During the first three to four months of the course you will have time to decide on a project for the mini-dissertation component of the course. A list of potential UCT supervisors and their fields of research will be provided to you. You may register for the dissertation component of the course in either the departments of Biological Sciences, Oceanography or Environmental and Geographical Sciences. It is your responsibility to find a suitable project and we suggest you start setting up meetings with potential supervisors sooner rather than later. 


During your training, you will be exposed to various guest lectures and potential field trips, which would be compulsory to attend or highly recommended. From the SANCOR seminars on Mondays to the Doughnut Talks on Wednesdays to Marine Chatties on Fridays during lunchtime, you will be given the opportunity to expand your learning and network with colleagues and international visiting researchers. 


All international students are required to go through a clearance/pre-registration process with the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) BEFORE faculty registration. International students cannot register with their faculties without clearance from IAPO. For pre-registration, you need to produce your passport with your valid UCT study permit, proof of medical insurance/aid and proof of payment of your fees. The student will be provided with an “International Students Pre-Registration” form from IAPO. This document must be submitted along with the registration forms to the Postgraduate Officer – Faculty of Science. The registrations of international students will not be approved without these documents, nor will they be approved unless the necessary fee payments have been made. Any queries should be directed to IAPO at +27 21 650 2822 or intiapo@uct.ac.za.

In addition to standard tuition fees, all non-SADC international students are required to pay a non-refundable service administration fee (see section below). Students enroling for Master’s degrees by coursework and minor dissertation are also charged an International Term Fee (ITF). The Faculty offers Faculty International Student Bursaries (FISB) to deserving international Master’s students registering for the degree by coursework and minor dissertation. Further details and application forms are available from the supervisor or the Postgraduate Administrator in the Faculty Office.

Please contact the International Programmes Office at UCT for details on visa’s and additional registration requirements: http://www.iapo.uct.ac.za


For details on available bursaries, please visit the UCT Funding Office click here. Some funding opportunities exist within departments, however these will only be communicated to you (if they are available in the year that you are registered) once you commence the course.


UCT is situated in the suburb of Rondebosch in Cape Town.

Student accommodation is commonly available in and around the following suburbs: Rondebosch, Claremont, Rosebank, Observatory, Woodstock, Kenilworth. Further afield some students and staff live in Muizenberg (southern suburbs of Cape Town) where there is a fairly reliable train, taxi and bus service to reach UCT. Or for those staying close by to campus can rely on the UCT Jammie Shuttle, which is a free shuttle service for students and staff of UCT (look at the next question for more details).

Limited accommodation is also available in some of the UCT student residences.

Useful places to look for accommodation include:


The Jammie Shuttle

Jammie Shuttle UCT has a free shuttle service for students and staff of UCT. Please visit the website to determine the routes. It is useful to live within walking distance of the Jammie route if you do not have a car.


For parking on campus, students who own cars need to purchase a parking disc from the traffic department once they have been registered: click here

Other modes of transports

Visit this page here for other modes of transports. 


The course is in Applied Marine Biology, which is different from an MSc in Marine Biology. It is meant to develop professionals with interdisciplinary knowledge in marine conservation and related subjects. As such, it can be taken as an MPhil, which implies a science background is not strictly required. We encourage applications from other disciplines, but the students will be expected to acquire the scientific knowledge that is necessary to quantify ocean states and processes. This includes scientific programming and statistics, which can be a rather steep learning curve for those who have not practised these subjects earlier.

Take particular care in your application, and detail how you plan to compensate for those components.


International applicants will be assessed right after the application deadline to allow enough time for visas.

There is a webinar available on our website that explains the structure of the course. We made a few changes in the last year with the integration of a dedicated postgrad module on statistics and experimental design, as well as a course on Marine Genomics. Some courses had their first pilot this year, therefore they will only be confirmed later in the year. However, the foundational courses are well established, and they are described in the webinar. We do not expect any specific background in marine sciences, although a background in quantitative science courses is advised, especially statistics and basics in scientific computing (python and R). If you had no prior experience, I suggest that you prepare yourself with some of the many online courses available.

You should first check with our IAPO office whether your degree is eligible with the registration to the masters course. We require a 4th year or a graded capstone project, but the exact equivalence between international degrees is handled by the office.


In the AOS MSc course, we use Datacamp.com for Python and R, so you can take the first introductory courses. 

You can also enrol in the following online courses before taking up the course to gain a brief overview of marine sciences and knowledge on how to conduct quantitative research through using various statistical methods and analyses

MOOC on Large Marine Ecosystems through UCT

Focusing on the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) of the world, this course will introduce the concept and practice of ecosystem-based management (management of human activities in an integrated fashion across political boundaries and economic sectors).

Ocean MOOC - From science to solutions: 

In the massive open online course One Planet – One Ocean: From Science to Solutions, learn from the world's leading experts on ocean science. They will present the issues and potential solutions – grounded in rigorous scientific research – to fight for our endangered waters. 


Introduction to Statistics is also needed: 

Stanford's "Introduction to Statistics" teaches you statistical thinking concepts that are essential for learning from data and communicating insights. By the end of the course, you will be able to perform exploratory data analysis, understand key principles of sampling, and select appropriate tests of significance for multiple contexts. You will gain the foundational skills that prepare you to pursue more advanced topics in statistical thinking and machine learning.


We require the names of referees, who must be persons with whom the applicant interacted in the past and can refer about their skills. Strong referees are important, but applicants are selected according to their CV, transcripts, and motivation.

Potential supervisors are not required at the time of the application. The students are exposed to the various disciplines, and they chose a thesis topic later in the year, at least by the end of July. 


For any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at aos.maris@uct.ac.za.