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BSc (Hons) Marine Biology

UCAS Code C160 Part-time study available Fast-track your degree Study abroad opportunities

Our marine biology degree mixes science, practical training and research projects. Stirling is a superb place to kick-start your career working with the oceans.

Marine Biology

Key facts

  • Award BSc (Hons)
  • Start date September
  • Duration 48 months
  • Mode of study Part-time, Full-time, Campus based

Are you fascinated by the oceans and the rich diversity of organisms that inhabit their depths?

Marine Biology is the study of specialised plants and animals and how they’ve adapted to the challenges of living in a marine environment. It’s also concerned with the impact human activity has on the health of the oceans.

Our course is truly multi-disciplinary. It draws on other Biology disciplines, including Ecology and the physical and environmental sciences, to understand a habitat that covers around 71 per cent of the earth’s surface.

We teach you the dynamics of aquatic systems and the biology of their organisms. You’ll learn about the science of diving and other underwater techniques. Our mix of practical work, fieldwork and research projects will ensure that you’ll be ready for your career working with the oceans.

Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture – which coordinates this course – is the leading international centre in its field, and the largest of its kind in the world, with an excellent international reputation in teaching, research, innovation and consultancy.

  • Top reasons to study with us

This course will enable you to understand the form, function and dynamics of aquatic systems, and to understand the biology, ecology, taxonomy and management of organisms inhabiting these systems. Practical work is integrated into the course to help you translate theory into practice.

You’ll learn to design and perform a range of aquatic survey techniques and use the information to assess the quality of marine habitats. You’ll also have practical and theoretical understanding of taxonomy using traditional and molecular techniques.

The final year of study involves an independent research project, often carried out with external organisations. Overseas projects in Semester 8 are encouraged and have previously been located throughout Europe, North and South America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia and Oceania.

Our course is run by the Institute of Aquaculture, the leading international centre in its field and the largest of its kind in the world. With an excellent outcome in the most recent Research Excellence Framework 2014, we bring together cross-disciplinary, world class researchers and have built up a first-class international reputation in teaching, research, contract research and consultancy for aquaculture. We collaborate with academic research institutions throughout Europe and beyond, including Spain, China, Brazil, Norway and Thailand.

Marine Biology is not available as a combined Honours degree, but it shares a common foundation with the degree course in Aquaculture, so you have the option to take a degree in Aquaculture until the end of Semester 5.

Modules

The module details given below are subject to change as the University regularly revises and refreshes the curriculum of our taught programmes. The modules outlined below represent those offered in 2018/19 on this course of study.

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Course details

  • Teaching

    We've been awarded five-star excellence for our teaching by the QS World University Rankings 2017/18.

    Our academics use their international research activities to teach you the latest thinking and trends in marine biology. Our teaching is delivered through formal lectures and practical classes, tutorials, seminars, computer-based learning, fieldwork, guided reading and research.

  • Fieldwork

    You’ll take part in two fieldtrips in which you’ll study seashore and inshore marine organisms and marine mammal biology. An independent research project is a major component of the final year and is often carried out in association with external bodies.

    There are also day field study visits to external sites, where you’ll get relevant experience and a practical grounding in marine biology.

  • Assessment

    Modules on the course are assessed by a mixture of written assignments, exams, practical, team and individual projects. A 40% exam, 60% coursework split would be typical for a module on this course.

  • Study abroad

    Marine biology students benefit from our study abroad links to countries such as the USA (including Hawaii, California, and Alaska), Canada, and Australia.

    We encourage overseas projects in Semester 8. Past student projects have been located throughout Europe, North and South America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, Oceania and Australasia.

  • Contact
  • Fees and costs

    Fees shown are per year (Fees are different for each course)

      2018/19 2019/20

    Scottish/EU Students

    Although you’re liable for annual tuition fees, students domiciled in Scotland or the EU will be able to apply to the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government on their behalf. If you’re unsure of your fee status, you can check your eligibility online.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    Important note for EU students

    The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree. The future fee status of EU students enrolling in UK universities will depend on the timing and terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union. The University will make decisions on fee levels for EU students enrolling in 2020 when further guidance is available from the Scottish and UK governments, and will publicise information about fee levels and financial support available on the University website.

    While students should be aware this may mean a change from the current position where EU students are treated with equivalence to Scottish students, it is also important to note that any changes would also require changes to existing UK and Scottish legislation. Current indications are that the UK would leave the EU at the earliest in 2020, so any changes would not take effect before the academic year 2020/21.

    £1,820*

    *This tuition fee is set by the Scottish Government, and may be subject to change.

    £1,820*

    Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland

    If you’re domiciled in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you’ll be able to apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of your tuition fees, from your relevant funding body.

    You will be liable to pay tuition fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    If you successfully complete Years 1-3 of your course, you will also be eligible to receive an Honours Year Scholarship valued at £9,250 to cover the tuition fee costs of your fourth and final year of study. Learn more about the Honours Year Scholarship.

    There is additional funding available for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland – please see Funding opportunities below.

    £9,250 £9,250

    Overseas (Non-EU) Students

    You will be liable to pay fees for every year you’re in attendance, and your fees will be held level upon entry. Please note if you need to extend your period of study, you may be liable for an additional fee.

    £14,460 £14,820

    You should expect to pay fees for every year you attend. Fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

  • Funding opportunities

    Students domiciled in Scotland and the EU

    The University of Stirling offers undergraduate funding opportunities for students domiciled in Scotland or the EU. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (RUK)

    Eligible students domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will be able to receive the University’s Undergraduate Choice Scholarship, which offers a £1,000 cash award for Years 1-3 of study to eligible students coming to us with a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent

    Alternatively, the Undergraduate Merit Scholarship offers a £1,000 cash award for Years 1-3 of study to eligible students coming to us with a minimum of AAB at A-level or equivalent.

    You don’t need to apply for these awards - we’ll automatically identify your eligibility as part of the admissions process.

    To explore other scholarships and learn more about funding opportunities, use our scholarship finder.

    Students domiciled overseas

    The University of Stirling offers generous undergraduate funding opportunities for overseas students. To find out if you’re eligible to apply for an award, use our scholarship finder.

  • Additional costs

    We subsidise costs for fieldtrips but you’ll be required to make a financial contribution.

    If you choose to attend your graduation ceremony, you will be liable for an additional charge. There is no charge if you wish to graduate in absentia. Learn more about additional fees.

  • Cost of living

    If you’re domiciled in the UK, you can typically apply to your relevant funding body for help with living costs. This usually takes the form of student loans, grants or bursaries, and the amount awarded depends upon your personal circumstances and household income.

    EU and overseas students won’t normally be able to claim living support through SAAS or other UK public funding bodies. You should contact the relevant authority in your country to find out if you’re eligible to receive support.

    Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling.

  • Payment options

    We aim to be as flexible as possible, and offer a wide range of payment methods - including the option to pay fees by instalments. Learn more about how to pay.

What jobs can you get with a Marine Biology degree?

Our graduates are sought after in relevant areas of employment, in both public and private sectors, such as:

  • environmental protection
  • environmental impact assessment
  • environmental and conservation fields
  • pollution control
  • water companies, tourism
  • fisheries management
  • governmental regulatory departments
  • the fast-growing aquaculture sector.

In addition, there is a wide range of more general graduate employment, which includes:

  • biotechnological companies
  • bioinformatics
  • health and clinical sciences
  • forensic science
  • medical sales and marketing
  • science journalism
  • teaching

We include an aquaculture module as the aquaculture sector is a major Scottish industry and employer of marine biology graduates.

A second degree (MSc or PhD) is often needed if you want to advance your career to more senior research posts, and many of our graduates go on to pursue further study at Stirling or other UK and overseas universities.

  • The University of Stirling consistently earns five QS Stars for employability, with more than 97% of our students in employment or further education within six months of graduating. (HESA DLHE 2016/17)
  • The Institute of Aquaculture was ranked highly in the most recent Research Excellence Framework exercise (REF2014) with 88% internationally recognised rating.
  • Students benefit from their close association with a strongly research-led department in the aquatic sciences, particularly in the more advanced and project modules.
  • Employability skills

    This course will enable you to:

    • Use basic biology lab skills, including: lab safety, microscopy, biological drawing, live-animal observation, wet-lab work, and aquatic/marine field skills.
    • Use scientific methodology, including: hypothesis-driven science, experimental design, report writing and practical biostatistics.
    • Assess the scientific literature with appraisal and synthesis of multiple sources.
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