Gain advanced training in the theory and understanding of physical processes in the ocean.

 

Faculty
Faculty of Science
Delivery Mode
Face-to-face (includes blended), Distance (online with some face-to-face)
Award
Master of Physical Oceanography
Commencing Terms
Term 1, Term 2, Term 3
Duration (Full Time)
1.7 Year(s)

Overview

The Master of Physical Oceanography offers advanced training in the theory and understanding of physical processes in the ocean. The program is ideal for graduates who have a background in science, engineering or cognate disciplines. 

The master's program will enhance your employment opportunities by equipping you with a range of skills demanded by employers in Australia’s growing Blue Economy. This program offers advanced disciplinary courses designed to reflect current practices in the field of physical oceanography, within the framework of academic knowledge and critical thinking. Each course aims to build your capacity to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex or conflicting information in a timely fashion. 

Key features

  • Pathway to further study
    The program also provides a pathway to further studies at PhD level and is the largest of an articulated suite of physical oceanography programs. 
  • Conduct your own research project 
    You'll undertake a major research project where you'll bring together various aspects of your coursework and extend your knowledge and investigation skills.
  • Develop a wide range of skills
    The program will develop your quantitative, computational and technical skills. You'll be taught to apply skills, technologies and thinking to current industry issues and to communicate these effectively. 

Why study this degree at UNSW?

Learn with the best
We’re ranked 1st in Australia and 38th in the world for mathematics.* As Australia’s largest and highest ranked school of mathematics and statistics, we provide comprehensive coverage of modern mathematics, underpinned by leading teaching and research.

Leverage our industry connections
Tap into our network of industry and research partners to start building your own professional connections. The School of Mathematics and Statistics maintains and attracts strong links with industry, from ongoing research collaboration to industry involvement in our teaching activities.

Our researchers work in partnership with industry to solve real-world problems. This collaboration with industry includes Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grants held by members of staff. Our industry links extend to our learning and teaching activities, with industry partners sponsoring some of our courses and degrees. Other links with industry are maintained through visiting appointments, consulting services offered by our staff and ongoing connections with our alumni.

*QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021

 

Program Code
8518
CRICOS Code
106823B
Campus
Kensington

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Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a bachelor’s (pass) degree with a minimum weighted average mark of 70% or equivalent in a cognate discipline (oceanography, meteorology, physics, science, mathematics, statistics, engineering etc.) from a recognised tertiary institution.

Students must have a minimum of 12 UOC in Level 2 mathematics (equivalent to UNSW's MATH2018/9 and MATH2089, for example) or equivalent training/experience.

Students currently enrolled in the UNSW Graduate Diploma of Physical Oceanography are also able to apply to articulate into the Master of Physical Oceanography program, subject to meeting minimum academic performance requirements of a 70+ WAM.

The following cohorts may be eligible for recognition of prior learning up to 24 UoC:

1. Graduates of an Advanced Mathematics, Advanced Science or Honours degree in a cognate discipline from a recognised tertiary institution.

2. Students who have completed a relevant advanced degree in a cognate discipline; for example the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Graduate Diploma in Meteorology.

English language requirements

 

You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on your educational background and citizenship. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If you’re completing an Australian Year 12 qualification (e.g. NSW HSC or equivalent), you do not need to provide anything extra to prove your proficiency. Your qualification will be used as evidence of your English proficiency.

If you do need to provide evidence of your English proficiency, this will be indicated in your application. You can prove this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

The minimum entry requirement is a bachelor’s (pass) degree with a minimum weighted average mark of 70% or equivalent in a cognate discipline (oceanography, meteorology, physics, science, mathematics, statistics, engineering etc.) from a recognised tertiary institution.

Students must have a minimum of 12 UOC in Level 2 mathematics (equivalent to UNSW's MATH2018/9 and MATH2089, for example) or equivalent training/experience.

Students currently enrolled in the UNSW Graduate Diploma of Physical Oceanography are also able to apply to articulate into the Master of Physical Oceanography program, subject to meeting minimum academic performance requirements of a 70+ WAM.

The following cohorts may be eligible for recognition of prior learning up to 24 UoC:

1. Graduates of an Advanced Mathematics, Advanced Science or Honours degree in a cognate discipline from a recognised tertiary institution.

2. Students who have completed a relevant advanced degree in a cognate discipline; for example the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's Graduate Diploma in Meteorology.

English language requirements


You may be asked to provide evidence of your English proficiency to study at UNSW depending on whether you are from an English-speaking background or non-English speaking background. English language skills are vitally important for coping with lectures, tutorials, assignments and examinations - this is why UNSW requires a minimum English language competency for enrolment.

If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of your English proficiency before you can be given an offer to study at UNSW. You can do this by providing evidence that you meet one or more of the following criteria:

UNSW Global offers courses and programs designed to help you reach the English language level required for entry into your chosen degree. Different options are available depending on your current English language level. Learn more.

Check the specific English language requirements for this program

Full program structure

A full-time student should complete the master's program over four to five successive terms. The number of courses undertaken on each term remains at the discretion of the student, provided that it does not exceed the normal full load of study (maximum 18 UoC on any given term). This structure is flexible. In particular, part-time students are free to reshape it over more than five terms in the most suitable way for them, provided that it stays in agreement with the relevant University policies. The 8518 program has 72 units of credit, or 12 courses. 

Typically, the full time load is 48 UOC over three terms (eight courses) and a further 24 UOC in the second year (four courses).  

A part time study mode can be one or two courses per term (2 - 4 years). Restrictions apply for visa holders so please refer to the UNSW International website and Department of Home Affairs for further advice.

  • To complete the Master of Physical Oceanography, you must complete the following four core courses (24 UOC):

    • MSCI5004 - Oceanographic Processes (6 UOC)
    • MATH5285 - Fluids, Oceans and Climate (6 UOC)
    • MATH5231 - Prediction and Inverse Modelling (6 UOC)
    • MATH5271 - Environmental Data Science and Statistics (6 UOC)

    In addition, students must complete a research project worth 18 UOC. The project is taken after completing at least 36 UOC (typically five courses), with a 65+ WAM entry requirement. 

    To enrol in the research project, students will enrol in the following 6 UOC course for three consecutive terms:

    • MATH5207 Physcical Oceanography Research Project (6 UOC) 

    In addition students must complete a further five courses (30 UOC) from the following:

    • BEES5041 - Data Analysis: Env Sc & Mgt (6 UOC; to be replaced with graduate level "Big data in the Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences" once a course code is available)
    • DATA9001 - Fundamentals of Data Science (6 UOC)
    • MATH5295 - Special Topics in Applied Mathematics D (6 UOC)
    • MATH5305 - Computational Mathematics (6 UOC)
    • MATH5845 - Time Series (6 UOC)
    • MATH5846 - Introduction to Probability and Stochastic Processes (6 UOC)
    • MATH5856 - Introduction to Statistics and Statistical Computations (6 UOC)
    • MSCI6681 - Topics in Australian Marine Science (6 UOC)
    • MSCI5005 - Topics in Marine Biology and Ecology (6 UOC)

    And, one of the following only:

    • GEOS9016 - Principles of Geographic Information Systems and Science (6 UOC); or
    • GEOS9017 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems and Science (6 UOC)  
  • The project is a compulsory part of any master's program.  Each student will complete a large research project (18 UOC).  This will be a major capstone project bringing together aspects of the students coursework. The topic will be negotiated with faculty supervisors and will likely relate to an area of specific research/professional interest to the student.  

    Students need to have maintained a 65+ WAM in their program to progress to the research project. The project is taken after completing at least 36 UOC (typically, six courses). For enquiries please email: pg.MathsStats@unsw.edu.au

  • The master's forms part of an articulated suite of programs with the 5518 Graduate Diploma in Physical Oceanography (48 UOC) through to the 72 UOC 8518 Master of Physical Oceanography.

    Conditional on academic performance (overall average mark over 70%), students may choose not to graduate with the graduate diploma (5518), but instead upgrade to the master's program (8518). Credits accumulated during the graduate diploma are automatically transferred toward the master's degree.  

    If students complete the requirements of any of the articulated courses they can exit with that award.  

Future careers

The Master of Physical Oceanography will equip you with the quantitative skills and research experience needed for specialised roles within the growing Blue Economy industry or higher degree research opportunities.

Potential careers

  • Meteorologist
  • Hydrographer
  • Environmental scientist
  • Environmental research scientist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Data scientist
  • Catastrophe risk analyst
  • Oceanographer
  • Educator/researcher

How to apply

Applications must be submitted through our Apply Online portal. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term. Some high-demand programs and Faculties with limited places may have an earlier application deadline or commencement date. Find out more.

Ready to start your application?

For most international students, applications are submitted via our Apply Online service. We encourage you to submit your completed application as early as possible to ensure it will be processed in time for your preferred term.

Some high-demand programs with limited places, may have an earlier application deadline or may have an earlier commencement date. For more information visit our international applicant information page.

Ready to start your application?

Fees & Scholarships

2022 Indicative First Year Full Fee
$32,235
2022 Indicative Full Fee to Complete Degree
$48,675

There is a limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places available for this degree. The indicative tuition fee for domestic postgraduate students shown is for fee-paying students, not students in Commonwealth Supported Places. To find out more about the student contribution amounts for Commonwealth Supported Places visit Postgraduate Commonwealth Support.

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year). Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed below.

2022 Indicative First Year Fee
$46,830
2022 Indicative Fee to Complete Degree
$70,700

*Fees are subject to annual review by the University and may increase annually, with the new fees effective from the start of each calendar year. The indicative fees listed here are based on an estimated average and are for tuition only other fees and charges are not included. The amount you pay will vary depending on the calendar year to enrol, the courses you select and whether your study load is more or less than 1 Equivalent Full Time Student Load (8 courses per year).

Indicative fees are a guide for comparison only based on current conditions and available data. You should not rely on indicative fees. More information on fees can be found at the UNSW fees website.

Indicative fees to complete the program have been calculated based on a percentage increase for every year of the program. Fee increases are assessed annually and may exceed the indicative figures listed below.

Indicative fees to complete the program include tuition plus an estimate of study-related costs of approximately $1,000 per year. To find out more about other costs, visit UNSW International.

Scholarships


At UNSW, we award over $83 million in scholarships each year. We pride ourselves on rewarding excellence and making university accessible to students from all walks of life. Whether you’re a domestic or international student, our range of scholarships, prizes and awards can support your journey.


  • Top 50
    Worldwide

    QS World University Rankings, 2022.

  • Most
    Employable Graduates

    AFR Top 100 Future leaders Award.

  • Leading
    Innovation

    #1 Australian uni attended by start-up founders.

UNSW has a strong focus on industry collaborations with opportunities for students to network.
Jason Chan

Jason Chan

Environmental Planner

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