Master of Arts in Ocean Governance

General information

Ocean Governance is a topic of increasing significance and concern in the 21st century. The 1982 UN Law of the Sea Convention and other International law instruments are useful tools that safeguard the rule of International Maritime law. Notwithstanding their valuable contribution emerging international concerns, essentially based on the escalating crisis of unsustainability, instigate an urgent need to explore new trans-disciplinary approaches on ocean governance,. Evidently, a more comprehensive, legal framework is required to improve the manner in which States and their nationals maintain the rule of law in marine areas beyond national jurisdiction and in regulating anthropogenic activities affecting the ocean and its resources. Emerging issues and threats, such as global maritime security, the sustainable use of the oceans and their resources, as well as linkages between natural sciences, socio-economic requirements and the law, necessitate a multidisciplinary approach for promoting learning and research on ocean governance.

This Master’s degree programme on Ocean Governance being offered by the University of Malta in collaboration with the International Ocean Institute is unique in its approach – it aims to forge a knowledge base that is essentially legal but which also delves into the natural and social sciences to determine how an effective regulatory framework should operate. The Master’s in Ocean Governance serves to further enhance the development of learning and research in the field of marine resource management and maritime security from a multidisciplinary perspective. In this era of globalization and sectoral integration, capacity building in the regulation of ocean governance plays a pivotal role in ensuring safe and healthy oceans for the benefit of humankind and the planet. 

The programme is delivered over 13 months of study. The Taught Component of the programme is  composed of 12 Study Units. Each study unit within the taught component has a value of 5 ECTS. The research component (30 ECTS) comprises the writing of a dissertation (approx. 25.000 words) on a topic related to ocean governance chosen by the student and approved by the Master’s degree programme Board of Studies. 


Participants will:

  • Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the current scientific, technical, administrative and legal framework concerned with ocean governance,
  • Comprehend key emerging legal and policy issues requiring an effective regulatory and institutional response and the political challenges to advance reform in ocean governance.

The programme would enhance intellectual development through the comprehension of:

  • Qualitative and quantitative research methods applicable in the scientific, technical, administrative and legal dimension of ocean governance,
  • The interdisciplinary and comparative approach to ocean governance,
  • Evaluation methods of current scientific knowledge, economic models, policy and legal tools,
  • Political thinking affecting the marine environment, marine living and non-living resources,
  • Anthropological and social aspects affecting the marine environment,

Study Units

  • The Contemporary Definition of Ocean Governance
  • The Marine Environment: biological patterns, processes & resources
  • Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods
  • Marine Resource Economics & Fundamentals of Sustainability
  • Earth Observation of marine/coastal processes and trends
  • The Law of the Sea
  • International Marine Dispute Settlement
  • Regulating Sustainable Use of the Oceans
  • Regulation & Governance for the Conservation of Living Marine Resources
  • Contemporary Threats to Maritime Security 
  • The Human Element of Maritime Crime: Migrant Smuggling, Human Trafficking & Stowaways
  • Ocean Policy Making
  • Research Component


Learning outcome:

Students who are successful and obtain this Master’s degree will be able to: 

  • Identify contemporary scientific, socio economic, policy and legal issues relating to ocean governance
  • Address underlying problems and learn from success stories in the regional and international governance of living marine resources.
  • Apply legal instruments and management skills as a response to scientific information and technology as tools for good governance of the oceans
  • Apply thematic principles that aim at sustainability of the oceans' namely the ecosystem approach, the precautionary approach, the integrated approach in policy making and the negotiation/formulation of regulatory instruments
  • Apply the requisite and applicable legal framework in negotiation, decision making and dispute settlement
  • Synthesize the fundamental steps for a multi disciplinary approach in policy making and regulation of sound ocean governance
  • Analyze the complexities of meeting stakeholders’ competing interests in ocean governance 
  • Evaluate the options that lead to successful negotiation re the above
  • Analyze the requirements for effective conflict resolution and dispute settlement


The highlighted icons, represent the fields of education (in compliance with ISCED Classification) engaged during this course/programme.

0312 - Policy and governance", "0421 - Marine and maritime law", "0522 - Conservation and environmental management


Venue: University of Malta
Malta, Malta

Valletta Campus


Open from
2 May 2019 to 30 Sep 2019


Local/EU/EEA Applicants:Total Tuition Fees: Eur 9,500

Non-EU/Non-EEA Applicants:Total Tuition Fees: Eur 9,500

These tuition fees are quoted for indicative purposes only as they are based on the programme of studies of 2018/9.


The Course shall be open to applicants in possession of a first cycle degree in an area of study which the Board of Studies considers as appropriate, provided that the first cycle degree is obtained with a Second Class Honours or better classification, or an equivalent qualification. 

The admission requirements are applicable for courses commencing in October 2018. 

Degree Requirements 
A first cycle degree in an area of study which the Board of Studies considers as appropriate, provided that the first cycle degree is obtained with a Second Class Honours or better classification, or an equivalent qualification.

Language Requirements 
Applicants whose undergraduate degree was not completed in English must demonstrate proficiency in English:

  • TOEFL: iBT 95 (with a writing score of at least 24)
  • IELTS: 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each element)
  • Cambridge: Advanced Certificate (a pass at a Grade C or better is required).

Application Procedure:

You can apply for this programme using the online application system.

The applicants are required to submit the following documents:


  • A recognised bachelor's honours degree (which the Board of Studies considers as appropriate),at second class or better is required for this programme.(For students who hold an American undergraduate degree a B.A. or B.S degree in a relevant area of study). Please submit two copies of official transcripts (in sealed envelopes from the institutions) from all post secondary institutions attended. These may be sent directly from the institution to the University of Malta using the postal address below*
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Copy of Passport or I.D. card
  • A Secure English Language Test (SELT) result from one of the University’s approved Examining Boards or a declaration from your local Test Centre confirming when you will be taking such a test. To verify whether you already satisfy the requirements, please click here.

Applicants: who are citizens or have lived for at least 5 years in a country where English is the native language; or who have studied at a school or university where English is the native language, will be exempted from the English requirement. For more info click here.

Upon submission of the application, applicants receive an automatically-generated email, reminding them to submit the above documentation in support of their application. Applicants may send a scanned copy of the requested documents by email to or As soon as the documents are received the application will be processed and after the decision is issued applicants will be asked to submit their original documents for authentication. It is recommended that applicants do not wait until they have the final transcript to submit their on line application. Original or copy of the documents can be send after the application is submitted.

All documents should be sent to:

Board of Studies: MA OG
International Collaborative Programmes
Valletta Campus,
University of Malta
St.Paul’s Street
Valletta, VLT 1216,
Malta (Europe)

Info for appliccants with international qualifications

UM currently hosts over 1,000 full-time international students and over 450 visiting students. The ever-increasing international students coming from various countries, in recent years, have transformed this 400-year old institution into an international campus.

Our international students generally describe Malta as a safe place, enjoying excellent weather and an all-year varied cultural programme. Malta is considered as the ideal place for students to study.

The International Office at UM provides information about admission, English language requirements, and comparability of qualifications. Dedicated personnel assist international students with visas, health tests, accommodation and other related issues.

Grant Opportunities:

For the coming academic year the University of Malta is pleased to offer a partial scholarship of 4.000 Euros to the first 15 accepted students. The scholarship is open to all applicants who receive a conditional or unconditional offer to study for this course at the University of Malta.


Academic level: Master

Qualification: Master of Arts

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