University of Portsmouth: Applied Aquatic Biology

InstitutionUniversity of Portsmouth View institution profile
Department Faculty of Science
Telephone 023 9284 5566
Study type Taught


Our aquatic ecosystems are under threat. If you want to face the issues of pollution, overfishing and climate change from the frontline – and take your studies and experience to postgraduate level too –then this MSc Applied Aquatic Biology course will meet your ambitions.

The University of Portsmouth is the perfect place to dive into aquatic biology, thanks to the temperate marine habitats and internationally-protected conservation areas on our doorstep. We're also home to some of the best facilities in the country.

Your skills and knowledge can lead to exciting careers in conservation, consultancy and research, but you’ll also be prepared to take on roles in teaching, or pursue further study.

What you'll experience
On this course, you'll:
Research at the Institute of Marine Sciences, or carry out microbiological work at the University’s Field Centre for Environmental Technology at Petersfield Sewage Works
Rear coldwater species for restocking programmes, or trial fish food at the Sparsholt College National Aquatics Training Centre
Cover ecosystem function and management, and learn advanced laboratory and field skills
Learn from leading international researchers and outside agencies, including environmental consultancies, government bodies and the industry
Go on field trips, taking part in freshwater stream surveys, learning sampling techniques, and the opportunity to take part in a week-long practical in the Mediterranean Sea
Get the chance to study abroad through Erasmus, or other conservation and research schemes
Careers and opportunities
Teaching by leading international researchers, and close links with environmental consultancies, government bodies and the industry, ensures your training links directly to UK and international employment opportunities.

Previous graduates have gone on to pursue:

consultancy work
government-based research
further study
​What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

You'll need to study units worth a total of 180 credits. For example, 1 unit worth 60 credits and 4 units worth 120 credits.

Units currently being studied
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Year 1
Core units in this year include:

Aquatic Biology Research project
Research Toolkit
Optional units in this year currently include:

Ecotoxicology and Pollution
Marine, Policy, Planning and Conservation
Science and the Media
Subtidal Marine Ecology
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Teaching methods on this course include:
field trips
one-on-one tutorials
How you'll spend your time
The MSc in Applied Aquatic Biology is a 12 month course.

The first three months (September – December) are dominated by taught modules and organising your Research Project. The balance between the project and taught materials from January–May depends on which optional taught units you select.

From May, you'll work full time on your research project until submission in mid-August. There's then a one-month period to prepare for the final research presentation in late September which completes the course.

How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
final year project
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.


University of Portsmouth



We are the University of Portsmouth: progressive and proud of our city’s heritage. We stand out as a new kind of university, a breath of fresh air in the academic world.

Portsmouth is a place for people who want to make a difference. We’re intent on discovery and our excellent research makes an impact, not just in the UK, but on the world. With over 200 postgraduate degrees to choose from, The University is a place where you’ll be encouraged to find your niche, and be supported to go beyond what you thought possible ...

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