BSc Marine Biology
|Typical offer||AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM|
Our BSc Marine Biology programme focuses on understanding the biology of marine organisms and their ecosystems. We place special emphasis on whole animal biology, biodiversity, ecology and behaviour. The programme is delivered by internationally recognised research active staff who work at the cutting edge of applied and pure research on whole-organism biology, with particular focus on large marine vertebrates, including fish (bony fish and sharks), marine turtles, seabirds and cetaceans (eg, whales, dolphins and porpoises).
The programme provides you with the skills, concepts and experience to understand all aspects of marine ecosystems and the pressures they face, ranging from overexploitation to climate change. Our interdisciplinary approach to the study of marine ecosystems, from rocky shores to open-oceans and from shallow surface seas to deep-water habitats, allows you to learn about a wide range of theoretical and practical techniques. This interface between research and learning provides critical skills for career opportunities across a wide range of scientific disciplines.
- Focus on understanding the biology of marine organisms and their ecosystems, special emphasis on whole animal biology, biodiversity, ecology and behaviour
- Delivered by internationally recognised experts who work at the cutting-edge of applied and pure research
- The programmes provide the skills, concepts and experience to understand all aspects of marine ecosystems and the pressures they face, ranging from over-exploitation to climate change
- Interdisciplinary approach to the study of marine ecosystems allows you to learn about a wide range of theoretical and practical techniques
Develop a broad knowledge of the biology of the marine environment. Emphasis will be placed on theory underpinned by fieldwork and the development of a suite of techniques appropriate to studying life in the sea.
Make use of the skills and concepts learned in your first year to study marine life with a particular focus on the interaction between organisms and their environments. Concepts explained in detail in the classroom are brought to life in the field.
Work closely with an academic member of staff and carry out a detailed independent research project in the wild or a laboratory. You may also take a bespoke marine biology residential field course in the Azores, Borneo, Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, India, Tenerife or Yukon-Alaska* in order to gain practical experience of research in the wild.
- BSc Marine Biology with Study Abroad
- BSc Marine Biology with Professional Placement
- MSci Marine Biology
*Field course destinations are subject to change. Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs.
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.
The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme.
You may take optional modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.
You may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside of the programme in the second and final years of the programme as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module.
If you have mobility or health disabilities that prevent you from undertaking intensive fieldwork, reasonable adjustments and/or alternative assessment can be considered. This could include replacing a fieldwork module with an alternative in agreement with the Director of Education.
You are also permitted to take the five credit module BIO3406 Biosciences Research Internship in any year. Registration on this module is subject to a competitive application process. If taken, this module will not count towards progression or award calculation.
Entry requirements 2019
AAB-ABB; IB: 34-32; BTEC DDD-DDM
GCE AL grade B or IB HL5 in one of the following subjects: Biology/Human Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology or Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths, and GCSE Maths at grade B or 5.
Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE AL science: Applied Science, Animal Management, Agriculture, Countryside Management, Fish Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Marine Biology
International students should check details of our English language requirements and may be interested in our Foundation programme for Biomedical, Life and Environmental Sciences.
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
Learning and teaching is through lectures, seminars, tutorials, field work, laboratory sessions and independent study. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials with internationally recognised, research-active staff, who bring their results from the laboratory and the field directly to their teaching.
- You can undertake challenging independent research projects dealing with questions and issues at the forefront of life science research. Regular research seminars, by our staff and visiting lecturers, bring you the latest issues on a wide range of research topics. In your final year you will be an active member of a research team.
- Our close links with a wide range of UK and overseas conservation organisations, such as the British Trust for Ornithology, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation Society, allow you to benefit from frequent guest lectures, placement opportunities and project work.
- We frequently introduce new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website. You can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as the discussion forums.
- Your first year does not count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress.
- All marks after your first year count towards your final classification.
- Modules are assessed using a variety of methods including essays, exams, presentations, laboratory reports and a dissertation.
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.
- Personal Tutor: You will have a Personal Tutor available for advice and support throughout your studies.
- Study skills: Help with essay writing, research skills, time management, presentations and more.
- Modern language courses
- All first-years will have the opportunity to join dynamic weekly groups, hosted by both second-year and PhD Biosciences students in Cornwall, which span a range of key areas, such as
- social and pastoral care,
- key skills,
- and discipline specific support.
- These groups allow you to benefit from advice from your more experienced peers, helping ease your transition into university life.
- The subject of the inaugural meeting is decided by the group leader, but you can then suggest subsequent session topics, so sessions are tailored to your direct needs.
- Social media groups, such as on Facebook and Google, are also used for continued group discussions and communication outside of the weekly meetings.
- There are direct links between session content and modules, which immediately follow lectures where possible.
From the beginning we asked the students to help shape the peer mentoring project. This is a scheme that is run by students, for students, so it is important that we know it is reaching its full potential. I think a lot of students feel that getting advice from their fellow students is both worthwhile and beneficial, and we are keen to actively promote this as much as possible.
But more than that, we want to make sure students are full engaged and thinking not only about their time here, but also their career options once they leave. It is more important than ever to be switched on about making the most of opportunities such as work experience and volunteering, as well as meeting the challenges their studies present.
Already, this scheme has proved popular and successful, and we will ensure that it is always designed with students as the primary focus – we rely on the students not only telling us what is useful but also how to drive it forward.
Dr Andy Pye Senior Academic, Pastoral Tutor and Educational Enhancement Link Advisor Biosciences, Penryn Campus.
Field work video
Find out the importance of field work to undergraduate programmes in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation. View full size.
Field Course Fortnight
We pride ourselves in offering an extensive range of field courses across our Biosciences programmes with exciting local, national and international destinations. Depending on your programme of study, you’ll have the opportunity to choose from a number of options including understanding the ecology and evolutionary biology of Switzerland or the Pyrenees, studying tropical biodiversity in Borneo, learning about special ecosystems of North Cyprus, visiting impressive seabird breeding colonies in Scotland or watching grizzly bears fish for salmon in Alaska, to name but a few.
Please note, whilst a compulsory field course is included in the tuition fee, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. Field course destinations are subject to change.
Find out more
Visit our Fieldwork page for more information.
A degree in Marine Biology from the University of Exeter will provide you with a wide range of skills which will be useful for your future study or employment. Our BSc Marine Biology will help you develop skills in: scientific methods of data collection; researching, analysing and assessing sources; written and verbal communication; managing and interpreting information; and developing ideas and arguments.
A career in the field of marine biology is both challenging and enjoyable. On graduation you will be well placed to apply your knowledge to a research career, or to the management and conservation of marine organisms and their ecosystems. You may wish to pursue further study through a Masters or PhD, or a career:
- in the field of ecological consultancy
- as a research officer, assistant or technician (field or lab) in a university, non-profit organisation (including wildlife NGOs), government organisation, business, or zoo
- in the field of ecotourism
- as a science teacher
- as a wildlife film maker
Developing your skills and career prospects
Biosciences provide a range of support and opportunities to help you develop skills that are attractive to employers. Visit our Careers and Employability web page for more information.
Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates of University of Exeter Biosciences undergraduate programmes in Cornwall. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
Assistant Field Director
Media and Communications Manager
Practical Countryside Ranger
Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre
African Horseback Safaris
Orang-utan Health Project
University of Exeter
The Royal Parks
Oxford Real Farming Conference
Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree in Cornwall. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes. This information has been taken from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey 2012/13. Please note that, due to data protection, the subjects of study and institutions are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.
|Conservation and biodiversity
Survey and land management
Conservation science and policy
Evolution of pathogens
Food security and sustainable agriculture
Sustainable tropical agroforestry
|University of Exeter
Queen Mary, University of London
University of Rennes
University of Reading
University College London
Find out more
Further information about the opportunities the University of Exeter offers to maximise the employment prospects of our graduates employment prospects can be found on the CareerZone website.
The Biosciences staff at the Penryn Campus are extremely helpful and always willing to go above and beyond to make sure we have the correct support. The career focused activities done recently are an example of this where lecturers are willing to put in a lot of effort to help us. Generally any issues we have can be sorted and the lecturers care about (and can recognise) every individual student. I feel honoured to have studied under such leading scientists.
Biosciences undergraduate student, Penryn Campus