Ryan Hastings - MSc Applied Coastal and Marine Management

My first impression of the course was that it was really interesting, with wide array of subjects focusing on; marine ecology, governance and applied GIS.

With lots of practical elements such as; a seawater chemistry practical, outside the college grounds creating maps with GIS and field trips with governance. Later in the year we will be on board the Celtic voyager doing an offshore survey.

The assignments focus on building skills for research; critical thinking essays on journal articles, creating a PowerPoint presentation which is a visual display. Useful skill for the future particularly with funding research and also being able to conceptualise a large amount of information and effectively communicate to a variety of backgrounds.

The campus is brilliant, I’m in both the main campus in the Geography department but also in the North campus in the BEES department. Everyone is friendly and all lecturers I’ve approached have had no problem meeting me, which is impressive with the amount of work they have. The sports facilities are also great, I have been using the Mardyke swimming pool and recently joined the sub-aqua club. All members were really welcoming and accommodating with training schedules to fit even the Postgraduate students’ timetables. I would recommend joining a club even at Postgraduate level as you get to meet new people form a variety of different courses.

Last week I attended the Proto Atlantic marine innovation workshop which gave great insights into the marine sector and also created an excellent opportunity to network with real people in the industry and the creative innovations they have created. It was insightful to hear the pitfalls they have faced in the marine sector and has helped me create ideas for management solutions in the future to help stream line these processes for all users.

I’m from West Cork so I know the city well but it’s a new experience for me to see it as a student, in my opinion it’s a great city for students with loads of facilities and events on that would be of interest to so many different backgrounds.

My particular interests in the course so far are the Marine Ecology module and the endless applications of GIS to help with communication, manage areas of conservation and aid in monitoring. The Governance module is really interesting and ties together all the different modules in one system. Learning about new approaches to governance and the inter-disciplinary relationships being so crucial and how it has various layers is new information for me and has taken my interest. I am still only six weeks into the course and every new class sparks a new interest for me. Opens opportunities to pursue and learn new areas. It’s been a really interesting experience so far.

Check out the online prospectus page for MSc Applied Coastal and Marine Management. 


Ryan Hastings - MSc Applied Coastal & Marine Management

Blog Post 2

This time of year, I’m sure there are plenty of people considering applying to a new masters in UCC for the next academic year, so I'd like to share my experiences and advice from my studies of the MSc in Applied Coastal and Marine Management so far.

A week in the life of a postgraduate student

 There isn’t a typical week with this course, the material you cover although related is very diverse, and the practical side of the course makes it even more interesting. For example, one day you may be in a lecture about deep sea hydrothermal vents, the next you’re discussing the ways to govern and manage the marine environment and in the next you could be trying to solve a problem using GIS.

The field trips you could be down in Kerry taking ground cores and mapping the dunes to see how the area has changed over time or upon the Celtic Voyager taking sample grabs and sifting through them to see the types of sediment and marine life that lives in Cork Harbour. Although each day is different you will be spending most days reading or working on assignments in the library. No day is the same, but it is an intense year with plenty of work. Yet the support you get from UCC from all the lecturers and facilities are excellent. The lecturers are always happy to meet you and offer guidance with any questions you may have.


Advice and tips

Time management is key, so start your assignments straight away. I personally found that time is the major factor with a masters as its only one year, so time goes quickly. My advice would be don’t waste time. Do the best you can within the time and get the work done but to also enjoy the learning process. The other tip I would recommend is to have some downtime. Mine was learning a new hobby with the sub aqua club.

Diving is the closest thing you’ll get to the feeling of flying. The BCD (the jacket divers wear) controls your buoyancy and if you get it just right, you hover in the water and it feels like flying. I’m passionate about marine life and although my training was spent in a pool it was so much fun, so I know the open water is going to be even better. I’d highly recommend giving diving a go, it can be an expensive sport to take up so if you join the UCC club its heavily subsidised. You’ll get a taster to see if you will like it or not, but I’m confident you will. I would certainly recommend joining a club or even just staying active throughout your study. At any level the work load can be a lot and although the course material is very interesting it’s good to step away and have a bit of fun and exercise. You might even find a new passion or at least make some new friends.

Check out the online prospectus page for MSc Applied Coastal & Marine Management 


Coastal Management      

Ryan Hasting - MSc Applied Coastal and Marine Management 

Blog Post 3


student in sea

Picture: A great day out with loads of marine life and a well-earned break with UCC Sub-aqua Club at Oysterhaven. All divers were warmed up afterwards with plenty of tea and sausage sandwiches.

Its hard to believe this will be my final blog post. My time here at UCC has gone by very quickly but it has been a great experience overall. My time here isn’t quite finished yet though, as our final exams are in a few weeks. Then all our focus will be on our research dissertations over the summer months.

The research dissertation can be a daunting prospect, but I have been viewing it as an opportunity. To combine the wider learning and key insights from the variety of modules we have taken over the academic year. Also, an opportunity to come up with your own solution for some of the key challenges we face in this area. The process itself has and will give me valuable research skills, gaining new technical and applied skills and all in a topic area that is important to me. I am confident this process can help both my further understanding of a topic and provide me with valuable job skills.

My dissertation will involve the potential of using ecosystem services, such as natural carbon sequestration to help Irelands contribution and commitments to Europe and the world to reduce its carbon emissions. I strongly believe these challenges we face need to be solved on a variety of fronts, and providing the stakeholders with solution-based ideas that they all can be involved in.

There are multiple researchers from all types of academic fields looking at how we can all achieve this goal, and many coming up with innovative ideas, so it gives me great hope for the future. The area I am particularly interested in is the rehabilitation of natural ecosystems and to involve local stakeholders in the process. With the aim to meet the environmental, economic and social needs of the wider community. For my methodology, I am further enhancing the practical and technical skills I have learnt through this masters’ by using GIS and  Remote Sensing and by learning new techniques such as R-programming to answer my research question.

This has been an area I have always been passionate about, but I must thank this masters’ and all the academic staff who have provided me with the further understanding of how the wider challenges can be addressed and for teaching me the valuable skills that can help solve these challenges.

After I complete my research in the summer months, I am hoping to continue my learning possibly through a PhD or through work experience in the variety of environmental sectors. I am a strong believer of continuous learning and I plan to never stop.

Before I leave this last post, I would like to thank all the staff and my friends at UCC for supporting me and giving me this valuable opportunity. Also, to any future students reading this and considering applying to this masters’ course or others, please feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to chat and offer any advice from my own experience here that could help you. Good luck with your future studies and the exciting times ahead.

Check out the online prospectus page for MSc Applied Coastal and Marine Management.

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