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Undergraduate Study

BSc Marine Biology - 2025 entry

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code CF17
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2025
Campus Penryn Campus
Discipline Ecology and Conservation
Contact

Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 725818

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: ABB
IB: 32/655
BTEC: DDM

Contextual offers

A-Level: BBC
IB: 28/554
BTEC: DMM

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: ABC
IB: 30/555
BTEC: DDM

Overview

  • Delve into the world of marine biology and explore everything from the biology of organisms to the ecosystems in which they reside 
  • Our course will equip you with the essential skills and experience to understand the pressing issues facing marine ecosystems, from overexploitation to climate change.  
  • You will experience hands-on fieldwork in the UK and abroad, allowing you to apply your knowledge to real-world situations.   
  • Learn from internationally renowned academics and actively participate in world-class research as a member of one of our research teams.  

View 2024 Entry

Request a prospectus

Open Days and visiting us

How to apply

Contact

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Top 10 in the world for Ecology

9th in the ShanghaiRankings Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2022

Top 20 in the UK for world-leading research in Biological Sciences

REF 2021, based on 4-star research

Opportunities to undertake study abroad or a year’s placement in business or industry

All the lecturers are passionate about their field and this clearly shows through their teaching. They support their lectures with their own experiences and research, and they are always happy to answer our questions. It is really enriching to be able to learn from lecturers who are often at the forefront of their field.

University of Exeter at Penryn is a perfect mix of top university standards of teaching and research, and the friendly, chilled atmosphere of a campus away from large cities. I was especially drawn to it because of its location near the countryside and the sea. Cornwall has so many beautiful and fascinating environments: an ideal place to study marine biology!

Living in Glasney Student Village, everything I ever need is easily accessible! There are staff available on campus to help with all the different aspects of university life: career planning, health, living in halls, academic work or even just finding your way around the campus! Outside of the campus, Falmouth is just a short bus or train ride away. I have loved exploring the town and its surroundings, including Gylly beach and Pendennis point.

Read more from Jessica

Jessica

BSc Marine Biology

Entry requirements (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level ABB

AAB (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
B in a science subject*

A in a science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
IB 32/655

34/665 (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
HL5 in a science subject*

HL6 in a science subject* (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
BTEC DDM

DDD (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
Applicants studying one of the following BTEC Extended Diplomas will be considered without GCE A-level Science: Applied Science, Animal Management, Agriculture, Countryside Management, Environmental Sustainability, Fish Management, Forestry and Arboriculture, Marine Biology
GCSE C or 4 and
B or 5
Grade C or 4 in English language
And grade B or 5 in Mathematics
Access to HE 24 L3 Credits at Distinction Grade and 21 L3 credits at Merit Grade.

30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
To include 12 L3 Credits at Merit grade in accepted science subjects*



To include at least 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade in accepted science subjects (with Professional Placement/Study Abroad)
T-Level T-Levels not accepted N/A
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBC
IB: 28/554
BTEC: DMM

Prof. Placement/Study Abroad:
A-Level: ABC
IB: 30/555
BTEC: DDM

Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.

Other accepted qualifications

View other accepted qualifications

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

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; Environmental Studies, and Environmental Science; Geography; Life and Health Sciences (Double Award only); Marine Science; Maths/Pure Maths/Further Maths/Statistics; Nutrition and Food Science; Physics; Psychology

Course content

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 provides you with the skills, concepts, and experience required 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 develop a wide range of theoretical and practical techniques. The interface between research and learning is central to the degree programme and equips our graduates for career opportunities across a wide range of scientific disciplines.

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.

Develop a broad knowledge of the biology of the marine environment alongside core understanding of biological and ecological principles. Emphasis will be placed on theory underpinned by fieldwork and the development of a suite of techniques appropriate to studying life in the sea.

90 credits of compulsory modules, 30 credits of optional modules.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO1434 Ecology and Conservation 30
BIO1433 Marine Biology 30
BIO1435 Animal Diversity 30

Optional modules

30 credits of optional modules or you may take elective modules up to 30 credits outside 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.

CodeModule Credits
BIO1436 Evolution and Genetics 30
BIO1437 Life Processes 30

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.

75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

a It is compulsory to take a field course in the second year. If you are unable to go on a field course, you will be required to take BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course instead. BIO2450 is only available if you are not going on the field course.

 

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO2426 Analysis of Biological Data 15
BIO2450 Biosciences Penryn Virtual Field Course [See note a above] 15
BIO2460 South West Field Course [See note a above] 15
BIO2462 Biology and Ecology of Marine Vertebrates 30
BIO2464 Marine Monitoring 15

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
ECC S2 BSc-MSci MB Opt 2024-5
BIO2407 Population and Community Ecology 15
BIO2423 Wildlife Disease 15
BIO2425 Introduction to Ecological Consultancy 15
BIO2414 Evolutionary Ecology 15
BIO2461 Conservation Science 30
BIO2463 Behavioural Ecology 30
BIO2465 Wildlife Exploitation 15
BIO2467 Adaptations to Life on Earth 15
BIO2466 GIS for Wildlife Mapping 15

Find out more about placement and study abroad options under Course variants.

with Professional Placement

120 credits of compulsory modules.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
LES3002 Professional Placement 120

Optional modules

 

with Study Abroad

120 credits of compulsory modules.

For your year abroad you will agree a suite of modules in your host institution with the College Study Abroad Coordinator. Details of individual modules that may be taken whilst abroad can be found by accessing the partner institution’s website via http://www.exeter.ac.uk/studyabroad/outbound/research/where/.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO3137 One Year Study Abroad 120

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 order to gain practical experience of research in the wild.

75 credits of compulsory modules, 45 credits of optional modules.

b It is compulsory to take a field course in the final year and you will be allocated based on degree and/or preference. If you do not attend a residential field course, you will be required to take BIO3440 Global Research Skills virtual field-course plus either BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology or another 15 credit module.

Compulsory modules

CodeModule Credits
BIO3136 Research Project 40
BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology [See note b above]15
BIO3440 Global Research Skills Virtual Field Course [See note b above]15
BIO3441 Penryn 3rd Year Field Course [See note b above]30
LES3001 Preparing to Graduate 5

Optional modules

CodeModule Credits
ECC SF BSc-MSci MB Opt 2024-5
BIO3116 Marine Vertebrate Conservation 15
BIO3400 Living in Groups 15
BIO3407 Literature Review in Evolution and Ecology 15
BIO3409 Symbiosis in Marine Systems 15
BIO3410 Sensory Ecology 15
BIO3411 Science in Society 15
BIO3413 Animal Life Histories 15
BIO3415 Ecological Responses to Climate Change 15
BIO3420 Evolutionary Biology of Health and Disease 15
BIO3421 Animal Migration 15
BIO3422 Animal Cognition 15
BIO3433 Ocean Management and Conservation 15
BIO3434 Major Transitions in Evolutionary History 15
BIO3440 Global Research Skills Virtual Field Course 15
BIO3443 The Genome: Applications, Evolution and Ecology 15

Course variants

UCAS code: CF20

Why choose a professional placement year?

During your placement year you will gain valuable experience, apply the skills learnt during the first and second years, improve personal and transferable skills, make new contacts and enhance your employability.

Work placements allow you to develop your career focus and are extremely valued by employers.

Where can I do my placement?

On this four-year variant of the BSc Marine Biology degree you will spend your third year on a self-organised work placement with an organisation relevant to your degree. We have established collaborations with local, national and international organisations that you can consider when applying for placement positions.

Previous placement destinations include:

  • Aigas Field Centre
  • CEFAS
  • Field Studies Council
  • JBA Consulting
  • Living DNA
  • Newquay Zoo
  • Paignton Zoos
  • RSPB
  • Wildfowl and Wetland Trust

What support is available during my placement?

Your 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. During your placement you will have regular contact with the module convenor to identify what support you might need.

Is the placement paid?

It is your responsibility to decide which placements will be suitable for you financially. We present ideas of paid placements and those that have a stipend and/or accommodation.

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.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Marine Biology with Professional Placement directly through UCAS using the code above. You must achieve an average mark of at least 60% in both Year 1 and 2 to progress to the Professional Placement year.

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 and we provide you with help and support with your applications.

UCAS code: CF19

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?

If you choose to take the four year ‘with Study Abroad’ degree, you have the option to spend your third year abroad, studying in a university with which we have established links. We have over 30 partner institutions around the globe; you can find a complete list of International Exchange partner universities on the Study Abroad website.

What will I study whilst I am abroad?

This depends on the university you attend and the modules that are offered there. Once a place has been confirmed, students will liaise with both their host institution and the Exeter study abroad coordinator to decide a programme of study during their year abroad.

Does it count towards my degree?

Credit for academic work during your year abroad is arranged by agreement between the University of Exeter and the host institution. These marks are then translated back into your degree at Exeter.

Transferring to a Study Abroad programme

If you are not sure about studying abroad when you apply for your degree, it may be possible to apply to transfer to a four-year programme at the end of the first year of a three-year programme. Permission to take part in Study Abroad in all cases will depend on your academic progress and the places available in your chosen country.

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.

How do I apply?

You can apply to BSc Marine Biology with Study Abroad directly through UCAS using the code above. 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%.

Further information

See our study abroad information on the Biosciences Current Students page for information about your tuition fees and additional information from some of our students who have studied abroad during their Biosciences degrees.

For further information on where you can go and all the issues surrounding study abroad, see the Study Abroad website.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2024 entry

UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £29,700 per year

Year Abroad and Professional Placement

If, as part of your four-year degree programme, you spend a full academic year studying abroad you will pay a reduced fee of 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year. If you 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.

Fieldwork

Please note, some optional/alternative field courses may incur additional costs. When participating in these optional field courses, you will be expected to cover the cost of travel to some locations, which will be outlined clearly beforehand. However, field courses with no additional travel costs are available to select in each year.

You will also need to provide your own specialist personal equipment appropriate to the field course destination, e.g. walking boots, rucksack, mosquito net, sleeping bag, binoculars. You may incur additional costs dependent upon the specific demands of the research project chosen.

Scholarships

The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available 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.

Find out more about tuition fees and scholarships

Fieldwork

We pride ourselves in offering an extensive range of field courses across our Biosciences degrees with exciting local, national and international destinations.

These field courses not only allow you to apply the knowledge gained in the classroom to real-world situations in superb locations, but also provide a fantastic opportunity to forge lasting relationships with fellow students and academics.

The residential field courses are an opportunity to apply your field skills first-hand in environments studied by our world-leading Ecological researchers. They are designed to complement your degree and highlight conservation issues at the forefront of the subject for terrestrial and marine species and habitats.

» Read more about our field courses

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.

The biggest highlight of the programme so far was definitely the field trip to Newquay Zoo in the first term. Not only was it great fun to see all the animals, but being given enough time to really explore the zoo and learn about them was extremely enriching. We also learnt about the various projects the zoo is involved with and how they are helping the animals.

Michelle

BSc Marine Biology with Study Abroad

Learning and teaching

How will I learn?

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Fieldwork
  • Laboratory sessions
  • Independent study
  • Regular research seminars, by our staff and visiting lecturers

Learn from experts

We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and being taught by experts. You will discuss the very latest ideas in seminars and tutorials and be an active member of a research team. Our academics bring their results from the laboratory and the field directly to their teaching, and our students also help to collect this data.

In your final year you will become an active member of our research team. We have very close links with a wide range of conservation organisations in the UK and overseas, such as the British Trust for Ornithology, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation Society. These links mean you will benefit from frequent guest lectures, placement opportunities and project work.

Assessment

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.

Academic support

  • 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.

Peer mentoring

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
  • Employability
  • 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.

Facilities

Our facilities include:

  • Teaching laboratories
  • Computing suites
  • Field equipment for research projects
  • Library and online resources
  • Access to research vessel used to support undergraduate teaching and research projects

Optional modules outside of this course

Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.

Proficiency in a second subject

If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.

  • A Foreign Language
  • Data Science
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Innovation
  • Law
  • Leadership
  • Social Data Science

Find out more about proficiency options

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Your future

Employer-valued skills this course develops

A degree in Biosciences will help you to develop a wide range of essential skills such as analytical problem solving, team work and organising and communicating information. Many of our students continue their studies in the subject by following a further degree and research in their chosen area.

Supporting your career in Biosciences

Each year Biosciences students are able to access a huge range of opportunities to support their future career options. Sector related careers and employability sessions are put on for the students over the course of their programme which include: career talks and networking events with visiting alumni and employers from a range of backgrounds, employability seminar series events hosted by employers, ‘Dragons Den’ style assessment days, mock interviews and an annual Careers Fair where students can develop networking skills.

Careers Services

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.

Career paths

Many of our graduates are employed in discipline-relevant roles in the UK and overseas including laboratory-based positions, conservation management, ecology, teaching and nursing. Others use the skills gained on their course to enter widely different career paths in law, business or management. Whatever you choose to do after graduation, your Biosciences degree will stand you in good stead, with excellent employment prospects and transferable skills.

Below are a few examples of initial jobs undertaken by graduates from our Biosciences undergraduate programmes*. 

Recent graduates are now working as:

  • Conservation professionals
  • Biological scientists
  • Environment professionals
  • Laboratory technicians
  • Welfare and housing associate professionals
  • Web design professionals
  • Public relations professionals
  • Photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators
  • Archivists and curators

Recent graduates are now working for:

  • AECOM
  • Cornwall Science Community
  • Darwin Ecology
  • Ecology Solutions
  • Fishtek Consulting
  • Harris Lamb Property Consultants
  • Natural England
  • Society for the Protection of Turtles
  • UKSTEM Ltd
  • World Wildlife Fund

Further study

Further study is a popular choice for a number of students following graduation from a Biosciences undergraduate degree. Below are a few examples of further study undertaken by recent graduates of undergraduate programmes*. 

  • MPH/MRes/PhD Biological Sciences
  • MPH Medical Studies
  • MRes Ecosystem and Environmental Change
  • MSc Conservation and Biodiversity
  • MSc Environment and Human Health
  • MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology
  • MSc Immunology
  • MSc Marine Environmental Management
  • MSc Surveying and Land/Environmental Management
  • MSc Toxicology

*This information has been taken from aggregating the responses from full-time, first degree, UK domiciled students who completed 2017/18 and 2018/19 Graduate Outcomes surveys. Please note that, due to data protection, the job titles and organisations are listed independently and do not necessarily correspond.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the programme! It was great to be surrounded by many like-minded people with such a clear passion for the marine environment. I found myself to be constantly stimulated through all the modules. The lectures were fantastic, and Falmouth, what a place to study!

Since graduation, I have been working for Natural England within the Strategy and Government Advice team. I really enjoy the variety of work I currently undertake. My role covers a range of topics such as changing and new legislation, involvement in marine consultations, working with different industries and stakeholders, and creating new guidance for exciting events such as the designation of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). I am continuing to learn so much and I am surrounded by a fantastic team of supportive and knowledgeable individuals.

Read more from Christopher

Christopher

BSc Marine Biology with Professional Placement (2021)