The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS)

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science for a healthy and sustainable marine environment through research, education and engagement with society.

Master's Programmes

Agriculture & Forestry (2)
Environmental Studies & Earth Sciences (1)
Natural Sciences & Mathematics (1)



The Scottish Marine Station was founded by Murray and officially opened on 14 April 1884. It grew quickly with a 'branch' opening on the west coast in Millport in 1885 and by 1897 a new station was created in Millport, Great Cumbrae, largely inspired by the naturalist David Robertson. 


  • What do we do? We research how the marine environment works, how and why it is changing and how we could use and treat it better. Then we educate, communicate and promote what we find for the public good.
  • Why do we do it? To have healthy and productive seas and oceans that support life on Earth and continue to provide us with resources. Also to understand our planet and our place on it better.
  • How do we do it? We undertake research into all aspects of the marine system and exchange our new understanding with society, policy makers, business and the next generation, so that it can become useful and improve practices.


The aim of the Arctic Research Theme is to promote and facilitate Arctic marine science research and education at SAMS, to provide national leadership in Arctic research and to enhance SAMS’ international reputation as an institution contributing to understanding the nature of Arctic marine systems. 

The Marine Renewables Theme combines the multidisciplinary skills of our established researchers and specifically hired staff to provide expert scientific research and advice to help harness the full potential of marine power and understand its environmental impacts. Our expertise feeds into many aspects of marine renewable energy production.


We live on a blue planet, so jobs that need or benefit from an education in marine science are diverse and global. Graduates can pursue careers in disciplines including aquaculture, fisheries, marine conservation, marine energy, surveying, environmental management, biotechnology / pharmaceuticals, diving, education, research, educatioal and eco tourism and science communication to name a few.

Global Student Satisfaction Awards 2021

GSSA 2021

The Global Student Satisfaction Awards empower students across the globe to determine the best universities of 2021. Universities with a score above 4.0 (out of 5) in any of the 8 award categories, receive Badges of Excellence. Congratulations!

Learn more about the Global Student Satisfaction Awards


Student services

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science for a healthy and sustainable marine environment through research, education and engagement with society.

Housing services

SAMS offers a number of accommodation options for students.

For students who are underage when they start their studies or have particular needs, we offer on-site accommodation in the Margaret Barnes Building. For other students we work with a letting agent to provide residential student accommodation in the centre of Oban. This will be largely reserved for students who are here in their first year and live away from home for the first time. 

After first year, most students opt for private accommodation. By that time they have made friends, decided who they want to live with (if not alone), and have explored the area sufficiently to know where they might like to live.

Library services

Charles Wyville Thomson library

Our research library houses approximately 5,000 books and approximately 30,000 serial volumes of 1,300 serial titles. It incorporates a historical collection of expedition reports and rare books. In addition to these holdings, the library maintains subscriptions to 600 e-journals. Also student textbooks across the range of our teaching subjects can be found here.

ICT services

The university aims to create a supportive and welcoming environment for all and strives to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities. Our methods of learning, teaching and assessment are flexible and designed to suit a range of needs. By offering effective support, we aim to enable all students to participate fully in all activities while studying.

Student Life

Campus life

The SAMS campus is near the village of Dunbeg, 3.5 miles north-east of Oban on the west coast of Sotland. It is built on a peninsula with 13th century Dunstaffnage Castle and the European Marine Science Park as its neighbours - where the past meets the future!

Within this rural coastal setting lies the SAMS campus, home to nearly 300 staff, students, fellows and business tenants. The location is conducive to researching, studying and experiencing all aspects of the marine environment. The stunning natural environment surrounding SAMS furthermore facilitates thinking and reflection.

Sports facilities

A large number of students come here in part because of the scenery and physical environment. When the weather is acceptable they might go for a swim or dive at lunchtime and after work might meet up with friends to run up one of the local mountains or go on a cycle ride. At the weekend they might go sailing in the summer, climbing in autumn, skiing in winter or white water rafting in the spring!

There are currently three student clubs at SAMS: diving, climbing and sailing.

Student clubs

The SAMS student community is very inclusive and it is difficult to be lost or lonely even as a new student. Ours is a welcoming and active community where students define their own niche.

There are scores of social student gatherings, be it for BBQs on the beach, house parties, pub crawls, cinema outings or attending the numerous events that happen in the town and neighbouring communities over the year.

Our students camp at the many music festivals that spring up all over the Highlands and Islands over the summer, eg Oban Live, Tiree Music Festival, Tartan Heart Festival... and/or get together for their own jam sessions.

Oban, Scotland, United Kingdom

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