About this course
The unique combination of subjects in this degree will develop your understanding of our marine environment and how it interacts with the Earth's processes. You'll have access to the world-leading National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), and graduate with the expertise to build a career in environmental consultancy, coastal engineering, marine biology, university research, and more.
You'll explore environmentally important topics such as ocean currents, fisheries, marine mammals, earth systems and land application. At least 25% of your modules will be in physical geography, and you'll choose from topics such as earthquakes and river basin management.
Southampton will give you more fieldwork opportunities than many other universities. In your first year, you'll be trained in first aid at sea, sea survival, and small boat handling so that you can work offshore during vacation periods, or when you qualify. At the end of your second year, you'll attend a 10-day residential field course in Falmouth or Plymouth.
As part of your degree, you can work onboard 1 of our 3 research vessels to boost your boat work and laboratory skills:
RV Callista (22m research catamaran)
RV Bill Conway (15m research launch)
Sextant (7m, suitable for shallow sampling)
You'll also get to use cutting-edge facilities, such as our geochemistry labs and coral reef laboratory.
You can switch to the MSci Oceanography course (combining undergraduate and postgraduate study) if you obtain the right marks in your first and second years.
You can download the course details, including modules, in the programme specificationPDF opens in a new window (PDF, 418.76 KB).
Location and awarding body
The course location is Waterfront (National Oceanography Centre Southampton) in Southampton and Highfield campus in Southampton. The awarding body is University of Southampton.
ABB to include two preferred subjects
A-levels additional information
Offers typically exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking.
Acceptable science subject are Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology or Physics. Where this offer is satisfied by including grades achieved in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics, a Pass in the practical science assessment is additionally required.
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Pass, with 32 points overall with 16 points at Higher Level, including 5 in two Higher Level science subjects
International Baccalaureate Diploma additional information
Acceptable science subject are Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology or Physics.
Applications where Higher Level subjects have been studied without the full Diploma, will also be considered on a case by case basis.
D in the BTEC Extended Certificate plus AB in A Level preferred subjects. We do not accept the BTEC National Diploma/ BTEC National Extended Diploma without two AB grades in A Level preferred subjects.
BTEC additional information
Acceptable science subjects are Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology, Geography or Physics. Where this offer is satisfied by including grades achieved in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics, a Pass in the practical science assessment is additionally required. Offers typically exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking.
A-levels with Extended Project Qualification
If you are taking an EPQ in addition to 3 A levels, you will receive the following offer in addition to the standard A-level offer:
BBB to include two preferred subjects, and grade A in the EPQ
A-levels contextual offer
BBB to include two preferred subjects
International Baccalaureate Career Programme (IBCP) offer
Please see the University of Southampton International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (IBCP) StatementPDF opens in a new window (PDF, 62.17 KB) for further information.
Applicants are advised to contact their Faculty Admissions Office for more information.
BTEC (RQF) (reformed)
D in the BTEC Subsidiary Diploma plus AB in A Level preferred subjects. We do not accept the BTEC Diploma/BTEC Extended Diploma without two AB grades in A Level preferred subjects.
Access to HE Diploma
60 credits with a minimum of 45 credits at Level 3, of which 45 must be at Distinction
Access to HE Diploma additional information
A core science Access to HE Diploma must be studied.
Irish Leaving Certificate (first awarded 2017)
H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including two science subject.
Irish Leaving Certificate (first awarded 2016)
AAABBB to include two preferred subjects.
Irish Leaving Certificate additional information
Acceptable science subject are Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology or Physics. Applicants will be required to have achieved a pass in Mathematics and English at ILC Grade C or 04, the equivalent of GCSE grade C/grade 4.
Scottish Qualification offers
Offers will be based on exams being taken at the end of S6. Subjects taken and qualifications achieved in S5 will be reviewed. Careful consideration will be given to an individual’s academic achievement, taking in to account the context and circumstances of their pre-university education. Please see the University of Southampton’s Curriculum for Excellence Scotland Statement (PDF, 111.01 KB) for further information. Applicants are advised to contact their Faculty Admissions Office for more information.
D3, M2, M2 in three Principal subjects including two science subject at a minimum of M2
Cambridge Pre-U additional information
Acceptable science subject are Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology or Physics. Cambridge Pre-U's can be used in combination with other qualifications such as A Levels to achieve the equivalent of the typical offer, where D3 can be used in lieu of A Level grade A or grade M2 can be used in lieu of grade B.
AB from two science A levels (minimum grade B) and B from the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate
Welsh Baccalaureate additional information
Acceptable science subject are Biology, Chemistry, Geography, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology or Physics. Where this offer is satisfied by including grades achieved in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics, a Pass in the practical science assessment is additionally required. Offers typically exclude General Studies and Critical Thinking.
76% overall including minimum grade 8 in Biology and grade 8 in one further science subject. Acceptable science subjects are Chemistry, Maths, Environmental Studies, Geology, Geography or Physics.
Applicants must hold GCSE English Language (or GCSE English), Mathematics and Science (minimum grade C/4).
English language requirements
All applicants must demonstrate they possess at least a minimum standard of English language proficiency. Applicants requiring a visa to study in the UK who do not offer GCSE English language (or GCSE English) at the required level will need to meet the following English language proficiency requirement. Find out more about the University’s English Language requirements.
Band B IELTS 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in all components
IELTS score requirements
We also accept other English language tests.
Non-academic entry requirements
Applicants require an interview
Find a list of accepted international qualifications listed by country.
This is a list of the international qualifications that are recognised by the University of Southampton. If you are not sure that your qualifications meet the requirements of this course please contact our Admissions Teams.
Other ways to qualify
You might meet our criteria in other ways if you do not have the qualifications we need. Find out more about:
our Access to Southampton scheme for students living permanently in the UK (including residential summer school, application support and scholarship)
skills you might have gained through work or other life experiences (otherwise known as recognition of prior learning)
Find out more about our Admissions Policy.
Over the 3 years, you'll gain an extensive core knowledge of your 2 main subjects, plus the opportunity to follow up your own interests in more depth.
You don't need to choose your modules when you apply. Your academic tutor will help you to customise your course.
Compulsory modules will give you a grounding in earth systems and the biology, physics, chemistry and geology of the marine environment. Topics include dynamic landscapes, physical oceanography and marine ecology and evolution.
You'll also study 1 of these compulsory maths modules, based on your existing maths qualifications:
Introductory Mathematics for Chemists and Oceanographers
Mathematical Methods for Scientists
Quantitative Earth and Ocean Sciences
You'll gain the field and laboratory skills that will underpin your studies, including boat work.
You'll develop your practical skills through oceanography fieldwork and research methods. You'll also take 2 compulsory modules in coastal and estuarine oceanography.
You'll choose 5 optional modules from topics including:
Introductory Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Quaternary Environmental Change
Global Climate Change: Science, Impacts and Policy
Your final core modules are:
Applied Oceanography and Fieldwork
Independent Research Project
Coastal Sediment Dynamics
You'll choose 2 more modules from oceanography, including:
Seafloor Exploration and Surveying
And you'll take 2 options from physical geography, including:
Glaciers and Glaciation
Arctic and Alpine Environments
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
Modules year 1
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 1:
- Dynamic Landscapes
- Earth and Ocean System
- Introduction to Marine Ecology and Evolution
- Introduction to Ocean Biogeochemistry
- Key Skills for Marine Scientists
- Physical Oceanography I
- The Earth System
You can choose from the following optional modules in year 1:
Modules year 2
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 2:
You can choose from the following optional modules in year 2:
- Geohazards and Earth Resources
- Global Climate Change: Science, Impacts and Policy
- Introductory Geographic Information Systems
- Marine Benthos Ecology
- Phytoplankton and Primary Production
- Quantitative Methods in Marine Science
- Quaternary Environmental Change
- Remote Sensing for Earth Observation
- The Dynamic Ocean
Modules year 3
You must take the following compulsory modules in year 3:
- Applied Oceanography and Fieldwork
- Coastal Sediment Dynamics
- Independent Research Project (Oceanography, Marine Biology)
You can choose from the following optional modules in year 3:
- Advanced Geographical Information Systems
- Arctic and Alpine Geomorphology
- Biogeochemical Cycles in the Earth System
- Communicating and Teaching in the Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme
- Complex social-ecological systems: Past, present and future
- Computational Data Analysis for Geophysicists and Ocean Scientists
- Environmental Pollution
- Environmental and Engineering Geology
- Glaciers and Glaciation
- Large Scale Ocean Processes and Climate
- Palaeoclimate Change
- Paleoecology and Conservation
- River Basin Management and Restoration
- Seafloor Exploration and Surveying
- Shelf Seas and Shelf Edge Dynamics
- Zooplankton Ecology and Processes
Learning and assessment
The learning activities for this course include the following:
- classes and tutorials
- independent learning (studying on your own)
Support for your studies
You'll be supported by a personal academic tutor and have access to a senior tutor.
How you’ll spend your study time
Your scheduled learning, teaching and independent study, year by year:
- Scheduled learning and teaching
- Independent study
- Scheduled learning and teaching
- Independent study
- Scheduled learning and teaching
- Independent study
Robert Marsh is the course leader.
How we’ll assess you
We’ll assess you using:
- coursework, laboratory reports and essays
- oral presentations
- written exams
Your assessment breakdown, year by year:
- Written exam
- Practical exam
- Written exam
- Practical exam
- Written exam
- Practical exam
Studying both ocean and earth sciences will equip you with the knowledge and technical skills needed for a range of scientific careers. For example, you could develop a career in marine conservation, marine pollution or water quality management. You could also specialise to become a biological, geological or physical oceanographer.
Our ocean and earth sciences graduates have secured roles such as:
marine and fisheries scientist
marine science officer
oil spill consultant
This degree is also a good foundation for further study at Masters or PhD level. Many of our students go on to study in fields such as water quality management, exploration geophysics or marine pollution.
You could go on to register as a Chartered Scientist or Chartered Marine Scientist, as an important stepping stone in your career.
Careers services at Southampton
We are a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2019). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
work experience schemes
CV and interview skills and workshops
careers fairs attended by top employers
a wealth of volunteering opportunities
study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a vibrant entrepreneurship culture and our dedicated start-up supporter, Futureworlds, is open to every student.
Work in industry
This course is eligible for a year in employment. This is a great opportunity for you to complete a work placement between your second and third year as part of your degree.
Fees, costs and funding
You'll pay £9,250 in tuition fees for the academic year 2020 to 2021. This fee might change for further years of your course.
International student fees
You’ll pay £21,580 each year. This fee will stay the same throughout your studies.
What your fees pay for
Your fees also cover some field trip costs.
Extra costs you might have to pay
- Equipment and Materials
- Printing and Photocopying Costs
- Fieldwork: logistical costs
- Approved Calculators
See the full list of extra items and costs in the programme specificationPDF opens in a new window 2020 to 2021 (PDF, 418.76 KB).
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
Bursaries, scholarships and other funding
If you're a UK or EU student and your household income is under £25,000 a year, you may be able to get a University of Southampton bursary to help with your living costs. Find out about bursaries and other funding we offer at Southampton.
If you're a care leaver or estranged from your parents, you may be able to get a specific bursary.
Get in touch for advice about student money matters.
Scholarships and grants
You may be able to get a scholarship or grant that's linked to your chosen subject area.
We award scholarships and grants for travel, academic excellence, or to students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Support during your course
The Student Services Centre offers support and advice on money to students. You may be able to access our Student Support fund and other sources of financial support during your course.
Funding for international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
The University offers a friendly, diverse and welcoming home for you while you study. You'll work, live and socialise with students from more than 130 countries.
Clubs, societies and facilities
Our campuses have:
cafes and restaurants
a post office
Our sports facilities include a 25-metre swimming pool, a gym with 140 fitness stations, squash courts, a bouldering wall, outdoor pitches and much more. There are over 80 sports clubs you could join, and activity classes including yoga and spin.
We have an internationally known theatre, concert hall, art gallery and cinema showing everything from mainstream blockbusters to international arthouse classics. You could perform at a gig, concert or show, take part in an exhibition or join a writers’ workshop. Find out more about arts and culture at Southampton.
Whatever your passion or community, you can find like-minded people at one of the Students’ Union clubs and societies. There are more than 200 to join, and social activities in every hall of residence.
Support while you study
We aim to help you deal with any problems you might come across, so you can make the most of your time at university. We offer support with:
mental health, learning difficulties and disability
money and accommodation
computers and IT
How to apply
When you apply use:
UCAS Course Code: F7F8
UCAS Institution Code: S27
What happens after you apply
We will assess your application on the strength of your:
- predicted grades
- academic achievements
- personal statement
- academic reference
We invite suitable applicants for interview at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. If you can't travel to Southampton, our admissions tutor can arrange a remote interview on Skype or FaceTime.
We aim to respond to you within 2 to 6 weeks with a decision about your application.
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.