Institute of Marine Science


Postgraduate courses

Our postgraduate courses teach field techniques and research methods, address issues in Marine Science and climate change, and cover a range of specialist topics such as fisheries, geochemistry and sedimentology.

  1. » MARINE 701 Current Issues in Marine Science
  2. » MARINE 702 Field Techniques in Marine Science
  3. » MARINE 703 Marine Protected Areas - Level 9
  4. » MARINE 704 Special Topic
  5. » MARINE 705 Ocean Management and Planning
  6. » BIOSCI 724 Marine Ecology
  7. » BIOSCI 725 Ecological Physiology
  8. » BIOSCI 727 Aquaculture
  9. » BIOSCI 733 Molecular Ecology and Evolution
  10. » BIOSCI 735 Advanced Behavioural Ecology
  11. » BIOSCI 738 Advanced Biological Data Analysis - Level 9
  12. » BIOSCI 739 Dialogues in Biology
  13. » BIOSCI 749 Ecology of Microbial Interactions
  14. » BIOSCI 761 MSc Thesis Proposal
  15. » CHEM 795 Research Methods in Chemistry
  16. » EARTHSCI 720 Geochemistry of Our World
  17. » ENVMGT 742 Social Dimensions of Global Environmental Change
  18. » ENVMGT 744 Resource Management
  19. » ENVMGT 746 Collaborative Environmental Management
  20. » ENVSCI 701 Research Practice in Environmental Science
  21. » ENVSCI 702 Special Topic: Applied Estuarine Ecology
  22. » ENVSCI 704 Modelling of Environmental and Social Systems
  23. » ENVSCI 705 Handling Environmental Data
  24. » ENVSCI 711 Assessing Environmental Effects – Level 9
  25. » ENVSCI 714 Environmental Pollution
  26. » ENVSCI 733 Biodiversity Management and Conservation
  27. » FOODSCI 703 Food Processing
  28. » FOODSCI 708 Advanced Food Science
  29. » GEOG 730 Climate Change: Past, Present and Future
  30. » GEOG 746 Applied Coastal Geomorphology
  31. » GEOG 748 Current Issues in Coastal Management
  32. » GEOG 771 Spatial Analysis and Geocomputation
  33. » INDIGEN 711 Indigenous Environmental Politics
  34. » LAWENVIR 710 International Environmental Law – Level 9
  35. » LAWENVIR 721 Special Topic: Ocean Governance Law – Level 9
  36. » LAWENVIR 770 Global Environmental Governance Level 9
  37. » MĀORI 732 Rangatiratanga
  38. » Postgraduate study options in Marine Science

MARINE 701 Current Issues in Marine Science


(15 points) Semester One

Web based seminars will be run between the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington. The topics and material will recognise the wide range of undergraduate experience across participants and emphasise the value of cross-disciplinary approaches to Marine Science.

Coordinator: Dr Richard Taylor
Timetable: Check SSO

MARINE 702 Field Techniques in Marine Science


(15 points) Semester One

An advanced course in the development of practical skills in research design, implementation and analysis in Marine Science. Students participate in two field units: a compulsory field unit at the University of Auckland and a choice of either the unit offered by the University of Otago or the unit offered by Victoria University of Wellington. Each course focuses on different themes in Marine Science.

Coordinator: Associate Professor Craig Radford
Timetable: Check SSO

MARINE 703 Marine Protected Areas - Level 9


(15 points) Semester Two

Current research related to marine protected areas is reviewed, including planning principles and processes for designing marine protected areas, and its role in science, conservation of biological diversity, and fisheries. Practical components include visits to marine reserves, exposure to planning software, and analysis of marine protected related data. The knowledge and skills gained are applied with an independent research project.

Coordinator: Associate Professor Nick Shears
Restrictions: ENVISCI 726
Timetable: Check SSO

MARINE 704 Special Topic


(15 points)

Special topic.

MARINE 705 Ocean Management and Planning


(15 points) Semester Two

Approaches to management and conservation of global oceans are changing rapidly to address increasingly complex social, economic and environmental issues. Reviews current ocean governance, policy, planning and management approaches, modern ocean management and planning tools using examples from recent international ocean conservation projects.

Coordinator: TBC
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 724 Marine Ecology


(15 points) Semester One

Current topics in marine ecology at the population, community, and ecosystem level. Seminars focus on ecology and evolution in a life-history context, including topics on fertilisation, larval development, and recruitment.

Coordinator: Professor Mary Sewell
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 725 Ecological Physiology


(15 points) Semester One

Physiological and biochemical processes enable animals to occupy diverse habitats. Highly variable and extreme environments provide an opportunity to study the functional attributes of animals, particularly ectotherms, with respect to their metabolic, respiratory, and nutritional adaptations. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 335 or equivalent is assumed.

Coordinator: Associate Professor Tony Hickey
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 727 Aquaculture


(15 points) Semester Two

Current assessment of the national and global status of aquaculture and fisheries, including consideration of future prospects. Examples of algal, invertebrate, and fish aquaculture in New Zealand, and a review of general environmental and biological problems and the role of scientific knowledge in aquaculture management. Coverage of factors contributing to wild fisheries management, including spawning, larval survival, recruitment, principles of stock assessment and fisheries modelling. A sound knowledge of BIOSCI 328 or equivalent is assumed.

Coordinator: Professor Andrew Jeffs
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 733 Molecular Ecology and Evolution


(15 points) Semester Two

Using the molecular archive to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Provides a broad theoretical and practical basis for undertaking studies in fields ranging from conservation genetics/genomics and connectivity, and biosecurity and forensics, to phylogenetics and molecular evolution. Topics may include the neutral theory of molecular evolution, molecular identification of species, gene flow, selection at the molecular level, and inbreeding depression.

Coordinator: Dr Shane Lavery
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 735 Advanced Behavioural Ecology


(15 points)

Focuses on organisms interacting in natural environments. Both the mechanistic underpinnings of behaviour and the fitness consequences of such behavioural traits will be examined. Behavioural ecology is not limited to questions of behaviour, but draws in issues of energetics and physiology as these factors are often used as proxies for fitness traits such as differences in survival and reproduction. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 337 or equivalent is assumed.

BIOSCI 738 Advanced Biological Data Analysis - Level 9


(15 points) Semester One

Design and analysis of experiments for both field and bench scientists. Methods for the analysis of designed experiments, including analysis of variance with fixed, random and mixed effects; also, regression analysis and analysis of covariance. Methods for the analysis of multivariate datasets such as cluster analysis, principal components analysis, multidimensional scaling, and randomisation methods. There will be a practical component to this course involving the use of appropriate statistical software.

Coordinator: Dr Charlotte Jones-Todd
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 739 Dialogues in Biology


(15 points) Semester One

Social, ethical and other philosophical issues in the life sciences will be debated and explored. Topics may include: animal and environmental ethics, conservation and biodiversity, the history and philosophy of science, ethical and commercial issues underpinning science, scientific publishing and advocacy, medical and agricultural biotechnology.

Coordinator: Dr James Russell
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 749 Ecology of Microbial Interactions


(15 points) Semester Two

The associations of micro-organisms with their immediate environment are considered. Topics to be discussed include microbial communities and their survival strategies in natural and artificial systems. A sound understanding of BIOSCI 347 or equivalent is assumed.

Coordinator: Associate Professor Mike Taylor
Timetable: Check SSO

BIOSCI 761 MSc Thesis Proposal


(15 points) Semesters One and Two

An extensive review of background material associated with the thesis topic, and a detailed outline of the proposed research and its significance. Students will also be required to present an overview of the proposal in a seminar.

Coordinator: Dr Monica Kam
Restriction: BIOINF 761, ENVSCI 701, MEDSCI 701
Timetable: Check SSO

CHEM 795 Research Methods in Chemistry


(15 points) Semester One and Two

A review of the literature and research methods associated with a selected chemistry research topic and an outline of the proposed research and its significance. Students will also be required to present an overview of the proposal in a seminar.

Supervisor: Professor Christian Hartinger
Timetable: Check SSO

EARTHSCI 720 Geochemistry of Our World


(15 points) Semester One

Provides a broad overview of applications of geochemistry across multiple disciplines. In addition, this course will help determine the suitability of different analytical techniques to different problems while providing practical experience in collecting and evaluating geochemical data. Subject areas are wide-reaching and include, geology, environmental science, biology, archaeology, and forensic sciences. No formal prerequisite but knowledge of introductory chemistry will be assumed.

Coordinator: TBC
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVMGT 742 Social Dimensions of Global Environmental Change


(15 points) Semester Two

An examination of the social dimensions of global environmental change. This includes a review of the history of climate science, the interaction of science with other knowledges, and contemporary debates surrounding climate change as well as other forms of environmental change. It also examines the different ways in which people respond to environmental risks and changes, and the challenges associated with mitigation and adaptation policies.

Coordinator: TBC
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVMGT 744 Resource Management


(15 points) Semester One

A review of advanced principles, concepts and approaches to the sustainable management of natural resources. Case studies emphasise the need for conflict resolution, equitable allocation, and decentralised decision-making to address the social and environmental impacts of resource utilisation.

Coordinator: TBC
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVMGT 746 Collaborative Environmental Management


(15 points)

An exploration of participatory management and its potential for engaging communities, resource users and stakeholders in the pursuit of sustainable development. Students will examine strategies for incorporating local knowledge within conservation practices and for reconciling natural resource management with human welfare, social justice and indigenous rights.

ENVSCI 701 Research Practice in Environmental Science


(15 points) Semester One

An understanding of research in Environmental Science. Students will be introduced to a range of methodologies and will be challenged to critically analyse information and data. Principles of scientific writing and communication will also be addressed. Students will apply these skills by developing and writing a research proposal or critical review.

Coordinator: Dr Kevin Simon
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVSCI 702 Special Topic: Applied Estuarine Ecology


(15 points) Semester Two

Emphasises multi-disciplinary science that integrates across different empirical and theoretical approaches to better understand the functioning of soft-sediment ecosystems. Covers fundamental ecological principles of soft-sediment systems through to the impacts associated with human activities. Includes practical exercises in experimental field ecology which will introduce students to key research methods. No formal prerequisite but knowledge of Stage Three marine ecology/science, or equivalent, will be assumed.

Coordinator: Professor Simon Thrush
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVSCI 704 Modelling of Environmental and Social Systems


(15 points) Semester Two

The design and application of models for the investigation of environmental problems; understanding the role and utility of modelling in environmental science; the analysis and representation of environmental phenomena. Provides an understanding of modelling concepts, approaches and applications. An understanding of the material in ENVSCI 310, GEOG 250, MATHS 108 and STATS 101 will be assumed.

Coordinator: Associate Professor Giovanni Coco
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVSCI 705 Handling Environmental Data


(15 points)

Contemporary approaches to understanding and analysing environmental data with an emphasis on developing skills to support the ‘transformation, visualisation, modelling’ cycle. The importance of adopting reproducible research practices (eg, data and code archiving) will be emphasised. The course focuses on an applied laboratory component and will be taught in open-source software. Assessment will be via projects analysing environmental data. No formal prerequisites but an understanding of basic statistical methods equivalent to STATS 101 will be presumed.

ENVSCI 711 Assessing Environmental Effects – Level 9


(15 points)

A focus on the interdisciplinary, scientific assessment of environmental activities with specific reference to the New Zealand context. Methodologies used in the assessment, monitoring and regulation of environmental effects, trends and risks will be critically evaluated. Aspects of the RMA, including consenting procedures and the role of public and professional participants in the process, will be discussed. A key component of the assessment is the preparation of an individual Assessing Environmental Effects report.

ENVSCI 714 Environmental Pollution


(15 points) Semester One

Contaminants of soil and water emitted by point and non-point sources. Monitoring of legacy and emerging contaminants, and impact assessment. Application of science and technology to pollution prevention, mitigation and remediation.

Coordinator: Dr Melanie Kah
Timetable: Check SSO

ENVSCI 733 Biodiversity Management and Conservation


(15 points)

Emphasis will be on current issues associated with the ecological aspects of biodiversity management and conservation in terrestrial habitats. Topics include: biodiversity and ecosystem services, management of species and ecosystems, issues in plant conservation, precaution and adaptation in conservation, pest control in mainland islands, carbon storage and biodiversity. The course will also address national and international mechanisms for the sustainable management of natural resources.

Prerequisite: BIOSCI 394 or other Stage III course in Environmental Science, or equivalent.

FOODSCI 703 Food Processing


(15 points) Semester One

Preservation of food by standard methods including freezing, dehydration and thermal processing. New developments in food preservation. Unit operations, mass and energy balance, and heat transfer are covered. Chemical and physical changes food undergoes during processing.

Coordinator: TBC
Prerequisite: Permission of Programme Director
Timetable: Check SSO

FOODSCI 708 Advanced Food Science


(15 points) Semester Two

The functions and properties of food additives. Food attributes including colour, flavour and texture. Enzymic and non-enzymic browning. Emulsions and foams. Introduction to the Food Regulations. Interaction of macromolecules.

Coordinator: Dr Conrad Perera
Prerequisite: Permission of Programme Director
Timetable: Check SSO

GEOG 730 Climate Change: Past, Present and Future


(15 points)

An exploration of the character and causes of past, present, and future climate change. Content includes examination of how and where climate is (or is not) currently changing, and uncertainties associated with future projections. The temporal focus will be on the Holocene and the Anthropocene, through to the end of the twenty-first century. A human society context will feature throughout.

GEOG 746 Applied Coastal Geomorphology


(15 points) Semester One

An advanced course on the process-form relationships that shape coastlines over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Coastal processes are examined with field experiments in which principles of experiment design and field deployment are demonstrated. Long-term evolutionary perspectives are examined using a range of field techniques. These short- and long-term approaches are then merged to address examples of applied coastal management problems. No formal prerequisite but an understanding equivalent to GEOG 351 will be assumed.

Coordinator: Dr Mark Dickson
Timetable: Check SSO

GEOG 748 Current Issues in Coastal Management


(15 points) Semester Two

Critical consideration of contemporary issues in coastal management. Topics may include: competition for coastal space and resources; vulnerability of coastal communities to climatic variability; scientific uncertainty in the decision making process; understanding the legacies of past planning decisions. Case studies are used to explore complexities of the physical and social dimensions of coastal management approaches within the context of current regulatory frameworks.

Coordinator: Dr Emma Ryan
Timetable: Check SSO

GEOG 771 Spatial Analysis and Geocomputation


(15 points) Semester One

Approaches and challenges to analysing spatial data. Specific techniques will include spatial autocorrelation, geographical regression, point pattern analysis, interpolation, overlay analysis, and newer geocomputation methods. Students will gain an advanced knowledge of spatial analysis and be well-prepared for postgraduate research or professional practice. No formal prerequisite but an understanding equivalent to GEOG 318 will be assumed.

Coordinator: Dr Katarzyna Sila-Nowicka
Timetable: Check SSO

INDIGEN 711 Indigenous Environmental Politics


(30 points)

Examines contemporary issues related to Indigenous peoples and the environment. There will be a particular focus on the interface between Indigenous peoples, governments and corporate bodies. Topics may include Indigenous responses to environmental degradation; Indigenous peoples and extractive industries; sustainable development; Indigenous environmental protest movements; land and treaty rights; traditional knowledge and resource protection; and Indigenous peoples and climate change.

LAWENVIR 710 International Environmental Law – Level 9


(30 points)

Selected problems of international law as related to the protection of the global environment including the present concept of international environmental law and current trends toward a global law of sustainable development, law on climate changes, the ozone layer, the marine environment, biodiversity and the implications of international environmental issues for municipal law. Involves individual research resulting in a substantial individual research essay.

LAWENVIR 721 Special Topic: Ocean Governance Law – Level 9


(30 points)

Special topic: ocean governance law.

LAWENVIR 770 Global Environmental Governance Level 9


(15 points)

Critical examination of the current system of international environmental governance (including policies, treaties and institutions). Areas covered include United Nations system, climate change regime, international negotiations and the role of the State. Alternative approaches such as multilevel governance, multilateral decision-making and environmental trusteeship concepts will be examined in terms of their origins, prospects and practical feasibility. Involves individual research resulting in a substantial individual research essay.

MĀORI 732 Rangatiratanga


(30 points)

A study of a theoretical framework for the analysis of cultural politics between Māori and Pākehā and between Indigenous Peoples and coloniser States, in particular He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nū Tīreni, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Postgraduate study options in Marine Science


Contact our postgraduate advisor