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BSc (Hons)

Marine Biology

Study Marine Biology in the heart of the internationally important Solent European Marine Site

C160UCAS code 3yrsfull time

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

The marine realms covers 70% of our planet and represents over 95% of the biosphere. It is home to most of the biodiversity on our planet, and supplies 80% of the world's oxygen. Yet this vital global resource is under threat from human activities - climate change, pollution, over fishing and habitat destruction. With these challenges, the need for dynamic, interdisciplinary and applied marine biologists has never been greater.

With over 70 years experience of marine biological research, our Marine Biology degree aims to equip you with the knowledge, skills and experience to play an active and positive role in the future of our seas.

What will I experience?

We look forward to working alongside you on your journey to become a confident and skilled Marine Biologist. On this course you can:

  • Use state-of-the-art equipment to explore marine ecosystems and study marine organisms
  • Carry out inshore or offshore practical work on our research raft or vessels
  • Take your research project overseas and perform fieldwork in another country via our links with many study abroad schemes

 

What opportunities might it lead to?

The Institute of Marine Sciences has an established international reputation for research and teaching, and receives funding from many sources including industry, research councils, and government agencies. These links produce various research opportunities for our staff and students, and could be a great route to future opportunities upon graduating.

Graduates are eligible to apply for Associate Membership of the Society of Biology. This entitles them to membership benefits which include access to professional networks and attendance at conferences. Associate members are awarded the post-nominal letters AMSB.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • academic or industrial research
  • marine consultancy
  • conservation
  • science teaching
  • scientific writing

 

Transfer to the MBiol courses

You can apply to transfer onto the MBiol courses in your second year if you decide that you would like to continue with your studies after the third year. In order to be able to do this, you must satisfy the criteria for progression stated in the MBiol course handbook.

 

Robert Mansergh, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student 2013

We have some of the best facilities in the UK and with access to the marine environment and our research vessel only metres away it is a fantastic place to do marine biology.

Robert Mansergh, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student 2013

Want to start this course in 2017?

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
C160
Duration
3 years full time
2017 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
120 points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from A level Biology. See full entry requirements

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS
We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications
2018 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

A LEVELS
112 points to include 3 A levels, or equivalent, with 40 points from A level Biology. See full entry requirements

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS
We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

Fees

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

Contact
admissions@port.ac.uk
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
Department
School of Biological Sciences
Programme specification
Accreditations & Endorsements

Institute of Marine Engineering Science and Technology

Society of Biology logo

Course:

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology

Find out more about what it's like to study marine biology here at Portsmouth.

Browse all courses in Biological Sciences

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

Start your studies with an excellent foundation, through a mixture of lectures, workshops, practicals and field courses you will gain advanced understanding in marine ecology and oceanography, evolution, experimental biology, , microbiology and molecular biology. 

This also gives you a chance to change to another course in a biological science should you wish to change the direction of your studies.

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Cell Biology and Biochemistry
  • Biodiversity and Evolution
  • Introduction to Marine Ecology and Oceanography
  • Microbiology and Molecular Biology
  • Experimental Biology
  • Graduate Skills

Year two

During Year 2 you begin your process of marine specialisation, while expanding the knowledge set from the first year through a number of core units. You will experience offshore boat sampling and receive training on species identification from a global leader in marine consultancy. For many students, the highlight of this year is the residential field course in a tropical or temperate location. This gives you the experience to develop exceptional field and team working skills. 

Core units in this year include:

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Oceanography
  • Microbiology
  • Plant Science
  • Basic and Scientific Diving
  • Practical Boating Skills
  • A foreign language

Year three

In this year you will gain an advanced understanding of marine systems and organisms including: physiology, aquaculture, fisheries and the management of coastal ecosystems. Then apply your skills and knowledge as you undertake an individual research project on your own research interests.

Core units in this year include:

  • Coastal Ecosystems
  • Applied Marine Biology
  • Marine Ecophysiology
  • 3rd year research project

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Aquatic Microbiology
  • Global climate change of Marine Systems

Unit information

For more details of unit syllabuses and skills please read the Marine Biology unit info sheet


Teaching and Assessment

You will experience a variety of teaching methods, which include laboratory-based practical work and a number of field trips reinforcing the theory learned in lectures, workshops and tutorials. Also, our personal tutorial system ensures that you have someone to provide help with any academic or pastoral problems.

How are you assessed?

You will be assessed through a variety of ways, with the main examination assessment usually taking place at the end of the year, but with coursework throughout. Here’s how we assess your work:

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

Tutor's view

Dr Joanne Preston
Course Leader, Marine Biology

Our Marine Biology course aims to equip you with the skills and knowledge to play an active and positive role in the future of our seas. You will learn about the vast range of ecosystems across the marine biosphere, and gain a deep understanding of the biodiversity and function of marine organisms, from phytoplankton to cetaceans. Given the enormous challenges we face as a planet - the need for dynamic, interdisciplinary and applied marine biologists has never been greater. We look forward to working alongside you on your journey to become a confident and skilled Marine Biologist.

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Monitor Facilities & Features


Institute of Marine Sciences

The internationally-renowned Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is located at the mouth of Langstone Harbour providing easy access to the varied marine ecosystems of the Solent. In addition to our extensive teaching labs, you will have access to advanced scientific and field equipment including a large experimental raft moored in the centre of the harbour and a six metre high-speed shallow draft launch for inshore work including a suite of sampling systems including dredges, grabs and nets. Overall, our aim is to introduce you to research at the highest level.

RV Chinook

Laboratory practicals combined with regular field trips, including boat-based training, are essential components of the degree curriculum. The RV Chinook II has the capability to sample offshore within the Solent and beyond and complements the current inshore RV Calypso.  At over 10 metres long Chinook II can carry up to ten students plus two crew, and is an integral part of the teaching across all years for BSc Marine Biology and MSc in Applied Aquatic Biology. The vessel is also available for commercial activity, postgraduates and researchers. 

Research

The IMS and the School of Biological Sciences have a well-established, world-wide reputation for both fundamental and applied research in marine sciences. Attracting funding from many sources including industry, Research Councils, Leverhulme Trust, the European Union and government agencies, our research activities cover a wide range of interests from the molecular to the ecosystem. Our six research themes reflect the complexity of the modern marine biological sciences:

  • biodiversity and evolution
  • epigenetics and developmental biology
  • ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring
  • marine resource management
  • environmental microbiology and biotechnology
  • molecular biophysics

Fieldwork

Mangrove forests, sea grass and coral reefs are found adjacent to each other in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, one of the 3 possible locations for your 2nd year residential field courses. You will develop your ecological survey skills during your residential fieldtrip in either Mexico, Sicily or the UK.

See more about fieldwork.

Jonathan Smith, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student

The facilities are excellent, especially the aquarium and research labs at the Institute of Marine Sciences.

Jonathan Smith, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

Travel or accommodation for compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee, but you will be expected to pay for meals and other subsistence costs. These costs will be in the region of £60.

There are two optional diving skills units:
The Scientific and Technical Diving A unit is available if you have not dived before. It includes a PADI Open Water course, Dry Suit course, combined with the Scientific and Technical Diving course, and has extra costs in the region of £860 to cover tuition, transport and diving costs.

The Scientific and Technical Diving B unit is available if you hold a PADI Open Water certificate (or equivalent). It includes an advanced diving course (e.g. PADI Advanced Open Water), Dry Suit course, combined with the Scientific and Technical Diving course, and costs in the region of £780 to cover tuition, transport and diving costs.

2017/18

In addition to these costs, there are optional field work opportunities to locations such as Mexico, where you are asked to make a contribution to the cost. These costs will be in the region of £1500 - £2000 depending on the duration and location of the field trip. 

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

We give career development high priority. Many graduates continue with their studies but as a newly qualified modern marine biologist, you may find employment in diverse areas like the biotechnology or environmental consultancy, science administration and communication, pure research, and teaching.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • academic or industrial research scientist
  • marine environmental consultant
  • marine planner
  • science writer
  • conservation ecologist

Examples of more graduate destinations.

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

Gaining relevant work experience that fits your desired career goals alongside your BSc in Marine Biology will ensure that you develop the necessary skills potential employers are looking for. By doing so you will be demonstrating how diligent, committed and enthusiastic you are as well as acquiring many marine and generic skills (e.g. confidence, communication) essential for your post-degree future.

Our flexible course enables you to undertake a variety of placements from a few weeks to a year or gaining experience through your research project. Through our extensive network of partners from industry, conservation NGOs and research institutions we can find the right placement to suit your career aspirations. You can also study for your honours project or part of your degree under the ERASMUS scheme through which we have strong links with many European universities. Maidenhead Aquatics, Field Studies Council and ORCA are a small selection of the partner organisations that we work with. See a full list on our employability page.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Gabriella Brown, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student 2013

The 2nd year residential marine field trip was great fun, and also developed my skills for a future career in marine sciences.

Gabriella Brown, BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student 2013

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