Our BSc Marine Biology (including foundation year) will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entry requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a degree that improves your skills to support your academic performance.
This four-year course includes a foundation year (known as Year Zero) which is delivered by our Essex Pathways Department, followed by a further three years of study in our School of Life Sciences. During Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers. After successful completion of Year Zero, you progress to complete your course with our School of Life Sciences.
The majority of life on earth is found under the sea, but most of it remains to be explored. Tropical reefs, deep-sea trenches, seagrass meadows and frozen polar seas are all individually unique and complex environments, but connected within Earth’s single, vast ocean. By joining our BSc Marine Biology course you will be immersed in this fascinating ocean world.
At Essex you will begin your journey through diverse marine ecosystems from day one. Our team of internationally renowned academic staff will introduce you to ocean systems and marine ecology through their own research on topics as varied as coral reef conservation, fisheries management, animal behaviour, marine biotechnology and microbiology. These are taught alongside key scientific skills including data analysis and interpretation, literature research and presentation skills to give you a concrete foundation for your scientific career.
You will develop the concepts introduced in lectures through extensive, practical, hands-on experience in the laboratories of our STEM Centre, as well as in the field. Our local estuaries and coastal ecosystems are a natural laboratory on our doorstep. You will investigate the diversity of beautiful Essex salt marshes and interact with key people working to improve our coastline, including Essex Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and Colchester Oyster Fisheries. Later in your degree there will be opportunities to travel to field locations in Scotland, Greece and Indonesia (subject to additional costs) to apply what you have learned. During a trip to Indonesia, in the heart of the Coral Triangle, you will learn to dive and participate in unique underwater research surveys and lectures.
After completing core modules, you will move on to more advanced and specialised modules that are driven by our departmental research expertise.
In the final year you will have the opportunity to select an independent research project through which you can further develop your own interests. Previous topics have included studies on oyster fisheries and water quality with local industry, fieldwork on sea turtle ecology in Greece and identifying coral reef conservation strategies in the Caribbean and Indonesia.
We’re ranked 31st for promoting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on life below water (Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023). Learn more about the THE Impact Rankings 2023 as well as the partnership between The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the University of Essex to collaborate on training and research related to aquatic ecosystem science.
To learn about the initiatives and actions the University of Essex is taking to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises, visit our sustainability page.
Our Essex Pathways Department is a gateway to the University of Essex, helping students without standard entry requirements to grow in confidence, unlock their potential, and nurture their ambitions so they can progress in academic study.
As one of the largest schools in our University we offer a lively, friendly and supportive environment with current, research-led study and high-quality teaching. You will benefit from the wide expertise of our research-active academics and their pioneering work on marine issues of national and global importance.
All of our academic staff conduct their own research and have professional expertise that you will benefit from through your studies. From genes to cells, whole animals and through to communities and ecosystems, our marine biology academics design course materials that make their world-class research accessible and inspiring.
You will have the flexibility to specialise in areas that interest you most and work with academics from our Ecology and Environmental Microbiology Research Group including, among many others:
We are proud that one-third of students at the University of Essex are from outside of the UK. The University has a Women's Network to support female staff and students, and the School of Life Sciences has been awarded the Athena Swan Silver Award (2020) reflecting the work carried out by staff in our School to improve equality. Measures include a mentorship scheme, support for postdoctoral research staff and financial help towards childcare costs for academics who wish to attend conferences.
During Year Zero, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our Essex Pathways Department to support you, such as:
Our School of Life Sciences has received major investment over recent years to fund new teaching laboratories in our STEM Centre and new research aquaria for studies of tropical, temperate, marine and freshwater systems.
You will work in an open and friendly department, with shared staff-student social spaces and during your final-year research project you will work alongside academics and PhD students in shared laboratories. You may choose to use our state-of-the-art research facilities, including everything from environmentally controlled systems for ecological experiments and molecular biology laboratories, to behavioural analysis systems and our advanced bioimaging facility. There are drones available for remote sensing surveys, an advanced bioimaging suite, and the latest Oxford Nanopore portable genome sequencers, all within the School. Through our global networks we have created national and international field courses in Plymouth, Millport, Greece, and Indonesia to teach you the latest field techniques.
As the world's environmental problems worsen, the demand for qualified marine biologists and ecologists continues to grow.
Your degree in marine biology will open up wide-ranging career opportunities, including further study, careers in conservation, science writing and editing, as well as commercial research or consultancy for governmental or non-governmental organisations.
Our past students have taken up work in research laboratories, consultancies, business and industry, conservation practice and environmental assessment. Some have gone on to work in the commercial sector, while others still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MSc or PhD degrees.
Recent graduates now work for the following high-profile organisations:
We also work with our University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
"After graduating from Essex I was appointed as a research supervisor at the Archipelagos Insitute of Marine Conservation in Greece. Through researching the marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea, I was exposed to a very different environment to the estuaries and salt marshes of Essex! From shallow coastal seagrass meadows to deep-sea coralligenous habitats, and the vast diversity of fish and invertebrates they host. My journey into environmental research progressed when I was offered a research Masters back at Essex. In collaboration with Project Seagrass, I will be focusing on seagrass restoration and recovery in the southern North Sea, hoping to further this important research and potentially contribute towards climate change initiatives."
Alice Malcolm-McKay, BSc Marine Biology, 2020
All applications for degree courses with a foundation year will be considered individually, whether you
Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent, to include a science subject.
Examples of the above tariff may include:
For this course we require level 3 (i.e. A-level, BTEC, etc.) scientific study.Considered science subjects from all qualifications include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Maths, Geography, Sports Science and Applied Science.
All applicants must also hold GCSE Maths and Science at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). We may be able to consider a pass in an OFQUAL regulated Level 2 Functional Skills Maths where you cannot meet the requirements for Maths at GCSE level. However, you are advised to try to retake GCSE Mathematics if possible as this will better prepare you for university study and future employment.
If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.
Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:
We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.
We might not need evidence of level 3 scientific study where you have relevant work experience in a scientific field, or where you have previous successful study at degree level.
You will still need to meet our GCSE requirements.
Essex Pathways Department can consider those with EU nationality and residence in the EU. If you would like to know more about the eligibility requirements for Essex Pathways Department, including if we could consider an application from you, please get in touch for advice.
We will require the equivalent of the entry requirements detailed above from an acceptable high school qualification, including a specified grade in Maths and an acceptable science subject.
Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.
We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.
Details of English language requirements, including UK Visas and Immigration minimum component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here
If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.
Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.
If you are an international student requiring a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
What if my IELTS does not meet your requirements?
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
Do I need to have achieved an acceptable English language qualification before I apply?
You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.
What if the English language qualification I hold, or am taking, is not listed?
If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please contact Admissions on firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.
Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed as subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.
We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.
Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.
Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.
|Status||What this means|
||You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
|Core with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.|
||You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
|Compulsory with Options
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
||You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.|
The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.
Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.
In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.
Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:
The department or school the module will be taught by.
In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.
|The module number.||
The UK academic level of the module.
A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.
A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.
A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.
The term the module will be taught in.
COMPONENT 01: CORE
COMPONENT 02: CORE
COMPONENT 03: CORE
COMPONENT 04: CORE
COMPONENT 01: CORE
COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 03: CORE
COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONSBS111-4-SP or BS106-4-AU
COMPONENT 05: CORE
COMPONENT 06: CORE
COMPONENT 07: CORE
COMPONENT 08: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY
COMPONENT 04: OPTIONALOption(s) from list
COMPONENT 05: OPTIONALOption(s) from list
COMPONENT 06: OPTIONALOption from list
COMPONENT 07: COMPULSORY
£9,250 per year
£19,500 per year
Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.
Please note that this course is not open to international applicants.
You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.
If you are an undergraduate student residing in the UK who has received an offer to study with us in October 2024, you will receive an email invitation soon to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus Offer Holder Days run in April and May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays. Offer Holder Days provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. We appreciate that travelling to university events can be expensive, so we are offering an Offer Holder Day Travel Bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our Travel Bursary, please visit our Offer Holder Days webpage.
If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.
If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.
Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.
At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.
The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.
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