Master of Arts in Ocean Governance


Program Description

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 to 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.

Learning Outcomes

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.

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 the 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 multidisciplinary 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 regarding the above;
  • Analyze the requirements for effective conflict resolution and dispute settlement.

Career Opportunities

This programme would provide the added value of an academic degree promoting a knowledge base for policymakers and practitioners in the maritime field.

Course intended for

Persons who are interested in the maritime sector or the marine environment.

Admission and Progression Requirements

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 2019.

Last updated Apr 2019

About the School

The University of Malta (UM) is the highest teaching institution in Malta. It is publicly funded and is open to all those who have the requisite qualifications. There are some 11,000 students and abou ... Read More

The University of Malta (UM) is the highest teaching institution in Malta. It is publicly funded and is open to all those who have the requisite qualifications. There are some 11,000 students and about twelve per cent of the student population is international. Read less