Degree Type: 

Master of Philosophy


Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences

Programme Duration: 

2 years (Standard Entry)

Modes of Study: 


About Programme: 

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme is a two-year programme, comprising coursework in the first year and thesis research in the second year.


Ghana’s coastal areas are home to about one-third of the country’s population. Over 50% of the country’s GDP is generated from coastal resources. The coast hosts major cities, ports, agro-industries, fisheries, offshore petroleum exploration and production. Despite these benefits, the coastal zones are faced with growing challenges. For example, pollution of vital coastal ecosystems are limiting economic growth, and declining livelihoods of the coastal populations. The M.Phil. programme is therefore designed to promote socio-economic development in coastal areas and address the growing challenges afflicting coastal development in the country.  

Entry Requirements: 

Admission Requirements: 


1. Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences with a Second Class Lower Division or higher
2. Bachelor's degree in Aquatic Sciences and/or Fisheries Science related course with a Second Class Lower Division or higher
3. In addition, candidates must pass an oral interview

Specific requirements for graduation: 

The course work assessment during the first year is based on assignments, reports from practical work as well as quizzes. These form 40% of the total exam mark. The End of Semester examinations constitute 60% of the total mark. A thesis research in the second year starts after successfully completing the course work. Departmental seminar presentations are held to ascertain students’ progress and to allow faculty and other students make relevant inputs. The thesis is subjected to both external and internal reviews after submission by the student. If successful, an oral examination (viva) is held for the student. Upon successful defence, the department then recommends to the School of Graduate Studies to consider awarding the candidate an MPhil degree in Integrated Coastal Zone Management.


The minimum admission requirement for the MPhil in Integrated Coastal Zone Management is a first degree (Second Class Lower Division or equivalent) in a relevant natural/social science discipline, from a recognised university. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate strong interest in research, development and innovation in the science of the coastal zone, as well as the ability to study and conduct research optimally and independently in an international and multidisciplinary environment.

Target Group

  • Qualified Ghanaians and international candidates with a background in Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Fisheries Science, Oceanography and other related Biological Science programmes as well as Social Science programmes such as Geography and Economics.
  • First-degree holders in Biological and Social Science and analogous qualifications.
  • Workers of NGOs that are engaged in Integrated Coastal Zone Management

 Expected Output

  • Trained middle-level manpower in the area of coastal zone management to assist with teaching and research in tertiary institutions.
  • Personnel with managerial capacities in the coastal zone management and related fields produced.
  • Graduates capable of training lower level personnel in coastal zone management produced

Progression Requirements 

For progression from Year 1 to Year 2, students should:

  1. Obtain a minimum grade of C in all first year courses 
  2. Present their research proposals successfully in a seminar  
  3. Must make good progress on the research activities and submit one progress report to the Department and UCC School of Graduate Studies (SGS)
  4. Must participate in at least 75% of the regular seminars organized by Department and SGS

Graduation Requirements 

A candidates will be considered successful if his/her MPhil thesis:

  1. Passes both internal and external assessment (60% minimum score)
  2. Is successfully defended in a viva voce (60% minimum score)

In addition, candidate must satisfy all SGS and UCC requirement.

Goal / Aim / Objectives: 

The goal of the M.Phil. Programme in ICZM is to train middle and senior-level manpower to address the challenges within the coastal sector with emphasis on the principles and practice of integrated coastal management for sustainable development.  

At the end of the programme, graduates will be able to:   

  1. conduct research in marine, brackish water and freshwater ecosystems to assist decision makers to formulate policies on sustainable exploitation  and management of marine and coastal resources; 
  2. advocate for the sustainable use, management, and conservation of marine and coastal resources; 
  3. use techniques in Integrated Coastal Zone Management to assist coastal communities to improve their livelihood; and
  4. optimize national benefits from marine and coastal environments through the development of soft and hard skills in spatial planning, engineering, blue economy and governance

Career Opportunities: 

You can find jobs in the following areas:

  1. Government agencies like Fisheries Ministry
  2. NGOs engaged in aquatic environmental campaign
  3. Industries in fish processing and canning
  4. Firms engaged in commercial fishing.

Programme Structure

Level 800

First Semester

FAS 831: Topics in Marine Ecology
3 Credit(s)

This course would involve a study of ecological principles as they apply to marine species, populations, and ecosystems using current examples from the primary literature and the Internet, including contemporary issues such as biodiversity change, pollution as well as coastal and marine protected areas

FAS 832: Coastal Zone Habitats and Coastal Processes
3 Credit(s)

This course defines the coastal zone and examines the different habitats or ecosystem types within the coastal zone. Important coastal forces and processes such as hurricanes, coastal storms, winds, waves, tides, currents, sediment transport and long shore drifts, sea level rise and coastal hydrologic cycle are highlighted in detail.  The coastal zone and coastal processes of West Africa and other regions are discussed.

FAS 833: Contemporary Global Ocean and Coastal Policy
3 Credit(s)

This course will deal with International developments in integrated coastal management by focusing on the Law of the Sea Convention, UNCED 1992, the UNEP Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine environment from Land-based Activities (UNEP-GPA), Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, and the International Coral Reef Initiative. International guidelines in ICZM patterns of ICZM around the world shall be emphasized. Extensive use of the Internet will be required for this course.

FAS 836: Coastal Resource Management
3 Credit(s)

Coastal resources, such as fisheries, mangroves, minerals, oil/gas will be described and guidelines for their management discussed. Participatory methods in community-based coastal resource management will be studied. 

Second Semester

FAS 837: Coastal Management Case Studies
3 Credit(s)

Students would be required to search for information on coastal and ocean management practices in Ghana and other African countries, Southeast Asia, North and South America, EU, and small island developing states (SIDS). Institutional, intergovernmental, legal and financial considerations would be emphasized.

FAS 838: Research Methods in ICZM
3 Credit(s)

This course involves training in communication and information technology, and conventional and rapid appraisal methods of assessment of coastal environments (RACE) for acquisition of primary and secondary data. Students will also be introduced to environmental assessment techniques and economic valuation methods, training in the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS), techniques for coastal management and planning. It will introduce students to proposal writing, budgeting and research planning, as well as data collection and processing. Application of statistics to the analysis of data and how inferences are made from data will be discussed. Students will be expected to undertake some practical work, which applies the classroom knowledge to field experience.

FAS 839: Current Research and Communication in Integrated Coastal Management
3 Credit(s)

Students will be required to read current research papers in various aspects of integrated coastal management, with particular emphasis on the methodology, presentation of results and discussions. Students would make presentations on the papers at seminars. 

FAS 840: Project Appraisal
3 Credit(s)

The course is designed to cover financial appraisal of projects, cycle and sequence of project development, and static and dynamic measures of project appraisal. The students learn about the tools of project appraisal and how to apply them in economic, financial and social projects. It also introduces the rationale for social cost-benefit analysis, the concept of shadow pricing, treatment of risk and uncertainty in project evaluation, evaluates alternative approaches to project appraisal, and uses and abuses of project appraisal.

FAS 841: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Coastal Communities
3 Credit(s)

This is an advanced course that builds on the introductory course in climate change issues at the undergraduate level. It emphasises mitigation and adaptation measures for minimizing the impact of climate change in coastal communities. Students are guided to evaluate trends in the indicators of climate change and their possible effects on coastal communities identified and analysed. The course also guides students to assess the vulnerability of communities and their capacity for dealing with the effects of climate change. Students are engaged in developing skills and tools for communicating climate change issues. A short project on climate change issues will be undertaken by students and report submitted at the end of the course.

Level 900

First Semester

FAS 800A: Seminar I
3 Credit(s)

presentation of thesis proposal

FAS 899D: Thesis Research in Integrated Coastal Management
15 Credit(s)

Students would be required to carry out projects on coastal profiles that elicit information on the existing environmental, socio-cultural and economic conditions in the coastal environment, etc. It is also required that students make at least two seminar presentations during the research and thesis preparation, as well as an oral defense of the thesis.

Second Semester

FAS 800B: Seminar II
3 Credit(s)

Presentation of final research output before submission of thesis for examination

FAS 899D: Thesis Research in Integrated Coastal Management
15 Credit(s)

Students would be required to carry out projects on coastal profiles that elicit information on the existing environmental, socio-cultural and economic conditions in the coastal environment, etc. It is also required that students make at least two seminar presentations during the research and thesis preparation, as well as an oral defense of the thesis.