BSc (Hons) Marine Biology
School of Marine Science and Technology
Studying marine sciences at Newcastle equips you with skills for a profession in a growing sector. We are one of the largest marine schools in Europe and our location near the coast provides fantastic opportunities for fieldwork.
Our Marine Biology BSc Honours degree provides you with a holistic understanding of human interaction with the marine environment. It is the study of all marine life, from marine bacteria to large invertebrates and mammals.
You learn about invertebrates, fish, seabirds and marine mammals, as well as plants, algae and cyanobacteria. You also explore the chemical and physical properties of the oceans and their impact on marine life.
We also place particular emphasis on humankind’s relationship with the marine environment and how we can achieve sustainable management of this precious ecosystem. Biodiversity loss, climate change, sea-level rise, pollution and over-exploitation of resources are just some of the issues challenging our abilities to manage this ecosystem sustainably.
The degree is very hands-on and you gain experience through laboratory classes and fieldwork. You also develop practical skills in taking plankton hauls, seabed surveys and using the latest oceanographic technologies.
Quality and ranking
Marine Sciences at Newcastle ranks in the top 150 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings by Subject.
We have a policy of seeking accreditation from The Institution of Marine Engineering Science and Technology (IMarEST) for all of our marine science degrees, so you can be assured that you will graduate with a degree that meets industry standards.
Teaching and assessment
Research-informed teaching plays an important role at Newcastle. It shapes the content of our undergraduate degrees and makes sure that you have chance to cover the most up-to-date theories and discoveries in your subject.
Our research covers two main areas:
- marine organisms and ecosystem research
- coastal processes and management
Throughout each year you develop and extend your practical skills by visiting a wide range of sites. You routinely visit offshore sites on the University’s new research vessel, while our modern teaching laboratories facilitate your development of essential investigative and analytical techniques.
We assess your performance in each module through a combination of assignments and end-of-semester examinations. Assessment involves written examinations at the end of each semester, as well as course work associated with practicals submitted during the year. You also carry out your own research project in Stage 3 in the UK or abroad. This gives you the chance to design and conduct an original piece of research on a topic of your choice, under the close supervision of a member of staff. Teaching and assessment methods may vary from module to module; more information can be found in our individual module listings.
Visit our Teaching and Learning pages to read about the outstanding learning experience available to you at Newcastle University.
We place great emphasis on seagoing experience and this is reflected in the high number of seagoing training hours you will receive on our brand new research vessel. These North Sea offshore practicals will train you in essential skills required by marine biologists and zoologists including:
- plankton sampling
- fish and benthic trawls
- analysing the physical and chemical properties of seawater
- undertaking seabed surveys
- experimenting with the latest oceanographic technology
You will also take part in a number of field trips throughout the course, including an overseas residential field course in Stage 3.
You undertake an overseas residential field course during your final year – we offer a choice between a European and non-European location each year. Recent locations have included the Bahamas, Bermuda and Portugal.
You may also undertake your final-year dissertation overseas at a location of your choice and we will support you in setting up this project. This is an opportunity to explore your personal interests, and past projects have included scuba-diving-based research and observing great whales.
These are exciting opportunities to experience new cultures, to network with scientists in other marine institutions, and to see the diversity of marine science on a global platform.
They will also broaden your appreciation of the spectrum of marine careers available to you around the world.
You will have opportunities to see marine management in action – the University collaborates with a wide range of organisations to monitor, assess and devise policies and solutions to some of the key issues affecting the marine environment. This includes the Marine Management Organisation in Newcastle, whose role is to regulate and manage the seas around England and Wales.
We also have staff representation on the regional fisheries committees, on the regional biodiversity committee, and on other prominent national organisations.
At Newcastle you will have access to excellent facilities to support your studies:
- A field station right on the beach in Cullercoats. The Dove Marine Laboratory is located just 20 minutes from campus and is equipped with research aquaria to study live organisms
- Controlled-environment aquaria on campus, providing a contrasting research environment to our beach-based field station
- Marine biology research laboratories
- New twin-hulled research vessel, The Princess Royal, giving you the chance to develop your seagoing skills
AAB-ABB including Biology or Human Biology and another science subject from: Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Geography, Geology, Environmental Science, Psychology, IT, PE and Design & Technology. General Studies and Critical Thinking are excluded. Chemistry preferred at A/AS level but not essential. Mathematics required at GCSE (minimum grade B).