Suitable for students with a good biological, geological and chemical background, this programme prepares students both for further research, and for work within government and commercial oceanographic and environmental research/consultancy laboratories. The programme runs full-time over 24 months (120 ECTS) and consists of advanced courses (90 ECTS) and a Master Thesis, with a dissertation (30 ECTS). Every student follows an individually-tailored study programme, by combining the different disciplines that can be studied at each of the Partner universities:

  • Advanced Oceanography, and Coastal Zone Management, in UBx;
  • Advanced Oceanography, and Coastal and Oceanic Environments, in SOTON;
  • Marine Environmental Monitoring, and Ecosystem Health Protection, in UPV/EHU; and
  • Biodiversity Conservation and Management, and Oceanic Ecosystems, in ULiège.

The coursework is arranged in seven modules:

  • Module 1 (Fundamentals in Ocean Science), devoted to basic foundations or aspects of general interest for marine environmentalists, is mandatory (Semester 1 in either SOTON or UBx);
  • Module 2 (The Ocean Physical Environment);
  • Module 3 (The Ocean Biological Environment);
  • Module 4 (Anthropogenic Impact On Marine Ecosystems);
  • Module 5 (Ocean Observatories & Environmental Monitoring Systems);
  • Module 6 (Valorisation of the Marine Environment); and
  • Module 7 (Marine Environmental Careers).

A full list of courses and their associated learning outcomes, credit point values, assessment methods, and pre-requisites is available at the Catalogue of Courses at this website.

The MSc Thesis research is undertaken during Semester 4 (30 ECTS) and consists of a 5-6 month research under the supervision of a PhD holder. Upon completion of the MSc Thesis the student should demonstrate sufficiency for research in order to undertake the realisation of the PhD Thesis work, or a professional activity as researcher.


The MER+ EMJMD will prepare students both for further research and for work within government and commercial oceanographic and environmental research/consultancy laboratories in the field of protection, management and sustainable valorisation of the marine environment.

In addition, the MER Consortium may provide students with the option to maintain a wider multidisciplinary profile in the marine sciences or to follow alternative specialisation pathways. For instance, students who satisfactorily pass 30 ECT in courses labelled “(R)” in the Programme can apply for recognition of specialisation in sustainable management and exploitation of marine resources.

Irrespective of the specialisation pathway the programme can have either a “physical” or “biological” emphasis, depending on whether the students follows mobility options “A” or “B”: Students follow basic courses in UB during Semester 1 and advanced courses in SOTON in Semester 3 may achieve a more “physical” academic profile whereas the academic profile of those following basic courses in either UB or SOTON during Semester 1 and advanced courses in ULg in Semester 3 will be more “biological”.