Course Structure

Conveners: A/Prof Marcello Vichi (Oceanography), Dr Cecile Reed (Biological Sciences)

The Applied Oceans Sciences taught Masters Degree at UCT is a 13-month programme commencing in mid-January every year and comprising coursework (50%) and a short research project for the mini-dissertation (50%). 

Coursework component

This takes place during the first half of the year (January to July), and comprises numerous modules summarised into (more details further down the page:

Foundational module – all students must complete this module
Disciplinary modules – students will select one of two streams (Operational Oceanography stream or Applied Marine Biology stream)
Interdisciplinary modules – students may select some courses as electives to complement the specific disciplinary modules that they choose. 

Mini-dissertation component

The dissertation is smaller in scope compared to a dissertation-only degree. Students will be offered topics for research projects during the year according to their interests and performance. Topics may cover any aspect of applied marine science.  


Coursework details

Foundational modules

10 weeks
  • Numerical skills and statistics

  • Scientific computing and data management

  • Scientific writing and project management

  • Descriptive and instrumental oceanography, sampling techniques

  • Introduction to marine ecology, sampling techniques


Disciplinary modules in Operational Oceanography

12 weeks including 2 interdisciplinary electives
  • Operational oceanography

  • Climate and Ocean diagnostics

  • Marine biogeochemistry 

  • Ocean instrumentation and monitoring (+ open ocean cruise) 


Disciplinary modules in Applied Marine Biology

12 weeks including 2 interdisciplinary electives
  • Introduction to South African fisheries

  • Ecosystem approach to fisheries and decision analysis

  • Marine Conservation

  • Aquaculture


Interdisciplinary Modules

2 modules of your choice to include in your disciplinary module
  • Global change

  • Ocean and ecosystem modelling

  • Diving course

  • Remote sensing

  • Environmental impact assessments and specialist reports

  • Multivariate Analysis

Undergraduate Semester Courses

  • Marine Ecosystems (BIO3002F)

  • Marine Resources (BIO3017S)

  • SEA3004F Ocean and atmosphere dynamics