Marine Biology BSc (Hons)

Overview

Marine biologists are the first line of defence for our blue planet, and are crucial to enhance the ecology and environment of our oceans.

This BSc (Hons) Marine Biology degree, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB), will give you the skills you need to play your part.

With conservation projects and world class facilities on our doorstep, Portsmouth is the perfect place to begin a career as a marine scientist.

What you’ll experience

  • Work on active conservation projects – such as the Solent Oyster Restoration Project, the Solent BioHut project, the Isle of Wight UNESCO Marine Biosphere, and the Solent Seagrass Restoration Project – to gain first-hand experience of marine conservation
  • Access the Solent European Marine Site with its wide range of environments through the Institute of Marine Sciences, our internationally renowned shoreside marine station
  • Have the chance to go on a marine ecology field trip to Mexico, where you can work to preserve the mangrove forests, seagrass beds and coral reefs
  • Get practical marine skills on our research vessels, including a large experimental raft, a 6-metre high-speed shallow draft launch for inshore work and a suite of sampling systems including dredges, grabs and nets
  • Build experience on a one-year work placement, study abroad at one of our partner universities, and learn powerboating with the Royal Yacht Association (RYA) or PADI-certified scientific and technical diving

Work experience and career planning

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Placements give you the opportunity to apply what you've learnt so far in a real workplace, boosting your employability and making you attractive to employers after graduation. 

You can work for a company or organisation here in the UK or overseas, although our coastal location means there are many placement opportunities nearby.

Our partners include commercial, research and non-profit organisations such as:

  • Maidenhead Aquatics
  • Field Studies Council
  • ORCA
  • Blue Marine Foundation

Whichever route you choose, you'll receive support and guidance. Our specialist team of Science and Health Careers advisors can help you with finding a work placement and improving your employability skills. They'll provide you with a database of placement vacancies, support with your job search – including help with applications and interviews – and support throughout your placement year.

You'll also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities. Studying overseas is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your CV and experience a different culture as an international student.

Many of our students describe their time spent studying abroad as truly life-changing, as well as an excellent way to stand out to future employers.

Module details

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

Programme assessment

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • workshops
  • tutorials
  • laboratory-based practical work
  • field trips

You'll learn from researchers who are members of the Institute of Marine Sciences, with expertise in subject areas such as ocean acidification, plastic pollution and cetacean behaviour. You'll also get a personal tutor, who will support you with your studies.

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written exams
  • course work in the form of practical write ups
  • posters and oral presentations
  • individual research project

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future

The way you're assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous academic year of how students on this course were typically assessed:

  • Year 1 students: 52% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 41% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 48% by written exams, 26% by practical exams and 26% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 47% by written exams, 4% by practical exams and 49% by coursework

Student destinations

Marine biology is the study of the organisms, plants and animals that make up the world's saltwater ecosystems. It's a vital area of science when it comes to protecting our oceans and seas - marine biologists aim to better understand marine environments and to investigate the factors that alter marine ecosystems, both natural and man-made.

On this BSc (Hons) Marine Biology degree, you'll learn about a wide array of marine organisms, from phytoplankton to cetaceans, and how to protect the oceans and their delicate ecosystems against the growing threats of climate change, habitat destruction and resource exploitation.

You’ll conduct fieldwork in a range of intertidal habitats, including rocky shores, estuaries, saltmarsh and mangroves, and become an expert in diverse and rich marine ecosystems, from coral reefs to the deep sea.

When you graduate, you'll be ready for a career in a range of marine science areas, such as conservation, resource management and aquaculture, or to pursue academic research, lab work, field work or policy making.

You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level. Many graduates go onto study MRes Science or MSc Applied Aquatic Biology.

You'll also be able to apply to be a Registered Marine Scientist and you'll meet some of the academic requirements to become a Chartered Marine Scientist. And you'll be eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Royal Society of Biology, which includes access to exclusive grants and awards.

Previous graduates of this course have gone on to work in:

  • post-graduate research
  • coastal zone management
  • environmental toxicology
  • marine conservation
  • aquaculture 
  • marine policy
  • marine resource management

Roles previous graduates have gone on to do include:

  • lab analyst
  • field technician
  • agriculture supervisor
  • radioactive chemist
  • extraction scientist
  • day yacht skipper
  • watersports instructor
  • biology teacher
BSc (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

120-128 points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from A level Biology. Applicants will normally need to pass the separate Science Practical Endorsement.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

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