Marine Ecosystems and Governance MRes

Marine Ecosystems and Governance MRes

Full time: 12 months, part time: 24 months 


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 Natural and Environmental Sciences. These include:

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

They are also active in:


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

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

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 Natural and Environmental Sciences.

Related Degrees

All related programmes


You will study modules on this course. A module is a unit of a course with its own approved aims and outcomes and assessment methods.

Modules for 2018 entry

Module changes

Module changes

Modules change annually to take account of:

  • changing staff expertise
  • developments in the discipline
  • the requirements of external bodies and partners
  • student feedback.

Most module information for 2019 entry will be available from mid-May 2019.

Fees & Funding

2018-2019 fees

The fees displayed here are per year.



Full time: £7,800
Part time: £3,900


Full time: £7,800
Part time: £3,900


Full time: £21,600

Find out more about our tuition fees, including how to pay them and available discounts.

EU students starting at Newcastle in 2018 and 2019 will pay the UK (Home) tuition fee for the full duration of their course.

Funding opportunities

Entry Requirements

2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent in:

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

Find out the equivalent qualifications for your country.

Use the drop down above to find your country. If your country isn't listed please email: for further information.

English Language Requirements

Select an English language test from the list to view our English language entry requirements.

Please email us at for further information.

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

How to Apply

You apply online, track your application and contact the admissions team via our applicant portal. Our step by step guide can help you on your way.

Getting the right supervision is critical for your research project.  Before submitting your research proposal as part of the course application, please first discuss your plans with the selector via

Start dates

The course starts in September. There is no application closing date for this course.

We suggest international students apply at least two months before the course starts. This is so that you have enough time to make the necessary arrangements.


If you live outside the UK/EU you must:

  • pay a deposit of £1,500
  • or submit an official letter of sponsorship

The deposit is payable after you receive an offer to study at Newcastle University. The deposit is non-refundable, but is deducted from your tuition fees when you register.


Dr Clare Fitzsimmons
School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 6661

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