School of Biological and Marine Sciences

MSc Hydrography

Measuring, describing and depicting the seabed is crucial to the maintenance and development of ports, safe navigation, offshore renewables and the continuing search for hydrocarbons. Yet there is an international shortage of hydrographic surveyors. Seize this opportunity to gain a thorough knowledge of the science and technology of hydrography, experiencing the latest methods and equipment involved in exploring and managing the seabed whilst preparing for a career in this growth area.

Key features

  • Graduate from a course that crosses different disciplines and is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors (CICES).
  • Study with the ocean right on your doorstep in our waterfront city. Benefit from the practical research opportunities and links to international marine businesses this brings, as well as access to the University’s specialist Marine Institute.
  • Study aboard the University’s own survey vessel the Falcon Spirit, and develop hands-on experience in current survey techniques and different methods of data collection and analysis.
  • Prepare yourself on a commercially focused programme that’s been developed in response to industry requirements and an expressed commercial need. Progress to a career in hydrographic research and development, port and offshore/ nearshore surveying or environmental support. 
  • Equip yourself with the latest knowledge relating to hydrography in the fields of marine geophysics, oceanography, land survey techniques, geodesy, bathymetric surveying, tides, acoustic theory and marine resource management. Learn to use equipment including GNSS, SBES, MBES, ADCP and sidescan sonar. 
  • Engage in debates around the wider aspects of hydrography and the implications for data capture, data management, processing and information systems.
  • Attend lectures and receive support from our specialist staff, as well as access to a series of industrial speakers and demonstrations of the latest technologies.
  • Gain the knowledge and skills you need to design, develop and implement a final research project at postgraduate level.
  • Benefit from our good relationship with industry – a number of companies visit each year. There is excellent recruitment from the programme to the marine sector with global opportunities and the potential to travel in conjunction with your employment.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • Period 1 — an intensive 15 week programme of classroom learning and field activities prepare you for the technical aspects of surveying and the research required in master’s study. 70 per cent lectures/seminars and 30 per cent practical, either within the laboratory or afloat. Assessment is continual or by coursework.

    Period 2 — includes specialisms in advanced studies with a combination of the digital mapping and survey project management modules, designed to prepare students for practical roles and management decisions when completing hydrographic tasks on behalf of future employers. Modules are selected based on industrial expectations and potential career requirements. 80 per cent lectures/seminars, 20 per cent practical. Assessment is 50/50 coursework and formal examination for core modules, continuous for the one optional module.

    Period 3 — undertake a self-managed final dissertation, supervised by an assigned academic. May comprise a desk study, laboratory experimentation, field observations, data acquisitions and processing.

    Core modules
    • MAR513 Research Skills and Methods

      This module aims to equip students with the practical skills and contextual framework for conducting high quality research. Emphasis is placed on workshop opportunities to acquire and practice research planning, analysis, communication, writing and oral presentation skills.

    • MAR520 Hydrography

      Practical work afloat centred on a bathymetric survey and supported by lectures on key topics - electromagnetic waves & acoustic waves, measurement techniques, computational processes and reference frames, supported by practical work with survey software to develop an understanding of methods employed and practical limitations in all aspects of positioning for hydrographic surveying.

    • MAR521 Acoustic and Oceanographic Surveying

      The module provides an introduction to physical oceanography and applied sediment dynamical processes (including dredging practices) relevant to estuaries and coastal waters. The module also provides the underpinning acoustic theory to enable students to appreciate sonar survey task. A range of relevant practical data collection techniques and exercises are included within the module.

    • MAR522 Survey Project Management

      A central element of the module is the undertaking of survey planning through from survey tender, costing and project undertaking and reportage, to a review of the place of survey within wider project undertakings, ethics and the legislative framework surrounding activities.

    • MAR523 Digital Mapping

      To consider the information flow through a system for hydrographic survey system from data acquisition to the final product and the means of assurance of data quality throughout. To examine the influences of user interaction on the processing of data at the various stages.

    • MAR524 MSc Dissertation

      The student will complete a research project that they have designed in the semester 1 research skills module. The project can be submitted in the format of a journal paper or dissertation. The write-up will communicate the project aims, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, synthesis and conclusions.

    Optional modules
    • MAR507 Economics of the Marine Environment

      This module will provide students with a clear overview of the problems associated with economic activity in marine environment and the potential solutions to these problems.

    • MAR517 Coastal Erosion and Protection

      This module applies knowledge of waves and coastal processes to understand and predict coastal erosion and accretion. The hard and soft engineering methods used for coastal protection are covered, with an emphasis on how improved understanding of the natural processes (waves, currents, sediment transport) can improve coastal management decisions).

    • MAR518 Remote Sensing and GIS

      This module introduces the principles of geographical information systems and remote sensing of marine, polar and coastal environments. Field data will be acquired using GPS and radiometric instrumentation. Emphasis is placed on the critical evaluation of remote sensing data and analysis tools in varied scenarios and on developing practical computing skills.

    • MAR529 Marine Planning

      This module evaluates the emergence and practice of marine planning in UK waters. It will explore the techniques available for developing marine plans and demonstrate the role which may be played by geographic information systems and other tools. Through lectures, field visits and case studies, it will also develop the learner's knowledge of the marine environment as required for marine planning.

    • MAR530 Managing Marine Ecosystems

      The module will provide students with an understanding of marine ecosystems and their vulnerability to anthropogenic threats. Anticipatory and responsive management measures will be discussed, including relevant marine conservation agreements, legislation and policy.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Hydrography 2218

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

You will need a good degree in survey, technology or science. You may still be acceptable without recent formal qualifications - enquire about your suitability.

If you are interested in following the programme on a part-time basis you're encouraged to contact the programme leader.

If you have overseas qualifications you can check your comparability with the UK equivalent through NARIC, who provide an advisory service.

English language requirements 

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. The level of proficiency that is required can vary with the type of programme for which you are applying.

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is normally 6.5.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU Check with School To be confirmed
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Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

International students

Scholarships are available for international students.

Shell Nigeria Scholarship Scheme

How to apply

Applying for postgraduate taught study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Postgraduate Admissions and Enquiries team are on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail. If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

If you would like any further information please contact the Postgraduate and Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858

Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

 

Applying for postgraduate research study

The University aims to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. The Graduate School are available to answer any queries on our postgraduate research degrees.  If  you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by Plymouth University, please visit our Disability Assist Services website. Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk

If you would like any further information please contact the Graduate School:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 587640

Email: graduateschool@plymouth.ac.uk


Submitting an application

Apply for postgraduate study using our online postgraduate application form.

Alternatively you can download a copy of the application form to be submitted by hand, by post or via email with accompanying attachments.

Additional guidance information can also be downloaded on how to fill in the postgraduate application form.

Shell Nigeria Scholarship Scheme

This scheme is intended to provide opportunities for postgraduate study at Plymouth University for young students and professionals who demonstrate both academic excellence and the potential to become leading professionals in the oil and gas and associated industries.

Shell Nigeria will provide one scholarship per year, which will cover full tuition fees, compulsory fieldwork costs, living expenses and a return airfare.

More information about the Shell Nigeria Scholarship Scheme

Luke Rogers – BSc (Hons) Ocean Science; MSc Hydrography graduate

One of my favourite memories is going diving as part of my MSc studies to make sure that the artefacts I saw on the model of a wreck were correct.

Find out more about Luke Rogers

Research and employment opportunities

There’s an international shortage of hydrographic surveyors, meaning great opportunities and strong industrial and employment links for successful graduates. From deep seismic research to coastal management, work opportunities are interesting and varied.

Find out more about the varied work opportunities in this area.

Annual Student Presentations Evening

Sponsored by the Hydrographic Society, our students have the opportunity to present in front of prospective employers and students.

Watch this short video and find out how the students got involved and how it was of benefit to them

Alan Robertson – MSc Hydrography graduate

My current line of work is a direct result of studying at Plymouth University. The hydrography masters course is held in high regard within the Industry and the modular structure meant that a vast array of subjects where covered.

Find out more about Alan

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

Georgios Georgopoulos – MSc Hydrography graduate

Plymouth University is a modern institution with all the necessary and adequate academic facilities.

Georgios now works for the Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service as a Hydrographic Surveyor, mapping more than 8,000 nautical miles of coastline.

Find out more about Georgios Georgopoulos

Colin Entwistle - BA (Hons) Business Studies and MSc Hydrography graduate

I have so many memories from studying at Plymouth... I’ve been here over ten years now, so it’s too hard to mention just one

Read more about Colin's experiences on the course