- Study marine science in Cornwall’s distinctive and diverse marine environment
- Graduate with training in physical, biological, geological and environmental marine science through practical, hands-on modules
- Develop a strong core knowledge of oceanography which encompasses mathematical, coding, data analysis, writing, research, and field skills
- Gain access to leading research groups including Exeter Marine as you develop pure and applied marine sciences research projects
- Boost your employability with placement opportunities within the offshore sector and marine and environmental agencies
15th in the world for Geography and Environmental Science
QS World University Rankings 2021
Top 15 in the UK for Geography and Environmental Science
The Complete University Guide 2022
Top 5 for Geology
The Guardian University Guide 2022 and The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.
Experience of fieldwork at sea on a research vessel is an integral part of the programme
The Scilly trip was such a great experience and opportunity in which we learnt so much from glaciation in Scilly to energy and waste management to changes in tourism. It was incredible to have such a high level of expertise teaching us about their field of research. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, bonded as a year group and learnt so much about such a broad range of topics.
Centre for Geography and Environmental Science student, Penryn Campus
Entry requirements (typical offer)
|Qualification||Typical offer||Required subjects|
|A-Level||AAB - ABB
AAA - AAB (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|B in two science subjects*|
|IB||34 - 32
36 - 34 (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|HL5 in two science subjects*|
|BTEC||DDD - DDM
DDD (with Study Abroad/Professional Placement)
|Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve A-level grade B or above in two science subjects*|
|GCSE||C or 4 and B or 5||Grade C or 4 in English Language and either Double Award Science or Chemistry. Plus grade B or 5 in Mathematics.|
A-Level: BBB - BBC
Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.
|Other UK, EU and International equivalences|
NB General Studies is not included in any offer.
Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply
*Accepted science subjects: Biology/Human Biology^; Chemistry; Computing; Design and Technology; Electronics; Environmental Studies; Geography; Geology; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only), Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths^; Physical Education; Physics; Psychology; Science (applied); Sport Science; Statistics.
^If more than one of these is taken they would only count as one 'science' but could count as two A-levels towards our general requirements.
Your first year equips you with core material relating to the four sub-components of marine science – physical/dynamical, chemical, biological and geological oceanography – and strengthens your fundamental maths and science capability.
The second year introduces optional modules that enable you to tailor your course to begin to specialise in one or two of the sub-components, and the third year provides you with research-led modules and a research project in the sub-component of your choice.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
UCAS code: CF23
Why choose a professional placement year?
In your professional placement year you will learn to apply the knowledge learnt during your first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability. Work placements allow you to gain experience of a professional workplace prior to graduating and develop your career focus, and are extremely valued by employers.
Where can I do my placement?
On the professional placement between your second and final years, you will gain valuable experience by spending a year working within an organisation appropriate to your degree. We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
What support is available during my placement?
The module convenor provides support while you are researching and applying for positions and you are encouraged to consider a range of organisations, including consultancies, charities, NGOs, research institutes and universities.
Does it count towards my degree?
The professional placement year counts towards your degree through the completion of your placement and associated coursework. It contributes to your final degree classification, and the words ‘with Professional Placement’ will appear in your degree title.
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more in the fees section.
How do I apply?
You can apply to BSc Marine Science with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above.
How are the placements organised?
You are responsible for organising your own placement; however, we have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.
UCAS code: CF22
Why study abroad?
Students who have studied abroad demonstrate initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they stay, may also have gained a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for.
Where can I study abroad?
Our Study Abroad programme enables you to spend a year abroad at one of our partner universities across the globe. You can find a complete list of partner universities on the Study Abroad website.
What will I study whilst I am abroad?
Whilst abroad you will study approved modules at the host university to the value of 120 credits; these will be credited towards your degree, which you would then complete after four years of study rather than three.
Does it count towards my degree?
All assessments during the year abroad would be undertaken at the host university and would count towards your final degree. Upon return, you would then complete your degree in a fourth year (equivalent to the current Year 3 of our BSc Marine Science course).
How does it affect my tuition fee?
If you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee. Find out more in the fees section.
How do I apply?
To qualify for your Study Abroad year, we would expect you to have successfully completed your Year 1 studies with an average mark of at least 60%. Information about applying can be found on the Study Abroad website.
For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.
Tuition fees for 2022 entry
UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £25,000 per year
If you choose the four-year version of this degree programme and spend a full academic year studying abroad, you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Professional placement year
If you choose the four-year version of this degree programme and spend a full year on a work placement (in the UK or abroad) you will pay a reduced fee of 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year.
Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in field courses, you will be required to cover any visa costs and, if necessary, purchase anti-malarial medication and relevant immunisations. You may also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen.
The University of Exeter has over £2.5 million in scholarships available for students applying to study with us from September 2022 - including our Global Excellence Scholarships* for international fee paying students and financial support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.
* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.
Field courses and training at sea
Cornwall is an exceptional location to study issues related to the marine environment and the ocean. It is a perfect living laboratory which offers a diverse range of marine and coastal habitats, a wealth of natural resources, and creative and resilient communities to conduct fieldwork in.
Fieldwork is a key part of our Marine Science degree: taking learning into the field to explore the incredible marine and coastal landscapes in the region and beyond. Several modules, including day and residential field courses*, will allow you to develop key field skills, put these into practice, and gain new research skills.
Throughout your first year, local field trips will provide a comprehensive introduction to the marine and coastal environment and communities of the local region. Cornwall has an incredible diversity of cultural, ecological and physical landscapes, and the wider region has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a high density of conservation areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It has been recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) containing some of Britain's finest coastal scenery, including Land's End and the Lizard peninsula.
Observational oceanography requires research at sea and such seagoing experience is an integral component of this programme through modules taught at sea or involving sea time.
In your first year, you’ll get to experience research at sea for the first time, for example through exploring the Falmouth Estuary by boat to measure plankton abundance, take conductivity temperature and depth profiles, and use a remotely operated vehicle to explore ocean habitats.
In the second year you will go on a field course to the unique Isles of Scilly, where you’ll work on physical oceanography while at sea and extend your experience of coastal and nearshore island environments.
Your marine fieldwork experience will culminate in your third year in a week-long residential field trip focused entirely on oceanographic sampling and analysis of field observations. During your third year, you’ll also have the opportunity to conduct your own independent field study as part of your dissertation where you will be given one-to-one supervision with a member of staff. For example, in recent years students went to Iceland to conduct fieldwork for their independent research projects.
The intensity of seagoing and coastal environmental and economic activity around Cornwall offers placements and work experience with marine-based companies, providing the opportunity for further seagoing experience.
*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.
Learning and teaching
Where will I study?
At the Penryn Campus in Cornwall you will be welcomed into an intimate and supportive learning environment that encourages enthusiasm and passion for your subject, and promotes interest in the global challenges we seek to address. You will benefit from a welcoming atmosphere, excellent student-to-staff ratios, small group tutorials and friendly, accessible staff. Research undertaken at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) – which leads research into various aspects of the relationship between people and the environment – inspires much of our teaching.
How will I learn?
- Tutorials and small group discussion meetings
- Seagoing and field work
- Laboratory sessions
- Independent study
- Access to the latest geographical information systems (GIS), mapping statistics and coding software
- Interactive activities such as discussion forums and blogging
- Virtual field trips which integrate video and audio data, maps, datasets, documents and published research
- Access to detailed information about modules and learning outcomes through our virtual learning environment
Learn from experts
We believe every student benefits from being part of a research-inspired culture. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be taught by expert staff who are actively engaged in research on a wide range of specialisms, including climate change, remote sensing, polar marine environments (Arctic and Antarctic), energy policy, environment and coastal sustainability.
Teaching and research activities emphasise the value of holistic thinking – looking beyond traditional boundaries to the complex interactions between the ocean sciences and the communities that depend on the sea for their food, resources, recreation and spiritual nourishment.
We have strong links with research projects across every continent of the globe from Antarctica to Asia.
Your progress is monitored through tutorial work and practical assessments. The final degree mark is based on approximately 50 per cent exam-based and 50 per cent coursework-based assessments. The latter include a final year dissertation, which is an independent research project in which you study the topic that excites you most. The modules taken in Year 1 must be passed to progress to Year 2, but the marks obtained do not influence your final degree classification.
Taking modules outside of your programme
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or widen your intellectual horizons.
Proficiency in a foreign language
You can boost your employability by using up to 30 credits each year to study a foreign language. If you study the language for more than one year you may be entitled to have ‘with proficiency in’ added to your degree certificate. The Foreign Language Centre will be offering modules in French and Spanish language from complete beginners up to advanced levels, plus German and Mandarin Chinese from beginner’s level.
If you achieve at least 60 credits in a language via our Foreign Language Centre you may be able to have the words ‘with proficiency in’ and the language added to your degree title.
Further details can be found on the Foreign Language Centre web pages.
Proficiency in Law
Students on this course are now able to add ‘with proficiency in Law’ to their degree title, by gaining a strand of additional legal knowledge and skills that adds value to their degree.
The ‘With proficiency in Law’ modules being offered to non-law students provide a theoretical and technical basis for understanding the regulatory and legal frameworks that you might encounter within your main field of study. These modules lend themselves strongly to students wishing to develop their skillset to work across the environment and sustainability sector and in wider business.
If you accrue at least 60 credits in elective law modules you will have ‘with proficiency in Law’ added to your degree title.
As well as a minimum of 10 hours of direct contact time with your lecturers per week in your first year, all students have a personal and academic tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies and to support the transition to university-level learning. In addition, all students are represented through Student-Staff Liaison Committees and can regularly feedback through module and course evaluations.
You will have the opportunity to participate in a Student Mentoring Scheme in Year 1, matching you with a Year 2 or Year 3 student who can answer your questions, offer advice and moral support to smooth your transition to university.
We have a large variety of equipment that can be used on student research projects. These include a wide range of equipment to measure marine parameters, including conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) arrays and plankton and seabed sediment sampling devices. Digital media such as iPads, cameras and voice recorders are also available.
Employer-valued skills this course develops
You will develop both a depth and breadth of knowledge, skills and experiences that will make you highly employable across a diverse range of careers.
These skills include:
- Practical field and seagoing technical ability
- Remote sensing
- Data gathering
- Information retrieval
- Numerical modelling
- Problem solving
- Project planning and management
- Organising and communicating information
- Report production and presentation (written and oral)
- Plus the ability to work effectively on your own and as part of a team.
Supporting your career in Marine Science
We put on a range of employability sessions for students which include:
- career talks with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds,
- career conversations and employability seminar series events with employers,
- a Careers in Sustainable Development and Environmental Protection Careers and Networking event
- visits to the Met Office and UKHO
- an annual Careers Fair
- and opportunities to access high-quality work placements through an employability optional module.
We have a dedicated, award-winning Careers Service ensuring you have access to careers advisors, mentors and the tools you need to succeed in finding employment in your chosen field on graduation. We offer the Exeter Award and the Exeter Leaders Award which include employability-related workshops, skills events, volunteering and employment which will contribute to your career decision-making skills and success in the employment market.
The University of Exeter has an excellent reputation with graduate recruiters and our students and graduates compete very successfully in the employment market. Whatever path you wish to follow, we’re here to help and support you with all your career and employability needs.
Given the pressures to manage, adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate and environmental change, not least changes in sea level and the risks of coastal flooding, the employability prospects for graduates trained in physical marine science, particularly well-trained practically, are high and only likely to grow.
Likely career paths include:
- integrated coastal zone management
- environmental management
- offshore renewables
- offshore hydrocarbons
- offshore carbon sequestration
- marine engineering
- conservation and marine policy
Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.