Marine and Coastal Tourism BA (Hons)

UCAS code F7N8

What is special about this course?

This unique course, the first of its kind in the UK, focuses on the many uses of the marine resource, how tourism interacts with these and the many challenges of developing sustainable marine and coastal tourism within the wider context of the marine sector and its associated activities.

Policies and management strategies to protect the natural capital of our coastal waters and oceans will impact the future of the growing marine and coastal tourism sector, and the BA (hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism explores the ways in which effective management of tourism development can have positive impacts on the conservation and restoration of the marine environment.

Aspects considered throughout the course will include: activity development; response to climate change; environmental and conservation objectives; the role of coastal communities in the development of tourism; management of customer expectations; and behaviours and analysis of marine sector legislation, from both a UK and international perspective.

This integrated, practical programme gives you the opportunity to gain experience and develop personal and leadership skills, as well as gaining National Governing Body awards in activities including: sailing; powerboating; sea kayaking; surf kayaking; SUP; snorkelling; scuba; and coasteering. Practical sessions also include guiding and interpretation skills and a science-based overview of these environments.

The practical elements are supplemented by a programme of guest speakers and visits to shows, events and conferences giving regular contact with practising sector professionals, as well as field courses and student expeditions, both local and international.

You will be ideally placed to get involved in a number of local development projects, working and learning alongside industry professionals, such as: working with the Lochaber Chamber of Commerce managing new cruise ship industry at Fort William; Lochaber Snorkel Trail; Sea Trekking initiatives; and the development of a new 40-berth marina at Corpach.
 
We are based in Fort William, the 'Outdoor Capital of the UK', one of the finest UK locations for marine and coastal tourism and awarded international recognition as the Argyll Coast and Islands Hope Spot by Mission Blue as an area of outstanding biodiversity and culture.

Special features

  • Strong links with many marine and coastal-based businesses in Scotland and throughout the UK
  • Apply cutting edge theory and research to the exciting and dynamic tourism sector
  • Excellent, optional work-based placement opportunities around the UK and abroad
  • Integrated practical programme to enhance your skills and experience in marine and coastal activities
  • Possibility to gain instructor qualifications endorsed by National Governing Bodies
  • Be part of a vibrant and active student community of outdoor enthusiasts based in Fort William – within the Outdoor Capital of the UK and with access to the Argyll Coast and Islands Hope Spot
  • WHC is now a British Sub Aqua Club snorkel centre and our snorkel instructors are accredited by BSAC
  • Opportunity to plan and carry out a significant expedition, with a discovery and research focus (previous destinations include the Lofoten Islands Norway 2017, Iceland 2018 and Malta 2019). Fundraising and gaining sponsorship are part of this process
  • Access to outstanding facilities set amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the UK

Accommodation

We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade C or above OR
  • 2 A levels at grade C or above
  • You will also need to have Standard Grade, National 4/5 or GCSE English and Mathematics, and be able to demonstrate your commitment to marine and coastal activities
  • Applicants with significant industry or activity experience will be considered providing they can demonstrate sufficient academic potential
  • You may be required to attend an interview
  • Successful applicants will be required to complete a PVG Disclosure Check and become PVG Scheme Members in order to undertake this course

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

Core modules are:

  • Marine and coastal tourism in the UK
  • Introduction to adventure tourism
  • Introduction to the customer-centred business
  • Adventure industry: products and services
  • Adventure education journeys

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Introduction to enterprise and marketing
  • Introduction to global environmental issues
  • Introduction to sustainable development
  • Adventure geography: the Scottish perspective

Year 2 - DipHE

Core modules are:

  • Marine tourism field course
  • Adventure operations and risk management
  • The contemporary workplace
  • Marine environments

You will also choose one option module which may include:

  • Applied coaching and leadership
  • Work placement
  • Atmosphere, weather and climate
  • Contemporary marketing

Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • International marine and coastal tourism
  • Research skills
  • Planning international expeditions
  • Management of the marine resource

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Archaeology and interpretation
  • Climate change
  • Developing entrepeneurial effectiveness
  • Sustainable tourism and the environment
  • Work placement
  • International expedition leadership

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

Core modules are:

  • Critical perspectives of marine and coastal tourism
  • Emergent tourism trends

You will also choose two option modules which may include:

  • Cold island tourism
  • Sustainability, past and present
  • Inclusive adventure
  • Work placement, professional practice

You must also complete one of the following: dissertation; research and plan a new business; or a professional project

How will I study my course?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. We will continue to review government guidance as lockdown measures shift over the next few months and will inform you of any further changes to the information provided below about your course. You will study the course through our blended learning approach. In semester one, September 2020, modules will be delivered through our virtual learning environment and in online-classrooms as well as flexible, lecturer-directed learning and self-directed study. Online-classrooms connect you with your lecturers and fellow students and provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion. At the first possible opportunity, and barring any setback in the Government's easing measures, we will gradually introduce outdoor practical activities in and around Fort William in order to take advantage of the beautiful natural resources that our immediate area has to offer. All on-campus and outdoor practical activity will be introduced in line with the developing Scottish Government public health measures and guidance. You will also have the opportunity to take part in an online induction at the start of the course.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom, with some teaching by video conference from other university campuses, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE)

  • You will also have the opportunity of increasing your skills through practical experiential learning. The main practical disciplines included are snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing (dinghy and yacht), power boating, paddle sports (sea kayak and surf), surfing and coasteering, with a wide range of progression and application of theories at all 4 year levels

  • We have an extensive equipment stores for use by students on session, but do not provide personal clothing, excepting wetsuits

  • For some field trips, we may expect you to cover your own food while away.  Transport, instruction and entry fees are usually covered

  • The optional International Expeditions module is a major undertaking, and will usually involve either fundraising, or personal contribution, beyond college funding.  Cost will depend largely on your destination and ambitions. How to finance an expedition is part of the taught content, and you will be supported through the process


How long will my course last?


  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week
  • Part-time (unstructured): variable

Where can I study my course?

  • West Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September 

Fees

For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Degrees2019-202020-21
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Full-timeLevel2019-202020-21
Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

  2019-202020-21
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £11,650 £12,000
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £5,820 £6,000
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £1,940 £2,000

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time RUK and International undergraduate students for continuous and contiguous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.

Funding

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact the relevant university partner college for more information.

Additional Costs

  • We have an extensive equipment stores for use by students on session, but do not provide personal clothing, excepting wetsuits

  • For some field trips, we may expect you to cover your own food while away.  Transport, instruction and entry fees are usually covered

  • The optional International Expeditions module is a major undertaking, and will usually involve either fundraising, or personal contribution, beyond college funding.  Cost will depend largely on your destination and ambitions. How to finance an expedition is part of the taught content, and you will be supported through the process

  • Essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and specialist equipment can be accessed from our comprehensive stores but you will need to purchase your own personal clothing and footwear for most activities, with the exception of wetsuits. If you choose to join an international expedition you should budget up to £1000 to ensure you have sufficient funds. Please check our website for further details and costs relating to the course.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider the following career paths:

  • Crew on sailing yachts
  • Driving the change within national tourism boards or government
  • Developing sustainable marine and coastal tourism business models
  • Becoming a future marine tourism leader
  • Create and design new sustainable marine tourism products and services
  • Innovate blue economy solutions for tourism, climate change and coastal communities
  • Guiding, coaching and instructing marine and coastal outdoor activities
  • Working in any of the various aspects of the marine and coastal industry – marinas, marine wildlife tourism, adventure tourism, outdoor education, leading tourist experiences in the UK or internationally

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism to the following university postgraduate course: 

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I chose to come to Scotland, and specifically Fort William, as I enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle and the mix of coastal and mountain scenery inspired me. The marine and coastal tourism degree is a perfect opportunity to be a part of the growing Scottish tourism
sector.

I chose this course as there is no other like it! I think this will be an advantage in a growing sector where there is plenty of opportunity for new ideas and change. I've been lucky to gain experience through my work at the Ben Nevis Visitor Centre and my placement with a local project to establish a new marina in the area.

Euan Fundingsland moved from Norway to study on the BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism and is now studying in his second year at our West Highland College UHI campus in Fort William.

Kara: I have always loved the sea and this degree combines marine science with practical activities.
We cover a lot of ground: fishing industries, marine environment and current tourism trends while improving our practical skills in areas such as sailing snorkelling, kayaking and canyoning.
I like the combination of relevant science with water based skills. It feels all encompassing.
I want to work with communities on marine conservation projects and I hope contacts made on the course will help me.

Angus: This degree was exactly what I was looking for. I like the flexibility of shared modules and you get to mingle with other SOAS students with other specialities.
This degree can take you into the leisure or environmental sector and my interest in conservation, eco systems and the marine environment has grown.  I love the chance to improve my practical skills on the water - it’s a great opportunity to be able to do both.  I now have RYA and MCA certificates, which are great for my CV.

Kara Scott and Angus Jenkins completed our BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism at our West Highland College UHI campus in Fort William.

This is a very exciting time to get involved in Marine and Coastal Tourism.  Over the next few decades, how these resources are managed will make all the difference.  As the demand for tourism activity increases, we have an opportunity, but we also have a great responsibility: sustainable practice can enhance lives, protect environments, and develop a thriving tourism economy.  Get the big picture, and make yours an informed voice as you enter this exciting sector.  Study with us in the Outdoor Capital of the UK, where real development is happening right now, and graduate with a BA (Hons) Marine and Coastal Tourism.

Alex Williams, Lecturer.

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