Opening up oceans of opportunity

Students wanting to pursue a career in the marine sciences now have greater opportunity to get a first-rate education after Plymouth University launched four new degree programmes.

The courses, now open for applications for the first intake in September 2015, are designed to enhance the University’s contribution to the UK’s marine science sector.

There will be three-year BSc programmes in Ocean Exploration and Surveying, Oceanography and Coastal Processes, and Ocean Science and Marine Conservation, alongside a four-year MSci programme in Ocean Science.

All expected to make a significant contribution to the sector, the programmes deal with traditional topics such as oceanography and ocean exploration, but also address current issues such as marine ecosystem functioning, coastal processes and management, and human interactions with the marine environment.

Dr Tim O’Hare, Marine Science Admissions Tutor, says:

“This is an exciting time to be starting a career in the marine sciences, which represent a growing market due to increased pressures and opportunities in coastal, ocean and marine environments. The UK Marine Science Strategy 2010-2025 highlighted the importance of the sector in terms of its significant role in employing Marine Science graduates and postgraduates, but it also indicated one of the key barriers to growth for the sector was skills shortages in science graduates, something our new courses are specifically designed to address.”

Dr Sarah Bass, Marine Science Undergraduate Scheme Manager, added:

“As Britain’s Ocean City, Plymouth provides an unrivalled location for studying the marine sciences. Our brand new £4.65million Marine Station, located right on the shores of Plymouth Sound, provides the only waterfront campus of its kind in the UK, housing laboratories, state-of-the art oceanographic equipment and an academic diving centre. The University’s flagship oceanographic teaching and research vessel, the Falcon Spirit, also operates from the Marine Station so students can take their samples from the boat straight into the laboratory for analysis.”

Having been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2012, Plymouth University is one of the leading higher education institutions in the UK for marine and maritime teaching and research. In addition to a programme of first class courses, its Marine Science group comprises world-leading researchers addressing a wide range of issues in the marine environment, including ocean mixing, marine renewable energy, storm impacts, coastal erosion, ocean exploration, coastal zone management and marine conservation.

Professor Gerd Masselink, Head of Marine Science at Plymouth University, said:

“The issues we are addressing are all of great societal significance, and incorporating this material into the new degree courses makes them cutting edge, as well as highly relevant. The overarching aim of the new set of degree programmes is to produce highly-skilled and employable graduates with the knowledge and expertise to sustainably manage marine environments. We place great emphasis on learning by doing and, in fact, a third of our modules are practically-based, using Plymouth Sound and the southwest coast of England as a natural laboratory for many of our field-based activities.”