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C161 - Marine Biology

Marine Biology

BSc Honours

  • UCAS code: C161
  • Full time
  • 3 years
  • Next start date: September 2020

Our Marine Biology BSc Honours degree provides you with a holistic understanding of human interaction with the marine environment.

Fees (per year)

  • UK/EU: £9250
  • International: £22800

Entry requirements

  • A Level: ABB-BBB
  • IB: 32 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21
Work placement opportunity Professional accreditation

Course overview

You will learn about invertebrates, fish, seabirds and marine mammals, as well as plants, algae and cyanobacteria. You'll also explore the chemical and physical properties of the oceans and their impact on marine life.

We place particular emphasis on sustainable management of this precious ecosystem, and you'll explore challenging issues such as biodiversity loss and climate change.

You will enjoy high levels of practical experience – using our coastal laboratory and research vessel – and develop skills for a range of careers in the marine sector. Our location near the coast provides fantastic fieldwork opportunities.

Students photographic marine wildlife

Quality and ranking

We rank 4th in the UK in the Earth and Marine Sciences category, The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Professional accreditation

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body.

Modules and learning


The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.

Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage. 

Our teaching is informed by research, and course content changes periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, student feedback, or numbers of students interested in an optional module.

Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.

To find out more please see our terms and conditions.

During your first year, you'll cover a broad range of topics, including the diversity of marine animals, the marine environment, academic and professional skills for biosciences, and marine practical skills.

You'll also be introduced to standard lab procedures, experimental design, sampling methods, field observations, and recording scientific information. 


Compulsory Modules Credits
Marine Biology 20
Diversity of Marine Animals 20
The Marine Environment 20
Academic and Professional Skills for the Biosciences 20
Marine Practical Skills 1 20
Optional Modules Credits
Genetics and Evolution 20
Marine Microbiology and Primary Producers 20

In Stage 2, you'll take a number of core modules, including the ecology of systems, applied marine biology, and research skills and employability. 

You'll also have the opportunity to choose from other modules that reflect your specific interests, including deep-sea and polar biology, marine vertebrate biology and ecology, oceans and climate II, and methods in biotechnology.  


Compulsory Modules Credits
Marine Ecology 30
Marine Research and Employability Skills 30
Marine Practical Skills 30
Optional Modules Credits
Form, Function and Adaptation of Marine Animals 30
Marine Processes and Cycles 30

Your final year will involve a marine research project, either in the UK or overseas. You'll submit a proposal, research existing scientific literature, and test your hypotheses. Having written up your findings in the form of a scientific paper, you'll present to staff and students as part of a scientific conference. 


Compulsory Modules Credits
Advanced Marine Biology 30
Optional Modules Credits
Advanced Marine Zoology 30
Advanced Oceanography 30
Research Project: Marine Biology 60
Research Project: Overseas 60

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

During the course, you'll be taught via a variety of methods, including:

  • lectures
  • seminars 
  • fieldwork
  • lab work

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Assignments – written or fieldwork

  • Case studies

  • Coursework

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Presentations

  • Projects

Skills and experience

Research skills

This degree focuses on research-led teaching, with lecturers feeding their own current research into your learning.

On board our purpose-built research vessel, the RV Princess Royal, you'll use state-of-the-art equipment to carry out your own research. 

During your final year, you'll also complete a research project focusing on a particular aspect of marine science.

Business skills

In your second year, you'll complete an employability skills module, including an internship. Previous students have worked with the Marine Management Organisation, the Fisheries Conservation Agency, and Natural England. 

You'll also develop key skills throughout the programme, including writing proposals, designing studies, scientific reports and papers, and oral presentations. 

Hands-on experience

This is a practical-focused course so you can expect to get hands-on in the lab and the field, working on our brand-new research vessel in the North Sea, and in the Dove Marine Lab. 

During your final year, you'll have the opportunity to take part in a residential field trip where you'll work with a local institution in environments as diverse as, Portugal, Mexico, or Bermuda. 

Chat to a student

I love the options for travel to study the difference in marine life from around the world compared to the North Sea. This year I am on a field trip to Bermuda and conducting my dissertation in the Bahamas!

Emma, Marine Biology student


Work placement

Get career ready with a work placement and leave as a confident professional in your field. You can apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 2 and 3.

You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.

If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements

Facilities and environment


You'll be based in the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences at our city-centre campus. 

Away from the main campus, you'll have access to teaching at our two University-run farms. These are used as demonstration facilities as well as a field station with glasshouse and dedicated teaching facilities. 

Our marine zoologists will be able to study living organisms with access to the Dove Marine Laboratory in Cullercoats and our research vessel, The Princess Royal.

On campus, you'll receive teaching in our purpose-built laboratories and be able to visit the Great North Museum, where there's a range of important biological collections. There's also our controlled-environment aquaria in the Ridley Building. 


As a new student, you'll receive a tablet, so you can download online learning resources, helping to make our campus more sustainable.

You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.

Your future

A growing concern for our environment means that Marine Biology graduates are in increasing demand. 

Our graduates typically go on to careers as aquarists, marine biologists, marine consultants, and more, within respected companies such as WWF, Greenpeace, National Trust, Natural England, the Marine Management Organisation, and organisations within the marine tech sector. 

With transferable skills, such as being able to source and asses scientific information, deliver oral presentations, and produce scientific writing, you'll also be equipped for diverse careers in law, teaching, and research. 

Industry links

Highly respected in the area of marine sciences, we have built strong links with organisations in the sector, including the Marine Management Organisation based in Newcastle, the regional fishes committees, and other leading national organisations. 

Make a difference

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Careers support

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ inititiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.

A Level


International Baccalaureate

32 points

Other UK qualifications (and PARTNERS)

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements


Through our PARTNERS programme, you could receive an offer up to three grades lower than the typical requirements, and get support throughout the application process. To apply through PARTNERS, you must be based in the UK and meet our eligibility criteria. 

Find out more about PARTNERS

Entrance courses (INTO)

International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University, including Newcastle University London. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2020 entry (per year)

UK Students


International Students


The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by the UK government.

As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

You will be charged tuition fees for each year of your degree programme (unless you are on a shorter exchange programme).

The tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly year on year as a result of inflation.

Read more about fees and funding

Year abroad and additional costs

For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year. 

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.

Find out more about:


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Open days and events

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:

  • the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
  • the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
  • the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through an agent

International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.

Visit our International pages

Get in touch

By Phone

Contact us on +44 (0) 191 208 3333. We're open 9.00 to 17.00 every week day except Wednesday (10.00 to 17.00).


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