The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

7N16 MSci Biology and Marine Biology (4 years)

Gain a unique perspective of working in the coastal zone with Southampton’s MSci Biology and Marine Biology degree programme.

This exciting interdisciplinary four -year programme will provide you with the skills to pursue a career at the terrestrial marine interface including jobs in conservation organisations, government agencies and research.

Introducing your course

Southampton’s MSci Biology and Marine Biology is the perfect balance for students wishing to develop their understanding of the living world from the molecular level to entire ecosystems across both terrestrial and marine biology.

Taught by leading scientists at Biological Sciences and at Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, it combines core concepts with a broad choice of modules. 

Your research skills will be enhanced with a series of terrestrial and marine field trips with locations in the UK, Spain in years 1 and 2 and a choice of, currently, Bermuda or Galapagos at the end of year 3.

In your final year you will get the opportunity to work alongside one of our cutting edge research groups in Biology or Ocean and Earth Science completing an extensive (50% of your final year) research project.

Our Biology and Marine Biology degree awaits accreditation by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) which has accredited our other Marine science degrees.

Marine Biology


Graduates of MSci Biology and Marine Biology will be prepared to embark on a career spanning both environments. During your degree, you will gain a broad knowledge of important marine biological concepts, then focus on your own interests and pursue them further in your third and fourth years through individual research projects. Throughout your studies, you will develop vital transferable skills for future roles in both academia and industry in the UK and around the world. This programme combines scientific work in the laboratory with practical skills classes on shore and on the water, marine and intertidal ecology field courses and field work in the Mediterranean.


  • You will gain a knowledge and understanding of living organisms at many levels from the molecular, through cells and whole organisms to ecosystems, with an evolutionary perspective. This will enable you to understand marine biological systems and processes in theory and practice.
  • You will master a range of relevant and practical interdisciplinary laboratory and field work skills in scientific work and field courses during your degree. Our staff are highly experienced in research and the use of the latest equipment and facilities.
  • You will develop many transferable skills which will be of great value throughout your career, including data collection and analysis, presentations and communication, the use of technology team working, time management and planning.
  • You will gain the ability to think critically, assessing data and sources and developing the skills to pursue independent study through project work and practical field courses. This will give you the capacity for lifelong learning, study and enquiry.
  • Graduates of MSci Biology and Marine Biology will be well qualified for a wide range of careers in marine biological research, scientific consultancy and many other pathways. It will also be a stepping stone to further study at PhD level.

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.

Programme Structure

The programme is offered as a full-time course. The MSci Biology and Marine Biology programme normally lasts for four years.

In the first year, there are a number of core and compulsory modules, which lay a solid foundation in the basic discipline of this programme. More specialised training and options that enable diversification commence in the second year.

In the third and fourth years, students are exposed to the forefronts of the discipline’s knowledge, with the opportunity to conduct supervised original research.

The four-year programme is intended to develop research skills in a more inter-disciplinary context than is possible in a three-year degree structure. You will also be exposed to cutting edge research, participating in seminar presentations in wide-ranging and specialist topics.

Key facts


  • Students will learn and perfect core practical skills on three exciting scientific field courses, one in the Mediterranean
  • Taught in two of the UK’s leading research centres – Biological Sciences and the National Oceanography Centre Southampton
  • Develop advanced scientific and transferable skills during your degree which will give you a head start in embarking on your career following graduation

The National Student Survey 2017

95% of Biological Sciences students were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of their course.



Biological Sciences
Biological Sciences
Waterfront Campus, NOCS
Waterfront Campus, NOCS
National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS)
National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS)
Thumbnail photo of Jack Dicks

“The highlight of my degree so far has been studying abroad at University of Gothenburg in Sweden as an Exchange student. It has been so valuable to my degree and personal growth. I even learnt a good amount of Swedish!”

Jack Dicks - MSci Biology and Marine Biology, 2018

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

GCSEGCSE level maths and english (grade C or above) if you didn’t take it at AS or A level.
A Levels:
GCE A-level

AAB grade A-levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.  To include Biology and one subject from Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Maths or Physics.

International Baccalaureate34 points on the IB scale, to include 17 points at higher level, including higher level Biology and at least one other higher level science subject from Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Geography, Geology, Maths and Physics.
English Language

For details of our English Language entry requirements please see here

Selection process:

We will offer a place to any applicant who can show evidence of ability and background adequate to undertake the course.

Once you have applied and submitted your application your application will be sent to us by UCAS as soon as possible. On arrival we consider every application on its individual merits and determine whether or not we will be prepared to give an academic offer on the basis of the information provided.

If we decide that we will be able to make an offer you are first invited to visit us on one of our UCAS visit days. These are hosted, either on a Thursday or a Saturday, during November, December, February and March.

Our admissions requirement is normally defined on the basis of A/AS levels, but an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University are accepted. Students with non-traditional academic backgrounds are recruited through the Foundation Year, and overseas students with a variety of qualifications are accepted.

We will also accept applications from candidates offering other qualifications including Scottish and Irish Highers, European and International Baccalaureate, Access and Foundation courses and overseas qualifications.

We will consider applications from mature students with none of the above qualifications, but with evidence of recent successful study.

All "non-standard" applications are considered on a case-by-case basis.

In accordance with the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy, all reasonable effort will be made to ensure that no prospective or existing student is treated less favourably on the grounds of age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, creed, disability, HIV status, sexual orientation, gender, marital or parental/carer status, political belief or social or economic class, or any other type of discrimination.

Disabled applicants will be treated according to the same procedures as any other applicant with the added involvement of Enabling Services to assess their needs. The programme may require adaptation for students with disabilities (e.g. hearing impairment, visual impairment, mobility difficulties, dyslexia), particularly the practical laboratory sessions, and we will attempt to accommodate students wherever possible.

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 MSci Biology and Marine Biology degree contains components from Biological sciences and Ocean and Earth Science.

Innovation modules outside of your subject area

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Year 1

Semester One
BIOL1004Credit: 15
SOES1008Credit: 15
BIOL1010Credit: 15
BIOL1012Credit: 15
Semester Two
BIOL1003Credit: 15
BIOL1005Credit: 15

Year 2

Semester One
BIOL2002Credit: 15
BIOL2010Credit: 15
BIOL2014Credit: 15
BIOL2039Credit: 15
SOES2011Credit: 15
Semester Two
BIOL2001Credit: 15
BIOL2018Credit: 15
BIOL2038Credit: 15
BIOL2040Credit: 15

Year 3

Semester One
BIOL3034Credit: 30
BIOL3003Credit: 15
BIOL3009Credit: 15

Year 4

Semester One
BIOL6053Credit: 15
BIOL6010Credit: 15
SOES6008Credit: 15
Semester Two
BIOL6053Credit: 15
BIOL6028Credit: 15
SOES6021Credit: 15
SOES6027Credit: 15

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

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
MSci Biology and Marine Biology2018Full-time£9,250£20,320
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.
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

With a MSci Biology and Marine Biology degree you could be expected to find work in the following areas:

  • Postgraduate degrees
  • Teacher training
  • Conservation and the environment
  • Industry
  • Journalism
  • IFCAs
  • Natural England
  • Wildlife Trusts
  • Environmental Consultancy
  • Universities

Learning & Assessment

The University of Southampton offers an unrivalled experience for scientists at the start of their careers. The Centre for Biological Sciences and National Oceanography Centre Southampton host many international interdisciplinary researchers who teach on undergraduate programmes.  Our laboratories are modern and well-equipped. This degree offers both tremendous flexibility and the opportunity to focus on your own interests.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Scheduled learning & teaching study28%33%21%17%
Independent study72%67%79%83%
Placement study0%0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Written exam assessment52%47%43%17%
Practical exam assessment21%6%11%2%
Coursework assessment27%47%46%81%

Study Locations

The Life Sciences Building

Biological Sciences Building, Highfield Campus

The Life Sciences building is a £50 million state-of-the-art laborator...Find out more

Waterfront Campus

NOCS (National Oceanography Centre Southampton)

Ocean and Earth Science is based at the world-renowed National Oceanog...Find out more

Related Courses

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