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Bachelor (ISCED 2011 level 6)


Duration 8 semesters
Cost students from: Scotland and the EU £1,820; England, Wales and Northern Ireland £27,750/£37,000; international students £21,920


Marine and Freshwater Biology is the study of the world’s aquatic systems, which cover the majority of the Earth’s surface and host an array of biodiversity across habitats including lakes, rivers, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs and the deep sea. These environments are heavily influenced by exploitation, pollution, infrastructure and climate change, yet provide essential ecosystem functions and ecosystem services.

  • Our teaching is informed by cutting-edge research and close links with the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine.
  • You can gain a range of practical skills and experience across multiple field courses, including exotic locations and our own field station at Loch Lomond, the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment.
  • Expeditions are carried out by the Glasgow University Exploration Society to a range of locations each year. Previous expeditions have included Sri Lanka, Egypt, Trinidad, Iceland, Tobago, Guyana, and remote parts of Scotland. They are independent of any course and are open to all students.
  • Our student Zoological Society meets regularly for talks and activities (jointly with and Marine and Freshwater Biology students).
  • September start: session dates
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology BSc (Hons): C164 4 year degree
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology MSci: 5 year degree
    Applications to the MSci are not taken via UCAS: you may apply for transfer mid-BSc



You will be given a general introduction to all aspects of modern biology and encouraged to acquire general scientific skills.


You will be introduced to specialist subject areas according to your interests (e.g. animal biology; biomolecular sciences; human biology; infection biology). 

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.

YEARS 3, 4 AND 5

If you progress to Honours, you will study a wide range of topics including animal diversity and its classification; ethical aspects of scientific work; evolution and ecology; wildlife conservation; animal behaviour and animal welfare; environmental management (aquatic pollution); and aquatic environments. There are also visits to hatcheries, fish farms and aquaculture projects.

Another major component of your final year is an independent research project, which can be carried out in the laboratory, or in the field, at home or abroad.

Marine & Freshwater Biology can be taken as an MSci, which includes an additional placement year between the third and final years of the degree, normally spent undertaking research in industry in the UK or overseas.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.


You may have the opportunity to undertake an overseas field course. For example, the tropical marine biology course includes an optional fieldtrip to study the coral reefs and mangroves of the Red Sea, Egypt. 

Structural components
Industry partners
Internship/Workplace experience
International component
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Language training
Research Project

Application procedure


Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)

International students can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS.


  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international (non-EU) students

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.


Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.

Grant opportunities


The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a total of 100 Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new international students for 2020 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.  

More Information

RUK Access Bursary 2020 Entry

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2020/21, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

More Information

RUK Excellence Scholarship 2020

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

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James McCune Smith Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students of African/African-Caribbean backgrounds. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the University. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for one year of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to both current and new applicants to the University.

More Information

The Ronald and Rita McAulay Scholarship

Mr Ronald McAulay, alumnus of the University (MA 1965), and his wife Rita wish to establish a Scholarship to support students who are Hong Kong nationals wishing to take up an undergraduate course of study at the University of Glasgow.

The McAulays would like to establish a scholarship which encourages Hong Kong residents to achieve an international education, therefore the award will cover course tuition fees and a living cost stipend.

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Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

More Information

The Martin Niemöller Scholarship (College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences)

The German Speaking Congregation in Glasgow are pleased to offer one scholarship award of £500 for students originating from German speaking countries. The scholarship will support those students in need of financial support at any stage of their degree programme.

All students awarded a Martin Niemöller Scholarship will be asked to submit a short letter of thanks to the Development and Alumni Office for onward transmissions to the donors of the award.

More Information

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

Tution fees paid by SAAS for Scottish and UE students.

If you are scottish or from the UE, you can apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid in full, providing you meet their residence conditions. You must apply to SAAS every year to ensure your fees are paid.




FOR ENTRY IN 2020  - BSc


  • Standard entry requirements: AAB guaranteed offer if additional requirements met.
  • Minimum entry requirements: BBB considered for offer if additional requirements met.
  • Additional requirements: Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry A-level at Grades A or B. 


  • S5 standard entry requirements: AAAA/AAABB guaranteed offer if additional requirements met.
  • S5 minimum entry requirements: ABBB to be considered for S6 offer.
  • S6 standard entry requirements: AAAAAB cumulative grade requirement for S6 offer holders.
  • Additional requirements: Highers in TWO Science subjects including Higher Biology/Human Biology or Chemistry at Grades A or B. 

We adjust these entry requirements for eligible applicants who complete one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes: see Access Glasgow

  • Adjusted S5 standard entry requirements: AABB/ABBBB guaranteed offer if additional requirements met.
  • Adjusted S5 minimum entry requirements: No minimum at S5.
  • Adjusted S6 standard entry requirements: AABB/ABBBB cumulative grade requirement for S6 offer holders. Considered for offer at BBBB.
  • Adjusted additional requirements: Highers in TWO Science subjects including Higher Biology/Human Biology or Chemistry at Grade B.
    Successful completion and grades in either the Top-Up Programme or Summer School.

International baccalaureate

  • Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points including three HL subjects at 6,6,5 guaranteed offer if additional requirements met.

  • Minimum academic entry requirements: 32 points including three HL subjects at 6,5,5 considered for offer if additional requirements met.

  • Additional requirements: Minimum of TWO relevant Science subjects at HL: SL6 will be considered for one; including Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry at SL6 or HL6. 


International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of foundation certificates.


For advanced entry visit the website.


International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management