experience at the science-policy interface from grassroots to international levels.

The capstone of your programme is an independent marine research dissertation project. It will be designed by you and a supervisor or host on a topic of your choice. You can either conduct an internship or a placement for your dissertation, in either a desk-based, lab-based, or field-based setting.

By the end of your programme, you will be highly equipped with a portfolio of skills, including:

  • policy analysis

  • applied marine scientific and social science skills

  • science communication

Is this MSc for me? Rising up to the challenge of sustainable ocean development requires interdisciplinary solutions.

Interested in doing an MSc that truly respects and integrates interdisciplinarity into your degree program? Ours is for you.

From the outset, you will learn how marine ecosystems are structured and how they function from research-active marine ecologists and oceanographers. You will also learn from local people, social scientists, governments, industry, and experts in marine law how these ecosystems are used, valued, and managed.

Our MSc is also suited for you if you are eager to meet other like-minded people from all over the world with different backgrounds, training, and perspectives. Our students especially value that their peers come from a variety of academic and work backgrounds, for example, marine biology, physical oceanography, international development, social and political science, geography, law, and science communication.

St. Abbs Marine Station You will also benefit from the University's new collaborative partnership with St. Abbs Marine Station.

Situated in an active fishing and recreational scuba diving harbour, St. Abbs offers a complete socio-ecological microcosm from land to shore to the coastal zone. The area is also home to internationally important seabird colonies and protected offshore rocky reef habitats.

In addition to local trips run through our programme, our partnership with St. Abbs provides you with opportunities to undertake your dissertation research project.

Edinburgh Climate Change Institute This degree is associated with the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI).

The ECCI brings together consultancy, law, business, social science, technology, and policy experts to help develop a low-carbon society.

Through ECCI, you will have the opportunity to work and network alongside professionals and potential employers within this high-demand field.


Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

Our …

View Profile

Not what you are looking for?

Browse other courses in Environmental management, Environmental studies, Science or Marine science, or search our comprehensive database of postgrad programs.

Scholarship Opportunity with

Are you a PG student at this University or have you applied to study a postgraduate program at a university in Europe? Tell us your plans and qualify for a £500.00 PGS Scholarship.

Click here