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Marine Mammal Science (MSc)

The Masters in Marine Mammal Science aims to prepare students fully for a professional career involved with conservation of and research into marine mammals.

It is, first and foremost, a course in quantitative marine ecology. The programme addresses the unique scientific challenges of marine mammal physiology and behaviour with strong components of analytical techniques and research methods. The course is led by members of the world renowned Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU).

Whether because of their sheer size, complex behaviour, intriguing social structures or historic persecution, marine mammals in particular have come to symbolise issues in marine ecology. Conservation of endangered marine mammal species and management of their populations, especially those interacting with human activities, often attain prominent positions in the news, and in the attentions of both governmental and non-governmental agencies.

The need to know more about the lives and behaviours of marine mammals, driven by many agendas, coincides with a period in which improving technology is making it increasingly possible for us to probe the marine environment, and learn more about its inhabitants.

As a result, the rapidly developing, and highly topical, discipline of marine mammal science is an area in which many excellent biology graduates seek to build careers.

Recent news

“Balaenoptera acutorostrata? That sounds like hakuna matata!” After an incredible time sailing around the sunny Hebrides on the Silurian, the MSc Marine Mammal Science class was back in St Andrews …

June 8, 2016

Every year, at some point during March/April, scientists gather in a European country to take part in the European Cetacean Society (ECS) conference. This year the conference was held on …

June 7, 2016

The 4th Antarctic expedition of our MSc students is underway – This is the field course component of the optional module top predator ecology in polar regions. You can read …

March 16, 2016

Our Masters alumni rocked marine mammal science! I have just returned from the Society for Marine Mammalogy conference which is the largest biennial gathering of professionals working on, with and …

December 24, 2015