Course Overview

Nominated for Marine Industry Awards 2016, for "Excellence in Marine Education and Training Award".  Full story here.

For up to date descriptions of MSc staff and student activities please visit the following sites:

www.nuigalway.ie/colleges-and-schools/arts-social-sciences-and-celtic-studies/geography-archaeology/disciplines/geography/postgraduate/msc-coastal-marine-environments/

www.facebook.com/CoastalMarineNUIG/

The MSc in Coastal and Marine Environments is a full-time postgraduate course delivered over three semesters. 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. Since the emergence of integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) policy and practice in the 1990s, EU policy regarding catchment, coastal and marine management has continued to emphasize the importance of integrated and participatory approaches to progress sustainable development in the coastal zone. This MSc programme, theoretically informed and with a strong field-based and applied focus, is offered in direct response to new emerging discourses on the long term health of coastal and marine environments. It seeks to:

  • challenge and facilitate students to engage with but go beyond established scientific conceptual and theoretical perspectives,
  • engage new ways of understanding the complexities of our evolving physical coastal and marine environments
  • develop critical insights that can support policy and practice in sustaining these increasingly vulnerable environments.

A driving motivation of the programme is the conviction that informed decision making for addressing environmental change and adoption of appropriate management, planning and policy strategies in coastal and marine environments should be based upon appropriate scientific evidence. 

So far this year the 2015-2016 students in our MSc programme have participated in: 

Programme Director: Dr Kevin Lynch

Applications and Selections

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr Aaron Potito
  • Dr Chaosheng Zhang
  • Dr Eugene Farrell
  • Dr Kevin Lynch
  • Dr Audrey Morley
  • Dr Terry Morley
  • Dr Liam Carr

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

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

Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year full-time

Next start date

September 2018

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

12

Closing Date

See review dates

Next start date

September 2018

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

90

Award

CAO

PAC code

GYA31

Course Outline

Proposed Modules (all 10 ECTs); subject to change

CORE Modules (Semester 1) NON CORE Modules
(Semester 2)
Coastal Processes and Landforms Coastal hazards OR Coastal Risk and Resilience
Field and Laboratory Methods Biodiversity in the Coastal Zone OR Environment & Health
Marine Spatial Policy and Planning Reconstructing the Marine Environment OR Quaternary Coastal Change
  May - August    Dissertation (30 ECTs)

Development of skills is supported by a significant focus on practical and field-based learning, including short field courses in Ireland, workshops, conferences, work placements and ship-time on the RV Celtic Voyager. It is directed at graduates from geography, the natural sciences and other related disciplines of the social and natural sciences, and at professionals in the field who are interested in furthering their knowledge of coastal and marine environments.

2015–2016 Modules

  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • Coastal Risk: management and prevention (Dr. Kevin Lynch): this module builds on the work of the EU INTERREG project ANCORIM seeking to facilitate today’s (and future) coastal managers and planners in accounting for coastal risk in their decisions. The implementation of a myriad of EU Directives and the transposition of these into national legislation renders the management and prevention of coast risks a very complex field. Using theoretical considerations on coastal risk as a base, the module will focus on practical tools and management frameworks.
  • Field and Laboratory Methods (Dr. Aaron Potito; Dr. Chaosheng Zhang): 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; mapping and spatial data analysis within a Geographic Information System. The aim of the module is to in still in students an ability to collect primary data, analyse them, draw conclusions and present the findings in a meaningful, professional manner.
  • Marine Spatial Planning and Policy (Dr. Frances Fahy): the complex array of contemporary social pressures on marine and coastal environments requires an integrated and holistic approach to planning and management. This module critically explores the development and evolution of marine and coastal management planning, policies and legislation. It introduces students to a range of tools for managing the marine environment.
  • Reconstructing Marine Environments (Dr. Audrey Morley): this module will explore the implications of continuing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming on the marine environment and climate by: (1) introducing students to the Atmosphere Ocean climate system on multiple timescales, (2) providing the scientific basis for analyzing and interpreting geophysical time series data for science and climate applications and (3) discussing specific case studies from the Cenozoic that serve as potential analogues to future changes on the marine environment.
  • 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.

Modules for 2016-17

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.
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 TI6101: Field and Laboratory Methods


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

This module outlines the principles of designing and implementing a research project. The aim of the module is to instill in students an ability to collect primary data, analyse them, draw conclusions and present the findings in a meaningful manner. The field methods used will be drawn from the modules on offer in the M. Sc. In addition to specific practical hands-on techniques these skills constitute invaluable transferable skills.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically evaluate methodological approaches in Geography
  2. Identify measurable and representative data for a given research topic
  3. Develop a field-based data collection strategy and apply appropriate data analysis techniques
  4. Use GIS to analyse and display primary and secondary data
  5. Design and implement a research project from start to finish
  6. Perform quantitative data analysis, including discriptive statistics to regression analysis
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Research Methods in Geography: A Critical Introduction" by Basil Gomez (Editor), John Paul Jones III (Editor)
    ISBN: 1405107111.
    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
  2. "Geographic Information Systems and Science" by Paul A. Longley, Mike Goodchild, David J. Maguire, David W. Rhind
    ISBN: 9780470721445.
    Publisher: Wiley
  3. "Getting to know ArcGIS for desktop" by Michael Law and Amy Collins
    ISBN: 9781589483088.
    Publisher: Redlands, Calif; ESRI Press
  4. "Research Methods in Geography: A Critical Introduction" by Basil Gomez (Editor), John Paul Jones III (Editor)
    ISBN: 1405107111.
    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
  5. "Geomorphological Techniques" by Goudie, A.
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module TI6101: "Field and Laboratory Methods" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6104: Coastal Processes and Landforms


Semester 1 | 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%)
Teachers
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 2016 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.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critique and apply a range of geographical concepts and discourse to marine spatial planning debates
  2. Apply and critique the use of planning tools such as Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment in marine spatial planning
  3. Critically analyse and evaluate geographical scales, processes, debates, theories and policies
  4. Write in a way that explores, synthesises, and critiques academic material while relating it to advancements in the field of marine spatial planning
  5. Demonstrate independent thinking and critically assess the relationship between human geography, marine spatial planning, society, and the environment
  6. Demonstrate the ability to apply the knowledge and understanding gained throughout the course to contemporary marine management issues
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
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 2017 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required TI6109: Dissertation (Research Paper)


Semester 2 | 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%)
Teachers
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 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6105: Biodiversity and Coastal Change


Semester 1 | 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%)
Teachers
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 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6108: Quaternary Coastal Change


Semester 1 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6108: "Quaternary Coastal Change" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6121: Geographic Studies Abroad


Semester 1 and Semester 2 | Credits: 10

As part of their participation in an international exchange programme, students involved in a Master’s programme in Geography are invited to participate in module-based activities at a third level institution abroad. The module based activities relate to three key strands of research in the fields of: Environment, Society and Development; Marine and Coastal Processes; and Rural Sustainability. These activities will be supervised jointly by academic staff at the host institution and at NUI Galway.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Examine interactions between human activities and environmental processes within an international, comparative framework
  2. Critically analyse and engage with geographical planning processes, debates, theories and policies in a non-Irish context; including international planning practices and instruments
  3. Critically assess the relationship between planning, society, and environments in an non-Irish context and apply conceptual languages to material settings in a peripheral region
  4. Relate academic and policy material to developments in the fields of Environment, Society and Development ; Marine and Coastal Processes; or Rural Sustainability
  5. Effectively communicate information and arguments in a variety of forms
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6121: "Geographic Studies Abroad" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6106: Environment and Health


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6106: "Environment and Health" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6120: Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad


Semester 2 | Credits: 30

Students enrolled in a Master’s programme within Geography at NUI Galway can conduct the research towards their Master’s dissertation as part of an international exchange programme. Such activities will be jointly supervised by staff in the host institution and at NUI Galway. This module guides students through an extended period of research and towards the writing of a major independent project. As such, it is an integral part of a student’s university education in that it teaches organisational and research skills, as well as skills critical for any career path. The module is specifically for students who would like to undertake independent research in the fields of Environment, Society and Development; Marine and Coastal Processes or Rural Sustainability.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Conduct supervised research on key identified interactions between human activities and environmental processes within an international, comparative framework
  2. Critically analyse and evaluate geographical planning processes, debates, theories and policies in a non-Irish context
  3. Demonstrate independent thinking and critically assess the relationship between planning, society, and environments
  4. Apply conceptual languages to material settings in a peripheral, coastal region and research key processes that shape such regions
  5. Explore, synthesise, and critique academic material while relating it to advancements in the fields of Environment, Society and Development, Marine and Coastal processes or Rural Sustainability
  6. Analyse data and communicate their findings in an effective manner to a range of audiences
Assessments
  • Research (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6120: "Geographic Research and Dissertation Abroad" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6100: Coastal Risk: management and prevention


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This module builds on the work of the EU INTERREG project ANCORIM, seeking to facilitate today’s (and future) coastal managers and planners in accounting for coastal risk in their decisions. The implementation of a myriad of EU Directives and the transposition of these into national legislation renders the management and prevention of coast risks a very complex field. With new government strategies aimed at taking advantage of our ocean and coastal wealth, it is critical to consider the natural and human-induced risks that may be associated with these innovative plans. Another layer of complexity in coastal risk prevention is the additional role future climate and sea-level fluctuations will play.While engaging in theoretical considerations on coastal risk, the module will focus on current practical tools and management frameworks that may be implemented to address these very important issues.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain the multi-faceted nature of the ‘risk’ concept
  2. Apply the concept of risk to analyse the contributions made by natural and human components
  3. Appriase the extent to which EU policy and the national legislative framework considers coastal risks
  4. Determine the extent to which these policies are incorporated into regional and local decision-making
  5. Identify indicators of hazards in the field
  6. Integrate existing 'tools' in their coastal risk decision-making
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
Reading List
  1. "Environmental hazards" by Keith Smith.
    ISBN: 9780415681056.
    Publisher: New York; Routledge
The above information outlines module TI6100: "Coastal Risk: management and prevention" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6103: Coastal Hazards


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Teachers
The above information outlines module TI6103: "Coastal Hazards" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6112: Reconstructing Marine Environments (Research Vessel Skills)


Semester 2 | 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%)
Teachers
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 2016 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 and global 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. Our taught Masters programme has been designed to integrate science, policy and governance so that students are trained to start professional careers in these areas. On graduating you will have opportunities across various fields including, but not limited to: Coastal and Marine Science, Environmental Monitoring, Professional Consultancy, Ecological Appropriate Assessment, Socio-Economic Impact Assessment, State/Semistate/NGOs, Environmental and Project Management, Planning, Governance, University and Private Research, Terrestrial and Oceanographic Surveys, Tourism, GIS, Heritage, and Teaching. 

The Marine Institute is the national agency responsible for Marine Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI) in Ireland. They have produced a brochure  Oceans of Opportunitywith a list of exciting careers available in Marine Science, Engineering and Technology that include: 

  • Seafood (fisheries, aquaculture, seafood processing and seaweed)
  • Shipping, Ports and Services
  • Marine Renewable Energy
  • Offshore Oil and Gas and Seabed Resources
  • Marine and Coastal Tourism and Leisure including Cruise Tourism
  • Marine Information Communication Technology
  • Marine Biotechnology and Bioproducts

 

 

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

 

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,200 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Tuition

€5,976 p.a. 2017/18

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2018/19

Fees: Non EU

€14,250 p.a. 2018/19

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 Eugene Farrell
T: +353 91 494 336
E: eugene.farrell@nuigalway.ie