University of Tasmania, Australia

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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

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Undergraduate Study


IMAS coordinates exciting undergraduate degrees in conjunction with the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology. IMAS education offers prospective students world-class study programs and the opportunity to study under internationally recognised experts in their field.

Students study a range of topics relevant to temperate marine, Antarctic and Southern Ocean Science across six interdisciplinary themes. A full understanding of these fascinating, unique and constantly changing environments is vital to Australia and the World.

Our undergraduate teaching activities include a new Bachelors degree as well as Honours programs in a number of discipline areas. Our Honours programs introduce students to research skills and prepares students for subsequent postgraduate research.

Academic programs offered: . Apply Now.

Bachelor of Marine and Antarctic Science (NEW in 2014)

This degree aims to provide students with knowledge, competencies, skills and awareness of a broad variety of subjects linked together by the common theme of Marine and Antarctic Science. This rich and diverse theme emphasises an interdisciplinary approach that includes elements of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, oceanography, mathematics but also aims to integrate the natural sciences with management, policy and law. 

Areas of Study

Students choose a tailored program of study organised around one of three major streams.

Marine Biology: This stream provides a rigorous education in plant science and zoology with a focus on the biology and ecology of marine organisms, such as algae, invertebrates, fish and mammals, and their dynamics in marine and Antarctic ecosystems. Sample course structure

Policy and Governance: This stream focuses on management, policy and law with special relevance to the Antarctic and Southern Ocean which in Australia is a theme area unique to the University of Tasmania. Sample course structure

Physical Sciences: This stream provides an introduction in the physical sciences (mathematics, physics, earth sciences) allowing students to specialise in physical oceanography, chemistry, geology, GIS and remote sensing, physics, and modelling and technology. Sample course structure

IMAS Units

Click on a Unit for more information

Antarctic Studies KSA101

ksa101Antarctic Studies will provide an introduction to a broad range of Antarctic topics. This unit will give a background of history, international relations and cultural perceptions that can be studied by students from the Bachelor of Antarctic Studies or those wanting a general introduction to the Antarctic.

The unit covers:

  • Antarctic history, from the earliest awareness of the existence of the continent, through the so-called Heroic Age at the beginning of the 20th century to the present day;
  • An introduction to the development and maintenance of international co-operation that seeks to maintain Antarctica and the Southern Ocean as a ‘pristine wilderness’;
  • Because so much of what we know about Antarctica is through literature, art, film and music the last group of lectures will cover the influences these have on our perceptions.


Antarctic Studies is available as both an internal and external (fully online) unit. It is recommended that Hobart students enrol in the internal unit. You should only enrol in the external unit if you are confident of your ability to work in a self-paced environment.

More information on Antarctic Studies


Marine and Antarctic Studies KSA102

ksa102This unit is designed to give students examples of the way science is used in the marine and Antarctic environments and enable students in the Bachelor of Antarctic Science to select specialised fields of study in years 2 and 3. It is also a core unit for the Bachelor of Marine Science.

These areas include:

  • An understanding of Gondwana and geology of Antarctica, subantarctic islands and the surrounding ocean
  • Ice and climate studies
  • The physical and chemical nature of the Southern Ocean
  • The terrestrial and marine environment of the Antarctic and subantarctic, including plants, animals, birds and fish
  • Microorganisms of marine and lake environments
  • The impact of humans on Antarctic, including energy use and the study of global climate change

The lecturers for this unit will come from IMAS, Earth Sciences, from the Australian Antarctic Division and outside the university. Prof. Andrew McMinn will coordinate the unit.

Introduction to Marine and Antarctic Studies is available as both an internal and external (fully online) unit. It is recommended that Hobart students enrol in the internal unit. You should only enrol in the external unit if you are confident of your ability to work in a self-paced environment.

More information on Marine and Antarctic Studies

Antarctic Tourism KSA201

ksa201The goal of Antarctic Tourism is to give students a broad understanding of both the fine nature of the Antarctic as a destination, and the regulatory regime managing the industry. It is presented as a case study of a high cost, niche tourist destination. The Antarctic is isolated, inhospitable and subject to uncertain jurisdiction.

The Antarctic legal regime is specifically framed to deal with peaceful scientific endeavour, yet there are more tourists visiting the Antarctic than there are scientists working there. The unit explores this phenomenon through a series of 13 interactive lectures presented online via the WebCT platform. The lectures will explore the region's history, its values, the nature of the industry, the special characteristics of the 3-tiered management regime, the comprehensive environmental requirements and the potential conflicts this poses.

More information on Antarctic Tourism

Introduction to Oceanography KSA205

Introduction to OceanographyThe purpose of the unit is to provide students with an introduction to the oceans, its various environments and how they function, including a history of oceanography and its early development; basic properties of the oceans and atmosphere; physical processes of the ocean including ocean currents and waves; geological aspects related to ocean basins, the seafloor and marine sediments; marine biological processes including ocean productivity, pelagic ecosystems; chemical processes in the ocean such as the carbon cycle; and climate, the ocean and global climate change.

Introduction to Oceanography

International Marine Management KSA302

This unit, which is offered across a range of disciplines, investigates current issues in international marine management.

It incorporates six distinct yet interrelated themes: resource exploitation (living and non-living); tourism and recreation; shipping and piracy; environment and conservation; marine scientific research; and the rule of law and stewardship of the global commons. International Marine Management incorporates a range of discipline study areas, including marine science, law and policy to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the nature of international marine management in a number of important sectors that coexist.

More information about International Marine Management

Advanced Oceanography KSA306

Ice thicknessThis unit provides a more advanced course in oceanography, focused on physical oceanography and chemical oceanography.

The unit covers fundamentals of ocean processes, including large scale ocean circulation, wind driven circulation, vorticity and diagnostic calculations of ocean currents, air-sea fluxes, transport of properties and shallow water equations.

The chemical oceanography aspects will include the various mechanisms involved in the carbon cycle and biological pump, distribution of chemical properties in the global ocean, thermodynamic principles, nutrient and carbon cycling, air-sea gas exchange models, primary production and export production models, sedimentary biogeochemical processes and biogeochemical tracers of circulation.

More information about Advanced Oceanography

Special Antarctic Project KSA310

ksa310_pupseal-copyInvolves a semester long research project, supervised by a member of the IMAS staff. It will involve 5-6 hours per week spent planning and completing an individual research project.

The aim of the unit is to give students some experience in individual research in an area of their own choosing. They are encouraged to speak to the course coordinator or individual members of staff before the start of semester.

Students can expect that staff will have some suggestions for projects, so that they do not need to have well developed ideas before beginning discussions. Students can undertake this unit in either semester, but it must be completed within that semester.

More information on Special Antarctic Project

Birds and Mammals of the Southern Ocean KSM302

SealThe Southern Ocean encompasses all the waters from Australia to the Antarctic continent, and is home to a diverse range of seabirds and marine mammals. These animals play a significant role in marine ecosystems in southern Australia and the Antarctic.

In this unit, students will explore the diversity of birds and mammals in the Southern Ocean, including their taxonomy, physiology and biogeography.

Students will investigate the important role that these animals play in the marine ecosystem as well as the influence of physical oceanography and ocean productivity on distribution, feeding and reproductive biology.

The course also addresses the scientific methods employed to gain an understanding of the ecology of these animals, their conservation and relevant current issues such as fisheries, climate interactions and whaling.

This 3 week course also involves 5 days in the field undertaking marine based research projects.

More information on Birds and Mammals of the Southern Ocean

Marine Research Project KSM303

Marine Research ProjectThis unit is restricted to students who have successfully completed the intermediate units of the majors in the BMarSc. The unit consists of a 1-semester long independent research project in Marine Science. It will involve the equivalent of 6 hours contact time per week (approximately 80 hours) planning, conducting, analysing and reporting on a marine research topic negotiated between the student and the supervising academic. Students who wish to enrol in this unit must contact the unit coordinators, Prof Gustaaf Hallegraeff and Dr Karen Miller, so that they can be matched with a project and supervisor, and are also advised to talk directly to potential supervisors.

More information on the Marine Research Project