Undergraduate

BSc Marine Biology

Study life beneath the waves on this exciting course which includes subsidised PADI advanced scuba dive training.

Key information

Study mode

Full-time

Course length

3 years

Typical offer

120 points

A Level grades: BBB

UCAS code

C160

Choose an option

Start date

Course overview

Why study it here?

Sea levels are rising. Icebergs are melting. Species are facing extinction. Now more than ever, we need to protect our precious marine resources. That’s where you come in…

When you choose Hull, you’re at the centre of one of the UK’s most important aquatic habitats. The North Sea, internationally recognised research facilities – including The Deep – and the rest of the Yorkshire Nature Triangle are on your doorstep.

Fieldwork opportunities here are exceptional – both at home and overseas. Recently, our students got the chance to work in far-flung places like Brazil and Egypt. On top of this, we offer part-funded PADI advanced scuba dive training as part of your degree.

Plus, this course is accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). So when you graduate, you have a clear pathway to become a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.

And then there’s the researchers, academics and technicians who’ll be teaching you…

You learn from the best: a small, friendly department that does world-leading research.

In fact, Hull is the only university in the world to have three winners in the Royal Society of Biology’s Higher Education Bioscience Teacher of the Year Awards.

We teach you all aspects of the marine environment. From the diversity of marine organisms to the impact of ocean acidification and climate change.

In your first year, you start with a broad and varied programme. While your second year gives you a thorough grounding in essential marine biology studies.

Then, in your third year, you get the chance to specialise in areas that could become your future career.

And you’ll become confident with survey and data analysis techniques, which will serve you well in years to come.

You can also take modules from other subject areas, including Zoology, Geography and Environmental Science.

We’re constantly reviewing our optional modules. So everything you learn reflects the cutting edge of the subject and the latest research by our staff.

Six reasons to study Marine Biology at Hull

  1. Learn to scuba dive as part of your degree§
  2. Fieldwork opportunities overseas and in the UK
  3. Tropical aquariums totalling 33,000 litres
  4. 95% graduate employability rating
  5. Study under experts in issues like microplastics
  6. Accredited by The Institution of Environmental Sciences

What you'll study

The course consists of 120 credits per year. Most modules are 20 credits, meaning you’ll study six modules each year. Some longer modules, such as a dissertation, are worth more (e.g. 40 credits). In these cases, you’ll study fewer modules - but the number of credits will always add up to 120.

First year modules

  • Compulsory

    Diversity of Life

    ​Through practical workshops, this module introduces you to the diversity of life and the fascinating adaptations that enable organisms to inhabit nearly all conceivable ecological niches.

    Evolution

    Why did sex evolve? Why do we die? What is a species? How can evolutionary medicine help us? This module will provide you with an understanding of how life on earth came to be what it is, from genes to species. Without evolution, nothing in Biology makes sense.

    Marine Biology: An Introduction

    From space, the planet is blue. Marine life has evolved into a myriad of forms living in some of the most extreme habitats on the planet; from great depths to battered coasts. This introduction to marine biology explores the marine environment, the diversity of life within it and how to conserve it.

    Cells and Organelles

    Explore the fascinating inner workings of cells, giving you a foundation in areas such as cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry. 

    Ecology (with optional Dive Training)

    Ecology is the study of interactions among living organisms and their environment, and is the basis for nature conservation and understanding human impact on the planet. Gain an understanding of ecological theory, applied ecology, and the collection and analysis of ecological data. You can choose to complete integrated PADI Advanced Open Water training, with an opportunity to develop specialist diving skills relevant to ecological science.

    Introduction to Environmental Science

    Discover the fundamental principles of environmental systems and the interconnectedness of humankind with the environment.

Second year modules

  • Compulsory

    Aquatic Zoology

    Carry out practical observations of fish, squid, crustaceans, annelids and nematodes, and improve your skills in taxonomy and identification.​

    Marine Biology and Oceanography

    Study physical and chemical oceanography and marine ecosystems such as tropical marine systems, deep sea and hydrothermal vents.​

    Professional and Research Skills for Biologists

    Develop key experimental design and data analysis skills necessary for your degree. You’ll learn how to identify and evidence your skills and experience to help you secure employment in the future.

    Intertidal Systems

    Explore the temporal and spatial factors affecting composition and productivity of intertidal systems, and the sustainability of intertidal resources.

  • Optional

    Animal Form and Function

    Learn how ecology shapes morphology, physiology and behaviour in different animals and across different environments, including marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

    Geographical Information Systems

    Develop your understanding of the principles and processes behind GIS, the nature and use of spatial data and the application of GIS on this practical module.

    Conservation Biology

    Have we entered a new era of mass extinctions? Examine current threats to biodiversity and the characteristics that make some species more vulnerable than others. Learn to use scientific evidence to support biological conservation strategies.

    Green Planet

    Discover the fascinating world of photosynthetic organisms, from single celled marine algae to the giant trees of the tropical rain forests. Practical classes will teach you ways of investigating plants and algae in the lab and in the field.

    Fish Ecology

    Develop a detailed understanding of fisheries science covering taxonomy, distribution, growth, mortality, population dynamics, feeding, reproduction, parasites and predation.

Final year modules

  • Compulsory

    Aquatic Resource Management

    Learn key elements of aquatic resource management, including status of aquatic resources, exploitation methods, management processes and sustainability.

  • Choose one

    Independent Research Project

    You'll have the opportunity to work on your own lab-based project. For many students, this is the highlight of their degree, as it's a chance to show off their skills in a real-world environment.

    Structured Research Project

    Undertake a collaborative research project, working with a team of other students to investigate research questions relevant to your degree.

    Biology in Education

    Thinking about teaching as a career? Undertake placements in local schools and deliver your own science lesson.

  • Optional

    Sensory Physiology of Animals

    Discover the fascinating world of animal communication to learn how sensory systems control behaviour, and how this is applied to and affected by human activity, including climate change.

    Field Studies (Biology)

    Recent students have selected from destinations including a dive-based trip in Malaysia and an exploration of the Atlantic rainforest in Brazil (financial contribution required).

    Environmental Impact Assessment and Monitoring

    Learn about the socio-economic, ecological, environmental, aesthetic and legislative aspects of EIAs, the industry standard for assessing the impact of new developments.

    Environmental Impact Assessment and Monitoring

    Examine the need for and context of field-based environmental monitoring strategies for both habitats and species. By taking part in fieldwork and research, you'll monitor a range of species, habitats and environmental factors. Choose from mammals, birds, herpetofauna, insects, terrestrial vegetation, freshwater monitoring and monitoring of marine communities.

    Marine Challenges

    You’ll study how climate change, overfishing, pollution and other critical challenges threaten marine ecosystems. ​

    Extinction

    Investigate and discuss questions on prehistoric, historical and contemporary extinctions, from genetic, evolutionary, ecological, paleoecological, geographical and geological perspectives.

    Conservation in a Changing World

    Managing and protecting the natural environment is difficult enough, but we currently face rapid and dramatic change in climate, environment and socio-economic structures. Explore the challenges of planning effectively for conservation in a changing world.

    Practical Conservation

    Work in partnership with local environmentally orientated organisations to learn about the day-to-day practicalities of species and habitat management.

    Threatened Marine Habitats

    Study the dynamics and ecology of threatened marine habitats (like coral reefs, mangroves, hydrothermal vents and polar regions), their anthropogenic threats and strategies for mitigation.

All modules are subject to availability and this list may change at any time.

How you'll study

Throughout your degree, you’re expected to study for 1,200 hours per year. That’s based on 200 hours per 20 credit module. And it includes scheduled hours, time spent on placement and independent study. How this time’s divided among each of these varies each year and depends on the course and modules you study.

Overall workload

204 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

996 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

40%
5%
55%
  • Examination

    Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

  • Practical

    Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

  • Coursework

    Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Overall workload

240 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

960 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

37%
28%
35%
  • Examination

    Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

  • Practical

    Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

  • Coursework

    Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Overall workload

216 hours

Scheduled study Scheduled hours typically include lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, and supervised laboratory and studio sessions.

984 hours

Independent study Independent study is the time outside your scheduled timetable, where you’ll be expected to study independently.

Indicative assessment proportions

42%
19%
39%
  • Examination

    Written assessment typically includes exams and multiple choice tests.

  • Practical

    Practical is an assessment of your skills and competencies. This could include presentations, school experience, work experience or laboratory work.

  • Coursework

    Coursework typically includes essays, written assignments, dissertations, research projects or producing a portfolio of your work.

Hannah Lightley BSc Marine Biology with Foundation Year

"This degree has been about so much more than the theoretical work in the lecture theatre. There are so many practical elements that give you hands-on experience and the chance to put your new skills to the test. You’re always out in the field."

Entry requirements

Typical offer

  • A level grades BBB

  • BTEC grades DDM

  • Points required 120

Work out your estimated points

Don't meet our requirements?

We offer a Foundation Year to boost your skills and knowledge – it’s a great way to make your way into higher education.

Switch to the foundation year

Points can be from any qualification on the UCAS tariff, but must include at least 80 points from 

  • A levels
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • OCR Cambridge Technical Introductory Diploma, Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • CACHE Diploma or Extended Diploma
  • Irish Leaving Certificate
  • Scottish Highers
  • Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma
  • or a combination of appropriate Level 3 qualifications
  • Applicants should have A level Biology/Applied Science at Grade C or above (or merit from relevant BTEC). Applicants taking the reformed A-level must also Pass the practical element.

Alternative qualifications

  • IB Diploma: 30 points including 5 in HL Biology
  • Access to HE Diploma: Pass Access to HE Diploma (Science) including 18 credits in Biology at merit or higher

Worried you don’t quite meet our entry requirements?

We consider experience and qualifications from the UK and worldwide which may not exactly match the combinations above.

But it’s not just about the grades – we’ll look at your whole application. We want to know what makes you tick, and about your previous experience, so make sure that you complete your personal statement.

If you have any questions, our admissions team will be happy to help.

Don't meet our requirements?

We offer a Foundation Year to boost your skills and knowledge – it’s a great way to make your way into higher education.

Switch to the foundation year

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.

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Take a tour of the facilities

Take a 360-degree look at our tropical aquariums where you'll study the richness and diversity of marine life.

Fees and funding

UK

£9,250 per year*

EU/International

£17,200 per year

UK fees for 2021 entry have not yet been confirmed. The fees shown are for 2020 entry.

*The amount you pay may increase each year, in line with inflation - but capped to the Retail Price Index (RPI).

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan to cover the cost of their course and a maintenance loan of up to £9,488 to cover living costs.

Substantial discounts are available for International students.  

More information on fees can be found in the Money section of our website.

Your tuition fees will cover most costs associated with your programme (including registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examination).

There are some extra costs that you might have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make. The list below has some examples, and any extra costs will vary.

  • Books (you’ll have access to books from your module reading lists in the library, but you may want to buy your own copies
  • Optional field trips
  • Study abroad (including travel costs, accommodation, visas, immunisation)
  • Placement costs (including travel costs and accommodation)
  • Student visas (international students)
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want to buy your own)
  • Printing and photocopying
  • Professional-body membership
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography)

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel and food – to name just a few. 

An affordable city for students

From bills, to meals, to pints – you’ll find that your money goes a lot further in Hull.

Your future prospects

  • Conservationist
  • Marine management
  • Fisheries officer
  • Environmental consultant
  • Marine zoologist
  • Scientific diver
  • Dive instructor
  • Scientific officer
  • Teacher

With enviable field, analytic and lab skills under your belt, you can pursue a wide range of careers.

You could work as a scientific officer with organisations like the Environment Agency or fisheries agencies.

If you’re more focused on conservation, you can pursue a career with a wildlife trust or conservation organisation like recent graduate Hannah Lightley. Read her story here.

Or you can move on to postgraduate study. Like our MSc in Environmental Change Management and Monitoring, a PhD, research Masters or teacher training.

Open Day at University of Hull

Ready to apply?

You can apply for this course through UCAS. As well as providing your academic qualifications, you’ll be able to showcase your skills, qualities and passion for the subject.

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This. Is. Hull.

A place where we stand up to kings, do deals with the world and take a wrecking ball to the slave trade. A place where culture stands out and the phone boxes are a different colour. A place where we're free-thinking, independent and proud of it.

*National Student Survey (NSS) 2020, HEIs only.

§Module options include PADI-certified Advanced Open Water Diver training (extra fee may be payable)

†Previous destinations include Brazil, Malaysia and Majorca (extra fees may be payable)

‡Percentage of students from biological sciences subject area in work or further study within six months of graduating: UK domicile full-time first degree leavers; Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey for the academic year 2016/17, published by HESA 2018

††This programme is accredited by the Committee of Heads of Environmental Sciences (CHES), the education committee of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES). CHES is the collective voice of the environmental sciences academic community and serves to enhance the quality of environmental education worldwide. A programme accredited by CHES is assured to meet high standards, contain a strong component of practical, field and theoretical activities, and has excellent opportunities for training, work experience and links to the professional environmental sector. Students enrolled on CHES accredited programmes can apply for free Student Membership of the IES and for a fast-track route to membership once they graduate, starting you on a route towards becoming a Chartered Environmentalist or Chartered Scientist.