Marine Environment Plus, Erasmus Mundus Master Degree (MER+)

March 15, 2019

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Location (s):

  • Belgium
  • France
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
Liège, Bordeaux, Bizkaia, Southampton


The European MSc in Marine EnviRonment (MER+ EMJMD) is a Joint European MSc programme focused on the marine environment and its protection, conservation and valorisation, conceived by four leading universities in the field of the marine environment (U Southampton, U Bordeaux, U Liège, U Basque Country) with the invaluable contribution of a global network of Associates.


About the MER+ EMJMD

The MER+ EMJMD is the result of the experience achieved by the MER Consortium along with preceding Joint MSc programmes. The MER+ EMJMD stems from the currently ongoing European MSc in Marine Environment and Resources (MER EMMC), which was started in academic year 2006-2007, as an integrated Joint MSc Programme of high quality initially recognised and funded by National programmes (Top Master in Basque Government ranking 2007-2011; the Spanish Education Ministry Quality Award 2007-2012; the Spanish Education Ministry Mention to Excellence 2011-2014), the Cooperative French-Spanish MSc support programme (Ministries of Foreign Affairs; 2011-2013), and the Mediterranean Office for Youth (MOY) Label 2012-2014. Since the academic year 2012-2013 it has been running under the Erasmus Mundus (later on Erasmus+) brand, which allowed us to successfully make the master programme more accessible to students all over world.

Though our aim at the dawn of the MER programme was to cover marine environment and resources areas altogether, during the past years of intense joint endeavour we have biased towards our most recognised academic and scientific strength, the marine environment and its protection, conservation and the ecosystem services it provides, as well as its reciprocal interactions with ocean resources.

Needs analysis

Although the socio-economic relevance of the aforementioned issues may often remain underrated by society, mankind impact on the marine environment is all too frequently demonstrated. Oils spill response (Exxon, Erika, Prestige, Deep Sea Horizon) requires the interdisciplinary input of multidisciplinary staff, including oceanographers, marine biologists, chemists, geologists, and environmental and resource managers. Climate change effects, such as surface seawater warming, sea-level raising and ocean acidification and eutrophication, are a matter of increasing concern for governments, scientists and society. These are exemplary problems; none can be solved separately.

OECD has recently recognised (The Ocean Economy in 2030, OECD 2016) that growth prospects for the ocean economy and its potential for employment creation will be successful only if ocean health is duly preserved. The growth of a number of marine industries over recent decades, such as offshore renewables and aquaculture, points to greater levels of exploitation and hence demand for trained staff who understand the marine environment.

Companies, consultancies, agencies, and research institutions are committed to the compliance of international recommendations and conventions, together with European Directives and regulations. Both public and private sectors require high quality graduates, who can make a difference in the management of the marine environment.

Against the above background, there is a need for training in: the understanding of the marine environment and the consequences of climate change; the sustainable management of the coastal zone; the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems, against pollution and other human threats; and the conservation of biodiversity and ocean natural heritage.

Aims & ObjectivesAims:

The programme is aimed at:

  • forming multidisciplinary graduates of transverse research profile in a fully integrated world class EU MSc programme.
  • developing the student’s critical understanding of technical and scientific tools together with excellent management abilities and personal skills;
  • achieving high academic standards, which is supported by recognised quality assurance (QA) procedures;
  • promoting both staff exchange and student mobility under a balanced ECTS scheme. 

General objectives:

  • To achieve postgraduate education of academic excellence in the marine environment field, with solid conceptual foundations and innovative practical components on the basis of a translational science approach, not available elsewhere in Europe. Accordingly, all the students receive advanced information in diverse disciplines, with contents ranging from cellular and molecular biology, to large-scale processes, or management; this is in agreement with UN statements and EU Directives .
  • To enhance internationalisation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) through promoting its attractiveness for the best students worldwide and providing EU students with invaluable opportunities to follow a part of the programme abroad.
  • To improve the level of competences and skills of postgraduate students to study independently and manage a comprehensive project, by means of the research component of the programme; thus fostering leadership in marine environment research, consultancy and management.
  • To promote professionalism, entrepreneurship and employability of postgraduates, as well as the social projections of careers in the field of the marine environment.

Main features

  • A high quality postgraduate education in marine environment on the basis of practical, analytical and numerical approaches.
  • A postgraduate degree with a strong research element, at internationally recognised training centres in marine science.
  • Advanced training in marine observation and exploration techniques, laboratory analyses and mathematical modelling.
  • Opportunities to develop key skills in marine data processing and analysis, with research experience gained through an individual advanced research project.
  • Direct experience of work on a sustained research project at the forefront of marine environment knowledge.
  • Opportunities to train alongside world class scientists in a research-led environment.
  • Vocational training for a professional career in industries related to the marine environment protection and management.
  • A sound and suitable qualification that would enable you to proceed to a more specialist higher degree at the PhD level.
  • Opportunities to develop critical and analytical problem-solving powers and the ability to communicate results to non-specialists.
  • Opportunities to develop a range of generic skills including: critical and reflective thinking, articulate communication and the skills of literacy and numeracy.
  • A high quality and intellectually stimulating experience of learning in supportive environments.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

The MER Consortium JPB is responsible for the coordination of admissions between Partner Universities and will follow the policy and procedures provided by the University Academic Board (UAB), for each Partner University. Each UAB is sovereign and will provide policy and procedures according to its own university rules.

  • The Programme is open to holders of a first cycle higher education degree (Bachelor degree, or equivalent) from Programme and Partner Country universities, in the field of biosciences, chemical sciences, geosciences, physical sciences and engineering. As such, the MER+ EMJMD acts as a conversion for aspiring marine environment scientists.
  • The relevance of the BSc degree (or equivalent) of the Applicant will be assessed. In cases of doubt regarding the quality of the issuing institution, external advisors will be consulted, in order to establish the status and quality of the institution concerned. In certain cases, the MER Consortium JPB can verify the student qualifications using Internet search networks, or through the collaboration of Associated Partners.
  • Proof of proficiency in English is essential. Proficiency in French, Spanish and/or Basque is optional.
  • Specific individual requirements will be established for each Applicant, according to his/her qualifications/prior learning, selected courses and expected academic and professional prospects. These specific requirements will be defined individually, by a system of mentor assignment to pre-registered Applicants.
  • Students will be selected based upon the quality of their degree, the level of the marks obtained in previous studies and the relevance of the competences and skill acquired during the BSc studies in relation to the MER+ EMJMD programme.
  • The Letter of Statement (where the Applicant explains his/her background, why MER+ EMJMD has been selected, and his/her prospects for the future) is a relevant criterion.
  • Relevance of work experience, motivation, and future career objectives, as well as any additional information provided in the mentor’s report, will also be taken into consideration in reaching a final decision.

Additionally, applicants will need to:

  1. Accept (it may be conditionally) the Revised Study Plan; this is proposed by the MER Consortium JPB Chair upon revision of the documents, information and Proposed Study Plan provided by the applicant, only to identify the applicant’s academic profile.
  2. Accept the Student Agreement Draft (SAD); this is a non-signed on-line full draft version of the future Draft Agreement which upon acceptance by the applicants is considered as a proof that they know the rules, conditions, commitments, rights and duties, as well as the administrative, academic and economical main questions dealing with the MER+ EMJMD programme they are willing to enrol if selected. The SAD is not a entailing document. The definitive legally binding Student Agreement will be signed by the selected students and the MER Consortium JPB Chair in two originals at the time of enrolment or later, and can be revised by common agreement.
  3. Indicate on the application whether they are applying for a scholarship, the nationality (including a copy of the passport as a proof, which is relevant in the case of those applicant with double/multiple nationality; only one must be selected), the residence country (including an official certificated proof), and a declaration of being in compliance with call-specific regulations (e.g., the 12-months Rule).

Offers will be made only to those Applicants that satisfy the requirements for entry, as set out above, for whom the supplemental information is deemed satisfactory according to the MER Consortium JPB. All members of the JPB have to agree to the admission of an Applicant, so that there is shared understanding and agreement on the calibre of applicants acceptable onto the Programme. If one member of the MER Consortium JPB does not wish to admit an Applicant, that Applicant will not be admitted to the Programme.


Deadline: March 15, 2019

Cost/funding for participants:

Erasmus+ Student Scholarships

Erasmus+ Student Scholarship covers participation costs (including tuition fees, insurance coverage, programme specific costs, etc.), travel and installation cost contribution, and monthly allowance.

Erasmus Mundus scholarships are intended for full-time studies only.

Students can apply for an EM scholarship even if they have not yet completed the studies required by the MER Consortium for the joint programme. They must however have completed the relevant degree before the enrolment deadline in the joint MER+ EMJMD programme.

Student benefitting from an Erasmus+ scholarship can benefit from other non-EU funded support while performing his/her Erasmus+ joint programme activities (e.g. student jobs or placement/internship allowances) if the national legislation of the host country permits it.

The basic and only rule in this case is that a Community funding beneficiary can never benefit from other Community financial support for the same activities for which he/she has already received funding.

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