Marine Biology BSc Hons
The BSc in Marine Biology will teach you about the diversity of marine life from the deep sea to estuaries. You will gain a thorough understanding of the biology of marine organisms from tiny cells to large marine mammals. You will study at an advanced, research-led level and your topics will cover a broad range from marine molecular ecology, genomics, marine microbiology, the ecology and development of marine life from invertebrates to marine mammals, as well as the ecology of coasts and estuaries.
St Andrews’ location on the shores of the North Sea makes it the ideal place to study marine wildlife in its natural habitat. Teaching takes advantage of this and you will have the opportunity to learn not only in the lab but also out in the field. The School of Biology has the world-renowned Scottish Oceans Institute, which incorporates the world-class Sea Mammal Research Unit which you can access in order to facilitate your study.
These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.
- SQA Highers
- GCE A-Levels
- IB points
If English is not your first language you will need an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent English language qualification.
For more information about admission requirements, please visit the university website.
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In first year, modules introduce you to core subject material relevant to all biology degree programs. Both of the following modules are compulsory.
- Biology 1
- Biology 2
In second year, modules are chosen which will best prepare you for Marine Biology, and new topics are introduced in some second-year modules such as evolutionary biology and ecology. Students on the Marine Biology course must take the following modules:
- The Oceans
- Research Methods in Biology
Students must also take one of the following modules:
- Invertebrate Zoology
- Vertebrate Zoology
In third year, you will continue to specialise in Marine Biology via a wide range of modules covering core topics. Modules that have been offered in previous years include:
- Aquatic Ecology
- Biology of Marine Organisms
- Ecosystems and Conservation
- Genes, Cells and Development.
Scholarships & funding
Several scholarship options are available. Please check the university website for more information.
The BSc in Marine Biology is taught through a combination of:
- practical classes
- field work
- research projects.
Alongside the development of practical biological skills, students are also given the opportunity to expand on their presentation and IT skills.
Fourth year teaching differs from the typical lecture, seminar and tutorial format which students will experience from years one to three. Fourth year allows you to focus on a major project which occupies half of the year. Working on this project will enable you to develop key research skills which are desired by both prospective employers and by graduate schools offering postgraduate degrees. The project can also lead to your first publication in a scientific journal.
Typical class sizes include:
- First year: lectures 250 to 330, practicals 80 to 100 students
- Second year: lectures 80 to 150, practicals 40 to 60 students
- Third year: lectures 20 to 70, practicals 20 to 60 students
- Fourth year: 5 to 25 students
When not attending lectures, tutorials and labs, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve:
- working on individual and group projects
- undertaking research in the library
- preparing coursework assignments and presentations
- preparing for examinations.
Graduates from the School of Biology have a wide range of skills sought by employers:
- laboratory and field data collection
- data handling and presentation
- organisation and communication skills.
Biology graduates have secured employment as:
- clinical scientists
- consultant ecologists
- marine mammal scientists
- museum curators
- school teachers.
About this institute
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews is Scotland’s first University. As a 600 year-old institution, we are known across the globe for our world leading quality and depth of research. For six centuries some of the world’s brightest and most promising...
Why study at University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews is situated in a truly beautiful location. Part of a seaside town it is a picturesque and inspirational location to pursue your studies, where you will have the thinking space needed to be your very best. As a smaller university our size is one of our greatest strengths with class sizes allowing for a close and individual learning experience and giving great access and support from your teachers.
Graduates of St Andrews are highly sought after by employers around the world due to our reputation for excellence. A qualification from St Andrews will help you reach your ambitions and kickstart your career.
Consistently ranked as the best student academic experience in the UK by students in the National Student Survey, your time as a student in St Andrews will be unique and rewarding, leaving you with a prestigious qualification, but also memories and connections to treasure for years to come.
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