Many of the most important oceanographic discoveries have been made as a result of an integrated, multidisciplinary approach, often involving geologists, chemists, biologists, physical oceanographers, and engineers. Ocean health, biodiversity conservation, pollution control and coastal zone management are linked intimately and require multidisciplinary team work and the integrated action of professionals with complementary expertise capable of understanding each other and promoting synergies. Moreover, new profiles of qualified scientists and technologists are needed at the borders of classical disciplines. For example, ocean acidification and its consequences can only be understood properly and addressed by merging concepts at molecular and cellular levels, with concepts of chemical oceanography, i.e. by exploring the ocean both through the microscope and remote sensing systems. Likewise, by considering responses over a time-scale of minutes, together with consequences at a time scale of decades or centuries. This approach may be achieved by different specialists, but the latest trend is to incorporate people able to integrate all these diverse concepts, instruments and time-scales. Scientists and technologists with such a wide-ranging profile are becoming leaders in marine research. In contrast, competences and skills achieved by most existing Master programmes in marine science lack such cross-boundary competence.