School of Biological and Marine Sciences

MSc Marine Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is a cornerstone of the green economy and marine wind, wave and tidal energy are key elements of the UK, European and global renewable energy roadmaps. Begin your voyage to being a part of this vital transformation by studying on the UK’s first MSc Marine Renewable Energy programme. Building on our international reputation for marine research and teaching along with regional and national initiatives, this distinctive degree focuses on the growing marine renewable energy sector.

Mutriku wave power plant. Courtesy of Ente Vasco de la Energía

Key features

  • Be at the forefront of the emerging field of marine renewable energy at a time when such expertise is increasingly sought after.
  • Develop knowledge and confidence in the critical areas which will help you to be an integral part of the effort to develop and promote marine renewable energy.
  • Benefit from our research team’s expertise – our staff achieved ratings of ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent’ in the UK Government’s most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
  • Take advantage of Plymouth University’s active role in the Southwest Marine Energy Park and the Offshore Renewables Development Programme to stay abreast of the latest developments and make contacts with key players in the field.
  • Gain experience in the use of world leading facilities such as the COAST Lab test tanks and the Falcon Spirit research vessel as part of your taught programme and your research.
  • Learn in an environment which benefits from PRIMaRE investment in new staff expertise and facilities.
  • Benefit from a programme fully-integrated with the £42 million wave hub project, the world's largest wave energy test site, off north Cornwall.
  • Live and study in ‘Britain’s Ocean City’, with easy access to businesses and the natural environment involved in your area of study this is an ideal location to study marine renewables.
  • Take the opportunity to study abroad in the research project phase and be supported by one Plymouth University supervisor and one supervisor overseas.

Course details

  • Programme overview
  • •The taught modules in the first period are compulsory and are designed to provide you with a broad background on marine renewable as well as a solid basis for the option modules in period two. You’ll undertake three modules in period one that provide a background in marine renewable energy: introduction to marine renewable energy, economics, law and policy for marine renewable energy, research skills and research methods. In period two you can choose three options from a choice of five: assessment of coastal resources and impacts, marine planning, economics of the marine environment, mechanics of marine renewable energy structures, and wave and current modelling for marine renewable energy. During period three you’ll undertake a research project and dissertation. Due to the extensive staff research expertise there is a wide range of potential projects spanning marine science, engineering and socio-economics. You may also carry out projects with external organisations that have interests in marine renewable energy.
    Core modules
    • MAR513Z Research Skills and Methods

      This module aims to equip students with the practical skills and contextual framework for conducting high quality research. Emphasis is placed on workshop opportunities to acquire and practice research planning, analysis, communication, writing and oral presentation skills.

    • MAR524 MSc Dissertation

      The student will complete a research project that they have designed in the semester 1 research skills module. The project can be submitted in the format of a journal paper or dissertation. The write-up will communicate the project aims, methodology, data analysis, interpretation, synthesis and conclusions.

    • MAR526 Introduction to Marine Renewable Energy

      This module provides an introduction to the engineering, technological, environmental, socioeconomic and legal issues relevant to the development and exploitation of marine renewable energy. The relative influence of the various factors in determining the success of specific sites is assessed and the current barriers to future development identified.

    • MAR527 Economics, Law and Policy for Marine Renewable Energy

      This module provides an overview of key economic concepts and issues relevant to the development and exploitation of marine renewable energy (MRE). The module also provides an overview of the relevant legal regimes relevant to MRE, including property rights, climate change and energy, marine environmental protection and maritime safety and security.

    Optional modules
    • MAR507 Economics of the Marine Environment

      This module will provide students with a clear overview of the problems associated with economic activity in marine environment and the potential solutions to these problems.

    • MAR512 Assessment of Coastal Resources and Impacts

      This module reviews the dynamics of the coastal ocean and explores methods to assess MRE resource availability and potential environmental impacts. Observational methods for understanding coastal morphology, ecosystems and forcing mechanisms such as waves, tidal currents and tidal elevation are examined. Methods for impact mitigation and management are discussed. Case studies from around the world are utilized.

    • MAR519 Modelling Marine Processes

      This module introduces the fundamental concepts of modelling marine processes. Emphasis will be placed on the mechanisms that drive marine environment and principles of their numerical implementation. The methods of modelling and the-state-of-the-art oceanic models are also introduced. The key element is development of practical skills in operation with numerical models and critical analysis of the model output.

    • MAR528Z Mechanics of MRE Structures

      This module will cover engineering aspects of marine renewable energy conversion. The module comprises lectures and tutorials, invited industry lectures, a field trip visit to a marine engineering company and a wave energy converter performance experiment in the COAST lab.

    • MAR529Z Marine Planning

      This module evaluates the emergence and practice of marine planning in UK waters. It will explore the techniques available for developing marine plans and demonstrate the role which may be played by geographic information systems and other tools. Through lectures, field visits and case studies, it will also develop the learner's knowledge of the marine environment as required for marine planning.

Every postgraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the programme aims, the programme structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest programme structure and may be subject to change:

MSc Marine Renewable Energy Programme Specification September 2019 4148

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

You’ll have a good degree in a science or engineering subject, or equivalent. If you have no recent formal qualifications, a lesser qualification with additional experience may be acceptable. 

If you have overseas qualifications you can check their comparability with the UK equivalent through the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC), who provide an advisory service. 

English language requirements 

If your first language is not English then evidence of English proficiency is required. For further advice on the appropriateness of overseas qualification and proficiency in the use of English, please contact our International Office

The minimum IELTS score for acceptable English proficiency for entry is 6.5.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,500 £9,500
International £14,000 £14,400
Part time (Home/EU) £550 £550
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Postgraduate scholarships for international students

We offer several scholarships for international students who wish to study postgraduate taught (PGT) degree programmes.

Find out about the postgraduate scholarships available to you as an international student

How to apply

When to apply

Most of our taught programmes begin in September, with some January starts also available. Applications can usually be made throughout the year, and are considered until programmes are full. 

Before you apply

Familiarise yourself with the information required to complete your application form. You will usually be required to supply:
  • evidence of qualifications (degree certificates or transcripts), with translations if not in English, to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • a personal statement of approximately 250-400 words about the reasons for your interest in the course and outlining the nature of previous and current related experience. You can write this into the online application form, or include it as a separate document
  • your curriculum vitae or résumé, including details of relevant professional/voluntary experience, professional registration/s and visa status for overseas workers
  • proof of sponsorship, if applicable.
If you require further information take a look at our application guidance.

Disability services

If you have a disability and would like further information about the support provided by University of Plymouth, please visit our Disability Services website. 

International students

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Submitting an application

Once you are happy that you have all of the information required you can apply using our online postgraduate application form (the blue 'Apply now' icon on this page).

What happens after I apply?

You will normally receive a decision on your application within four weeks of us receiving your application. You may be asked to provide additional information; two academic/professional references, confirming your suitability for the course; or to take part in an interview (which in the case of overseas students may be by telephone or video conference) and you will be sent a decision by letter or email.

We aim to make the application procedure as simple and efficient as possible. Our Admissions and Course Enquiries team is on hand to offer help and can put you in touch with the appropriate faculty if you wish to discuss any programme in detail.

If you would like any further information please contact the Admissions and Course Enquiries team:

Telephone: +44 (0)1752 585858
Email: admissions@plymouth.ac.uk 

Admissions policy

More information and advice for applicants can be referenced by downloading our Student Admissions Policy Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.

Marine renewable energy

The marine renewables this programme focuses on are key emergent marine sectors: offshore wind, wave power and tidal power (both tidal barrages and tidal stream).

Plymouth University offers the first UK masters degree in marine renewable energy.

Find out more about our programme

Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.

The Marine Station is a landmark £5 million development; a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility on the shores of Plymouth Sound.

Discover more about the Marine Station

Facilities and resources – marine renewable energy

From a state of the art wave and current test basin to a dedicated ocean going research vessel to a wealth of computer laboratories and software, you’ll benefit from a range of facilities and resources that will help your learning and development.

Our facilities include the £19 million Marine Building and the associated Coast laboratory.

Hamish Kerr – Marine Renewable Energy graduate

I've been meaning to write to say how very useful the MRE MSc has been for me so far at OpenHydro. I really have applied almost all aspects of the course to my daily work, and I thought I would let you know that so far the course is serving me very well!

Hamish Kerr, Graduate Oceanographic Engineer at OpenHydro

Stephanie Campion – MSc Marine Renewable Energy graduate

As soon as I graduated I was awarded an internship with Ramboll Environ as an Environmental Consultant… I hope to move to New Zealand next year to focus on more ocean energy projects, as that’s where my passion is.

Read more about Stephanie's experience

People