Master in Marine Sciences

Covering some 71% of the Earth's surface and encompassing 90% of the biosphere, our oceans are essential to the dynamics of the "Earth system". This is reflected in the key role they play in regulating major biogeochemical cycles and climate. Oceans also make a major contribution to economic prosperity, social wellbeing and quality of life for many human societies. However, with over 60% of the world's population living close to a coastline – a figure that is constantly rising – marine environments are facing a growing number of threats, such as climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, the introduction of exotic species and the over-exploitation of resources.


Hundreds of thousands of species inhabit our oceans, but not all are known, and others are exploited, vulnerable or threatened.  It is therefore essential to study all components of this biodiversity, including its functioning from the coast to the open sea, from the surface to the deep sea, from the tropics to temperate and polar environments.

With this in mind, the two-year Marine Sciences Master's program trains highly qualified oceanographers in the fields of biological oceanography, marine ecology and biogeochemistry in an interdisciplinary context. The program should enable students to tackle the major challenges facing marine environments (global change and biodiversity conservation), through interdisciplinary approaches covering scales from the most local to the most global.

The program draws directly on the University's research units located on the Paris campus and in the three marine stations of Banyuls-sur-mer, Roscoff and Villefranche-sur-mer. These unique research facilities boast a wide range of skills, covering the main scientific fields in the areas studied. Ensuring immersion in outstanding research laboratories and providing students with logistical access to marine environments, are essential components of the skills they will acquire.

The course offers two pathways:

The program is open to international students and welcomes those enrolled in the European program International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea). Some of our courses are therefore taught in English.


First year

The first semester of the first year (M1-S1) is the same for all students in the specialization. It takes place entirely on the Paris campus. The program includes the Teaching Units (TUs) common to the "Sciences de l'Univers, Environnement, Écologie" training department (taught in French) and fundamental oceanography TUs specific to the "Sciences de la Mer" training department (taught partly in English).

The second semester of the first year (M1-S2) gives students the opportunity to begin specializing in their chosen field. In addition to common courses, it includes:

  • an oceanography UE to be chosen on campus,
  • a practical course to develop the concepts acquired in the on-campus courses; to be chosen from the courses offered at the university's marine stations,
  • an introductory course in laboratory research.

The courses take place on the Paris campus from January to mid-March, followed by six weeks at one of the marine stations, depending on the student's choice.

The first-year teaching contract ends with the defense of the introductory research internship, which takes place in the same week as the master's thesis defense. This week-long colloquium provides an opportunity for the two cohorts of students to meet.

During the summer months, six summer courses are organized at marine stations. These courses, which are not part of the teaching program, enable students to complete their training in specific areas (taxonomy, statistics, scientific diving). Courses are taught in French or English (when non-French-speaking students attend).

Second year

Semester 3 (M2-S3) is divided into two courses. Choosing one of these courses requires 21 ECTS credits.

  • Pathway Marine Ecosystem Functioning and Global Change
  • Course Biodiversity and conservation of marine ecosystems.

The two courses in the third semester are designed to enable students, after a common grounding in the fundamentals of oceanography, to specialize in areas of expertise that will allow them to obtain funding for a thesis or to enter the workforce more directly. The courses are in line with current research structures, as reflected in major national and international programs.

As this semester is also offered to students of the European "International Master of Science in Marine Biological Resources (IMBRSea)" program, lessons are taken in English.

Semester 4 of Year 2 begins at the start of the academic year in January, and is entirely devoted to the end-of-master's internship (6 months in a laboratory or company), credited with 30 ECTS. It culminates in the writing and presentation of a master's thesis.



  • Understand the mechanisms that govern the structure and functioning of marine ecosystems at different spatial and temporal scales;
  • Understand the physical, chemical and biological processes that regulate the major biogeochemical cycles;
  • Master methods for studying and analyzing the marine environment;
  • Understand and assess human impact on marine ecological systems, from populations to ecosystems and the biosphere.


Target audience and admission procedures

To apply for our training program, you need a basic bachelor's degree in biology, ecology, earth and environmental sciences, chemistry, or an equivalent diploma.

Recruitment is based on a written application, which may be supplemented by a telephone interview.


Job opportunities

For a some students, this training leads to the preparation of a doctorate, followed by a career in research, not only in France in the major public organizations for fundamental or applied research (Universities, CNRS, IFREMER, IRD, MNHN, etc.), but also abroad (mainly Universities). In addition to the methodological expertise students will acquire, these courses raise their awareness of the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems and environmental management. This ensures a wide range of career opportunities in consultancies, local authorities, environmental units of public or private companies, NGOs, etc.