Course Overview

Bertra Dunes

The MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments is directed at graduates from Geography, Natural Sciences and other related disciplines in the social and natural sciences, and at professionals in the field who are interested in furthering their knowledge of the field.

Liam Carr 2

Coastal and marine environments are critical to local and national economies, support diverse habitats and communities, and provide a suite of ecosystem services. This field-intensive postgraduate programme examines emerging discourses surrounding the long-term health, use, and management of coastal and marine systems.
Through lectures, workshops, ship time, field work, and independent research, MSc students are challenged to:

  • Engage scientifically and critically analyse how coastal and marine systems function and are used by communities;
  • Evaluate plans and policies that address the complex relationships between coastal and marine environments and communities;
  • Assess how well policies and legislation work to ensure long-term ecosystem sustainability and mitigate negative impacts on coastal communities and sectors. 
Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here

Liam Carr 1--boat

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

researcher
Dr Eugene Farrell
Ph.D
Lecturer & Researcher
Geography
University Road
NUI Galway
Ireland
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researcher
Dr Liam Carr
B.Sc.,M.Sc.,PhD
Member
Arts & Science Concourse
NUI Galway
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researcher
DR GORDON BROMLEY
B.Sc., M.Sc., PhD

School of Geography & Archaeology
NUI Galway
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researcher
Dr Kevin Lynch
BSc, PhD
LECTURER ABOVE THE BAR
Geography Department
NUI Galway
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researcher
Dr Audrey Morley
B.A., M.Sc, Ph.D
LECTURER ABOVE THE BAR
Geography
School of Geography
& Archaeology
NUI Galway
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researcher
Dr Chaosheng Zhang
SENIOR LECTURER
Dept. of Geography
Room 124, Arts/Science Building
NUI Galway
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Requirements and Assessment

Students are assesd on a continuous assesment basis. 

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Level 8 degree, Second Class Honours or equivalent, with Second Class Honours Grade 1 or equivalent in a relevant field of study. Selection is based on candidates’ academic record at undergraduate
level, statement of intent and academic letters of recommendation.


Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year full-time; 2 years part-time

Next start date

September 2019

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

15

Closing Date

See review dates

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

Course code

1MCM1, full-time; 1MCM2, part-time

Course Outline

Programme Structure

Coastal and Marine Environments: Physical Processes, Policy and Practice is a full-time postgraduate MSc programme delivered over 3 semesters (12 months). It is directed at graduates from Geography, Natural Sciences and other related disciplines in the social and natural sciences, and at professionals in the field who are interested in furthering their knowledge of coastal and marine environments. A part-time option is available for mid-career EU residents with professional backgrounds and training. 

Modules (all 10 ECTS unless otherwise stated) 

Research Methods and Mapping (Dr Aaron Potito). This module outlines the principles of designing and implementing a research project: collecting representative data in the field; coding data and database construction; quantitative data analysis; and mapping and spatial data analysis within a Geographic Information System. The aim of the module is to instill in students the ability to collect primary and secondary data, analyse those data, draw conclusions, and present findings in a meaningful and professional manner. 

Coastal Processes and Landforms (Dr. Eugene Farrell). The purpose of this module is to provide a general introduction to the discipline of coastal geomorphology, a review of coastal environments and related problems, and a more detailed consideration of beach-dune systems. Specifically, this module will focus on identifying and understanding the complex relationships between the suite of physical processes actively shaping the coast. Emphasis is put on critical analyses of the process-landform models (e.g. sediment transfers; system equilibria) operating on different time scales (seconds to millenia). Other themes will examine how multi-disciplinary field based sciences are designed and used to inform future coastal management strategies. 

Reconstructing Marine Environments (Dr Audrey Morley). This module introduces the concept of using a multidisciplinary ecosystem approach to study the marine environment, incorporating key disciplines such as geomorphology, physical and chemical oceanography, and marine geosciences. Teaching focuses on the practical, cross-disciplinary skills involved in sample and data acquisition and processing, deployment and operation of equipment and instrumentation and analyses of these data. 

Biodiversity and Coastal Change (Dr Terry Morley). Coastal habitats are one of the most sensitive environments to climate change. This course aims to foster an interdisciplinary assessment and analysis of coastal biodiversity science and conservation within a context of global change. Students will learn techniques used to identify, monitor, and analyse biodiversity at multiple scales and ecosystems, and how to assess coastal habitat sensitivity to environmental change. Students will be exposed to current ecological methods, major threats to coastal environments, and the legislastive framework used to implement conservation and restoration in coastal ecosystems. The course will provide hands' on training in the R statistical programming language via DataCamp online data science education.  

Dynamics of Climate Change (Dr Gordon Bromley). This module explores the processes of low-latitude ocean-atmosphere heat transfer and the mechanisms by which local perturbations are transmitted globally. Students will be introduced to current concepts in tropical climate dynamics, physical records of past tropical change, and the ramifications of tropical instability for global climate. Emphasis will be placed on the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, which represents the dominant source of global climate variability on Earth today. Case studies will demonstrate the marine, terrestrial, and human aspects of the role of the tropical oceans in global climate. 

Marine Spatial Planning and Policy (Dr Liam M. Carr). This module critically explores how society has viewed and used coastal and marine environments throughout history, examines evolving views on how these systems have been valued, evaluates various policies and practices employed in its management, and identifies current and future issues that threaten coastal and marine system functionality and resilience. Students will be introduced to a range of tools used in managing coastal and marine environments, and will investigate policy and practice suitability at both single- and multi-sector levels. Special attention will be given to the suite of EU policies concerning coastal and marine systems, including the Habitats Directive, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Water Framework Directive, Common Fisheries Policy, and the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive. Governance policies will be critiqued and students will gain experience in understanding the role and impact of public outreach and media coverage. 

Dissertation (Independent Research Project; Advisor selected for project). This is a key module in the programme. It allows students to develop, organise and execute a research project based on independent research which will bring to the fore their critical analysis skills, their practical and applied skills and their ability to link classroom and real world challenges. The conducting of an independent research project is one of the foremost skills developed during a student’s academic career.

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (90 Credits)

Required TI6105: Biodiversity and Coastal Change


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Coastal habitats are one of the most sensitive environments to climate change. This course aims to foster an interdisciplinary assessment and analysis of coastal biodiversity science and conservation within a context of global change. The module will expose students to current ecological methods, major threats to coastal environments, and the legislative framework used to implement conservation and restoration in coastal ecosystems.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify and describe the primary factors affecting the distribution, diversity and function of coastal species and ecosystems.
  2. Understand and implement standard methods to measure and quantify biodiversity across temporal and spatial scales.
  3. Evaluate and apply the current legislative structure of coastal conservation.
  4. Demonstrate application of conservation priorities in a changing environment.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Biological diversity: frontiers in measurement and assessment." by Magurran, A. (ed.) & McGill, B. J. (ed.)
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
The above information outlines module TI6105: "Biodiversity and Coastal Change" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6134: Dynamics of Climate Change


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Earth’s climate system represents a complex and dynamic interplay of the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, lithosphere and biosphere. As an integral part of that system, human activity is influenced by – and increasingly influencing – climate variability on both regional and global scales. This module explores the principal physical processes driving climate, known mechanisms by which local perturbations are transmitted globally, and climatic tipping points that hold the key to abrupt change. Students will be introduced to current concepts in climate dynamics, physical records of past climate change, and the ramifications of anthropogenic activity for future climate. Emphasis will be placed on how we know what we do, and remaining knowledge gaps, within the context of the IPCC 5th Assessment. Case studies will demonstrate the marine, terrestrial, and human aspects of our dynamic climate and our strategies for adaptation and mitigation in a warming world.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Conceptualise the fundamental components of the climate system within regional and global contexts
  2. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of marine and terrestrial climate data and their interpretations
  3. Project plausible future impacts of anthropogenic climate change on regional and global scales
  4. Identify key concerns and knowledge gaps for 21st Century society in the face of global warming
  5. Identify and outline critical areas for future research in this discipline
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (70%)
  • Research (30%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module TI6134: "Dynamics of Climate Change" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6125: Research Methods and Mapping


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module outlines the principles of designing and implementing a holistic geographical research project: collecting representative evidence in the field, applying qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, and mapping and spatial representation using Geographic Information Systems. The aim of the module is to instil in students an ability to collect and analyse primary and secondary evidence, draw conclusions based on geographical principles and present findings in a meaningful, professional manner. Students will be required to engage multiple methodological approaches in a reflexive manner, considering issues of representation associated with the production of geographical knowledge. The module is built around ‘interdisciplinary’ Group Projects, and students will approach all aspects of the module through the lens of their semester-long projects. Group Projects will be collaborative across Masters programmes. Students will work together and learn from each other so that a holistic approach to the Research Project is obtained. Throughout the semester, students will be introduced to a broad geographical skillset that will provide a comprehensive foundation for research in Geography.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically evaluate methodological approaches in Geography
  2. Identify measurable and representative evidence for a given research topic
  3. Develop a field-based data collection strategy and apply appropriate data analysis and methodological techniques
  4. Use GIS to analyse and display primary and secondary data
  5. Design and implement a research project from start to finish
  6. Reflect on research findings and present a critical evaluation to an audience
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (75%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (20%)
  • Department-based Assessment (5%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Key Methods in geography" by Clifford, N., M. Cope, T. Gillespie and S. French
  2. "Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction" by Cresswell, T.
    Chapters: 1
  3. "Simple Statistical Tests for Geography" by McCarroll, D.
The above information outlines module TI6125: "Research Methods and Mapping" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6104: Coastal Processes and Landforms


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module focuses on identifying and understanding the complex relationships between the suite of physical processes actively shaping the coast. Emphasis is put on critical analyses of the process-landform models (e.g. sediment transfers; system equilibria) operating on different time scales (seconds to millenia). Other themes will examine how multi-disciplinary field based sciences are designed and used to inform future coastal management strategies.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify the short- and long-term drivers shaping coastal systems
  2. Predict the behaviour of a coastal landforms over short and long time scales
  3. Critically evaluate the different field and laboratory methods used in analysing and interpreting the behaviour of coastal environments
  4. Conduct a case study on a particular coastal process-response system; write a report of their research to international standards; and present their findings (in print and orally) to a professional standard
  5. Communicate and interpret human impacts on coastal environments and conceptualise the problems of managing coastal and marine natural systems
  6. Demonstrate effective problem-solving skills through the ability to merge multiple disciplinary approaches in a field research capacity in coastal and marine environments
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "To Interpret the Earth: Ten ways to be wrong" by Stanley A. Schumm
    ISBN: 0521646022.
    Publisher: Cambridge, U.K; Cambridge University Press, 1998.
The above information outlines module TI6104: "Coastal Processes and Landforms" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6109: Dissertation (Research Paper)


15 months long | Credits: 30

This is a key module in the programme. It allows students to develop, organise and execute a research project based on independent research which will bring to the fore their critical analysis skills, their practical and applied skills and their ability to link classroom and real world challenges. The conducting of an independent research project is one of the foremost skills developed during a student’s academic career.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Conceptualise a research problem
  2. Design and execute a research project (project management skills)
  3. Communicate research questions, methods and results
  4. Critically evaluate scientific methodologies
  5. Critically evaluate the quality and sensitivity of scientific results
  6. Apply critical analyses in areas relating to contemporary coastal and marine systems
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "will be made available to students" by A list of diverse and tailored readings
The above information outlines module TI6109: "Dissertation (Research Paper)" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6112: Reconstructing Marine Environments (Research Vessel Skills)


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module introduces the concept of using a multidisciplinary ecosystem approach to study the marine environment incorporating key disciplines such as geomorphology, physical & chemical oceanography, and marine geosciences. Teaching focuses on the practical, cross-disciplinary skills involved in sample and data acquisition and processing, deployment and operation of equipment and instrumentation and analysis of these data.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Design, plan and execute an offshore scientific research survey.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how physical, chemical and biological marine processes shape the marine environment and influence the abundance and distribution of marine organisms.
  3. Apply scientific sampling techniques, equipment and instrumentation on board a modern survey vessel with a research objective.
  4. Collect multidisciplinary datasets for analysis, quality control, interpretation, and integration.
  5. Produce scientific survey reports integrating multiple data sets and analyses of collected samples.
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Essentials of Oceanography" by Harold V. Thurman, Alan P. Trujillo
    ISBN: 0130652350.
    Publisher: Prentice Hall
The above information outlines module TI6112: "Reconstructing Marine Environments (Research Vessel Skills)" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6102: Marine Spatial Planning and Policy


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module critically reviews how society has viewed and used the marine environment through history, examines evolving views on how these systems have been valued, evaluates various policies and practices employed in its management, and explores current and future issues that threaten marine system functionality. Students will be introduced to a range of tools used in managing the marine environment, investigate policy and practice suitability at multiple scales, and gain theoretical insights on the emergence of Marine Spatial Planning policies in Ireland and abroad.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critique and apply a range of geographical concepts and discourse to marine spatial planning debates
  2. Develop and employ a practical understanding of relevant EU Directives related to the planning and use of marine and coastal environments, as well as related Irish legislation, policies, plans, and strategies
  3. Apply and critique the use of various regulatory and participatory tools within marine spatial planning theory for meeting established policy goals
  4. Critically analyse and evaluate geographical scales, processes, debates, theories and policies
  5. Write in a way that explores, synthesises, and critiques academic material while relating it to advancements in the field of marine spatial planning
  6. Demonstrate independent thinking and critically assess the relationship between human geography, marine spatial planning, society, and the environment
  7. Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge and understanding gained throughout the course to contemporary marine planning and management issues
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (70%)
  • Oral, Audio Visual or Practical Assessment (30%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Ocean Zoning: Making Marine Management More Effective" by Agardy, T.
    ISBN: 1844078221.
    Publisher: Earthscan
The above information outlines module TI6102: "Marine Spatial Planning and Policy" and is valid from 2019 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

With coastal and marine resources increasingly promoted as being central to revitalising the Irish economy, the coming years will require well-informed and educated leaders who understand the complexities of the interaction between the economy and health of these environments. This should present graduates of this course with opportunities across various fields (coastal and marine science, environment, politics, planning, NGOs, local and regional agencies, research agencies, research laboratories and programmes, etc.). Placement opportunities offer practical work experience that will enhance career prospects.

Who’s Suited to This Course

The MSc is primarily directed at graduates from Geography, related Natural, Environmental, and Social Sciences, and professionals in the field interested in advancing their knowledge and skills. A strong interest in marine and coastal issues, processes, and policies that guide their use by stakeholders and communities is essential. The MSc is field-based, so interest in primary research and fieldwork is beneficial.

Learning Outcomes

 

 

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,600 p.a. FT; €3,355 PT; 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€6,376 p.a. FT; €3,187 PT; 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. FT; €168 PT; 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€15,550 p.a. 2020/21

Please note:  The fee payable by EU students is listed under "Fees: EU".  This field is the sum of the student levy + tuition.  Fees are payable each year and are subject to change year-on year.

Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224. 

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Dr Liam M. Carr
Coastal & Marine Environments: Physical Processes, Policy & Practice
E: liam.m.carr@nuigalway.ie
T: +353 91 492 314

Twitter—@seashorenuig
Instagram—@seashorenuig
Facebook—@coastalmarineNUIG

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Downloads

  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2020 PDF (21 MB)

  • Coastal & Marine Environments Flyer

    Coastal & Marine Environments Flyer PDF (1.05MB)