The UNSW The Marine Environment (MSC10501) course explores aspects of both the physical and biological environments of the sea and their inter-relationships. Throughout the course, you’ll consider the human impacts on marine environments and how science is being used to solve problems created by human activity.

Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface, making the marine environment an essential part of the world’s life-support system. However, it’s still the most undiscovered and undervalued of all ecosystems. Improving our relationship with marine ecosystems and enhancing our understanding of marine conservation will reduce our impact on the environment.

Upon completion of The Marine Environment course, you’ll have an enlightened understanding of ocean sustainability and innovative solutions that can reduce the effects of climate change, resource depletion and marine pollution.

Term offering

Summer Term

Course attendance

Short/intensive course


Undergraduate - First Year


Marine science

Course code


Course breakdown

Throughout the course, emphasis is placed on case studies, practicals and field excursions. These are used to supplement lectures and encourage further discussion of the problems created by human interference in marine systems.

The course includes a discussion of the following:

  • the marine environment: its physical, geological, chemical and biological characteristics and their interactions
  • beach safety and marine biodiversity
  • the effects of development and climate change on the marine environment
  • how science can contribute to providing solutions to problems created by human activity.

At UNSW, we create blended learning strategies that help students apply theory to practice. The Marine Environment course is delivered with a mix of face-to-face field trips, labs, tutorials and online modules. Towards the end of the course, you’ll also get the opportunity to attend and showcase your learning at the MarineFest Film Festival.

Note: there are no pre-requisites or conditions for enrolment in this course

Career opportunities

Marine scientists have a deep understanding of the ocean and marine life. By observing the interactions of marine plants and animals with coastal areas and the atmosphere, marine scientists can help preserve ecosystems.

At UNSW Science, you can specialise in marine science through The Marine Environment course and the Master of Marine Science and Management.

Relevant roles

  • Meteorologist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Hydrologist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental scientist
  • Natural resource manager
  • Marine scientist
  • Marine biologist
  • Environmental scientist

What our graduates say

“I loved everything about this course and the balance of every learning component, from the lab sessions (where we got to see skeletons of different marine species) to the field trips. Especially loved the discussions that we had in the lab about different issues (coral bleaching, sharks, etc.). Nothing like what I've experienced before."

- The Marine Environment course graduate.

Find out more

For more information, please contact Professor Tracey Rogers.

E: t.rogers@unsw.edu.au

T: +61 2 9385 8095