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Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

Bachelor (ISCED 2011 level 6)


Duration 6 semesters
Cost Domestic applicants: Annual tuition fees Commonwealth-supported place: $9,395 / International applicants: Annual tuition fees International student place: $38,500

Go below the surface   

Marine biology is the study of our planet’s largest and most diverse ecosystem—the sea.  

Marine biologists observe, preserve and discover ocean life, from tiny shelled creatures and thriving underwater forests to flashing squids and roving sharks.

What will you do?

Our Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) has a focus on contemporary marine biology practices on both a local and global scale, with a five-star student satisfaction ranking for teaching quality and overall experience*. You will:

  • get hands-on in marine and freshwater environments
  • master your expertise in the lab, then apply these techniques in the field
  • learn the skills to be able to work on temperate seas—from sub-polar to sub-tropical, where there is a high demand for graduates
  • explore pressing and critical issues like conservation, species protection and the effects of plastics on the ocean
  • access cutting-edge technology and equipment used in pioneering research around the world
  • learn from nationally and internationally acclaimed researchers
  • dive into coastal management, evolutionary science and marine ecology.

Where could it take you?

You could explore future life in a high-CO2 world, dive on underwater volcanoes or lead oceanic ecotours. You might study the effects of climate change on our reefs or research the impact of microplastics in fish. Perhaps you’ll make documentaries to educate the wider public or discover totally new marine species.


Career Readiness

The Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) degree sets you up for successful employment with:

  • conservation groups

  • consultancy firms

  • councils

  • environmental protection agencies

  • state governments

  • university research laboratories

  • water authorities.

You might be: 

  • collecting data and resources by scuba diving and boats

  • managing fisheries and coastal planning

  • monitoring climate change and water quality

  • policy formation and creating marine protected areas.

The University of Adelaide Careers Service prepares, inspires and empowers students to achieve successful career transitions and connect with industry.

Graduate Attributes

The objective of this program is to produce graduates with specific attributes as outlined in University of Adelaide Graduate Attributes.

  1. Deep discipline knowledge
  2. Critical thinking and problem solving
  3. Teamwork and communication skills
  4. Career and leadership readiness
  5. Intercultural and ethical competency
  6. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

Industry Placement

Throughout your degree, you’ll take field trips to local beach and areas. In third year, you’ll go on a week-long field camp at the Marine Research Station in York Peninsula.

During most years, you’ll also have the opportunity to go on international trips to coastal regions including Timor-Leste and China. You’ll visit aquaculture farms and fish markets, undertake scuba diving courses, help local communities monitor marine parks, map local habitats and learn about coastal communities in developing countries. These international trips usually run for two weeks.

Potential careers

Microbiologist, Conservation Scientist, Life Scientist, Project Officer, Environmental Project Officer, Research Associates, Resource Management, Environmental Management, Scientific Officer, Biodiversity Assessment, Resource Manager, Environmental Remediation Officer, Environmental Scientist, Aquaculture, Science Communicators, Research Scientist, Environmental Biologist, Environmental Consultant, Marine Biologist, Fisheries Researcher





Structural components
International component
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work
Research Project

Application procedure

Selection Criteria for domestic applicants 
  • Recent Secondary Education: Applicants with recent secondary education are those whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the last two years, however if you completed your secondary education more than two years ago, you may still be able to be considered on the basis of your secondary schooling. You must not have completed more than 2 years full time equivalent university study (48 units). You compete for a place with your Selection Rank (ATAR plus any applicable adjustment factors). Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
  • Assumed Knowledge: SACE Stage 2: Chemistry and Mathematical Methods (if studied year 12 prior to 2017, the equivalent subject was called Mathematical Studies)
  • Higher Education Study: You must have completed at least six months full time equivalent higher education study (the number of courses and units will vary depending on your prior institution however at the University of Adelaide, this equates to 4 courses / 12 units). A Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated for each separate program you have undertaken (apart from some double degree programs where the GPA is combined). You compete on the basis of your best GPA. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET) study:You must have completed an AQF Certificate IV or above from a Registered Training Organisation. Your application will be ranked according to the level of the award. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
  • Work and life experience: To be eligible to sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) as as pathway for entry, you must be 18 years or over before 1 February 2020. If you have studied at higher education level in the last two years (for 2020 entry this means you were enrolled in either 2019 or 2018), you must not have accumulated more than a TOTAL of 2 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) higher education study (ie. including any study prior to 2018). If you meet this criteria, you will be ranked according to your result in the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). Your STAT result is not weighted between verbal and quantitative components. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Scheme. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.

Selection Criteria for international applicants

  • English Language Requirements



Grant opportunities

The University offers scholarships to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

These scholarships, as well as many others funded by industry and non-profit organisations, are available to potential and currently enrolled students.

Learning outcomes

Level 1 involves core studies in biology, geology and statistics. At subsequent levels, students study ecological and evolutionary biology courses that include marine biology components, as well as coastal management and specialised research methodology. At level 3, there are specific marine courses that cover the theoretical, practical and fieldwork aspects of marine biology.

ISCED Categories

Conservation and environmental management
Environmental protection technology