WMU’s MSc in Maritime Affairs programme emphasizes the practical application of expertise. It offers both an overview of the complex, inter-related maritime and ocean fields, as well as the opportunity to specialize. The programme is designed to respond directly to the real needs of the maritime industry, and to equip graduates with the skills needed today and in the future. It is academically challenging and professionally oriented, and is designed for ambitious, mid-career maritime professionals. It provides a particularly strong foundation for those intending to move into either a national or an international career.

WMU is active in research that is influencing the development of the maritime industry. From the effects of climate change to maritime safety & security, from piracy to port state control, from environmental to technological developments impacting the industry, as well as on ocean-related matters, WMU’s faculty are involved in research that also adds significant value to the content of the MSc programme, keeping it up to date and relevant.

The Standard MSc Programme

The standard MSc programme is 14 months long, and divided into three terms:

Foundation Studies are taught in Term 1. They are completed by students following the standard MSc programme, and provide a thorough grounding in maritime policy and the IMO system for maritime governance, as well as an introduction to the environmental, economic, and managerial aspects of sea use. Students also start the preparation for their dissertation in the research methodology subject.

Specialization Studies are taught in the second term. Students follow one of seven specializations:

  • Maritime Education & Training
  • Maritime Energy Management
  • Maritime Law & Policy
  • Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration
  • Ocean Sustainability, Governance & Management
  • Port Management
  • Shipping Management & Logistics

Dissertation: all students complete a dissertation, which may be based on a particular issue relating to their work in their home country or on a current or emerging maritime issue. The dissertation topic and proposal must be approved by the University, and may involve original research or be an analysis of a topic based on secondary sources. Students may complete the dissertation individually, in pairs or in trios.

The Accelerated MSc Programme

Applicants who already have a relevant postgraduate qualification (a postgraduate diploma, a Master’s degree, etc.) may apply for advanced standing on the basis of transferring credits from their previous studies; this exempts them from the need to complete the first, foundation term and allows the MSc degree to be completed in 10 months.

Flexible Enrolment

Every subject offered in the core MSc programme can also be followed by external participants, on a flexible, credit-by-credit basis. A fee of $300 per credit is charged, including assessment and/or examination; successful students are awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment, and a transcript of grades showing the subjects attended and assessed, which can be used to accumulate credits towards the full MSc degree or a Postgraduate Diploma. A student who elects only to audit a course, without any assessment, pays a reduced fee of $270 per credit, and is issued with a Certificate of Attendance.

Another mode of flexible enrolment is to study term-by-term, completing the three term programme over several years.

Students’ Progress and Awards

Students’ progress through the course is determined by his/her individual grades and cumulative grade-point average. Each grade awarded to a student is reviewed by the University’s Curriculum and Assessment Committee, before it is issued to the student. The award for which a student may be eligible depends on the successful completion of a specified number of credits and the grades obtained.

Master of Science: students who obtain a cumulative GPA of 2.67 or above, calculated over the 80 (or 60, for accelerated programme students) grade-bearing credits with no F grade, qualify for the award of the degree of Master of Science. Field studies, the research methodology subject and the seminar on maritime transport policy and communications are not grade-bearing and are simply classified as pass/fail. The Academic Council may award the degree with distinction to the very best students.

Postgraduate Diploma: students who obtain a cumulative GPA of 2.67 or above, calculated over 60 (or 40, for accelerated programme students) grade-bearing credits with no F grade, qualify for the award of Postgraduate Diploma. Students may choose to leave the University with a Postgraduate Diploma at any point when they have met this requirement.

The Credit System

The Malmö MSc programme is structured on the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). ECTS is based on the principle that 60 credits measure the workload of a full-time student during one academic year, which is around 1600 hours per year. One credit therefore approximately equals 25 working hours. Student workload consists of all planned learning activities, such as attending lectures, field studies, seminars, independent and private study, preparation of projects, taking examinations, giving presentations and researching and writing the dissertation. Credits in ECTS can only be obtained after successful completion of the work required and appropriate assessment of the learning outcomes. Learning outcomes are sets of competences, expressing what the student will know, understand or be able to do after completing a process of learning.

Credits are allocated to subjects and dissertation work, reflecting the amount of work required to achieve specific objectives. This weighting relates to the total quantity of work necessary to complete the programme successfully.


To remain in good academic standing, students must maintain a GPA of 2.67 or higher. A student whose GPA falls into the band of 1.67 to 2.66 may be allowed to continue on a probationary basis, but the enrolment of any student whose GPA falls below 1.66 may be terminated.

Visiting Professors

A further unique element of the WMU MSc in Maritime Affairs programme is the involvement of Visiting Professors. Each year, around one hundred internationally renowned senior maritime experts come to the University from a very diverse range of countries and institutions, including governments, multilateral organizations, universities, associations and companies. They are all internationally recognized experts, and play a key role in enabling WMU to deliver our comprehensive and wide-ranging programme.

WMU is the only maritime university in the world that offers its students direct access to such a network of senior people with real global impact.

English and Study Skills Programme

WMU offers a specialist Maritime English and Study Skills Programme (ESSP). The ESSP is designed to enhance English language competencies and provide the skills necessary to follow a postgraduate programme successfully, whether this programme is at WMU or another institution. Around one fifth of the ESSP students are external students, who come to Malmö for this unique programme that prepares them for both study and professional life in the maritime and ocean fields.

The ESSP runs each year from June to September, and its curriculum is designed to cover the skills required for success in a postgraduate degree programme and for professional success. The core components are Academic Writing Skills, Speaking & Presentation Skills and Thematic Integrated Skills. The programme also includes academic lectures by WMU professors, and IT and library workshops.

The classes are small to facilitate group activities and allow a very high level of individual feedback to students from their teachers. The competencies that are developed include effective problem solving, solid research methods, critical reading and analysis, all skills that are needed in postgraduate study. For more information about the programme, please click here. Applications can be made online.

2020/21 Key Dates



15 June - 4 September   English & Study Skills Programme: 12 weeks
7 – 11 September   Non-teaching period for ESSP students: 1 week
7 September   Orientation programme for non-ESSP students starts: 1 week
14 September   Inauguration of the Class of 2021
14 September - 16 December   First term: 13½ weeks
1 November   Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2020
17 December - 6 January   Non-teaching period: 3 weeks



7 January – 25 June   Second term: 24½ weeks
7 January   Students with advanced standing join the class of 2021
10 - 21 May   Non-teaching period: 2 weeks
28 June -2 July   Non-teaching period: 1 week
5 July – 29 October   Third term: 17 weeks
31 October   Graduation Ceremony for the Class of 2021


For more information, contact