Classes at UPMC

As a RSMAS student, you can take classes during the Fall semester of the Masters degree in "Oceanography and Marine Environment" of UPMC (Océanographie et Environnement Marin, OEM). Those classes can count towards your RSMAS credit (3 credits per class). They widen the offering that RSMAS provides.

map_stations Classes are organized as independent, intensive modules, lasting 3 weeks. Each module deals with a specific topic and is organized in one of the marine stations of UPMC (Villefranche-sur-Mer near Italy, Banyuls-sur-Mer near Spain, and Roscoff in Brittany). Some modules work best together, as a single 6 weeks class. See the schedule for 2014-2015 as a PDF.

All modules are accredited for the ERASMUS MUNDUS European Master program in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC). Therefore, all classes are taught in English and designed for an international audience with various backgrounds.

Housing and catering is organized for students at all marine stations. This project will cover your airfare and other travel costs to come to France as well as housing in the station. Food is left to your charge but all marine stations have inexpensive students restaurants and/or kitchens available.

Curriculum in Villefranche

Villefranche-sur-Mer hosts classes in the track "Pelagic ecosystems" of the OEM Master. Some classes work best together (labelled "a" and "b"). The classes are:

1a. Instrumentation and acquisition of data in oceanography, Sept
1b. Methods for the Exploitation of Data in Oceanography, Oct
Lectures: oceanographic sampling strategies and instruments, sampling of aggregative processes and biological diversity, introduction to programming and data analysis
Project: oceanographic survey of the Ligurian sea for a week, processing of the physical data and biological samples, analysis of the data in regard of a precise scientific question
2a. Response of Oceans to climate and human-induced changes, Oct-Nov
2b. Response of the pelagos to environmental changes, Nov
Lectures: fluxes of matter and energy in pelagic (open sea) ecosystems, biological diversity, forcing by chemical input and physical processes, impact of anthropogenic changes
Project: cultures in mesocosms (experimental enclosures allowing to mimic and control the physical environment) to test the influence of environmental conditions on plankton growth
  1. Modelling of Marine Environments, Dec
    Lectures: mathematical analysis of dynamic systems, food web models, ecosystem models, representation of space in models, spatial models, individual based models
    Project: formulation and computer simulation of a simple model on a topic chosen by each student
  2. Multivariate Analyses for Marine Ecology, July
    Lectures: multivariate regression, factorial analysis, discriminant analysis, clustering and prediction, time series decomposition
    Project: analysis of a small dataset and presentation

Curriculum at other marine stations

Modules taught in the two other marine stations of UPMC will also be accessible to RSMAS students. The complete list of topics is:


Interested? As a first application, please send a brief email to and explaining your interest in the course and how it would fit in your project and curriculum. Ideally, this should be sent during the spring semester for a course taking place in the following fall semester.

If too many applications are received relative to the available funds, a selection among students will then be made based on academic merit and standing (specified milestones met, etc.), pertinence of the course in the thesis project, and relevance of the subject to the theme of the partnership (physical-biological interactions at mesoscale). The selection committee will comprise the project coordinators and the persons in charge of the teaching units of interest.


If selected, send an email to (Cc in early September, with the following information:

This will be used to create your registration information. A couple of weeks later, you will receive an email (in French, sorry) with a registration code starting with DEROG. You should then connect to and fill the online forms to actually register at UPMC. The site is also in French only unfortunately. The images below should allow you go through the forms. After having clicked on the last link, print the final summary form, sign it, scan it and email it to

upmc-registration-00 upmc-registration-01 upmc-registration-02 upmc-registration-03 upmc-registration-04 upmc-registration-05 upmc-registration-06 upmc-registration-07 upmc-registration-08 upmc-registration-09 upmc-registration-10 upmc-registration-11 upmc-registration-12

Travel and finances

Make travel arrangements based on the class schedule. The morning of the first Monday and the afternoon of the last Friday of each class are usually free to leave students time to arrive and settle in. If the class is in Villefranche, we provide guidelines for traveling to the station.

You can take advantage of this trip to collaborate with researchers at the marine stations, visit other labs in France or simply sightsee. If you extend your stay after or before the class, ask if you want to still be hosted at the station (it is theoretically possible but depends on the availability of rooms). Of course, you will only be reimbursed for the part of the air/train fare that is directly related to the class, and the cost of this should be less than $1200.

Let know the dates of your stay at the station so he can arrange housing.

Students are expected to front their expenses and be reimbursed when they come back, based on bills (please keep all traveling and housing bills!). Given the amounts involved, you can contact regarding an advance if needed.