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Ocean Sciences

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The deadline for international students is 30 June 2024.

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Master of Ocean Science

Master of Ocean Science (MOSci) is a master’s degree awarded for a postgraduate taught programme in ocean science.

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Course overview

Our Ocean Sciences programme takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the ocean environment. With fieldwork opportunities embedded in each year of the course and our strong links to the National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool is an excellent place to study Ocean Sciences. Studying the Master's programme will provide you with higher level skills and knowledge.

Introduction

The ocean plays a central role in the Earth’s climate system by regulating the transfer of heat and carbon over the globe. The effect of the ocean on Earth’s climate and on life can only be fully understood by addressing the fundamental biological, physical and chemical processes operating in the environment. This degree route takes a multidisciplinary approach to developing an understanding of the ocean and climate system.

We have strong links with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool, who provide guest lectures and supervision of projects.

The four-year master’s programme, (F710), is based on the same multidisciplinary approach as the three-year (F700) programme. In year four we go on to provide you with higher-level skills and knowledge required to work in a research or commercial environment and address the biggest challenges in ocean science. There is a strong emphasis on numerical skills, hands-on laboratory and fieldwork, and independent study.

The first three years follow BSc (Hons) degree programmes offered in ocean sciences, developing a strong, multidisciplinary foundation of knowledge and skills. Semester one of year four is focused on broadening your knowledge of ocean research, strengthening data analysis skills, writing and reviewing research ideas, and discussing current research issues in ocean science.

The training in semester one will provide you with the skills to conduct a major independent research project in semester two, which will be supervised by ocean scientists from the University and/or the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool. This high-level training will prepare you with the critical thinking, communication and writing skills you will need to work in a research environment, as well as an awareness of the future challenges in ocean sciences. The degree in Ocean Sciences at Liverpool is accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. Fieldwork is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.

What you'll learn

  • How the climate is changing
  • How life operates in the dynamic ocean environment
  • Numerical skills
  • Data analysis
  • How to write and review research ideas
  • Critical thinking.

Accreditation

The degree in Ocean Sciences at Liverpool is accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Accreditations in detail

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.

Accreditations

The degree in Ocean Sciences at Liverpool is accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.

Course content

Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Year one

The required modules in year one provide grounding in Ocean Science, as well as developing essential and transferable skills that are required throughout your degree programme. Optional modules allow you to focus on areas of ocean and environmental sciences that interest you.

Compulsory modules

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans (ENVS111)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

Climate, Atmosphere and Oceans provides an understanding of how the climate system operates. The module draws on basic scientific principles to understand how climate has evolved over the history of the planet and how the climate system is operating now. Attention is particularly paid to the structure and circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and how they both interact. The course emphasises acquiring mechanistic insight and drawing upon order of magnitude calculations. By the end of the module students will understand how the oceans and atmosphere combine to shape Earth’s climate. Students gain quantitative skills by completing a series of coursework exercises and a final exam. Students address the Net Zero carbon goal via group work involving digital storytelling.​

Marine Ecosystems: Diversity, Processes and Threats (ENVS122)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module is designed to deliver an introduction to the diversity of marine ecosystems across the globe. Each week during in person lectures you will be introduced to a new ecosystem and will learn about this habitat, specifically the main organisms, key processes, and human threats to each ecosystem described and explored. Central to this module are interactive discussion sessions (workshops) that will build an understanding of how marine ecosystems are expected to respond to the human-induced changes of the anthropocene. During these workshops you will learn to critique a piece of scientific research in small group discussions guided by academics. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed via open-book online tests, and a group project in which you will create an infographic outlining the threats a particular ecosystem faces.

Study Skills (Ocean Sciences) (ENVS103)

Credits: 15 / Semester: whole session

This module is designed to introduce students to key concepts and skills in ocean and climate sciences, for instance key software tools for data analysis and illustration, laboratory skills, and fieldwork experience. Students will also develop more generic skills, particularly in communication through essay writing, technical reports, and oral and poster presentations. This will involve both individual and teamwork and will help students develop time management skills. The module also introduces students to academic integrity and shows students how to access scientific literature and how to use bibliographic software. All students are assigned to a tutorial group with one of the academic staff as their tutor. Teaching is carried out both to the whole year group and also during tutorial group meetings. The module is assessed via a series of coursework assignments.

Theory and Laboratory Experiments in Earth Surfaces Processes (ENVS165)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The module uses a lecture and laboratory-based problem-solving approach to explore some of the fundamental physical and chemical processes underlying physical geography. It is designed to provide a foundation for environmental and physical geography modules in the second and third year. This module comprises multiple whole-day practical sessions, each designed to give students first-hand experience of a topic important in understanding our changing environment. Students get formal feedback in each assessed week (one poster per group). However, perhaps most valuable is the feedback obtained informally via discussions during the sessions.

Optional modules

Ecology and Conservation (ENVS157)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

The zone of life on earth, or the ‘biosphere’, is a highly dynamic system responding to external pressures including changing human activities. The biosphere obeys a numbers of simple natural principles, but these often interact to create complex and sometimes unexpected responses. Using a wide range of examples we will explore these interactions between organisms and the environment. We will examine how species organise into communities, and how energy and other resources flow through ecosystems. We will explore how ecosystems respond to change, including gradual environmental shifts, sudden disturbance events and the effects of human activities. We will also learn how the key principles of ecology can be applied to conservation. We will assess the current state of the biosphere, and evaluate the major current threats. We will also look towards the future of ecosystems, including whether we can restore degraded habitats, and recreate “natural” landscapes.

Environmental Chemistry (ENVS153)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will give students an understanding of the fundamental properties of elements and matter, either solid, liquid or gas, in the context of the environmental sciences. It will introduce the fundamentals of atomic structure, elements and molecules from simple inorganic to large organic ones and the bonding forces that hold them together. It will look at the basics of chemical reactions such as the processes of oxidation and reduction, the solubility of solids and gases in water and acid-base properties. Students will learn how to make quantitative predictions, for instance on the amount of products that will be produced based on balanced chemical reactions, and will see how basic chemistry can be used to explain many environmental properties. The module is taught through lectures, tutorial sessions and online formative quizzes with automated feedback. Assessment is through online tests and an open book final exam. This module is largely an introduction to chemistry and might therefore not be well suited for students who did A-level chemistry or equivalent.

Sedimentary Rocks and Fossils (ENVS118)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module provides a basic introduction to sedimentology and palaeontology. Students learn about the origin of sediment, sedimentary processes and structures and the ways in which sediments are converted into solid rock. The course outlines the importance of sedimentary rocks for hydrocarbons, water and as construction materials. Students learn how to describe and interpret sedimentary deposits. The palaeontology component introduces students to the major fossil groups and to the ways in which organisms can be preserved as fossils. It covers the importance of fossils for the study of evolution, environmental change and Earth history. Students learn how to describe fossils and how observations contribute to a broader understanding. Students will be assessed by means of two practical tests and a theory examination.

Life in the Seas and Oceans (ENVS121)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module is designed to deliver an introduction to the diversity of life in the marine environment. You will be introduced to the range of living organisms in the oceans from microscopic plants and bacteria to whales through a blended learning approach that combines e-lectures with a series of interactive workshops, practical activities and field visits. You will have the opportunity to examine marine organisms in our award-winning teaching facilities and during field visits, which will allow you to explore some of the diverse adaptations marine organisms have adopted to meet the challenge of survival in the marine environment. Your knowledge and understanding will be assessed via online tests, a group project in which you will create a guide to a specific group of marine organisms, and a practical workbook.

Essential Mathematical Skills (ENVS117)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

This module is designed to provide students without a A-Level GCE level (or equivalent) background in mathematics a foundation to their degree programme. The module covers pure maths, maths mechanics and statistics developing the required knowledge and skills to be able complete degree programmes in Ocean Sciences, Earth Sciences, Geography, Environmental Science and Marine Biology. The module is taught as weekly lectures following a ten-chapter book developed for the module by world leading experts in the fields. Lectures are supplemented with workshops where concepts can be discussed and skills improved. The module is assessed though online pop-quizzes and a formal written exam.

Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

​This module aims to provide all students with a common foundation in mathematics, necessary for studying the physical sciences and maths courses in later semesters. All topics will begin "from the ground up" by revising ideas which may be familiar from A-level before building on these concepts. In particular, the basic principles of differentiation and integration will be practised, before extending to functions of more than one variable. Basic matrix manipulation will be covered as well as vector algebra and an understanding of eigenvectors and eigenvalues.

Introduction to Climate Change and Mitigation (ENVS189)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will introduce you to the concept of Earth System interactions as a framework for understanding the causes and consequences of climate change. The module will cover the key features of the earth, atmosphere and ocean, and their interactions. alongside the drivers and consequences for perturbing part of the Earth System. Past, contemporary and projections of climate change will be discussed, as well as the toolkit tools deployed by environmental scientists to detect climate change and show attribute it to be a consequence of human activities. The module will discuss also measures to mitigate against climate change, drawing on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) efforts .

Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

Our curriculum

The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

  • Digital fluency
  • Confidence
  • Global citizenship

Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

  • Research-connected teaching
  • Active learning
  • Authentic assessment

All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

Course options

Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

Global Opportunities

University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

What's available on this course?

Year in China

Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

  • Learn Chinese
  • Study in a bustling world heritage city
  • Improve employment prospects
  • Study Chinese culture
  • 30 minutes from Shanghai
  • Learn new skills

Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

Language study

Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

  • A dedicated languages degree
  • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
  • Language modules (selected degrees)
  • Language classes alongside your studies

Read more about studying a language

Study as a bachelor's degree

This course is also available as a three year BSc (Hons) programme.

View Ocean Sciences BSc (Hons)

Your experience

Teaching takes place in well-equipped lecture theatres and seminar rooms across the University campus, including in our award-winning Central Teaching Laboratory.

Your course will be delivered by staff from the Department of Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences, all of whom are actively involved in ocean research and who bring the results of their research into your lectures and laboratories. Our staff collaborate with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre, which has a research centre on the Liverpool campus.

Virtual tour

Supporting your learning

From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

Careers and employability

Our degree programmes are designed to provide you with the skills to tackle these global environmental challenges.

After completing this course, the employability options are extensive and include:

  • Government agencies (Environment Agency, Met Office)
  • Environmental consultancy and management
  • Climate research
  • Accountancy and insurance brokers
  • Education
  • Renewable energy industries

89.5% of environmental sciences students are in work and/or further study 15 months after graduation.

Discover Uni, 2018-19.

Fees and funding

Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

Tuition fees

UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
Full-time place, per year £9,250
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £1,385
International fees
Full-time place, per year £27,200
Year abroad fee £13,600
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about paying for your studies..

Additional costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the cost of a lab coat, food and drink during compulsory field courses, and dissertation expenses.

Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

Additional study costs

We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This includes the cost of a lab coat, food and drink during compulsory field courses, and dissertation expenses.

Students should expect to cover the following costs.

Lab coat:

Approximately £10-20. Students are advised to purchase a lab coat before the start of their studies. The first lab practical will take place in teaching week one and all students are required to wear a lab coat.

Compulsory field courses:

The School will usually cover the cost of accommodation and travel for year one and three field courses. Students will cover the cost of sustenance.

Project/dissertation costs:

The School may provide a budget of up to £200 for certain field or lab-based projects. Desk-based projects receive no budget from the School.

Find out more about additional study costs.

Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

Your qualification Requirements

About our typical entry requirements

A levels

AAB including two sciences. Acceptable sciences: Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geography, Applied Science, Marine Science, Environmental Science, Psychology.

Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is ABB with A in the EPQ.

You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to complete a foundation year which would allow you to progress to this course.

Available foundation years:

T levels

T levels are not currently accepted.

GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
Subject requirements

For applicants from England: For science A levels that include the separately graded practical endorsement, a "Pass" is required.

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

Not accepted. Applicants should apply for F700

International Baccalaureate

35 points including grade 5 at Higher Level in two science subjects (see subject specific requirements), no score below 4.

Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H1, H2, H2, H2, H3 including H2 or above in two sciences
Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

Not accepted without Advanced Highers at ABB including two sciences

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted at Grade B with AA at A levels in two science subjects
Access Not accepted. Applicants should apply for F700
International qualifications

Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.

Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

About our entry requirements

Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

Alternative entry requirements

Changes to Ocean Sciences MOSci

See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

7 June 2022: New course pages

New course pages launched.