In this hands-on degree, one of the best in the UK and with an international reputation, you’ll explore the diversity of marine life from coastal margins to the deep sea and gain an in-depth understanding of the biology of marine organisms. Teaching takes advantage of the South Devon coast as well as some of Europe’s best marine facilities – so you’ll have the opportunity to not just experience marine biology but to practice it at the highest levels in both the laboratory and out in the field.
You'll gain an understanding of marine life at the level of the biology of organisms – ranging from microbes found on coral reefs, the physiology and behaviour of marine vertebrates, to the biology of the marine algae that underpin the vast majority of other marine life. The aim of the degree is not only to teach you about marine biology, but to equip you with the practical, intellectual and scientific skills to be a practising marine biologist.
- In the 2019 National Student Survey, 100 per cent expressed overall satisfaction with the course; 96 per cent of students felt staff on this course were good at explaining things; 100 per cent felt that the staff made the subject interesting and 95 per cent found the course intellectually stimulating.*
- Explore the full diversity of marine life, from microscopic plankton to iconic marine mammals. Study marine organisms from every angle including how they work, develop and behave and where they are found, how they have evolved and what the future holds for them.
- Study marine life in the wild with access to the beautiful and varied Devon and Cornwall coastline. A recent World Wildlife Fund report highlighted the South Devon coast – which can be reached on foot from campus – as the area of highest marine biodiversity in the UK.
- Benefit from a strong emphasis on the biology of marine organisms, experimental design, practical and field skills in the lab and at sea.
- Choose optional modules which interest you, such as Scientific Diving which allows suitably qualified students (HSE SCUBA or equivalent) to develop industry and research-relevant skills in measurement and monitoring in the underwater environment using professional SCUBA and related techniques.
- Access the University’s research vessels based in the Plymouth Sound Special Area for Conservation and our Marine Station.
- LABplus is a unique open access laboratory and resource centre designed for students studying science and engineering courses. The lab provides a flexible workspace, computing facilities, specialist software, access to microscopes, microscope cameras and bespoke resources.
- Benefit from our reputation as an international centre for marine research. Our expert teaching staff collaborate on many varied research projects – one of the many reasons why 100 per cent of our graduates said that our staff made the subject interesting (source: UNISTATS).
- Opportunities to gain extra experience working in one of the marine research organisations located in Plymouth, alongside your studies. The University enjoys strong links with the internationally renowned marine research establishments based in the city, including the Diving Diseases Research Centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, the Marine Biological Association of the UK and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.
- Increase your knowledge and apply your skills in an international setting, with two residential field courses abroad (France and Portugal) that give you the chance to study marine organisms not found in UK waters.
- Take the opportunity to gain experience and learn new skills in an optional placement in your third year.
- Widening your knowledge in an area of interest with a major personal research project conducted in your final year.
- Develop a wide range of skills that will prepare you for your chosen career and make you attractive to employers – learn how to ask and answer research questions, and learn how marine biology research gets funded in the UK in a unique role play event. There is also the opportunity to gain the HSE Professional SCUBA commercial diver qualification, for those with a suitable background in diving.
All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).
UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code.
To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.
Undergraduate scholarships for international students
To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.
120 - 144
A level applicants
120-144 points from a minimum of 3 A levels, including Biology and preferably further relevant Science subjects. Qualifying relevant science subjects are: Applied Science, Applied Marine Science, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. General Studies is excluded. Points can include a relevant Extended Project (EPQ) but must include 3 A levels.
30-36 overall, to include Higher Level Biology and preferably further relevant Science subjects. Qualifying relevant Science subjects are: Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. English and Maths are accepted within as GCSE equivalent at Higher Level Grade 4 or Standard Level Grade 5.
BTEC RQF National Extended Diploma/ QCF Extended Diploma
A typical offer would be DDM, depending on the BTEC and units studied. Please include details of units in your UCAS application or contact Admissions for further advice.
BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.
Pass an Access to HE Science course with 60 credits overall, to include 45 credits at Level 3, of which 30 credits must be at distinction and 15 credits at merit or higher. Must include a minimum 15 credits in biology units, plus 15 credits in other relevant subjects (includes mathematics, physics, chemistry, environmental science/studies, applied science, geography, geology, technology or psychology). An interview is usually required.
All applicants must have GCSE (or equivalent) English and Mathematics at grade C / 4 or above.
We welcome applicants offering a wide range of international qualifications. Applications are considered on an individual basis, depending on the subjects studied.
Applicants with other qualifications should contact the Admissions Office for advice.
We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.