Aquatic ecosystems and species are under intense anthropogenic threats. These threats directly affect services such as sustainable fisheries, drinking water or ecosystem resilience.

To adequately respond to these 21st century challenges and conserve these goods and services, a fundamental understanding of the biodiversity and ecosystem processes is needed, as without knowledge there can be no application or effective management.

Considering both freshwater and marine ecosystems and species, this programme will equip you with the interdisciplinary practical skills and theoretical understanding to pursue a career in aquatic research, consultancy or environmental protection, and give you a good understanding of applying scientific understanding to science policy.

Students will spend time shadowing the internationally renowned researchers within the Aquatic Ecology Group of SBCS before developing a research proposal and conducting a six-month project. These may be jointly supervised by colleagues at related institutes and agencies such as the Institute of Zoology, the Natural History Museum, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and the Environment Agency, or indeed in industry. We will equip science graduates with the essential skills to proceed to further research via PhD or careers in the applied sector.

Programme Highlights

  • Delivered by leading international researchers in the Aquatic Ecology Group, with input from the School of Geography, and in conjunction with multiple external institutes and agencies.
  • Designed to ensure contemporary training in practical research skills to promote graduate employability
  • Modules developed spanning the aquatic spectrum, accommodating pure theory and applied practical skills in the field
  • Access to state-of-the-art analytical facilities from investment by the Science Research Infrastructure Fund.
  • Considerable opportunity for projects in the UK and overseas, both in house, and with collaborating institutions across London

Study Details:

MSc 1 year Full time 2 years Part time

Module Details:

You will take five compulsory modules and one optional module (15 credits each). The remaining 90 credits comprises a 24-week individual research project where you will collaborate with research groups within the Centre for the Aquatic and Terrestrial Environment, or with external agencies and charities like the Environment Agency, Wild Trout Trust, Froglife, or the Broads Authority.

Taught modules include:

  • Ecosystem Structure and Functioning
  • Statistics and Bioinformatics
  • Quantitative Techniques for Surveying and Monitoring in Ecology
  • Science into Policy and Management
  • Ecological Theory and Applications

Option Modules include:

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Field Course (Borneo)
  • Marine Mammals and Turtles (Cape Verde)

Programme Funding

There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Student Destinations

With aquatic ecosystems under threat from multiple stressors, we have designed a programme to equip you with the necessary interdisciplinary practical skills and theoretical understanding for employment in this area or further research.


Home and EU students 2019/20 Academic Year Full time £11,200 Part time £5,600 International students 2019/20 Academic Year Full time £21,950 Part time £10,975

Entry Requirements

 A minimum of an upper second-class BSc (Hons) degree (or equivalent international qualification) in a relevant subject such as environmental science, biology, chemistry or geography.  Applicants with a good lower second class degree may be considered on an individual basis, taking into account relevant background and related achievements.

This programme includes one compulsory overseas field course.  Students must choose one fieldwork option in Cape Verde or Borneo.  Costs for flights, accommodation and meals are fully covered by the tuition fees – you will not have to contribute additional funds towards this field trip.  Costs for compulsory fieldwork with the UK are also covered by the tuition fees.

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