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BSc Marine Biology

University of Essex
3-4 years
Full time
Bachelor's degree
On campus
Colchester
English
October 2021

Program description

BSc Marine Biology

On our marine biology course you dive into a fascinatingly complex world of whales, coral reefs, fish, deep sea trenches, coastal lagoons, sea ice, and tropical seagrass beds. The vast majority of life on earth is found under the sea; but exactly how much remains unknown, since there is so much still to be explored.

At Essex, we take you on a journey of discovery from the poles to the tropical reef systems of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. We work on ecosystems from estuaries and coastal environments to oceanic systems, and on conservation and resource management.

You gain an expert knowledge of marine biology through study of essential core modules and the flexibility to specialise in the areas that interest you most, including:

  • The major types of marine communities, including aquatic mammals and fish
  • Direct and indirect human impact on the marine environment
  • Coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove systems
  • Marine and freshwater taxonomy and biodiversity
  • Diving and snorkel-based practices

Your independent research project allows you to develop your own interests. Previous topics have included shellfisheries and water quality, turtle ecology in Greece and coral reef conservation strategies in the Caribbean and Indonesia.

Admission requirements

UK entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics C/4.

A-levels: BCC, including Biology.

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject and units studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 28 points or three Higher Level certificates with 544. Either must include Higher Level Biology with a minimum of grade 4, plus Standard Level Mathematics/Maths Studies grade 4, if not taken at Higher Level.

We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.

From 2021, we will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.

For more information about admission requirements, please contact the school or the inquiries team.


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Program content

Year 1

  • Quantitative methods for Life Sciences
  • Marine Biology Field Skills
  • Genetics and Evolution
  • Plant Biology and Ecosystems
  • Microbiology
  • Animal Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour
  • Marine Ecology
  • Transferable Skills in Life Sciences

Year 2

  • Marine Biodiversity
  • Marine Vertebrates
  • Professional skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists
  • Plant Molecular Physiology and Genetics
  • Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Field Module (Assessed in Following Year)
  • Applied Wildlife Sciences
  • Coral Reef Biology
  • Tropical Marine Field Research Skills
  • Biodiversity: From Genes to Ecosystems

Final Year

  • Estuarine and Coastal Ecology Field Module
  • Fisheries Ecology
  • Research Project in Life Sciences
  • Applied Marine Conservation (optional)
  • Climate Change and Pollution (optional)
  • Freshwater Ecology (optional)

Program delivery

BSc Marine Biology: 3 years

BSc Marine Biology (Including Year Abroad): 4 years

BSc Marine Biology (Including Placement Year): 4 years

  • Learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and coursework
  • Gain experience collating and interpreting data, and reporting findings clearly and concisely
  • Benefit from teaching at our local marine biology field centre

Tuition fees

Tuition fee for the academic year 2020-21

  • Home/UK fee: £9,250
  • International fee: £19,080

Career opportunities

As the world's environmental problems increase, the demand for qualified marine biologists and ecologists continues to grow.

Following your degree in Marine Biology you can opt for further study, or pursue careers as varied as conservation, writing and editing for scientific publications, research or consultancy for coastal-based organisations.

Our students have taken up a wide range of careers in research laboratories, consultancies, business and industry, conservation practice and environmental assessment. Others have gone on to work in sales, publishing and management.

Contact school

Want to know more about the programs offered by University of Essex? Please send your questions directly to the dedicated student agency, OK Student and they'll get back to you promptly.

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About this institute

University of Essex

We’re a university where curiosity prevails, and where exploring new ways of thinking and pushing boundaries, isn’t just encouraged, it’s expected.  We’re proud to be Gold rated in the Teaching Excellence Framework 2017 and ranked in the top 30 in...


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Contact info

University of Essex

Wivenhoe Park
CO4 3SQ Colchester


Request information

Want to know more about the programs offered by University of Essex? Please send your questions directly to the dedicated student agency, OK Student and they'll get back to you promptly.

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