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One of the few distance learning Coastal Zone Management courses in the UK. It is taught by internationally recognised experts in this field.


Study Coastal Zone Management at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

This PgDip/MSc course provides advanced training across the range of subjects involved in contemporary coastal zone management and an understanding of relevant science and human activities that affect the coast as a basis for development of management approaches. It is aimed at physical sciences and life sciences graduates, and those who have demonstrable past or current coastal management responsibilities.

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About this course

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This course draws upon the latest innovations and developments and, in particular, practical coastal zone management projects and research being undertaken in the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences.

The specific objectives of the course are to develop: an understanding of how coasts ‘work’; an appreciation of the role of humans in coastal systems; and a familiarity with past and current practice and ongoing developments.

To take this course, you will need access to a computer with a fast internet connection. The course uses the Blackboard learning environment and the modules are delivered using online lectures, including practical and tutorial material. Students and staff interact via email, discussion boards, online chat and telephone. You will find that this course is much more flexible than traditional on-campus university courses as you can study using your own computer and the internet, at your own pace, any place and any time (within given timeframes).


Fully online - part-time by distance learning. You do not need to visit Ulster at any stage to successfully complete this course.

The Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) Coastal Zone Management and the Master of Science (MSc) Coastal Zone Management are linked courses. You must successfully complete the PgDip (120 credit points) before transferring to the MSc (a further 60 credit points), i.e. to get the full MSc you complete 180 credit points in total.

The PgDip takes two years part-time (4 semesters) as one module is taken each semester. Modules are available on a two year rotational basis so the order in which they are studied is dependent upon when you start the course.

For the MSc an additional two semesters are required to complete the project module i.e. three years in total part-time. (6 semesters).

Start dates

  • September 2016
  • January 2017
How to apply


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

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Year one

Environmental data analysis

Year: 1

This module will provide new and synthesise existing knowledge and skills necessary to understand and analyse environmental data. Statistics, environmental modelling, geographical information systems and presentation skills will all be taught and demonstrated. The students will put this knowledge into action in the form of worked examples and assessments. Knowledge and evaluation techniques are provided in lectures, skills developed during worked examples and demonstrated by assessments

Management of coastal water resources

Year: 1

This module introduces the physical, ecological cultural and socio-economic characteristics of coastal water resources (estuaries, lagoons, reefs, inner shelf environments). It investigates the temporal and spatial variation in these resources and assesses contemporary patterns of human use in this context. Contemporary approaches to coastal water resource management are introduced and discussed.

Year two

Environmental Impact Assessment

Year: 2

This module introduces the concepts and requirements of environmental impact assessment, the methodology of planning and carrying out an environmental audit and the use of environmental management systems.

Geography and management of coastal land resources

Year: 2

This module introduces the physical, ecological cultural and socio-economic characteristics of coastal land resources (beaches, dunes, tidal flats, salt marshes and cliff-shore platform systems). It investigates the temporal and spatial variation in these resources and assesses contemporary patterns of human use in this context. Contemporary approaches to coastal management are introduced and discussed.

Year three

Coastal zone management project

Year: 3

This module requires the student to pursue an independent piece of research into an issue in coastal management. A project plan, review of existing knowledge and data gathering and interpretation conclude in the presentation of a dissertation.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

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Entry Requirements

Entry to the PgDip:
You must hold a degree in a science or other suitable discipline or demonstrate your ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning.

Entry to the MSc:
You initially register for the Postgraduate Diploma (PgDip) and if you complete the PgDip with an overall mark of 50% or higher can proceed to the MSc programme.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Teaching and learning assessment

Assessment is 100% by course work (no sessional examinations); a mixture of methods including practical reports, problem analysis, projects, literature reviews and essays, class tests, group work and a research project.

Students are able to use the University's extensive online resources of electronic journals, books and databases.

Careers & opportunities

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Career options

Currently Coastal Zone Management experts are employed in local authorities, national and regional governments, international organisations including development agencies, academic and research institutes and private consultancies. Many of those on the course work in these areas and take the course for further specialisation or career advancement.

Professional recognition

Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES)

Accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) for the purpose of eligibility to apply for associate membership.


You can apply online here.

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2016
  • January 2017

Fees and funding

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Fees (total cost)

Northern Ireland & EU:

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course. 

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees. 

Please contact the course team for more information.


Course Director: Professor Andrew Cooper
T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4429

For admission enquiries contact the Faculty Office:

T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4159