Marine Environmental Science BSc (Hons)
BSc Hons Marine Environmental Science
Marine environments represent more than 95% of the world’s biosphere and supply 80% of the world's oxygen. On this professionally accredited BSc (Hons) Marine Environmental Science degree course, you'll develop your understanding of this vital resource and learn how to protect its delicate ecosystems from climate change and overfishing.
You’ll graduate primed for a career in areas such as marine environmental consultancy, marine conservation, coastal management, and underwater exploration and conservation. You'll also set yourself up to continue your studies at postgraduate level.
This course is accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES).
BSc (Hons) Marine Environmental Science degree entry requirements
- A levels – ABB–BBC
- UCAS points – 112–128 points, with 32 points from an A level in a Science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science/Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics or Physics), or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) – DDM–DMM
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Study marine environments, from the tiniest plankton to the massive effect of global warming on our oceans
- Make use of our laboratories and beachside Institute of Marine Sciences, packed with expert staff, advanced analytical equipment, and experimental and aquarium facilities
- Get to grips with essential tests and techniques, including the study of marine water quality, marine life and pollutants
- Make the most of our location on Hampshire's coastline and put what you've learnt to the test with boat trips on the Solent and field trips to surrounding areas
- Do a final year independent research project based in the UK or abroad and consider the ethical issues connected to the project and health and safety requirements
You can also:
- Conduct research in places such as Somerset, Isle of Wight, Malta, Portugal, Malaysia and Belize
- Learn specialist skills while you study, such scientific and technical diving in module certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)
- Spend time studying abroad at one of our partner institutions – these include Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), Universite du Havre, (Le Havre, France) and Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan, Poland)
Dr Sarah Reynolds, the course leader for both the Environmental Science BSc and the Marine Environmental Science BSc, discusses the courses at the University of Portsmouth.
Dr Sarah Reynolds: This course is unique in that it provides you with not only the real strong grounding in the science that makes you confident in what you know, but it's really hands on.
Lots of practicals, lots of lab work and the position that we're in, the coast is literally on our doorstep. We have these fantastic environments in the terrestrial system too to explore, means that you get such a well rounded programme.
Having such a range of analytical capability within our laboratories is a unique opportunity for students to get that really good hands on experience. We can measure nutrients in both freshwater and the marine environment. We have a range of ICPs which are responsible for measuring things like heavy metals. We have a flow cytometer which can look at bacteria and small phytoplankton, and we also have a flow cam which takes images, it's an image analysis, to look at phytoplankton and zooplankton. It's really great for students to use that data in their projects.
One of the best things about the course here at the University of Portsmouth is our amazing opportunities with field work. We start right in the first year with a residential trip over in Somerset, where you start to really get some of those basic field skills. In the second year we also have a really amazing field trip to Malta. A week out there learning all different aspects about the environmental science of Malta. In the final year we have some optional field trips, and these include a trip to Portugal or a trip to Malaysia.
We offer a pathway within the degree programme to take a year out and go and work in industry, so we have a placement year. We've had a number of students have some really successful placements and we've had students offered jobs before they've even finished their degree programme. The students that we have on the degree are, they're fantastic. They're passionate students. They come in with that passion already and to watch them grow and develop and head off into some really fantastic jobs, it is, it's the best thing about the job. I'm so proud of them. Their passion gives me hope.
Frequent field trips, such as Somerset and Malta, create an exciting learning experience and provide the ability to practice what is learned in lectures alongside preparing for a career in the industry.
Careers and opportunities
The ongoing threats to our natural environment mean the world needs people with the specialised scientific knowledge to safeguard marine resources for future generations. This means you'll have plenty of job opportunities after the course.
What can you do with a Marine Environmental Science degree?
Previous graduates have gone on to work in areas such as:
- environmental consultancies
- sustainability specialists
- underwater exploration
- wildlife protection
- coastal management
What jobs can you do with a Marine Environmental Science degree?
Roles our graduates have taken on include:
- Marine Scientist
- Marine Environmental Consultant
- Environmental Chemist
- Geographic Information Scientist
- Marine Conservation Officer
- Environmental Policy Officer
- Fish Health Inspector
- Coastal Management Officer
- Wildlife Protection Officer
You could also continue your studies at postgraduate level.
When you finish the course you can apply for Associate Membership of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and get Chartered Membership of the IES within 4-5 years, with appropriate work experience. Chartered Membership of the IES is required in many environmental careers.
Fieldtrips to Somerset, Malta and Belize are amazing – they're really good fun and great way of bonding with your course mates.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in industry or in research.
Our coastal location means there are many placement opportunities nearby. Previous students have been on placements to Dover Harbour Board and Portsmouth Waters.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary roles and research opportunities that will complement your studies.
We'll support you throughout your course and for up to 5 years after you graduate.
What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Marine Environmental Science degree
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.
Core modules in this year include:
- Ecology, Plants and Human Impact
- Global Environmental Challenges
- Introduction to Marine Ecology and Oceanography
- Planet Earth
- Quantitative Methods
- Science for Earth Systems
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Environmental Chemistry and Monitoring
- Research, Fieldwork and Professional Skills
- Marine Organisms and Ecosystems
Optional modules in this year currently include:
- Energy Resources
- GIS and Remote Sensing
- Environmental Change
- Scientific and Technical Diving Techniques (PADI-accredited)
- Practical Boating Skills (Royal Yacht Association accredited)
- Introduction to Teaching
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Environmental Science Dissertation
- Marine Ecology and Conservation
Optional modules in this year currently include:
- European Study Tour
- Tropical Study Tour
- Climate Change
- Conservation Biogeography
- Environmental Auditing and Assessment
- Environmental Pollution and Waste Management
- Fisheries and Aquaculture
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
Academic skills support
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- Academic writing
- Note taking
- Time management
- Critical thinking
- Presentation skills
- Working in groups
- Revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.
Teaching methods on this course include:
- laboratory work
You'll be taught in small classes in an informal, friendly and supportive atmosphere.
The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- field work or lab notebook recordings
- site surveys
- computer-based exercises
- oral presentations
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.
- Year 1 students: 52% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 40% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 43% by written exams, 12% by practical exams and 45% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 26% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
Course costs and funding
Tuition fees (2022 start)
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £18,300 per year (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
Your travel and accommodation costs for compulsory fieldwork are included in the course fee, but you’ll need to pay for meals and other subsistence costs
You’ll need to contribute travel, accommodation, and meal costs for compulsory project work, which normally takes place between years 2 and 3. These costs are between £0–£500.
You’ll need to cover the cost of any optional fieldwork that you do, including travel, accommodation, meals and other living cost. These will vary depending on location. For example, the cost of fieldwork in Malaysia is around £1,500, while the cost of fieldwork in Portugal is around £800.
If you haven’t dived before, you can take the Scientific and Technical Diving A module, which includes a PADI Open Water course, Dry Suit course and Scientific and Technical Diving course. This module costs around £860, covering tuition, transport and diving costs.
If you already hold a PADI Open Water certificate (or equivalent), you can take the Scientific and Technical Diving B module, which includes an advanced diving course (e.g. PADI Advanced Open Water), Dry Suit course and Scientific and Technical Diving course. This module costs around £800, covering tuition, transport and diving costs.
The optional Practical Power Boating Skills module will cost in the region of £710.
How to apply
To start this course in 2022, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – F912
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
How to apply from outside the UK
See the 'How to apply' section above for details of how to apply. You can also get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.