Stretching over 30° of latitude, New Zealand’s coastline is more than 15,000 km long, and its exclusive economic zone is one of the largest in the world.
And yet our understanding of our own big blue backyard is extremely limited.
Whether it’s finding new species, protecting sensitive habitats, or solving our energy problems, there are countless opportunities for ocean explorers. Study Marine Science and you could be part of the discoveries to come.
Found only around New Zealand’s South Island, Hector’s dolphins are a symbol of just how unique our marine environment is. Facing many challenges in a fragile habitat, these dolphins are teetering on the brink of existence. The watery world surrounding us is a special place that needs you to help understand its complexity, and to find answers for important questions about its future.
Apply for the Master of Science (MSc) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Apply for the Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) through the Dunedin campus in 2021Apply Now
Why study Marine Science?
The world is waking up to just how important the marine environment is to the survival of our planet. And when your office extends to the seashore and beyond, every day is a new challenge!
Marine scientists are valued, not only in learning institutions, but also by governments and large corporations. Many organisations need people with analytical minds on their team. Over 90% of Marine Science postgraduates from Otago University go on to find marine related jobs.
Marine research can take you from the poles to the tropics, Antarctica to Fiji and from regional councils to government agencies, such as the Department of Conservation, NIWA and the Ministry for Primary Industries. Careers have also been launched in private consultancy firms, within the IT industry, the media (for example, Dunedin’s Natural History New Zealand Ltd) and government science policy groups. Other graduates continue their marine science careers in museums and aquariums, within the educational system, through science teaching and community engagement, or university research and teaching positions.
Students from a wide range of backgrounds are welcome to study Marine Science. You will need an interest in the marine environment and a solid foundation in science to Year 13 level. We particularly recommend Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Statistics or Calculus.
Marine science is very much a hands-on discipline. Apart from attending lectures and tutorials, you will also have practical laboratories and field trips at sea. The Department of Marine Science has research and teaching facilities on the main campus in Dunedin, a major research laboratory at Portobello on the Otago Peninsula and field stations on Stewart Island and in Doubtful Sound. A fleet of research vessels, including the expedition vessel RV Polaris II, provides access to all the local marine habitats.
Explore your study options further. Refer to enrolment information found on the following qualification pages.
Postgraduate Diploma in Science (PGDipSci) in Marine Science
Master of Science (MSc) in Marine Science
|Papers and Thesis|
Minor subject requirements
Marine Science as a minor subject for a BA, MusB, BPA, BTheol, BSc, BAppSc, BCom, BHealSc, BACom, BASc or BComSc degree
Available as a minor subject for a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Music (MusB), Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA), Bachelor of Theology (BTheol), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Applied Science (BAppSc), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), Bachelor of Health Science (BHealSc), Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc) or Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) degree
MARI 112 Global Marine Systems
Note: Students should check the prerequisites for 300-level papers when selecting 200-level papers.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website
|Paper code||Year||Title||Points||Teaching period|
|MARI112||2021||Global Marine Systems||18 points||Second Semester|
|MARI202||2021||Marine Invertebrate Ecology and Biology||18 points||Second Semester|
|MARI301||2021||Marine Ecology||18 points||First Semester|
|MARI302||2021||Biology and Behaviour of Marine Vertebrates||18 points||First Semester|
|MARI401||2021||Advanced Methods in Marine Science||20 points||First Semester|
|MARI402||2021||Advanced Applied Field Methods in Marine Environmental Science||20 points||Not offered in 2021|
|MARI403||2021||Critical Thinking for Environmental Scientists||20 points||First Semester|
|MARI429||2021||Coastal Marine Environment||20 points||Full Year|
|MARI431||2021||Antarctic and Southern Ocean Science||20 points||Second Semester|
|MARI450||2021||Special Topic: Applied Estuarine Ecology||20 points||1st Non standard period|
|MARI451||2021||Advanced Topics in Marine Science||20 points||First Semester|
|MARI480||2021||Independent Project||20 points||Full Year, 2nd Non standard period|
|MARI490||2021||Dissertation||40 points||Full Year, 2nd Non standard period|
|MARI495||2021||Master's Thesis Preparation||40 points||1st Non standard period, 2nd Non standard period|
Key information for future students
Department of Marine Science