PDF version of Aquatic Science MSc

Contact details

Ms Fiona Mannion

Email: masters@geog.ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 0575/7579

Fees and funding

UK/EU 2013/14:

£8,750 (FT)

Overseas 2013/14:

£16,750 (FT)

For information on bursaries available, please visit www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/aquatic

Full details of funding opportunities can be found on the UCL Scholarships website

More information

Prospectus Entry


Key facts

Research Assessment Rating

65% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
(What is the RAE?)

The programme information on this page relates to 2013 entry. 2014 content to appear here shortly. 

Aquatic Science MSc

Environmental issues such as eutrophication, habitat degradation and climate change threaten the sustainability of our aquatic resources. Responding to these threats the Aquatic Science MSc equips students with an interdisciplinary understanding of the structure and functioning of aquatic environments, encompassing lakes, ponds, rivers, wetlands, groundwaters, estuaries and shallow seas.

Degree summary

What will I learn?

Students gain a sound training in field sampling, study design, instrumentation, numerical analysis and the taxonomy of a range of aquatic organisms. Distinctive features include the integration of aquatic ecology with hydrological and geomorphological processes, analysis of sediment cores, design of aquatic monitoring programmes and modelling of aquatic system dynamics.

Why should I study this degree at UCL?

The Aquatic Science MSc is run by UCL Geography, which enjoys an outstanding international reputation for its research and teaching.

The programme is taught by members of departmental research groups specialising in environmental change and environmental modelling, and has specialist input from the UCL Thames Estuary Partnership, and Environmental Scientific Services Ltd.

Speakers from other universities and environmental organisations including the UK Environment Agency, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, the UK Wildlife Trusts, the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Sciences and the Broads Authority are invited to lecture on the programme and take part in fieldwork.

See subject website for more information:

Degree structure

Availability: Full-time 1 year; Part-time 2 years

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. The programme consists of four core modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).

A Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits) is offered.

A Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) is offered.

Core Modules

  • Aquatic Systems
  • Aquatic Monitoring
  • Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis
  • Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation (field-based course)


  • Coastal Change
  • Environmental GIS
  • Lakes
  • Marine Conservation
  • Surface Water Modelling
  • Wetlands
  • Aquatic Macrophytes (field-based course)
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Hydro-Ecological Systems
  • Biological Indicators of Environmental Change
  • Non-biological Indicators for Environmental Reconstruction


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 15,000 words. Dissertation placement positions are offered linked to external conservation bodies and research-orientated consultancies.

Teaching and Learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, practical classes, laboratory sessions, case-studies and residential field classes. Assessment is through coursework and the dissertation, which includes an oral presentation of the research proposal.

Further details available on subject website:

Entry and application

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. Applicants with relevant professional experience in aquatic science or environmental management will also be considered.

For overseas equivalencies see the relevant country page.

How to apply

You may choose to apply online or download application materials; for details visit www.ucl.ac.uk/gradapps

The deadline for applications is 2 August 2013. Applicants who require a student visa should submit their programme application before 31 July. Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is particularly suitable for students with a first degree in environmental science, geography, oceanography, biology, chemistry or engineering who wish to develop the skills necessary for further research in the field, or for a career in the areas of environmental protection and conservation.

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Aquatic Science
  • why you want to study Aquatic Science at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to this programme
  • how your academic and/or professional background meets the demands of a challenging academic environment
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree
Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.


This programme provides an ideal foundation for PhD research, or for employment with environmental protection and conservation agencies, the water industry and environmental consultancies.

First destinations of recent graduates of the department (aside from PhD positions) include:

  • UCL: Environmental Consultant
  • Bureau Veritas: Assistant Flood Risk Consultant
  • Environment Agency: Ecological Appraisal Officer
  • Energy Financing Team: Environmental Consultant
  • Natural England: Conservation Officer

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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