Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

F7C1 BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography (3 yrs)

Marine biology embraces the study of all forms of life in the oceans, covering a broad range of topics, from hydrothermal vents to coastal lagoons. To understand life underwater, it is essential to understand how plants, animals and other organisms interact with their environment and respond to change. All our marine biology programmes combine the subject with related oceanographic sciences, to provide a complete understanding of the marine environment.

Programme Overview

This degree in marine biology with oceanography examines the biology of marine organisms within their environments from intertidal coasts to deep-sea and hydrothermal vents systems. The combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills ultimately achieved will provide you with an excellent start to your professional career.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

All undergraduate applications should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Click on the 'How to Apply' tab on the navigation menu for detailed information on how to apply including deadline dates or click here to go directly through to the UCAS website.


The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST).

Programme Structure

During your first Easter vacation, you will start to develop practical field and boat work skills on a seven-day course based in Southampton. Just before the start of your second year, an intertidal marine ecology field course will improve your skills and introduce you to independent research. At the end of year two, you will take part in the interdisciplinary, boat-based field course currently run at Falmouth.

Key facts

  •  A broad introduction to marine biological subjects, with opportunity to specialise later.

  • You will gain a detailed knowledge of the biology of the marine environment and how it inter-relates with physical and chemical oceanography.

Meet our students

Laura Wicks

Thumbnail photo of Laura Wicks

“I enjoyed my time at the NOCS. It was such a friendly and encouraging atmosphere, and it was a great place to be based, with its excellent facilities and teaching standards.”

Entry requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:

ABB grade A levels or equivalent. To include Biology (A grade required) and one subject from Chemistry, Maths, Physics, Environmental Studies, Geography and Geology

Other qualifications:

Please click here to find out about other qualifications.

English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:

Intake: 60 (overall intake across all Marine Biology courses)
Average applicants per place: 6

We will consider your BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography degree application as soon as possible after it arrives at the University. In selecting applicants, we use the information provided on the UCAS form to dermine whether you have the potential to flourish within Ocean and Earth Science.

Candidates who are predicted to attain our standard degree offers will be invited to visit the University and the waterside campus. During this visit, you will meet with one of our academic staff to discuss the offer and explore how your interests and aspirations fit with the course. This formal interview also gives us the opportunity to get to know you.

Visit our International Office website or the NARIC website for further information on qualifications.


Typical course content

The modules studied on this degree in marine biology with oceanography will expand your knowledge of biological sciences alongside skills in chemistry, physics and mathematics.

Innovation modules outside your subject area

Our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers you the chance to take optional modules outside of your chosen subject area. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future. Modules range from "Living and working on the web" to "Business skills for employability".

View the Curriculum Innovation modules for this course

Learn a language

Some of our courses also give you the option of taking a language module, which can count towards your degree. These modules cover ten languages and range from absolute beginner to near-native speaker level.

View the language modules on offer for this course

Year 1

Modules in your first year will introduce you to the animals and plants that live in the marine environment as well as developing an understanding of the physical and chemical oceanography of the sea.

Semester One

Depending on your background, you will take one mathematics module from SOES1010, MATH1004 or MATH1008.

If you have the International Baccalaureate, Standard Level Maths at grade 6 or higher you may consider selecting MATH 1004. If you have Standard Level Maths below grade 6 you should select SOES 1010. If you have A-Level qualifications then please click the individual module below for further advice. If you are uncertain then please contact the Programme Leader


Information for students entering Part I from the Foundation year: If you attained more than 75% in Maths, you should take MATH1008. If you attained less than 75%, please contact the Curriculum Leader – Dr C Hauton

Year 2

In the second year the modules become more specialised including marine vertebrates, benthic ecology and phytoplankton and primary production. The year ends with a marine biology/oceanography field course in Falmouth.

Year 3

You will extend your knowledge in zooplankton, marine ecophysiology, fisheries and aquaculture and marine molecular biology. A total of FIVE optional modules must be chosen from Lists A and B subject to certain restrictions.


Semester One



List A

SOES3049 Vertebrate Palaeobiology

SOES3013 Zooplankton Ecology & Processes

List B

SOES3041 Communicating & Teaching & the Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme*

BIOL3009 Applied Ecology

Semester Two


List A

SOES3017 Inshore Fisheries & Aquaculture

SOES3031 Marine Molecular Biology

List B

SOES3041 Communicating & Teaching & the Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme*

BIOL2001 Evolution

BIOL2003 Animal Reproduction & Development

BIOL3010 Topics in Ecology & Evolution

BIOL3056 Global Change Biology: from Molecules to Ecosystem Services

SOES3029 Seafloor Exploration and Surveying

UOSM2001 Business Skills for Employability

ENVS2006 Environmental Impact Assessment

UOSM2026 Ethics in Science, Engineering and Technology: Jekyll and Hyde


Learning and assessment

Ocean and Earth Science is strongly committed to providing the very best learning experience to all our students in a friendly and stimulating environment. We are known nationally and internationally for our excellence in teaching, and are continually improving the scope and delivery of our activities

On arrival at the University all BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography degree students are assigned a personal tutor from the academic staff, who provides pastoral and academic help and encouragement throughout the degree course and beyond, into industrial or academic careers and research opportunities. Each degree programme is a stimulating mix of lectures, practical classes, field work and tutorials, supported by computer-aided learning, and independent study. You will acquire an in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles and modern concepts within your chosen subject, as well as a good personal and transferable skills profile. The fully modular course structure allows you maximum flexibility for specialisation according to your own interests.

As part of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS), Ocean and Earth Science has a strong research-led world reputation. Cutting-edge research carried out by academic staff provides direct and enthusiastic input into the challenging and stimulating teaching programme. There is unique opportunity for students to undertake research projects with other NOCS-division scientists.

Career Opportunities

In Oceanography and Marine Biology we have an excellent graduate employment record with research laboratories across the UK, as well as more widely in the marine sector.

The range of companies looking for people with the knowledge and skills gained from this course is extensive and growing all the time. Graduates have gone on to work for Government agencies such as the British Antarctic Survey, the Environment Agency as well as global corporations such as BP.

The University is famed for its careers search support service, and with its help and your new degree, your career potential will be limitless.

Many BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography degree graduates go on to further study. Among them is Laura Wicks, who progressed to a Masters in Wales and then a PhD in New Zealand. “In many of my experiences since graduating, such as international conferences and collaborations, the fact that I completed my undergraduate degree at Southampton has been extremely well received,” she said.

“I learnt a great deal during my time; the freedom of choice of modules meant that I could specialise in marine biology, in which I am most interested. I feel that the combination of oceanography and marine biology gave me greater knowledge than a straight degree in marine biology would, as I now have a broad understanding of the chemical and physical processes controlling the biology of the oceans.”