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Plymouth University

Marine Biology and Coastal Ecology

UCAS Code: C160
Bachelor of Science (with Honours) - BSc (Hons) years full-time 2018
Bachelor of Science (with Honours) - BSc (Hons) years full-time, sandwich 2018
Ucas points guide


% applicants receiving offers


  • Biology
Student score
85% MED
% employed or in further study
92% LOW
Average graduate salary
£16.5k LOW
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What do you need to get in?

Source: UCAS

Main entry requirements

A level
Not Available

A typical offer would be: 128 UCAS Tariff points including a minimum of 2 GCE A-Levels Including GCE A level Grade B in Biology and Grade B in 1 further science subject, (includes Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology). General Studies and Key Skills are excluded.

Scottish Highers
Not Available

Considered in combination with Advanced Highers.

BTEC Diploma
Not Available

Considered in combination

International Baccalaureate

30 overall to include 5 at Higher Level Biology and 5 in a second relevant subject at Higher Level. English and Maths accepted within.

UCAS tariff points

A typical offer would be: 28 UCAS Tariff points including a minimum of 2 GCE A-Levels Including GCE A level Grade B in Biology and Grade B in 1 further science subject, (includes Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics or Psychology). General Studies and Key Skills are excluded.

If your qualifications aren’t listed here, you can use our UCAS points guide of 128-144 and refer to the university’s website for full details of all entry routes and requirements.

The real story about entry requirements

% applicants receiving offers


Provided by UCAS, this is the percentage of applicants who were offered a place on the course last year. Note that not all applicants receiving offers will take up the place, so this figure is likely to differ from applicants to places.

What does the numbers of applicants receiving course offers tell me?

Tuition fee & financial support


Maximum annual fee for UK students. NHS-funded, sandwich or part-time course fees may vary.

If you live in:

  • Scotland and go to a Scottish university, you won’t pay tuition fees
  • Northern Ireland and go to an NI uni, you’ll pay £3,805 in tuition fees
  • Wales you’ll pay £3,810 in fees and get a tuition fee grant to cover the rest
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Will this course suit you?

Sources: UCAS & KIS

Every degree course is different, so it’s important to find one that suits your interests and matches the way you prefer to work – from the modules you’ll be studying to how you’ll be assessed. Top things to look for when comparing courses

Course description

In this hands-on degree, one of the best in the UK and with an international reputation, you’ll tackle big questions, such as why are coral reefs so diverse, how do we best manage and conserve marine life, and how will climate change impact biodiversity? Fieldwork will be a key component of your studies, using the excellent marine and coastal habitats on Plymouth’s doorstep, as well as on residential courses in France and South Africa. Working in partnership with our teaching staff – all of whom are leading international researchers – you’ll develop industry-relevant skills using some of Europe’s best marine facilities. The opportunity to take a six or 12-month international placement in your third year will also further enhance your workplace-related experience. With its combination of pure and applied aspects, this degree will equip you with the knowledge and skills to tackle major environmental challenges. Add an exciting extra dimension to your marine studies by examining marine organisms and ecosystems in a truly global context. If you are interested in how marine and coastal habitats work, why they are so diverse and how best to conserve them, this is the course for you. Access the University’s research vessels based in the Plymouth Sound Special Area for Conservation and, from 2014/15, our new Marine Station. Benefit from our reputation as an international centre for marine and environmental research. Our expert teaching staff are active researchers and enthusiastic specialists in their fields – one of the many reasons why 84 per cent of our graduates said our staff made the subject interesting. Study marine life in the wild with access to the beautiful and varied Devon and Cornwall coastline. A recent World Wildlife Fund report highlighted the South Devon coast – which can be reached on foot from campus – as the area of highest marine biodiversity in the UK. Deepen your experience through practical field and laboratory work, linked to lectures – something regularly praised by our external examiners. Our specialist facilities include advanced molecular and behavioural laboratories, a seawater aquarium, environmentally controlled labs and a new bespoke marine station opening in 2014/15. Increase your knowledge and apply your skills in an international setting, with two residential field courses abroad (France and South Africa – one of the most biodiverse places on earth), giving you the chance to study organisms and ecosystems not found in the UK. Develop a wide range of skills that will prepare you for your chosen career and make you attractive to employers – learn how to ask and answer research questions, and how to apply this skill to conservation challenges in the real world. There is also the opportunity to gain the HSE PRO SCUBA qualification, for those with a suitable background in diving. Immerse yourself in Plymouth’s marine research culture. Alongside the University the city is home to several other world-leading establishments, one of the largest concentrations of marine science study in Europe. Take opportunities to gain extra experience working in one of the marine organisations located in Plymouth, alongside your studies. Take the opportunity to contribute to the latest research and advances in the field – many of our students have their research projects published in leading international peer-reviewed journals. Choose from a wide range of subjects that most interest you and are best suited to your intended career path, building your own specialisms and skills.


In your first year, you’ll be introduced to marine biology, ecology and key biological themes, with topics from biodiversity and ecosystems to evolution and animal behaviour. Via lectures, small group tutorials, lab and fieldwork, you’ll begin to acquire skills that will boost your employability and help your career development. You’ll benefit from hands-on experience on the Devon coastline, and an overseas residential field course, exposing you to different marine organisms and developing your scientific skills. In your second year, you’ll sharpen your practical skills on the South Devon coastline, just minutes away. We’ll introduce you to methods for collecting, handling and analysing scientific data, understanding ecological theories, applying these to shallow water marine habitats, and getting to grips with the major threats faced by aquatic habitats worldwide. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of what shapes marine and coastal biodiversity through a residential field course, currently held in South Africa. Your final year of study allows you to focus on your chosen areas of interest, building your own specialisms and skills. You’ll conduct an extensive personal research project, applying the skills and methods you've learned. You’ll also choose from a range of modules that are driven by the research interests of our staff, again giving you the opportunity to specialise and tailor your work towards your career goals, whilst studying at the cutting edge of the field. The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Plymouth University

Roland Levinsky building

Plymouth is a top 50 UK research institution with genuine clusters of world class expertise across areas as diverse as marine science and engineering, medicine, robotics and psychology. With 21,000 students and a further 17,000 studying University of Plymouth awards at partner colleges, it is one of largest higher education providers in the country, and has a strong track record in teaching with one of the highest numbers of National Teaching Fellows of any UK university.

How you'll spend your time

Sorry, we don’t have study time information to display here

How you'll be assessed

Sorry, we don’t have course assessment information to display here

What do the numbers say for

The percentages below relate to the general subject area at this uni, not to one course. We show these stats because there isn't enough data about the specific course, or where this is the most detailed info made available to us.

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What do students think about this subject here?

Source: NSS

Here's how satisfied past students were taking courses within this subject area about things such as the quality of facilities and teaching - useful to refer to when you're narrowing down your options. Our student score makes comparisons easier, showing whether overall satisfaction is high, medium or low compared to other unis.

What do student satisfaction scores tell you?

Overall student satisfaction 91%
Student score 85% MED
Able to access IT resources


Staff made the subject interesting


Library resources are satisfactory


Feedback on work has been helpful


Feedback on work has been prompt


Staff are good at explaining things


Staff value students' opinions



Who studies this subject?

Source: HESA

Start building a picture of who you could be studying with by taking a look at the profile of people that have studied this subject here in previous years.

UK / Non-UK
8% of students here are from outside the UK
Male / Female
53% of students are female
Full-time / Part-time
6% of students are part-time
Typical Ucas points
338 entry points typically achieved by students
2:1 or above
63% of students achieved a 2:1 or above
Drop-out rate
6% of students do not continue into the second year of their course
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What are graduates doing after six months?

Source: DLHE

Here’s what students are up after they graduate from studying this subject here. We’ve analysed the employment rate and salary figures so you can see at a glance whether they’re high, typical or low compared to graduates in this subject from other universities. Remember the numbers are only measured only six months after graduation and can be affected by the economic climate - the outlook may be different when you leave uni. What do graduate employment figures really tell you?

% employed or in further study 92% LOW
Average graduate salary £16.5k LOW
Graduates who are sales assistants and retail cashiers


Graduates who are animal care and control services


Graduates who are other elementary services occupations


Employment prospects for graduates of this subject

Sources: DLHE & HECSU
The recession was tough on biology graduates, and although the jobs market has improved for them - a lot - it's still not back to where it was a few years ago. If you want a career in biology research — and a lot of biology students do - you'll need to take a doctorate, so give some thought as to where you might do it and how you might fund it (the government still funds doctorates for good students). A lot of graduates also take 1 year Masters courses to specialise in this wide and deep subject - most students take a standard biology course for their first degree and then specialise in subjects like ecology, conservation or marine biology later. Hospitals, universities, biotech firms, zoos and nature reserves and clinical and scientific testing are common industries of employment for biology graduates.
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