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Course summary

In this hands-on degree you’ll explore the organisms living in marine environments from the coastal margins to the deep sea. Teaching takes advantage of the stunning coastline on the doorstep of the University as well as some of Europe’s best marine facilities, so you won’t just experience marine biology but also practise it at the highest levels, both in the laboratory and field. You'll study the biology of organisms ranging from coral reef microbes and marine algae at the base of marine ecosystems to the diverse invertebrates, abundant fishes and largest mammals that roam the ocean. You’ll apply this knowledge to understand how marine life is impacted by factors such as climate change and pollution. This degree not only teaches you about the subject, it also equips you with the practical, intellectual and scientific skills to be a practising marine biologist.

  • Ranked top 15 in the UK and top 100 globally for Earth and Marine Sciences in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
  • Explore the full diversity of marine life, from microscopic plankton to iconic marine mammals. Study marine organisms from every angle including how they work, develop and behave and where they are found, how they have evolved and what the future holds for them.
  • Study marine life in the wild with access to the beautiful and varied Devon and Cornwall coastline. A recent World Wildlife Fund report highlighted the South Devon coast – which can be reached on foot from campus – as the area of highest marine biodiversity in the UK.
  • Benefit from a strong emphasis on the biology of marine organisms, experimental design, practical and field skills in the lab and at sea.
  • Choose optional modules which interest you, such as Scientific Diving which allows suitably qualified students (HSE SCUBA or equivalent) to develop industry and research-relevant skills in measurement and monitoring in the underwater environment using professional SCUBA and related techniques.
  • Access the University’s research vessels based in the Plymouth Sound Special Area for Conservation and our Marine Station.
  • LABplus Resource Centre is a unique open access laboratory and resource centre designed for students studying science and engineering courses. The lab provides a flexible workspace, computing facilities, specialist software, access to microscopes, microscope cameras and bespoke resources.
  • Benefit from our reputation as an international centre for marine research. Our expert teaching staff collaborate on many varied research projects – one of the many reasons why 100 per cent of our graduates said that our staff made the subject interesting (source: UNISTATS).
  • Opportunities to gain extra experience working in one of the marine research organisations located in Plymouth, alongside your studies. The University enjoys strong links with the internationally renowned marine research establishments based in the city, including the Diving Diseases Research Centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Marine Biological Association of the UK and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.
  • Increase your knowledge and apply your skills in an international setting, with two residential field courses abroad (France and Portugal) that give you the chance to study marine organisms not found in UK waters.
  • Take the opportunity to gain experience and learn new skills in an optional placement in your third year.
  • Widen your knowledge in an area of interest with a major personal research project conducted in your final year.
  • Develop a wide range of skills that will prepare you for your chosen career and make you attractive to employers – learn how to ask and answer research questions, and learn how marine biology research gets funded in the UK in a unique role play event. There is also the opportunity to gain the HSE Professional SCUBA commercial diver qualification, for those with a suitable background in diving.

Modules

In your first year, you’ll get to grips with key biological and oceanographic themes, with topics ranging from biodiversity and ecosystems to evolution and microbiology. Through a mixture of lectures, small group tutorials, laboratory and fieldwork, you’ll begin to acquire skills that will boost your employability and help your career development. You’ll also benefit from a residential field course abroad, introducing you to the processes of scientific investigation, data collection and analysis. In your second year, you’ll sharpen your practical skills in the setting of the South Devon coastline, just minutes away. We’ll introduce you to methods for collecting, handling and analysing scientific data, as well engaging with the biology of marine organisms and the ecology of shallow water marine habitats. Depending on your choice of modules, you can receive training in underwater sampling and all students will explore experimental methods during a field course that currently takes place in Portugal. Your final year of study provides the opportunity for you to focus on your chosen areas of interest. You’ll conduct an extensive personal research project, applying the skills and methods you've learned. You’ll also choose from a range of modules that are driven by the research interests of our staff, again giving you the opportunity to specialise and tailor your work towards your career goals, while studying at the cutting edge of marine biology. The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Qualified teacher status (QTS)

To work as a teacher at a state school in England or Wales, you will need to achieve qualified teacher status (QTS). This is offered on this course for the following level:

  • Course does not award QTS

How to apply

Application codes

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3

International applicants

The University of Plymouth has a dedicated International Student Advice (ISA) service who will support you from the day you accept an offer at the University, right through to graduation. They will offer help and advice so you can get the most out of your studies, and your time in the UK, visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/services/international-students/international-student-advice for more information. Once you have applied through UCAS, your conditional offer letters will also be sent to you by email, so be sure to enter your current email address on your application and to check this email regularly. You'll need your unconditional letter, and the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) that we'll send you, when applying for your student visa to the UK. A minimum £2,000 tuition fee deposit will be required before we'll send you the CAS. We're a licenced Sponsor under the Points Based System. To comply with our duties as a Sponsor, we're required to check other aspects of your application in addition to your academic achievements, for example any previous studies, financial status and your immigration history in the UK. For course entry requirements (inc. English requirements) please refer to the specific page for the course you are interested in (www.plymouth.ac.uk/study). A recognised English language qualification (e.g. IELTS) would be required or successful completion of one of the University's pre-sessional English Language courses. Check our country pages to find out more about application from your specific home country www.plymouth.ac.uk/international/study/international-students-country-guides. International fees, please visit our fees and funding pages www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/fees If you have any questions please contact [email protected]

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Maths and English GCSE at a Grade C/4


Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
No data
Student satisfaction
60%
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
85%
Go onto work and study

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

For all information about tuition fees, please visit our fees and funding pages at www.plymouth.ac.uk/study/fees * Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.
Marine Biology at University of Plymouth - UCAS