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 two years in duration, comprising coursework in the first year and thesis research in the second year.


The MPhil in Oceanography and Limnology is geared towards training qualified limnologists and oceanographers who will be able to apply principles of limnology and oceanography to solving current socio-ecological problems for sustainable development. The programme is also expected to produce highly motivated aquatic resource managers and planners with a critical scientific knowledge necessary for understanding the risks and benefits of freshwater and marine ecosystems management decisions.

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 will 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 review 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 for an award of MPhil degree in Oceanography and Limnology.


The minimum admission requirement for the MPhil in Oceanography and Limnology is a first degree (Second Class Lower Division or equivalent) in a relevant Science or Engineering discipline, from a recognised university. In addition, the applicant must demonstrate strong interest in research, development and innovation in science and technology.

Target Group

Candidates with background in oceanography and limnology related fields such as marine meteorology, coastal engineering and processes, geomorphology and aquatic ecology

Expected Output

  1. Trained middle-level manpower to assist with teaching, research and extension in tertiary and other research institutions.
  2. Personnel with engineering capacities in the oceanographic and related fields produced.
  3. Trained graduates capable of using oceanographical and limnological modelling to address contemporary issues.

Progression Requirements 

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

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

Graduation Requirements 

Candidates will be considered successful if his/her MPhil thesis:

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

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

Goal / Aim / Objectives: 

The main goal of the MPhil programme in Oceanography and Limnology is to produce a high level personnel for the sustainable management aquatic ecosystems.

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

  1. apply the acquired knowledge and research methods to analyse and address socio-ecological problems associated with aquatic systems and contribute to sustainable development. 
  2. pursue a higher degree in Oceanography and Limnology or related fields.

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 821: Physical and Biological Limnology
3 Credit(s)

The nature of lakes, rivers and catchment areas will be described; the processes leading to formation of lakes, and lake morphometry shall also be described. The vertical illumination of water bodies and extinction coefficient will be explained as well as the description of temperature stratification and its effects on the distribution of organisms. Roles of sediment in deep and shallow lakes, depth in the distribution of communities in a lake or river shall be discussed. The course will also discuss lake fertility and hypolimnetic oxygen depletion. This course shall also examine the diversity and functions of plankton, neuston, nekton, and benthos in freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater macrophytes and associated invertebrates, and weed-bed communities, e.g. epiphytic algae and bacteria will be studied. 

FAS 823: Marine Environment
3 Credit(s)

The ocean and marginal seas shall be described. Also to be described are the topography and structure of the ocean floor, general properties of seawater, and the patterns and causes of circulation in the open sea. The effect of seawater density and deep circulation will be discussed. The nature of waves and the shoreline tides will be described as well as coral reef biodiversity and productivity.

FAS 824: Organisms of the Open Sea
3 Credit(s)

This course will deal with life in the open sea and will examine plankton and their distribution and vertical migration of zooplankton. The nekton represented by cephalopods, fishes, birds, reptiles and mammals shall be studied for aspects of their biology.

Second Semester

FAS 825: Marine Benthos
3 Credit(s)

Examines the diversity of benthic marine invertebrates, seaweeds, sea grasses, and benthic microorganisms. Benthic habitats are also studied.

FAS 826: Pollution of Aquatic Ecosystems
3 Credit(s)

The course will discuss the sources of aquatic pollution. Toxic substances and oil pollution will be discussed. Nutrient input and eutrophication, and thermal pollution shall be highlighted. The course would also discuss global environmental change and the ocean.

FAS 827: Oceanographic and Limnological Methods
3 Credit(s)

Water sampling methods and determination of some physico-chemical parameters of aquatic habitats shall be dealt with; sampling and enumeration of plankton and plankton productivity, using the “light and dark” bottle method, chlorophyll-a concentration and biomass estimates will be studied. Sampling of benthos and determination of productivity of benthic faunal populations using the removal-summation, instantaneous growth, Allen curve, and Hynes methods will be studied. Analysis of substrate particle size would also be carried out.

FAS 828: Current Research and Communication in Oceanography and Limnology
3 Credit(s)

Students will be required to read current research papers in various aspects of oceanography and limnology, paying particular attention to the methodology, presentation of results and discussions. Students would give talks on the papers at seminars. 

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 899C: Thesis research in Oceanography and Limnology
15 Credit(s)

Students will undertake a field and or laboratory research project in any aspect of fisheries science and present a thesis. 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 899C: Thesis research in Oceanography and Limnology
15 Credit(s)

Students will undertake a field and or laboratory research project in any aspect of fisheries science and present a thesis. 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.