Subject

Marine biology

Go beneath the surface on incredible field trips, analyse data and samples in our laboratories, and explore the local coastline that Essex has to offer. With climate change affecting our oceans at an unprecedented rate, there has never been a more important time to study marine biology.

Marine biology

Why study Marine biology at Essex?

At the University of Essex, we take pride in our 10th position for biosciences in the National Student Survey 2023, (English Broad Discipline Institutions), reflecting an overall positivity score.

You'll join a community of renowned academic experts, dedicated to researching marine environments and driving significant change. Dr Michelle Taylor, whose recent research expedition to the Galapagos Islands exemplifies the global reach of our academic pursuits; and our team of Marine experts working with leading research organisations such as Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas).

You'll have access to facilities such as our on-site aquarium and the Marine Biology Field Centre, providing an ideal setting for your research projects.

As part of your studies you'll have incredible opportunities for field trips, both within the UK and abroad. Journey to locations like Scotland, Greece, and Indonesia (subject to additional costs), where, in the heart of the Coral Triangle, you will gain hands-on experience in diving and contribute to unique underwater research surveys. Your academic journey at Essex is not just a study; it's an adventure into marine research.

 

Find out more about the exciting field trip opportunities the School provides
Coral reef research in Indonesia
Coral reef research in Indonesia
A group of marine biology students working together in the field in the local village of Dedham taking samples.
Local trips to explore the village of Dedham for field samples
Students attending a seminar on Hoga Island, during the Indonesia marine biology field trip.
Students attending a seminar on Hoga Island, during the Indonesia marine biology field trip.

Career prospects

Within the School of Life Sciences, our Marine Biology and related courses offer not only academic excellence but also exceptional career guidance and training. We are committed to providing you with the best opportunities as you embark on your journey post-graduation. Our esteemed alumni have gone on to contribute their expertise to some of the world's leading companies, including: New Earth Solutions, Engine Group Cromwell Council, DEFRA, Operation Wallacea, BBC, Thames Water, Hive Ventures and many more.

Explore the career opportunities our School can provide you and learn more about our Alumni.

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
Join us at our next Open Day

We have Open Days in June, September and October. Book your place to see where you could be calling home, and we'll make sure you have all the information you need to make the most out of your day.

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Take your specialism to the next level

The interaction between people and the planet, our oceans and marine life is an increasingly complex issue, and the question of how to manage our environment presents a global challenge. One that our Postgraduate Students are determined to solve.

Our curriculum constantly adapts to the latest findings in the field, exploring topics like tropical marine oceans, coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove systems. You'll delve into the roles of photosynthetic producers and heterotrophic consumers, understanding ecological processes in tropical marine ecosystems. Additionally, you'll study a career-focused module hones discipline-specific skills, fostering critical analysis, integration, and communication in multidisciplinary research environments.

We offer two standard 1 year courses at Postgraduate Taught level

In addition to this, if you are interested in progressing to PhD level, we also provide a four- or seven-year Integrated PhD in Tropical Marine Biology, in which your first year will be studying at Masters-level, followed by a full- or part-time PhD - giving you a direct route into PhD research study and education.

Why study here?
  • Our Coral Reef Research Unit is the most extensive of its kind in the UK and has study sites across the world's oceans in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Ocean.
  • You'll have the chance to network, and be taught by internationally recognised researchers at the forefront of their field, conducting world-changing research across the globe.
  • 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
Join us at our next Open Day

We have Open Days in June, September and October. Book your place to see where you could be calling home, and we'll make sure you have all the information you need to make the most out of your day.

Book your place

Research that can conquer oceans

Starting your doctoral journey in marine biology represents a profound commitment to unraveling the mysteries of the world beneath the waves and offers a unique opportunity for you to delve into the intricate ecosystems and diverse life forms that inhabit our oceans.

You'll use cutting-edge technologies, combined with your passion for conservation exploring disciplines ranging from marine ecology and physiology to molecular biology. You'll work, study and research alongside our University experts who are conducting research around the globe to create sustainable future for our planet's vast and vital marine environments.

Why study here?
  • Our Coral Reef Research Unit is the most extensive of its kind in the UK and has study sites across the world's oceans in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Ocean.
  • 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.

Start your application with us

Explore our Marine Biology research by theme or your area of interest and find a supervisor that can support your through your studies. More information can be found about research degrees on our school pages. Our courses below will help guide you through the various research degree programmes we offer.


Explore funding opportunities Ready to apply? Start your application today
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
Join us at our next Open Day

We have Open Days in June, September and October. Book your place to see where you could be calling home, and we'll make sure you have all the information you need to make the most out of your day.

Book your place
A student walking on campus at the University of Essex.
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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.