Applied Aquatic Biology
Contribute to the pioneering research emerging from our research groups
Why take this course?
The world’s aquatic ecosystems and environment are increasingly under threat. Pollution, overfishing, global climate change and many other impacts have highlighted the importance for us to understand their function at all levels, from the molecular to the global.
This is what our course sets out to do and thanks to our close proximity to many types of temperate marine habitats and internationally protected conservation areas, we offer the perfect location for investigation.
What will I experience?
On this course you can:
- Research at our internationally-renowned 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 Sparsholt College’s National Aquatics Training Centre
- Study abroad through Erasmus or various other conservation and research schemes
What opportunities might it lead to?
You’ll be taught by leading international researchers and the course has been designed with strong input from outside agencies including environmental consultancies, a range of government bodies and industry. This ensures your training links directly to UK and international employment opportunities.
Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:
- consultancy work
- government-based research
- further study
We have internationally recognised research and expertise in impacts on aquatic environments, exploitation, biology and coastal management, and together this breadth of expertise will give you a really strong base to find a wide range of work. The Master’s course is also a perfect stepping stone for further research and PhD studies.
Dr Gordon Watson, MSc Applied Aquatic Biology lecturer
or apply now
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
- 2018 entry requirements
- A 2:1 honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Professional experience and other qualifications may be taken into consideration for applicants not meeting this requirement. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £6,400, part time: £3,200 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400, part time: £7,200 p/a*
*Fees are subject to annual increase
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- School of Biological Sciences
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
You will cover a variety of topics in advanced laboratory and field skills, and choose from units that cover marine ecology, aquaculture, ecotoxicology and pollution, and scientific journalism. A large amount of your time will also be spent on the research project that will enable you to apply the skills and knowledge you have gained.
Core units are:
• Research Toolkit: This covers a range of key professional skills for research methods (communication skills, ethics and report writing), advanced field skills (boat sampling, taxonomy, and marine and freshwater sampling methods), advanced laboratory skills (genomics, monitoring and pollution monitoring methods) and remote sensing technology (such as GIS).
• Research Project: Your final project allows you to select from a range of marine and freshwater projects provided by staff within the School, government research laboratories, NGOs and private research companies. During the project you will write literature reviews and develop skills in data analysis and presentation.
Then choose any three optional units from:
• Ecotoxicology and Pollution: This provides an introduction to environmental toxicology using model and non-model organisms.
• Aquaculture: This unit focuses on the principles of aquaculture production, global production and diversity of aquaculture species. It is taught by academic staff and staff from the National Aquatics Training Centre at Sparsholt College. Areas covered include larval culture, diseases and pathology, feeding and growth, reproductive manipulation, and business and management.
• Marine Policy, Planning and Conservation: Planning and Conservation: This unit explores contemporary debates on coastal and marine management with a specific focus on marine policy, planning and conservation.
• Science and the Media: Science communication is increasingly becoming an important part of science. This unit firstly addresses the skills required by scientists to effectively communicate with the media and general public and secondly, provides an understanding of the skills needed for a career in science journalism.
• Subtidal Marine Ecology: Selected topics of current interest in marine ecology, incorporating both theory and applied aspects, culminating in a week-long practical field course in the Mediterranean Sea. The unit carries an additional cost for the field trip, and requires a minimum level of training and experience in SCUBA diving to participate.
Teaching and Assessment
Hands-on laboratory-based work teamed with field trips means that practical learning underpins the theory learned in lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. You’ll also find that some aspects of your course may be taught online using our virtual learning environment.
How are you assessed?
You will be assessed using a range of methods from exams to coursework and presentations, with great opportunities to present your final-year projects to industry and researchers from other departments and organisations.
Facilities & Features
Institute of Marine Sciences
The internationally-renowned Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is located at the mouth of Langstone Harbour providing easy access to the varied marine ecosystems of the Solent. In addition to our extensive teaching labs, you will have access to advanced scientific and field equipment including a large experimental raft moored in the centre of the harbour and a six metre high-speed shallow draft launch for inshore work including a suite of sampling systems including dredges, grabs and nets. Overall, our aim is to introduce you to research at the highest level.
Links with Industry
We have high external investment for research and development work, giving you access to excellent research opportunities. Our links may see you involved in marine restocking programmes or commercial trials for fish food. What’s more, our projects are supervised by academics within the School or environmental consultancies like EMU Ltd, other government organisations, NGOs and industry.
The IMS and the School of Biological Sciences have a well-established reputation for both fundamental and applied research. Attracting funding from many sources including industry, Research Councils, The Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, and the European Union, our research activities cover a wide range of interests from the molecular level to the environment. Our six research themes reflect the complexity of the modern biological sciences:
- biodiversity and evolution
- epigenetics and developmental biology
- ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring
- marine resource management
- environmental microbiology and biotechnology
- molecular biophysics
We run a variety of field trips, including taking part in freshwater stream surveys, learning sampling techniques and the opportunity to take part in a week-long practical field course in the Mediterranean Sea.
Budgeting for your studies
There may be extra costs arising from your studies which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.
Some are common costs to all courses of study. These may include the cost of study texts, reference books, photocopying and computer supplies. Others relate to specific courses and may include field trips, materials and specialist equipment.
Other costs to consider
For optional programmes of fieldwork costs will be in the region of £800 - £1,000.
Careers & Opportunities
Once you have completed this course, you will be particularly well placed to enter a wide range of interesting and rewarding careers in the UK and abroad. We will ensure you have all the relevant knowledge and skills that employers require, giving you the opportunity to either pursue a scientific career, enter the teaching profession, or further study should you want to continue your research.
One of the benefits of studying at Portsmouth is the support that we provide to our Master's and Research Degree students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service can assist you in career research and finding employment opportunities. Help is also available if you wish to find a part-time job while studying your degree.
We offer our postgraduate students and alumni one-to-one appointments with a careers adviser, or an online service for those not able to travel back to the University. Our alumni can call on our career services for five years after graduation.
In addition, regular employability events offer you the chance to meet employers, find out about different career sectors and improve your applications or CV. The Graduate Summer Programme provides a range of guidance and employability seminars and workshops.
Benefits of Postgraduate Study
Regardless of whether you are seeking to build on your studies, further your career or pursue a career change, a postgraduate qualification adds to your achievement record.
- Postgraduate study may greatly improve your chances of getting that first break.
- Many graduate employers prefer the higher intellectual rigour displayed in postgraduate students.
- Recruiters for roles requiring specialist knowledge or research particularly target those with higher level qualifications.
- Postgraduate study shows you can take the challenge of in-depth study; acquiring transferable skills in team working and problem solving techniques.
- If you have a passion for a particular subject, postgraduate study can also be something undertaken as part of your own development at an appropriate time in your life.
Apply now or visit us
Online application form
Apply direct using our online form
Your application will be received by the University Admissions Centre for consideration.
Postgraduate Information Days
We will confirm the dates of events related to 2018 entry soon. Visit the link below to get a reminder when booking opens.
Other opportunities to visit
Download our free walking tour PDF for a self-guided tour of the University. You can visit Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4pm.
We have an open-door policy so you will be able to take a look in our buildings, speak to some of our support services and get a feel for the campus.
Can't get to Portsmouth?
If you can’t make it to Portsmouth, come and speak with us about the courses we offer and life and study in Portsmouth at one of the events we attend around the UK.
Staff from our International Office also regularly attend overseas exhibitions. To find out more about these and our visits to your region see our International Office exhibitions page.
If you would like to speak with a member of staff about any courses you are interested in, please email email@example.com and we will arrange this for you.
Fees and Funding
Find out more about fees and funding available to you at Portsmouth.