Marine biology

About us

We offer three marine biology undergraduate courses, which are closely integrated and have the same entry requirements. 

In addition, we offer a Foundation year, which (upon successful completion) allows access to all three of our programmes. 

Although they share common modules and the overall research-led teaching applies to each, there are important differences and we encourage you to read the course descriptions carefully and ask us for further advice if needed to help you choose the course that is most applicable to your interests and future career aspirations.

We like to give the option of three separate streams because each course has a slightly different ethos. 

This is mainly reflected in the combinations of modules in the later years and the types of investigations pursued in the field courses. 

The unique ethos of each course is delivered during tutorials and field activities and especially during the second year field course and methods modules, where particular skills and approaches are developed.

Undergraduate courses

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology (Full-time) 
Focuses on the biology of marine organisms. Topics range from microbes found on coral reefs to the physiology and behaviour of marine vertebrates.

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology (Full-time) 
Has a cross-system approach, in which ecology and conservation take centre stage. You will study marine and coastal ecosystems in a global context, to understand how they function and how they are best conserved and managed.

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology and Oceanography (Full-time) 
Focuses on integrating biological knowledge with an understanding of ocean processes. So on this course, you will study topics like ocean biogeochemistry and physical processes alongside the biology and ecology of marine life.


BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Foundation Year (Full-time)
Do you have a passion to study marine biology, but lack the normal entry requirements for one of our honours degrees? Perhaps you've shown evidence of good academic potential, but don't have sufficient qualifications or have been out of education for a while. In this case, you may be eligible to join our BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Foundation Year route, which will give you the study skills and scientific underpinning to continue on one of our undergraduate degrees with confidence. 

Studying marine biology at Plymouth

Professor Richard Thompson OBE describes the variety of marine courses available to study at the University of Plymouth.

Find out more about the courses you can study!

Welcome to marine biology at Plymouth

See what it's like to study marine biology at the University of Plymouth.


Plymouth: the place to be for marine biology.

We’re lucky to have an incredibly diverse range of rich coastal habitats around the Devon and Cornwall coastline.

Find out more about our location

Scholarships available to students on marine biology and conservation courses

The University of Plymouth is joining forces with the Ocean Giants Trust to create a series of exciting new opportunities for its marine students.

Students will be able to complement their studies with work for charities in locations such as Mexico, Mozambique, the Philippines and Tanzania.

Find out more about the scholarships

Field courses in marine biology

Field work is central to our three marine biology courses. We are proud to offer an extensive range of field work activities, both locally, making the most of our privileged location, and internationally, with residential field courses in France, South Africa, Sweden and Portugal. 

Our field courses are designed by and for Marine Biologists, so that you achieve skills specific to your degree, and immerse yourself in Marine Biology from the first day.

Find out more about marine biology field courses


Follow us on Facebook