Applied Aquatic Biology
Contribute to the pioneering research emerging from our marine station
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 marine station 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
- 1 year full time, 2 years part time
A 2:2 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 5.5.
UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man full-time students: £6,000, part-time students: £3,000 p/a* (2 years).
International full-time students: £11,900, part-time students: £5,950 p/a* (2 years).
*Please note that all fees are subject to annual increase.
+44 (0)23 9284 5550
- School of Biological Sciences
Structure & Teaching
You will cover a variety of aspects in ecosystem function and management, aquaculture, ecotoxicology and pollution, and advanced laboratory and field skills. 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.
Here are the units you will study:
- Ecosystem Function and Management. This unit examines ecosystem processes and their management in the context of exploitation and anthropogenic impacts. You will cover topics including ecosystem services, nutrient cycling, anthropogenic impact (e.g. climate change, fisheries, environment and alien species), and coastal zone and resource management.
- 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.
- 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.
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 also 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
The Marine Station
This is the home of the internationally-renowned Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS). You will have access to the highest quality resources and facilities, including a new Home Office-licensed aquarium facility, quarantine and animal holding rooms, research laboratories, boats and harbour facilities for marine excursions as well as diving equipment for PADI courses.
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 five research themes reflect the complexity of the modern biological sciences:
- biodiversity and evolution
- biomolecular structure
- genes and development
- human impact on the environment
- microbiology and bioremediation
Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.
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 Degrees students in career planning. Our careers and recruitment service – Purple Door – 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.