Course Overview

Coastal & Marine graphic‌‌

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.

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. 

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr Eugene Farrell (MSc Director)
  • Dr Liam M. Carr (MSc Coordinator)
  • Dr Gordon Bromley
  • Dr Kevin Lynch
  • Dr Audrey Morley
  • Dr Terry Morley
  • Dr Chaosheng Zhang

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Completion of Undergraduate Degree (Level 8 or Equivalent) at Second Class Honours or Equivalent (+3.0 GPA). Selection is based on a review of candidate’s academic record at the undergraduate level, professional interests and goals, and level of relevant experience.

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) 

Field and Laboratory Methods (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.  

The Tropical Ocean and Global Climate (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 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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
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 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.
(Language of instruction: English)

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%)
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 2018 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.

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%)
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 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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
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%)
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 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI6124: The Tropical Ocean and Global Climate


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

Comprising almost 50% of our planet’s surface, the tropics are the principal source of heat energy and water vapour for Earth’s climate system. 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 Niño–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.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Conceptualise the fundamental components of the tropical climate system within a global context
  2. Evaluate the strength of existing marine and terrestrial palaeoclimate data and their interpretations
  3. Project plausible impacts of modern tropical change on regional- and global-scale climate behaviour
  4. Identify key concerns of tropical climate change in the 21st Century
  5. Outline key areas for future research in this discipline
Assessments
  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module TI6124: "The Tropical Ocean and Global Climate" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Recent MSc Graduates have gone onto PhD programmes, as well as joining the professional workforce as: consultants, ecologists, teachers and instructors, researchers, and managers. Employers have included: the Marine Institute, Irish Lights, EPA Ireland, MaREI, NPWS, Environmental Consultancies, Public Outreach and Education, Industry and the Private Sector.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

 

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,400 p.a. FT; €3,255 p.a. PT 2019/20

Fees: Tuition

€6,176 p.a. FT; €3,087 p.a. PT 2019/20

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. FT; €168 p.a. PT 2019/20

Fees: Non EU

€15,550 p.a. 2019/20

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

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

Downloads

  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2019

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2019 PDF (12.6 MB)