Marine biology

Impatient for a sustainable future?

Marine biology

Dive into the complex world of whales, coral reefs, fish, deep sea trenches and coastal lagoons.

Explore the fascinating complexity of the natural world. At Essex, you will gain a wealth of knowledge from a huge breadth of ecosystems, from estuaries and coastal environments, to oceanic systems. With climate change affecting our oceans at an unprecedented rate, there has never been a more important time to study marine biology. Develop your skills in the latest ocean sampling techniques in Greece, and explore the Essex coastline. You can also volunteer with our Coral Reef Research Unit and join our Marine Conservation Society.

Why study here?
  • Our underwater lectures give you an exciting, unique and engaging educational experience.
  • We are ranked 16th in the UK for overall student satisfaction for Ecology and Environmental Biology (National Student Survey 2022).
  • Use our on-site aquarium facilities and Marine Biology Field Centre for your research projects.

Looking to start in 2024?

Photo of BSc Marine Biology student Emma Ward scuba diving on placement
"I was lucky enough to receive an International Experience Bursary to help fund my travel to Tanzania where, as a Research Officer, I led lectures on a variety of topics such as seagrass and mangrove ecology, coral reef fish and invertebrate ID, turtle conservation and butterfly biology. I got to take part in an array of other experiences including: turtle hatching observation with co-partner Sea Sense; a whale watching excursion; sighting hippos on the North of the Island; bird watching walks with a local guide; and beach cleans with the local community."
Emma Ward BSc Marine Biology
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Spotlight environmental consultant

In this blog post Essex graduate Amie Lenkowiec talks about her career in marine biology and her current work as an environmental consultant.

Read the blog
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Apply now through Clearing

Let's talk about your potential. To begin your studies this year, you can apply to Essex now through Clearing by filling out one simple application form.

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Marine biology courses in Clearing for 2023

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Courses (7)

The interaction between people and planet is an increasingly complex issue, and the question of how to manage our environment presents a global challenge.

Our curriculum is constantly evolving to reflect the latest findings in the field across the vast expanse of marine biology. Tropical ecosystems provide important resources locally and globally, and coral reefs are the most diverse of marine ecosystems threatened by human activities. There has never been a more exciting time to study biology. 

We currently offer a one-year MSc Tropical Marine Biology course, as well as a four- or seven-year Integrated PhD, in which your first year will be studying at Masters-level, followed by a full- or part-time PhD.

Why study here?
  • Our Coral Reef Research Unit is the most extensive of its kind in the UK.
  • Network with internationally recognised researchers at the forefront of their field.
  • Our unique multidisciplinary course is designed to deliver advanced theory and facilitate the development of a range of practical and professional skills.
Rebecca Daniel profile photo
"My postgraduate degree included a 'professional skills' module which was really useful for gaining skills that you might need in academia. It also covered statistics and coding in R, which are great transferable skills for any career in science. Since finishing my degree, I have been running a marine conservation non-profit (set up by myself and a peer from my course) called The Marine Diaries. I also started working as an Environmental Consultant for Orbis Engery, my role involves map creation in ArcGIS, report writing and research."
Rebecca Daniel msc marine biology
Our School provides a stimulating environment for research training.

The research being conducted by members of staff and research students in our School of Life Sciences covers the whole spectrum of biology from genes, proteins, and cells through to whole organisms, communities, and entire ecosystems. We employ a range of state-of-the-art techniques covering all the biological sciences including biochemistry, biomedical science, environmental microbiology, marine biology, ecology, statistics, and computational approaches for biologists.

Why study here?
  • Our Coral Reef Research Unit is the most extensive of its kind in the UK.
  • We study the interactions between microbes, animals and plants, working from the genetic and cellular level, right through to whole organisms and ecosystems.
  • Network with internationally recognised researchers at the forefront of their field.
Photo of PhD Marine Biology graduate, Julius Piercy
"When I applied, only two universities in the world were offering PhDs in marine biology on my dream topic: the underwater sounds of coral reefs. Studying at Essex offered me the once-in-a-lifetime chance to study on pristine coral reefs in Indonesia, some of the richest and most diverse coral reefs in the world. I had absolutely no doubt it was the right decision. I am now a Senior Scientific Adviser at Defra, working with policy makers to solve some of the UK's biggest environmental challenges."
Julius Piercy PhD Marine Biology, 2015
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Explore our research

Discover cutting edge research from the University of Essex. Browse our site to find relevant publications, projects, groups, centres, postgraduate opportunities for research supervision and wider areas of interest. Simply search our site to find information relating to your subject.

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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.