Master's Degree in Marine Ecology (MECM)

Universidad de las Islas Baleares - UIB

Programme Description

Master's Degree in Marine Ecology (MECM)

Universidad de las Islas Baleares - UIB


New student profile and admission criteria

In line with that which is established in article 16 of Royal Decree 1393/2007 and modified by Royal Decree 861/2010, in order to be admitted into the Master's degree programme in marine ecology, applicants must be in possession of an official university degree, issued by an institution of higher learning from a state within the European Higher Education Area, that allows for holders of the degree to access Master's level studies in that country.

Additionally, holders of degrees from education systems outside of the European Higher Education Area can access the programme without having to validate the degree as long as the university verifies that the degree ensures that the holder has achieved a level of education equivalent to that which is provided by a corresponding official Spanish degree and the degree allows the holder to access postgraduate level studies in the country from which it was issued. Admittance to the programme in this way does not imply the official validation of the degree nor does it make reference to any recognition other than allowing the holder to study in this Master's programme.

This programme is especially designed for students with degrees in biology, marine sciences, or other similar programmes. Given its interdisciplinary nature, graduates from other disciplines within the scope of this Master's degree may also study in the programme.

In addition to the corresponding accreditation of having the competences needed for this Master's programme, the following criteria will be taken into account to evaluate the students who wish to be admitted into these studies:

  • Academic transcript of previously completed studies,
  • Other academic and professional achievements related to the undergraduate degree, and
  • A statement of purpose, in which the applicant explains his/her motivation for wanting to participate and what has driven him/her to request a seat in this programme.

Together, the academic transcript and professional experience will have a weight of no less than 70%. Candidates must present necessary documentation (duly accredited, when appropriate) in accordance with the body responsible for admissions.

This evaluation will result in an ordered list of students who will be eligible to enrol in the programme.

Academic and professional goals

From an academic perspective, this degree programme is the natural continuation of the previous Master's programme in marine ecology. The original programme was successful both because of the high number of students that enrolled each year and the high graduation rate during the six academic years (2008-2014) that it existed. During this period, collaboration agreements were set up for students to carry out their internships and Master's theses with the Balearic Oceanographic Centre, the Santander Oceanographic Centre, the University of Málaga, the Institute of Marine Sciences in Barcelona (CSIC), the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (IMEDEA), the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Valencia, the University of Girona, LIMIA (Balearic government), Cabrera National Park, the Consell Insular de Ibiza (the government of Ibiza), and the Zaragoza Aquarium, among others.

The new design of the Master's programme has taken into account the change in future students' undergraduate study plans, previously licentiates and from 2013-14 onwards, bachelor's degrees. Thus, significant changes have been made to the education provided, namely in the number of core credits offered and the basic level of training that students receive.

Additionally, the Spanish Oceanographic Institute, a public research organisation, collaborates (and has actively done so for the past years) with the programme to increase the range of elective subjects offered and thus the number of specialities from which future postgraduates can choose. The institute also has an oceanographic research vessel and station that are utilized for the subject, Integrated Practices, in the Structural Module of the curriculum.

The complexity involved with activities related to the marine environment and the problems facing the sector due to its tremendous expansion, which in recent decades has not always taken sustainability into account, require professionals with an appropriate level of training and abilities in the theoretical and applied fields of basic research, aquaculture, fisheries management, marine reserves, comprehensive costal management, environmental protection, environmental impact assessment, sewage discharge, red tides, invasive species, and detection and monitoring of contaminants, in addition to all of the problems associated with climate change and the overall quality of the marine environment.

Unlike other Spanish regions that are associated with the sea, like the Canary Islands, Galicia, and Andalusia, the Master's degree programme in marine ecology at the University of the Balearic Islands is the only study programme dedicated to the sea, and as demonstrated since it began in 2008, the programme is facing a high level of demand from new graduates not only within the islands, but also from the rest of Spain and even abroad.

The possibility of continuing to train professionals in the marine sector in the Balearic Islands has created new perspectives from which to impose qualitative and quantitative improvements on maritime activities taking place in the archipelago that will lead to positive social, economic, and environmental implications. Accordingly, we can cite a set of institutional synergies related to this Master's degree programme:

The presence on the islands of the Spanish Oceanographic Institute's (IEO) first costal laboratory, founded over 100 years ago by Doctor Odón de Buen, which has turned out a significant number of important marine researchers and produced theoretical and applied marine studies on a wide range of topics. Various collaboration agreements have been set up with the IEO which have a direct impact on students in the programme. Among these agreements, one of the most noteworthy is the possibility that students have to use the IEO's oceanographic research vessels in their theoretical classes.

The presence, at the UIB, basically since it was founded, of professors who have focused their research on marine-related topics. The success of the doctorate programme in marine ecology and the number of theses that have been presented are a testament to the educational prowess of the UIB in this field.

The presence on the islands of the IMEDEA, an institute created between the CSIC and the UIB. It boasts an internationally renowned group of researchers who focus on various aspects of the marine ecosystem. International collaborative efforts set up by IMEDEA members serve to attract students from abroad to the Master's programme and offer them a wide range of possibilities for continuing their education with doctoral studies.

The presence of the Aquaculture and Marine Research Laboratory (LIMIA, by its Spanish acronym), which relies on the government of the Balearic Islands, and which deals with all kinds of problems related to the conservation and recovery of species and to the management of marine reserves.

The National Park of Cabrera, many marine reserves, and various marine and marine-terrestrial parks located around the islands of the Balearic archipelago that serve as veritable natural laboratories where students in the Master's degree programme in marine ecology can carry out the final part of their studies.

The IEO, IMEDEA, and LIMIA, along with public and private organizations on the islands whose activities are related to the sea present a wide range of opportunities for students to complete their internships and their Master's theses. They also serve as potential places for graduates to begin their careers in research or in the professional world.

It is clear that the Master's degree programme in marine ecology is bolstered by not only research groups at the UIB, but also by the IEO and those at the IMEDEA who make the Balearic Islands a national and international point of reference for marine studies.

On the applied side, this Master's programme is directly related to the following sectors, among others:

  • Governmental organizations dedicated to the management and conservation of marine resources,
  • Consultants and managers of marine parks and reserves,
  • Consultants and managers of costal infrastructure,
  • Managers of ports and nautical installations,
  • Diving schools,
  • Technicians at private businesses dealing with marine industries,
  • Fishing consultants and managers,
  • Fisherman's associations, and
  • Recreational fishing companies

Access to other study programmes and career opportunities

The UIB's Master's degree programme in marine ecology allows graduates to be directly admitted into the UIB's doctorate programme of the same name, as well as to other programmes with similar profiles in other national and international universities.

Structure of the study programme

The UIB's Master's degree programme in marine ecology consists of 60 ECTS credits. In order to facilitate the development of competences and the congruity of the study programme, subjects are classified as either mandatory or elective; this is in addition to the internship and Master's thesis, both of which are mandatory.

The 60 credits are broken down as follows:

  • 27 credits: mandatory, part of Module 1: Structural
  • 15 credits: elective, to be chosen from Module 2: Specific
  • 18 credits: mandatory (6 credits from an internship and 12 credits from the Master's thesis), from Module 3: Internship and Thesis

Module 1: Structural

Mandatory subjects provide students with 27 ECTS credits and the fundamental content to have a basic understanding of the state of knowledge and the lines of research currently being carried out in the field of marine ecology. Additionally these courses will equip students with the practical tools they need to undertake professions or research positions in marine ecology.

  • 11665 - Marine Ecology
  • 11666 - Oceanographic Biology
  • 11667 - Management of Marine Resources
  • 11668 - Experimental Design: Sampling and Data Processing
  • 11669 - Integrated Practices

Module 2: Specific

Elective subjects provide 15 ECTS credits and offer specific content on various topics so that students can choose between the options that they are most interested in professionally and from a research perspective.

  • 11670 - Coastal Ecology. Coastal Systems
  • 11671 - Marine Bioindicators
  • 11672 - Ecosystem Dynamics and Exploitable Living Resources
  • 11673 - Phytoplankton Ecology
  • 11674 - Carbonate Sediments: Metabolism and Evolution of Oceans
  • 11675 - Marine Organisms of Health Significance
  • 11676 - Marine Microbiology

Module 3: Internship and Thesis

The internship is worth 6 ECTS credits and is mandatory. The objective of the internship is to provide students with training in specific work methodologies that can be used in a project that will become the Master's thesis. The internships take place under the tutelage of a researcher who is part of a research group or who is a professional working in a public or private institution. The internship can be carried out in national or international marine research centres, in public or private organizations, or at the UIB itself.

Completing the Master's thesis gives students 12 ECTS credits, and it involves the development of a research project directed by a PhD-holding researcher. It is to be presented, in a public defence, as a dissertation on the work that was carried out. It should be focused along one of the lines of research in the field of marine ecology, and preferably, it should be related to the internship so as to consolidate efforts and put the methodologies and techniques learned to use.

This school offers programs in:
  • Spanish

Last updated September 8, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Oct. 2018
Full time
2,008 EUR
Spain - Palma de Mallorca
Start date: Oct. 2018
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Oct. 2018
Spain - Palma de Mallorca
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Price applicable to citizens of member states of the European Union and Spanish residents: 2.008,80€