University of St Andrews

University of St Andrews

Marine Mammal Science

The MSc in Marine Mammal Science prepares students for a professional career in the research and conservation of marine mammals. It is the only research-focused Masters degree in this popular subject worldwide, and is taught by leading experts at the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) and the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI).

Entry requirements

A good UK 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent in a biological science. Other scientific, engineering or mathematics degrees may be acceptable. A good level of high-school mathematics and English. Basic information technology skills. Proof of satisfactory English language competence for applicants whose 1st language is not English.

Course modules

Compulsory modules: 1. Biology of Marine Mammals: the zoogeography of marine mammals and the morphological, physiological and behavioural adaptations of this diverse group.
2. Conservation and Management of Marine Mammals: human-marine mammal interactions.
3. Case Studies in Marine Mammal Biology: the aspects of diving, foraging, and social behaviour of marine mammals.
4. Quantitative Methods for Biology: basic numerical and computation skills necessary for visualising and summarising data sets, mainly using R software.
5. Statistical Modelling of Biological Data: introduces methods for fitting models to biological data, mainly using R software.
Optional modules: Students choose three optional modules in Semester 2. Optional modules require a minimum number of five students to be offered (see the University's position on curriculum development).
1. Population Biology of Marine Mammals: population dynamics, population genetics, trophic interactions and spatial dynamics.
2. Current Issues in Marine Mammal Behaviour: current views and recent advances in the study of marine mammal social behaviour and cognition.
3. Current Issues in Biologging: the theory and practice of logging and relaying physical and biological data using animal-attached tags.
4. Predator Ecology in Polar Ecosystems: field course located in southern Argentina and Antarctica (requires payment of an expedition fee which covers all costs, including travel and accommodation). See the students' Antarctic expedition blog.
5. Advanced Bioacoustics for Marine Mammal Science: theoretical and practical application of techniques used to study marine acoustics.
Research project and dissertation: During the final three months of the course, students complete a research project which will culminate in a 15,000-word dissertation and the presentation of a poster at the MSc student conference. Projects may involve some fieldwork but will be primarily focused on the analysis of existing data. Projects will be supervised by SMRU staff but may be carried out with joint supervision from staff in other institutions.

Assessment methods

Students will be assessed in different ways. Closed written exams will be set for some modules, and will be taken at the end of the semester during which the module is completed.
Continuous assessment will involve different tasks focusing on transferable and topical research skills, practical work and data analysis. For example, students will be asked to make conference-style presentations and posters, write publication-style reports, and present the results of data analysis and modelling exercises. The research project will be assessed by means of a research proposal, written dissertation and the presentation of a poster at the MSc student conference.

Sponsorship information

Carnegie-Cameron bursaries; entrant accommodation bursary; Formula Santander postgraduate scholarship; recent graduate discount; Thomas and Margaret Roddan Trust bursary.

Qualifications

Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MSc Full-time September 2017 GBP 8,000 per Year 1 (EU) 12 months
MSc Full-time September 2017 GBP 8,000 per Year 1 (England) 12 months
MSc Full-time September 2017 GBP 19,400 per Year 1 (International) 12 months
MSc Full-time September 2017 GBP 8,000 per Year 1 (Northern Ireland) 12 months
MSc Full-time September 2017 GBP 8,000 per Year 1 (Scotland) 12 months
MSc Full-time September 2017 GBP 8,000 per Year 1 (Wales) 12 months

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
University of St Andrews St Andrews KY16 9AX Scotland

Get in touch

Remember to mention TARGETpostgrad when contacting universities.

Key information

Contact: 
MRes Secretary
Telephone number: 
01334 463402