BSc Marine Biology C160

We expect to have a limited number of places available for Late, Clearing and Adjustment applicants for 2018 on a range of programmes.  Entry requirements might vary from those shown below.  For information on vacancies and applying late or through Clearing or Adjustment, visit our dedicated 2018 Clearing and Adjustment pages

Course Overview

UG student on Noctiluca

The BSc Marine Biology degree scheme offers an excellent range of laboratory and field-based topics with a strong emphasis on the development of key practical skills.
The BSc Marine Biology course covers a broad range of themes, including animal and marine welfare and conservation, the biological control of invertebrate pests, microbiology and ocean and climate. The course will give you the opportunity to explore a diverse and stimulating range of modules such as marine plankton and oceanography, marine ecosystems and marine and terrestrial ecology.
Our close proximity to a diverse range of contrasting environments plus our own facilities provides a wide scope for customising your learning experience.


RSB logo smallThis programme has been accredited by the Royal Society of Biology following an idependent and rigorous assessment. Accredited degree programmes contain a solid academic foundation in biological knowledge and key skills, and prepare graduates to address the needs of employers. The accreditation criteria require evidence that graduates from accredited programmes meet defined sets of learning outcomes, including subject knowledge, technical ability and transferable skills. 

Key Features

There are many good reasons to study a Biosciences degree at Swansea University. We are proud to have consistently high student satisfaction scores (Zoology 98%, Biology 97% National Student Survey 2017) and are 16th in the UK for graduate prospects [Complete University Guide 2018]. 

The Biosciences Department has also been recognised for the quality of its research and teaching [Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times & Sunday Times University Guide 2018] and has been recently voted Top in Wales [Times & Sunday Times University Guide 2018].

As a Biosciences student at Swansea, you will benefit from Royal Society of Biology accredited degrees, state-of-the art Science laboratories, a Visualisation Centre which is unique in the world and a purpose-built 18 m catamaran-class survey vessel equipped with state-of-the-art survey and research equipment Spring 2018 launch).

By joining Swansea Biosciences, you will also have access to the expertise of many internationally-renowned academics:

  • Professor Rory Wilson, Rolex Laureate and Chief Scientific Consultant behind National Geographic’s Great Migrations – invented the Daily Diary tag to monitor animal movement/behaviour
  • Professor Tariq Butt, bio-control of crops (fungi) – develops products and strategies for pest control, including plant health, tree health, animal health and human health (mosquitoes, ticks, midges)
  • Dr Richard Unsworth and his team - technical advisor, Blue Planet ll, leading on behavioural and collaborative hunting interactions between Grouper and Octopus
  • Associate Professor Carole Llewellyn – innovative algal research to help provide solutions to global challenges of climate, human health, bioenergy, food security and industrial biotechnology


Disclaimer: Module selection options may change.

Year 1 (Level 4)

FHEQ 4 Degree / HECert

Students choose 120 credits from the following:

Compulsory Modules
Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule Name
BIO103Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)20Plants and Algae; Diversity Form and Function
BIO104Semester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)20Cellular & Microbial Biology
BIO108Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)20Molecular and Evolutionary Biology
BIO109Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)20Core Skills for Biological Sciences
Optional Modules
Biosciences Welsh Options 

Choose Exactly 20 credits from the following Modules:

NOTE : Select Welsh or English versions of the module below

Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule NameGuidance
BIO105Semester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)20Animal Diversity, Form and Function
BIO105CSemester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)20Amrywiaeth a Ffisioleg Anifeiliaid
Biosciences Welsh Options 

Choose Exactly 20 credits from the following Modules:

NOTE : Select Welsh or English versions of the module below

Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule NameGuidance
BIO106Semester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)20Ecology and animal behaviour
BIO106CSemester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)20Ecoleg Dyfrol a Daearol ac Ymddygiad

Year 2 (Level 5)

FHEQ 5 Degree / HEDip

Students choose 120 credits from the following:

Compulsory Modules
Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule Name
BIO224Semester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)15Ichthyology
BIO227Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)15Marine Plankton And Oceanography
BIO231Semester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)15Year 2 Biological Sciences Literature Review
BIO237Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)15Marine Invertebrates
BIO238Semester 2 (Jan - Jun Taught)15Marine Ecosystems: Threats and conservation
BIO245Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)15Techniques in Marine Biology
BIO252Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)15Ecological Data Analysis
Optional Modules
Marine Biology Field Course 

Choose Exactly 15 credits from the following Modules:

NOTE : BIO251 only available to students that have authorisation and valid evidence for missing Year 2 field course in any discipline.

Module CodeSemesterCreditsModule NameGuidance
BIO251Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)15Biosciences Year 2 field course alternative assessment
BIO260Semester 1 (Sep-Jan Taught)15Marine Biology Field Course

Year 3 (Level 6)


The BSc Marine Biology degree at Swansea University will provide you with an understanding of a wide range of biological and ecology theoretical and practical skills as well as providing opportunities for you to learn and undertake a range of sampling and survey techniques for both plants and animals. We will equip you with the practical, taxonomic, numerical and computational skills that are valued and required by many employers as well as develop your essential transferable skills, such as team working, communication, presentation, problem solving and analytical skills.

Biology graduates have a wide range of specialist and generic skills that can take you around the world.  Our degrees open up career opportunities in medicine, veterinary science, environmental management and conservation, teaching and many, many more including:

  • Bat Conservation Trust
  • Animal Keeper - All Things Wild
  • Taxonomist - Marine Ecological Surveys Limited
  • Wildlife and Education Officer - Ipswich Borough Council
  • Research Assistant - TRP Research
  • NHS Medical Lab Technician
  • Benthic Taxonomist at Ocean Ecology Ltd.
  • Assistant Aquarist, Brighton Sea Life Centre
  • Senior Conservation Officer for CCW
  • Project Officer - Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust
  • Lecturer in Marine Biology, Plymouth University

Entry Requirements

  • A levels: grades ABB-BBB, to include Biology or Human Biology, or equivalent.
  • Welsh Baccalaureate:  Requirements are as for A levels where you can substitute the same non-subject specific grade for the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Level Core Grade
  • BTEC Extended Diploma - Grades DDD plus at least one GCSE grade B in Science with GCSE Grades C in English/Welsh and Mathematics. Only science-based BTECs will be considered (excluding Animal Management and Health Science).
  • Scottish Highers: ABBCC to include Biology grade B.
  • Access to HE (Science): Pass with Distinction (24 Distinctions to include 3 in Biology, plus 15 Merits). Only science-based Access will be considered (excluding Health Sciences).
  • IB: 33-32 to include 5 in Higher Level Biology or Human Biology.
  • IELTS 6.0 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each component) or equivalent English test.
  • We may consider other qualifications if they are Science-based, if they are equivalent to A-levels, and if the content of the qualification includes significant amounts of Biology (i.e., equivalent to A-level Biology).
  • All applications will be considered on an individual basis, and we will look at the whole application when deciding whether to make an offer of a place, including: the balance, nature and quality of A-level, AS and GCSE subjects (or equivalent); personal statement and referee’s comments.
  • General Studies and Key Skills qualifications are normally excluded from our offers.

How To Apply

  • All applications for full-time undergraduate degrees must be made through UCAS. Further information is available on the UCAS website.
  • For UK applicants, please apply online at
  • For International students, please click here

Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2018/19 are as follows:

UK/EU International
BSc (Hons) Full-time £9,000 £16,900

Fees for full time Undergraduate UK/EU students may be increased in subsequent years of study by an inflationary amount determined by Welsh Government.

Fees for full time Undergraduate International students will increase by 3% for each subsequent year of study.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

  • Lab coat and dissection kit (Level 1 for all degree programmes) – approximately £30
  • Tropical Marine Biology field course in Puerto Rico - (costs ~£1200 - £1700 tbc)
  • Sikkim overseas field trip (Biology and Zoology Level 3 - optional) – student contributes £500 towards travel and accommodation

*We also advise all students to have suitable outdoor clothing and sensible footwear (wellington boots)

Teaching and assessment

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars and discussion groups, supported by practical classes.

You will be assessed through a variety of methods, including examinations, coursework and a practical research project.

Student profiles

"I think Swansea has the friendliest bioscience department in the country - it’s not only has world-leading researchers teaching you about discoveries as they are making them, but it felt like everyone genuinely cared about my welfare and wanted to see me succeed. 

Swansea University gave me the best environment to grow into a fully-fledged scientist, but it also allowed me space to decide for myself what it was that I cared about".

Carly Green, BSc Zoology, Propagator at National Botanic Garden of Wales

Read our student profiles

Read about our Marine Conservation Society


The Department of Biosciences provides access to an extensive range of specialist facilities for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.  These include: Research and IT laboratories; Constant temperature rooms; Growth rooms; Aquaria; Greenhouses; Zoology Museum; A custom-designed 12.5m coastal research vessel, RV Noctiluca.

Our new Teaching Laboratory is a significantly upgraded facility to teach a higher level of transferable laboratory techniques and skills, with a capacity to hold 150 students; it includes a full range of AV facilities able to transmit to several plasma screens output from a variety of sources including microscopes, PCs, DVD/Video players and visualise/camera units.

Find out more about the facilities used by Biosciences students at Swansea University.


As scientists in training you will be taught a full range of core skills and practises by leading experts that will enable you to successfully pursue a career within biology and ecology.

Every year we survey our recent graduates to ascertain their employment status.  The data is more commonly known as the Graduate Destinations Survey and is reported to HESA (the Higher Education Statistics Authority).  Here are some examples of job titles from the recent survey:

  • Ecologist (Jacobs Engineering & CSA Environmental)
  • Delivery Officer (Biotechnology & Biological Science Research Council)
  • Project Officer (Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Trust)
  • Hydrometry and Telemetry Officer (Natural Resources Wales)
  • Benthic Taxonomist (Oceanology Ltd)
  • Wildlife and Education Officer (Ipswich Borough Council)
  • Crop Technician (Humber Growers)
  • Animal keeper (All Things Wild)
  • Quality Control Associate (Amgen Biovex Ltd)
  • Royal Navy Officer (Britannia Royal Navy College)
  • Research Assistant (TRP Research)

Find out more about employability

Swansea Marine Biology Graduates

Ever wondered what our marine biology students do after they have graduated from Swansea University? Check the Swansea Marine Biology Graduates Facebook Page for job, PhD and masters profiles. Also included are useful web links to marine biology job related sites:!/pages/Swansea-Marine-Biology-Graduates/151661738225359


All academic staff in Biosciences are active researchers and the department has a thriving research culture. Find out more


All our Marine Biology students carry out fieldwork activities including a ten week final year research project. Recent project subject areas include sea turtle migration, whale behaviour, octopus habitat selection, ray and skate ecology, effects of oil pollution on intertidal organisms and environmental impact assessments of fishing techniques.

Most projects are undertaken in marine habitats close to Swansea and the Gower, although some students have secured placements in more exotic locations such as Indonesia, the Caribbean and South Africa.

Our field courses include:

Animal Ecology

Tropical Marine Biology, Puerto Rico

Swansea University's Tropical Marine Ecology fieldtrip to Puerto Rico video (Tom Rees)

Sikkim, Himalayas

Terrestrial Ecology

Cruising into a New Era of Marine Biology

Blyth 1From estuaries to the sea shelf, the spectacular coastline of Wales is buzzing with diverse habitats and wildlife, and provides tremendous potential for developing a low carbon, sustainable economy to ensure the well-being of future generations in Wales. 

Swansea University has long been a leader in training Marine Biologists, conducting high impact research, and assisting the conservation and sustainable development of the marine and coastal resources in Wales. Now we are ready to make new waves again! 

Blyth 2Swansea University has invested £1.3m in the construction of a purpose-built 18 m catamaran-class survey vessel. The new vessel can accommodate 26 passengers and have a top speed of 23 kts with crusing at about 16kts, and will be equipped with state-of-the-art survey and research equipment. 

From surveying the coastline to mapping critical habitats, studying water quality, observing marine wildlife and deploying marine equipment, the new vessel will support the best teaching, research and business assistance Swansea University has to offer. The new vessel is scheduled to launch in Dec 2017.