Marine Ecosystems and Governance (MRes)

Newcastle University the United Kingdom

For more information about Marine Ecosystems and Governance at Newcastle University, please visit the webpage using the button above.

The award

How long you will study
12 months

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How you will study

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About Marine Ecosystems and Governance at Newcastle University

This course provides you with an exceptional grounding in marine environmental research. You'll develop your understanding of key concepts and issues. You'll also develop the skills and qualities required for a career in academia or industry.

Through a combination of taught and research modules, our course develops your understanding of:

  • the roles of science, policy, technology and economic development in the marine environment
  • marine environmental issues, their origins and possible solutions
  • the principal processes maintaining and altering structure, function and ecosystem services of coastal waters
  • the key concepts and methodologies used in ecosystem, environmental management and conservation science
  • the context, purpose and implementation of resource mapping and evaluation
  • the theory, principles, concepts and practices in marine governance

Our staff have over 30 years of research and teaching experience, both in the UK and overseas. Their expertise spans the natural and social sciences in coastal-marine science and management. 

Our taught modules will ground your understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics, research methodologies and environmental governance. You will develop your research skills by designing and completing a supervised project.

Major sites for projects include the:

  • Red Sea
  • Maldives
  • Bahamas
  • Northumberland coast (UK)

The project will develop a detailed knowledge of your chosen research topic by drawing on the research communities within the School of Marine Science and Technology. These include:

  • Marine Biology, Ecosystems and Governance (MBEG)
  • Oceans and Climate (OC) 

These research groups have had notable successes in their work on:

  • coral reefs (Prof John Bythell, Prof Alasdair Edwards, Prof Nicholas Polunin)
  • physical oceanography and climate modelling (Prof Andrew Willmott, Dr Miguel Maqueda)
  • marine spatial mapping and systems planning (Dr Clare Fitzsimmons)
  • marine protected areas and management (Prof Nicholas Polunin, Prof Selina Stead)
  • food webs (Prof Nicholas Polunin)

They are also active in:

  • marine mammal monitoring (Dr Per Berggren)
  • citizen science and outreach (Dr Jane Delaney)
  • deep sea ecology and marine time series (Dr Ben Wigham)


There are exceptional opportunities if you see yourself in a marine environmental science research career. We have official partnerships with:

  • Northumberland Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authority
  • Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Indonesia
  • Haribon Foundation, Philippines (a major non-governmental organisation)

Our partnerships provide you with the opportunity for exchanges and involvement. We also have strong links with:

  • King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia
  • Cape Eleuthera Institute, Bahamas
  • Banyan Tree Global Foundation, Maldives

Previous students have worked with KAUST on a project based at a Red Sea facility. The focus of this project was the environmental impact of land based agriculture.

Papers and projects

There are also opportunities for involvement in key papers and projects. Previous students have often led on papers and projects in areas that include: 

Tropical coastal management

Hicks CC, McClanahan, TRM, Cinner JE, Hills JM (2009) Trade offs in values assigned to ecological goods and services associated with different coral reef management strategies. Ecology and Society. 14 (1): 10.

Marine ecosystem services

Smith V, Fitzsimmons C (2011) Local livelihood diversification: conservation and Socio-economics of scuba diving in the Solomon Islands. International Journal of Ecotourism. 10: 179-196.

North Sea marine policy

Scarff G, Fitzsimmons C, Gray T (2014) The new mode of marine governance in the UK: aspirations and challenges. Marine Policy. 51: 96-102.

Marine biology

Tanzil JTI, Brown BE, Tudhope AW, Dunne RP (2009), Decline in skeletal growth of the coral Porites lutea from the Andaman Sea, South Thailand between 1984 and 2005, Coral Reefs 28: 519-528

Coral reef ecology

McWilliam JN, Hawkins AD (2013) A comparison of inshore marine soundscapes. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 446: 166-176.

Marine protected area management

Peterson AM, Stead SM (2011) Rule breaking and livelihood options in marine protected areas. Environmental Conservation. 38: 342-352.

Fisheries ecology and sustainability

Hart K, Gray T, Stead SM (2013) Consumptive versus non-consumptive use of sea turtles? Stakeholder perceptions about sustainable use in three communities near Cahuita National Park, Costa Rica. Marine Policy. 42: 236-244.


Three taught modules worth 60 credits are delivered in week blocks during semester one. A research project worth 120 credits is undertaken across semesters 2 and 3.

The course is delivered by the School of Marine Science and Technology.


You will have access to a wealth of excellent facilities, including:

  • the Dove Marine Laboratory (Cullercoats)
  • our versatile twin-hulled research vessel, The Princess Royal 
  • our shore station at Blyth
  • dedicated computers and laboratories

Study options for this course

  • The award How you will study How long you will study Course starts Domestic course fees International course fees
  • The awardMResHow you will studyFull-timeHow long you will study12 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out
  • The awardMResHow you will studyPart-timeHow long you will study24 months
    Course starts find outDomestic course fees find outInternational course fees find out

Notes about fees for this course

See our course fees and funding webpage -

Entry requirements

2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent in:

  • biology
  • zoology
  • botany
  • ecology
  • marine science
  • oceanography
  • environmental science
  • geography
  • earth sciences

International Students

To study this course you need to meet our Band 2 English Language requirements:

Direct Entry : IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)

If you have lower English Language scores, you may be accepted onto a pre-sessional English course. 

Our typical English Language requirements are listed as IELTS scores but we also accept a wide range of English Language tests.

The equivalent academic qualifications that we accept are listed on our country pages.

Pre-sessional English Course Requirements

  • 6 week Pre-sessional entry: IELTS 6.0 overall (with a minimum of 5.5 in all sub-skills)
  • 10 week Pre-sessional entry:  IELTS 5.5 overall (with a minimum of 5.0 in all sub-skills)

You can study a pre-sessional English course at our INTO Newcastle Centre.

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