UCC Postgraduate courses

Applied Coastal & Marine Management

Course Fact File
Duration1 Year Full-time
Teaching ModeFull-time
NFQ LevelLevel 9
Closing DateRolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.
Non-EU Closing DateOpen until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.
Start Date9 September 2024

Course Outline

Applied Coastal & Marine Management focuses on the science (including the social sciences) of Coastal and Marine management and policy-making today. Designed and presented in close collaboration with the state-of-the-art Beaufort Institute and the University’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre, the programme is designed to give our students professional competency to make sound, scientifically-informed, strategic, and operational decisions regarding sustainable governance, use and protection of coastal and marine environments.

In addition, our Applied Coastal & Marine Management programme also provides training in applied practical skills, with an emphasis on geospatial techniques relevant to coastal and marine data capture, analysis, integration, and visualisation. On this programme you will also receive training in important transferrable skills including principles and practice of scientific research, effective communication and presentation techniques, and sound project management

The MSc Applied Coastal & Marine Management degree offers a combination of theory, practice and technical skills relevant to the needs of environmentally sustainable coastal and marine governance.

Topics include different models of governance, marine spatial planning, and the basics of coastal and marine law; the physical functioning and key processes controlling coastal and marine environments; the biological components of coastal margins and the ecosystems they are part of, at varying spatial and temporal scales, and especially the interactions and exchanges between these; and the approaches available in coastal management and physical protection techniques. In addition, training will be provided in the application of core technologies, including geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing and Earth observation, and hydrographic survey and mapping from ship-borne platforms.

A unique feature of the programme is that our students spend time at sea, onboard the Irish research vessel Celtic Voyager (or equivalent), at no additional cost, so that they may experience marine surveying and other techniques in a working research environment.

Upon successful completion of this programme, you will have a clear understanding of the theory, principles and concepts that underpin the management of coastal and marine spaces; will have practical skills to equip them for making policy, and for taking management-level decisions, regarding the strategic and operational use of coastal and marine spaces; will know how to work with coastal and marine data originating in a range of scientific disciplines (physics, biology, geology, oceanography, etc.); and will have a good scientific understanding of the physical, environmental and human processes that affect, and are impacted by, the world’s oceans. The frame of reference will range from the global to the local, but with particular emphasis on the sustainable development and management of Ireland’s coastal and marine territories and resources

The programme consists of two parts:

  • Part I will consist of eight taught modules to the value of 60 credits involving lectures, practicals, seminars, and workshops.
  • Part II will be a substantial piece of independent research to the value of 30 credits (GG6514). Independent research projects can be carried out on the main university campus, through the Programme and other linked University Staff; or, with support from relevant Research Staff, within the commercially-focussed environment of the Beaufort laboratory in Ringaskiddy. Other commercial and practitioner placements with relevant coastal and marine-focussed industries, semi-state bodies and government will be considered, as appropriate to project proposals submitted by students.


Part I (60 credits)

  • GG6501 Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (5 credits)
  • GG6502 Introduction to Remote Sensing (5 credits)
  • GG6516 Coastal and Marine Processes (5 credits)
  • GG6532 Coastal and Marine Resource Use Practices (10 credits)
  • GG6533 Spatial Ecology and GIS (5 credits)
  • GG6538 Natural and Anthropogenic Coastal Hazards (10 credits)
  • GG6539 Introduction to Coastal and Marine Governance (5 credits)
  • GG6540 Applied Seafloor Mapping (10 credits)
  • NE6010 Offshore Wind Energy (5 credits)

Part II (30 credits)

  • GG6514 Research Dissertation in Applied Coastal and Marine Management (30 Credits)

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue where you can search for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year to year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

The programme presents a full-time day course of study (Monday to Friday), with delivery through an integrated combination of methods including lectures, seminars and workshops; ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ laboratory work; computer-based exercises; private study; field work (onshore and also at sea); and an independent supervised research project.

As part of the development of their thesis, students will be offered placements in the state-of-the-art Beaufort laboratory with direct access to academic and research staff. This should assist students in producing robust research as well as an appreciation of working in an active research environment. 

Assessment will be through a combination of coursework (including laboratory, computer and field-based work), written exams and submission of an independently-conducted research dissertation. The proportion of marks assigned to each of these components will vary between modules

Teaching Staff

Teaching on the course will be overseen by academic staff from the departments of Geography, Civil Engineering and Biology, with support and specialist inputs from researchers at the university’s state-of-the-art Beaufort Laboratory. Visiting academics, and practicing coastal or marine scientists and managers from the private and public sectors, will be invited to give one-off seminars according to their availability.



Industry & Government

  • Dr Jared Peters – Head of Geo Division at Green Rebel
  • Tom Murphy, CEng, PMP, MSc, BE – Major Infrastructure Project Management
  • Dr Debbi Pedreschi – Fisheries Scientist
  • Mirella Verhage, Deputy Country Manager, Offshore Wind Consultants
  • Industry Advisory Board Member

Why Choose This Course

The MSc provided the perfect blend of academic, practice, and technical skills required to progress with a career in sustainable development which is more important now than ever...

Zoë O'Hanlon, Graduate

Find Out More
  • The only degree in Ireland that offers training and instruction in the applied aspects of coastal and marine management.
  • Offers a unique combination of classroom, computer-based, laboratory and ship-based learning methods.
  • Attractive balance of theoretical, administrative and scientific aspects of coastal and marine management, including technical/applied skills such as Hydrographic surveying and GIS, alongside areas such as policy-making and the management of marine spaces.
  • The programme is intended to give students a comprehensive understanding of coastal and marine environments subject to multiple human uses and impacts and to equip them with the tools and knowledge necessary to evaluate and manage these complex, dynamic systems in ways that are both sustainable and economically productive.
  • Specific topics to be covered will include the principles and practice of coastal and marine management; the physical geography and the biology of the coast and off-shore regions; and the use of geographical information systems (GIS), remote sensing and other spatial information technologies for collecting, analysing and managing coastal/marine data, and for generating information products to support scientific enquiry, policy-making and management decision-making.
  • Students who proceed to Part II of the programme will also be required to undertake an independent research project, which will allow them to develop in-depth expertise in one or more specialist areas of coastal or marine management, in a scientific, strategic or operational context, or in a combination of these.
  • Throughout their studies, but especially when undertaking their independent research project, students will be able and encouraged to avail of the specialist equipment for physical geography, as well as GPS and surveying equipment and computer laboratories, provided by the Geography Department. They will also have access to advanced technical facilities and expertise available at the state-of-the-art Beaufort Institute, currently under development at Ringaskiddy.
  • Once established, accreditation for the course will be sought from an appropriate professional body such as The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMAREST). It is hoped that this accreditation, once obtained for the programme, will allow graduates to also gain exemptions or credits towards their own professional accreditation.

Skills and Careers Information

The programme aims to consolidate Cork’s position as a national, European and international hub of expertise in marine and coastal science and management.

Successful completion of the MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management should provide opportunities for a variety of professional careers at home and abroad, in the public, private and non-governmental sectors, including local and national government; civil engineering and coastal defence; renewable energy; petroleum and mineral exploration and development; environmental management; cultural heritage management; fisheries management and protection; aquaculture; the Defence forces; marine transport; marine spatial planning; town and country planning; port and harbour administration; etc.


  1. A primary degree to at least a Second Class Honours Grade II in a primary honours degree (NFQ, Level 8) (180 ECTS credits or equivalent) from a recognized third-level institution, in Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Biology, Oceanography, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering or a related discipline.  Applications will also be considered from graduates in other disciplines, including those in the Arts or Social Sciences, who have a demonstrable interest and/or experience in coastal and marine management, and who can offer sufficient numerical abilities. 
  2. A primary degree (180 credits or equivalent), in a cognate area, as detailed in 1 above, plus at least 2 years' experience in a relevant maritime industry (applied) as approved by the Director of the MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management on a case by case basis under Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

The selection committee for the MSc also attaches strong importance to the additional supplementary online questions - see How do I Apply below.

The programme Director and/or Programme Board must approve candidates. The number of places is limited and selection will be based on academic achievement, relevant work experience and a personal statement.

For Applicants with Qualifications Completed Outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements. For more information see our Qualification Comparison page.

International/Non-EU Applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure visit our how to apply pages for international students.

  • In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.
  • Note that not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above. For more information contact the International Office.
English Language Requirements

Applicants who are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university-approved English language requirements. Visit our PG English Language Requirements page for more information.

Fees and Costs

Postgraduate EU and International Fees 2024/2025

See our Postgraduate EU and Non-EU (International) Fee Schedule for the latest information.


If your course requires a deposit, that figure will be deducted from your second-semester fee payment in January.

Fee payment 

Fees are payable in two equal instalments. First payment is at registration and the balance usually by the end of January.

How can I pay? 

See different options on our How Do I Pay My Fees? page.

Any questions? See the 'Contact Us' section on the Fees Office page.

How To Apply

1. Check dates

Check the opening and closing dates for the application process in the fact file boxes at the top of the page.

2. Gather documents

Scanned copies of supporting documents have to be uploaded to the UCC online application portal and include:

  • Original qualification documents listed on your application including transcripts of results from institutions other than UCC.
  • Any supplementary items requested for your course if required.

3. Apply online

Apply online via the UCC online application portal. Note the majority of our courses have a non-refundable €50 application fee.

Any questions? Use our web enquiry form to contact us.

Additional Requirements (All Applicants)

Please note you will be required to provide additional information as part of the online application process for this programme. This will include the following:

  • You may enter the details of professional or voluntary positions held. We strongly encourage you to complete this section with all relevant work experiences that will support your application.
  • In addition to your previously declared qualifications, please outline any additional academic courses, self-learning, and professional training relevant to this programme.
  • Please describe your motivation and readiness for this programme.
  • Please enter the names and email addresses of two referees. 

The closing date for non-EU applications is Open until all places have been filled or no later than 30 June. Early application is advised.

Apply Now

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact