Master of Physical Oceanography (8518)

 Page under construction for 2022.  Visit page mid October.

The Masters in Physical Oceanography caters to graduates in Science, Engineering and cognate disciplines seeking advanced training in the theory and understanding of physical processes in the ocean. The Masters provides a means of tailoring students’ knowledge base to enhance their perceived employment or promotion opportunities by equipping them with a range of skills demanded by employers in Australia’s growing Blue Economy. The Masters will be a foundation for students wishing to extend their studies at PhD level and is the largest of an articulated suite of nested programs in Physical Oceanography at UNSW Sydney.

The Masters offers advanced disciplinary courses designed to reflect current practices in the field of Physical Oceanography, within the framework of academic knowledge and critical thinking. Each course aims to build student capacity to investigate, analyse and synthesise complex or conflicting information in a timely fashion. Students will also undertake a major research project where they will bring together various aspects of their coursework and extend their knowledge and investigation skills.

Appropriate quantitative, computational, and technical skills will be developed where required, and students will be taught to apply skills, technologies and thinking to current industry issues and to communicate these effectively.  

Entry Requirements

To enter the Master of Physical Oceanography program, students must:

  • be enrolled in the 5518 Graduate Diploma of Physical Oceanography program; or,
  • have completed an undergradate qualification with a mathematics major, and honours specialising in Physical Oceanography could enter the program with advanced standing. 


A formal application must be made online. It must include a copy of the past academic transcripts of the applicant, as well as any relevant information (work experience, certificates, etc.) evidencing the aptitude of the applicant to undertake the program.

Entry to this program is available from 2022 in February (Term 1), June (Term 2) or September (Term 3). Applicants must be aware of the application closing dates.  


Information on fees and commonwealth support can be found via this website.

For international applicants, please refer to International Fees

Program structure 

A full-time student should complete the Masters program over 4 to 5 successive terms. The number of courses undertaken on each term remains at the discretion of the student, provided that it does not exceed the normal full load of study (maximum18 UoC on any given term). This structure is flexible. In particular, part-time students are free to reshape it over more than five terms in the most suitable way for them, provided that it stays in agreement with the relevant University policies.  The 8518 program has 72 units of credit, or 12 courses. 

Typically,the full time load is 48 UOC over 3 terms (8 courses); a further 24 UOC in the second year (4 courses) is required.  

A part time study mode can be 1 or 2 courses per term (2-4 years); restrictions apply for visa holders, please refer to the UNSW International Office for advice. 


To complete the Masters of Physical Oceanography Students must take the following 4 core courses (24 UOC):

  • MSCI5004 - Oceanographic Processes (6 UOC)
  • MATH5285 - Fluids, Oceans and Climate (6 UOC)
  • MATH5231 - Prediction and Inverse Modelling (6 UOC)
  • MATH5271 - Environmental Data Science and Statistics (6 UOC)

In addition, students must complete a research project worth 18 UOC (course code MATH5207 6 UOC) which is taken three times over three consecutive terms and forms the research project component of the Masters of Physical Oceanography program.  The project is taken after completing at least 30 UOC (typically, 5 courses), with 65 or above WAM entry requirements.. 

To enrol in the research project, students will enrol in the following 6 UOC course for 3 consecutive terms:

  • MATH5207 Physcical Oceanography Research Project (6 UOC) 

In addition students must complete a further 5 courses (30 UOC) from the following:

  • BEES5041 - Data Analysis: Env Sc & Mgt (6 UOC; to be replaced with graduate level "Big data in the Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences" once a course code is available)
  • DATA9001 - Fundamentals of Data Science (6 UOC)
  • MATH5295 - Special Topics in Applied Mathematics D (6 UOC)
  • MATH5305 - Computational Mathematics (6 UOC)
  • MATH5845 - Time Series (6 UOC)
  • MATH5846 - Introduction to Probability and Stochastic Processes (6 UOC)
  • MATH5856 - Introduction to Statistics and Statistical Computations (6 UOC)
  • MSCI6681 - Topics in Australian Marine Science (6 UOC)
  • MSCI5005 - Topics in Marine Biology and Ecology (6 UOC)

And, one of the following only:

  •  GEOS9016 - Principles of Geographic Information Systems and Science (6 UOC)  


  • GEOS9017 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems and Science (6 UOC)  

The Master Project

The project is a compulsory part of any Master program.  Each student will complete a large research project (18 UOC).  This will be a major capstone project bringing together aspects of the students coursework. The topic will be negotiated with faculty supervisors and will likely relate to an area of specific research/professional interest to the student.  

Students need to have maintained a WAM in their program to progress to the project, details TBA.  The project is taken after completing at least 36 UOC (typically, 6 courses).  For enquiries please email: 


The Masters forms part of an articulated suite of programs with the 5518 Graduate Diploma in Physical Oceanography (48 UOC) through to the 72 UOC 8518 Masters.  Coniditional on academic performance (overall average mark over 70%), students may choose not to graduate with the 5518 Graduate Diploma, but instead upgrade to the 8518 Masters program.  Credits accumulated during the Graduate Diploma are automatically transferred toward the Masters degree.  

If students complete the requirements of any of the articulated courses they can exit with that award.  

Delivery mode and UNSW Handbook entry

Face-to-face (includes blended); Distance (online with some face-to-face).

For more information refer to the UNSW Handbook entry linked here. 

Further assistance


Dr Jakub Stoklosa
Director of Postgraduate Studies (Coursework)
School of Mathematics and Statistics
UNSW Sydney NSW 2052 Australia

Please email  

NB: If you are a student please include your student zID number. Thank you.