Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) has experienced vigorous growth on the international scale in recent years, and several practices has emerged from different countries. The demand for specific training in the preparation and implementation of marine planning has therefore already shown itself to be quite relevant on a global scale. Educational initiatives related to MSP have to respond to the increased complexity of MSP, which integrates environmental and economic perspectives on marine resources and maritime sectors, considering governance framework as well as maritime affairs and legislation.
This paper aims at addressing the educational and training needs for the development of both academic education and professional training in MSP. Learning skills, contents and methods of an ‘ideal’ MSP course are depicted from widely accepted operative guides on MSP and from the EU Framework Directive on MSP (2014/89/EU). They are considered for the analysis of the current educational offer around MSP, performed in a sample of countries that have already undergone a process of implementation of MSP by Law. As result, beside the great variety of courses, it emerges that MSP education seems to be often regarded from an environmental perspective – in continuity with Integrated Coastal Management education – while planning theory and experiences in MSP are the least represented contents. Results are discussed in relation to three major challenges: i) how educational offer reflects on transdisciplinarity, ii) the role of theory in MSP courses, and iii) the enforceability of Plans as major concern in MSP.