The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonUndergraduate study

F704 MSci Marine Biology with study abroad (4 years)

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 degrees combine the subject with related oceanographic sciences, to provide a complete understanding of the marine environment.

Introducing your degree

This is the course page for MSci Marine Biology with study abroad at the University of Southampton. Find out everything about Marine Biology with study abroad and what studying here involves.

In this course page we explain a range of key information about the course. This includes typical entry requirements, modules you can take and how assessment works. We also suggest career opportunities open to you as a University of Southampton graduate of MSci Marine Biology with study abroad.

If you still have questions, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to answer any enquiries. See our contact us page for our telephone, email and address information.

Marine Biology


What is this?(More Information)This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. Find out more.

This integrated masters degree in marine biology follows the same pathway as the BSc Marine Biology with Oceanography and the MSci Marine Biology in years one and two. In your third year, you will have the opportunity to study abroad at top overseas universities, where you will take a variety of advanced modules over one semester. You will then return to Southampton.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

As a development of the already successful MSci Marine Biology with Study Abroad programme for 2017 entry onwards we are altering the entry requirements for this degree from A level (or equivalent) exam grades to a selective/competitive entry for a limited number of places based on the exam achievements at the end of the first year at University. Students joining the SA programme will be those who have worked consistently and achieved the highest grades during year 1. The lowest grade considered for entry to a Study Abroad programme will be 65%. Successful students will transfer to MSci Marine Biology with Study Abroad from their BSc or MSci programmes. This means all our first year students can aspire to be part of this flagship degree, hard work in year 1 could well be rewarded with the opportunity to transfer to a Study Abroad programme which allows the student to spend a semester at a partner University outside the UK


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

Key Facts

Our current partnerships are with the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, University of Bergen and University Research Centre Svalbard.

Our overseas universities offer complementary modules with an international dimension.

A prestigious programme with limited places.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
GCE A-level

A*AA grade A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University from Biology (required), Physics, Chemistry, Geology or Maths.

Other qualifications:

Please click here to find out about an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:
Average applications per place:

We will consider your MSci Marine Biology 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. As a ‘study abroad' applicant, this formal interview must take place before we can make you an offer.

Contextual Offers

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students flagged in this way will be given additional consideration and not be rejected solely on the basis of their predicted (or actual) grades.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The modules studied on this integrated masters degree in marine biology 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 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 fo 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.

IT communication, field and laboratory skills
Introduction to ocean biogeochemistry
Marine invertebrates
Earth and ocean system
Quantitative Earth and Ocean Science
Introductory Mathematics for Chemists and Oceanographers
Introduction to Mathematical Methods

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. All modules are compulsory.

Year 3

Currently, the third year is undertaken at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, James Cook University, University of Western Australia and University of Sidney. For administrative purposes, students are enrolled on SOES3044 and SOES3043 which houses modules taken at this University. More detailed information on the specific modules you will be taking will be provided nearer the time.

Semester Two
Marine science study abroad 2

Year 4

You will return to Southampton for your final year. You will conduct a major research project alongside further taught modules plus a tropical field course run at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences. Two modules must be chosen from the recommended list below.

Students opting to take SOES6052 Tropical Marine Biology will have to make this decision by the end of November in Year 3.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,250 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this programme typically also have to pay for:

Printing and copyingCoursework such as essays, projects and dissertations may be submittable online. However, some items will require submission as a printed copy, including some items where it is not possible to submit online Please remember that we are unable to refund any credit that has not been used by the end of your course, so please consider this when topping up your printing/copy account. You will be given a printing allowance towards the costs of printing lecture handouts or you may choose to use digital versions only during lectures. The University Print Centre also offer a printing and copying service as well as a dissertation/binding service. Current printing and copying costs can be found here ( They also provide a large format printing service, e.g. Academic posters. Current costs can be found here ( £0.05-0.50

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryApproved Calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentField Equipment and Materials: Please see Appendix 4.
EquipmentLaboratory Equipment and Materials: Laboratory equipment and consumables will be provided where appropriate. (Please also see Appendix 4).
FieldworkLogistical costs: Please see Appendix 4.
ClothingLab coats and safety spectacles: Marine Biology students will receive a lab coat, dissection kit and waterproof notebook during Induction. If these are lost the student must replace them at their own expense.
ClothingField course clothing: You will need to wear suitable clothing when attending field courses, e.g. waterproofs, walking boots. You can purchase these from any source.
ClothingWet Suits: You will need to purchase a suitable wet suit and associated snorkelling equipment if participating on SOES6052.
EquipmentData Storage : Students are expected to provide their own data storage device
EquipmentSoftware Licenses: Will be provided by the University where appropriate
EquipmentHardware: It is advisable that students provide their own laptop or personal computer, although shared facilities are available across the University campus.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Appendix 4: Fieldwork and related University contributions and Costs

This appendix covers all programmes offered in Ocean and Earth Science that include fieldwork.

Fieldwork: introduction

Experience of working in the field is an essential part of your learning process and is also widely regarded as valuable in personal development.

Please note that circumstances may dictate that some field-courses are timetabled within part of the vacation period.

For compulsory residential field courses, accommodation and travel are provided (for Independent Geology Mapping a fixed amount is provided to cover these costs for the least expensive area). You are usually expected to cover the costs of food and drink, although some courses may include meals. For optional field courses, students are asked to make a contribution to the travel and/or accommodation costs. Details are provided in the table below.

Please note that if a field course is compulsory for your degree programme and you later move from that degree programme to one where that field course is optional, you will be charged for the cost of that field course. To provide an example: students on the MSci Marine Biology programme undertaking the field course to Bermuda will be charged the full cost of the field course if they later choose to transfer to the BSc Marine Biology degree programme.

In addition to the field courses mentioned in this booklet, there are also one-day field courses associated with specific modules; students are expected to cover food and drink costs for these days, but transport is arranged and paid for by the department. As the department arranges transport, should students wish to make their own way to or from field courses, then they must meet these costs themselves.

Additional Information

SOES3020: Tenerife Field Course

As this is an overseas field course which requires the department to make early flight bookings to minimise costs, students who pre-register for this module will be liable for the full flight costs if they subsequently opt not to take the module.

SOES3025: Independent Geology Mapping

Precise costs depend on specific arrangements made by students and on individual destinations. The department undertakes to cover the costs for accommodation and travel up to the cost of the least expensive destination, and currently provides £500 per student.

SOES6052: Tropical Field Course

This field trip is optional and open only to MSci Marine Biology and MSci Biology with Marine Biology students. Students are expected to fund their travel and to provide their own snorkelling equipment, including 3mm-thick wetsuit. The total cost is currently expected to be no more than £800-900. The department provides full board, IT and lab facilities and course-related travel whilst on Bermuda.


Where a student contribution is made, invoices will be issued approximately 2 weeks prior to the start of a field course and payment will be due within 7 days.

Dates and costs are correct at the time of going to press.

Fieldwork equipment 

Geology and Geophysics students

• Geology and Geophysics students will need a minimum amount of field equipment and this is provided by the department. Most will be provided during Induction.

• Geology students receive: compass-clinometer; geological hammer; hand lens; waterproof field notebooks (quantity depends on degree programme); steel tape measure; safety helmet; clip board; safety goggles; bottle for dilute hydrochloric acid; outdoor first aid kit; 3 mapping pens; grain size comparator cards.

• Geophysics students receive: compass-clinometer; hand lens; waterproof field notebooks (quantity depends on degree programme); steel tape measure; safety helmet; clip board; safety goggles; bottle for dilute hydrochloric acid; outdoor first aid kit; 3 mapping pens; grain size comparator cards.

• All Geology and Geophysics students are recommended to purchase the following items: a pair of compasses; set squares; protractor; pencils (including coloured); eraser; University-approved calculator.

• Geology and Geophysics students will also need to provide their own walking boots, waterproof clothing, and a rucksack; some students purchase a ‘Weather writer’ which affords more protection for maps in wet weather.

• Some of the items not included in the induction pack can be purchased from the department/University. Please visit Room 161/05, Level 1, NOCS.

Marine Biology and Oceanography

• Marine Biology students will receive a lab coat, dissection kit and waterproof notebook during Induction.

• Oceanography students will receive a lab coat and waterproof notebook during Induction.

Insurance (travel, medical, personal property and baggage)

Students are automatically insured whilst on University organised field courses undertaken as part of their official studies, including field work.

Career Opportunities

Our marine biology degree graduates have excellent employment prospects with research laboratories across the UK and more broadly in the marine sector.

The range of companies looking for people with such knowledge and skills 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 noted for its careers search support service, and with its help and your new degree in marine biology your career potential will be limitless.

Learning & 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 MSci Marine Biology degree students are assigned a personal tutor from the academic staff, who provides 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 a challenging and stimulating teaching programme. There is unique opportunity for students to undertake research projects with other NOCS-division scientists.

Study Locations

Waterfront Campus

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

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