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MSc Freshwater and Marine Ecology


Gain an in-depth understanding of aquatic ecosystems and learn techniques for their study and management in a practical setting.

Threats to the ecosystem goods and services that aquatic resources provide (eg clean drinking water, sustainable fisheries) frequently appear in the media and on the agendas of governments.

To maintain these goods and services requires a fundamental understanding of the biodiversity and ecosystem processes responsible, for without knowledge there can be no application or effective management.

With aquatic ecosystems under threat from multiple stressors, we have designed a programme to equip you with the necessary interdisciplinary practical skills and theoretical understanding for direct employment or further research.

Why study with us?

  • The programme is designed to balance the latest in ecological theory with practical application in both freshwater and marine systems
  • Three residential field-courses (Western Isles of Scotland, Dorset, Cumbria) for practical ‘hands-on’ training
  • The course is taught by expert staff with world class research profiles from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, the School of Geography, and from external organisations.
  • Excellent research supervision undertaken either alongside established PhD students or with potential employer organisations – the best theses are published.
    View a list of published Aquatic MSc Thesis
  • Access to ‘state of the art’ analytical facilities within The Centre for the Aquatic and Terrestrial Environment, developed from an initial investment by SRIF of £3 million.
  • Access to the Freshwater Biological Association’s River Laboratory on the River Frome in Dorset via our River Communities Group, and to mesocosm and temperature controlled facilities at QMUL.

Student handbook and newsletters:

Programme structure

You will take six taught modules (15 credits each), some of which are shared with other MSc programmes such as Aquatic Ecology by Research, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Integrated Management of Freshwater Environments.

Core modules:

  • Ecosystem Structure and Function
  • Aquatic Systems: Hydrological, Hydrochemical and Geomorphological Processes
  • Statistics & Bioinformatics
  • Science into Policy & Management – includes week in Dorset
  • Sampling & Surveying Techniques for Ecology – includes week in Cumbria

Optional modules:

  • Marine Mammals & Turtles – fieldcourse to western isles of Scotland
  • Mathematical Modelling for Ecologists – fieldcourse to Crete
  • Tropical Ecology & Conservation – fieldcourse to Borneo

The remainder of the necessary credits (90 credits) comprises a 24-week Individual Research Project aligned to cutting edge research groups within the Centre for the Aquatic and Terrestrial Environment, or with external agencies and charities like the Environment Agency, Wild Trout Trust, Froglife, or the Broads Authority.

Entry requirements

Undergraduate degree (minimum second class honours) in a relevant subject such as environmental science, biology, chemistry or geography. Individuals with relevant professional qualifications or other experience and qualifications will also be considered.


You can apply for this programme through the Queen Mary online application portal:

There is no closing date for applications, but places are offered as suitable applications arrive, so the earlier you apply the better are your chances of being offered a place and being considered for any funding that may be available.

Supporting documentation:

You must provide the following supporting documentation when applying online:

  • Degree transcript(s) - Please provide a transcript of your degree(s). If you have not yet completed your degree please provide a transcript of your results achieved to date
    NB If your degree is from an overseas institution, you should supply a transcript of your marks for each year of your studies and a copy of your degree certificate together with a certified translation if the document is not in English. Please note that original documentation will be required before you enrol.
  • Reference(s) - Please provide at least one reference from your previous academic institution (on headed paper). If you have left university please provide one academic and one employer reference. 
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Although not mandatory, you can also submit a statement of purpose. Your statement of purpose should explain why you want to study your chosen programme and how it will help your life and career. This should typically be one side of A4 paper.

Submitting your documentation:

If you have any problems attaching documentation or your referees would prefer to email your reference to us:

  1. When filling in your online application please upload a blank document so that you can complete and submit your application. 
  2. Then submit any any supporting documents (including references) by email to or post them to:

Administrative Officer (Postgraduate and Research)
School of Biological and Chemical Sciences
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road
London E1 4NS
United Kingdom


Please address admissions enquiries to:

For informal enquiries, please contact:
Dr Jonathan Grey
Tel: +44(0)20 7882 5688

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