Study Programme

The courses below are for cohort 2024 onward. If you are already a student at UU and are looking for information about cohort 2023 or earlier, please check our student website. 

Marine Sciences is a two-year English-taught Master’s programme that includes both lecture courses and research, awarding a total of 120 points in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). On this page you will find information concerning the curriculum, courses, educational methods, examinations and extracurricular opportunities.


The first year is devoted to course work, while the second year is primarily spent conducting independent research and/or a traineeship. The programme combines multidisciplinary courses with a wide range of elective courses in marine topics in the core disciplines of physics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences.


In the courses you will study a wide range of subjects, i.e. from marine microbes, to geochemistry and ocean circulation, to past ocean reconstructions. You will examine the potential ecological consequences of major stressors of the marine environment, warming, acidification and anoxia in past, present and future oceans. Moreover, possible legal conflicts of issues such as energy and climate change, mining, pollution, the flow of traffic at sea, fisheries policies and coastal defences are treated. You will approach these complicated societal issues from various perspectives and study their interactions and relationships with physical, chemical, biological and geological processes. The courses, which focus on both knowledge and academic skills, will lead to a holistic vision on our changing seas and oceans.

Educational Methods

  • Course work
  • Field and laboratory research
  • Independent research
  • Internship/guided research


  • Final research papers
  • Short papers or written exams
  • In-class presentations
  • Active participation and concluding reports
  • Thesis

Extra opportunities

Utrecht University offers several honours programmes for students looking for an extra challenge. Honours education is followed on top of your regular Master’s programme and goes beyond the regular curriculum. Honours programmes are available at interdisciplinary level and allow you to go deeper into subjects or work on projects that transcend your own discipline

Read more about the honours programmes