Undergraduate BSc (Hons)

Marine Biology

School of Science, Engineering and Environment



With placement



Three year

Four year

Six year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

Climate change, pollution and unsustainable fishing are just some of the many challenges facing marine life today. Our BSc (Hons) Marine Biology will enable you to gain a systematic understanding of key aspects of the marine environment, including the animals, as well as a detailed insight into the industry that relies on it.

The Marine Biology course curriculum is contemporary, managing to strike a fine balance between theoretical knowledge and practical skill learning. Practical training is particularly relevant and will be delivered during two residential field trips. The first one, in the second year of study, will be carried out in Scotland, at the renowned FSC Millport Field Station. A second international residential field trip will be organised in the third year.

The programme, accredited by the Royal Society of Biology aims to prepare future leaders, figures whom, thanks to skills acquired at the University of Salford, will be actively involved in managing and preserving the oceans.

This programme includes an optional placement year approved by an academic placement coordinator, which offers you the chance to put your studies to use in a real working environment.

Start your study journey 

Register for our next Open Day to learn more about studying marine biology, explore our facilities and meet the course team 

You will:

  • Develop the skills necessary to manage and preserve our oceans
  • Have the opportunity to get real-world experience through field trips and placements
  • Combine theoretical knowledge with practical skills

options available


students accepted

Course accreditations

Royal Society of Biology (accredited degree) logo

This is for you if...


You are interested in the study of the marine environment and processes


You want to learn more about biodiversity, challenges faced and management of the oceans


You want a career in marine biology to help preserve the oceans

Course details

All about the course

Course delivery

Student diving under water in Honduras

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology is delivered over three years of study - or four, if you choose an industry placement, you will develop and advance your marine biology knowledge and field work skills.

Throughout the course you will build knowledge across the breadth of your subject covering areas such as biodiversity, ecosystems and animal evolution. You will also focus on specialist marine biology modules such as marine biotechnology, marine management, ocean challenges and applied freshwater biology. In your final year you will undertake a research project based on a subject topic of your choice. 

Learn more about the course modules in the section below.

Learning experience

The BSc (Hons) Marine Biology is the first of its kind in the North-West, striking a fine balance between theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Through our supportive learning environment, you will gain a systematic understanding of key aspects of the marine environment, along with a rigorous insight into the industry that depends on it. Drawing on Salford's strength in industry collaboration we've shaped a contemporary curriculum that meets the needs of employers.

Practical training is particularly relevant to this course and will be delivered via a range of field trips. You'll take part in residential field work courses in locations such as Blencathra in Cumbria and the Isle of Cumbrae in Scotland. You will also have the opportunity to take specialist practical module Diving for Marine Conservation, which is field-based. 

Industry placement

On this course, you will have the option to take an industry placement year between years two and three. Although you will be responsible for securing your placement, our tutors will support you in finding a role, and monitor your progress throughout.

Industry placements are an excellent way to enhance your CV, gain hands-on work experience and build industry connections. We often find that placement students achieve higher final year grades.

Popular placements organisations/institutions include Operation Wallacea (various destinations worldwide) and Archipelagos (Greece), where you can work with charismatic animals like sea turtles and marine mammals. 

Year one

Introduction to Marine Biology

This module will equip you with knowledge of marine ecosystems and marine organisms. A comprehensive series of lecture sessions, delivered by marine biologists and an invited seminar speaker, will present an overview of the biodiversity of marine organisms, their evolution, behaviours, intra- and inter-specific interactions and adaptations to their environments. The module provides the you with the opportunity to work under lab conditions to recognise morphological adaptations to different environments.

Global Distribution of Wildlife

This module will give an overview of the world’s major biomes and, using case studies from around the globe, will explore the principal factors that drive the distribution of species and communities and the way wildlife adapts to these factors. Moreover, the module will provide you with a sound understanding of how the application of biogeographic principles can aid conservation planning.


Life arose on Earth at least 3.5 billion years ago. Today, Earth hosts an extraordinary diversity of organisms, with recent study estimating that there are between 2 and 20 million eukaryote species alive today (the vast majority of which have still not been identified and described by scientists). However, this is a small fraction of all the species that have ever lived, >99.9% of which are extinct. This module will give you an overview of this remarkable biodiversity, focusing on the major groups, their characteristics, their diversity, and their evolutionary relationships.

Genes to Ecosystems

In the first trimester, this module provides a systems-led approach to understand basic concepts of genetics. In the second trimester, this approach is extended to understand basic concepts of ecosystems. 

Biological Skills

This module will help you develop practical laboratory skills employed in biological laboratory practice and relevant to cell, organismal, micro and molecular biology, which will form a basis for competence in biological and biochemical experimental work.

Study Skills for Marine Biology

In this module you will learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement and will develop practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during year one and beyond. You will also gain an appreciation of Personal Development Planning and effective data handling, calculation and numerical skills.

Year two

Ocean Challenges

In this module you will learn about the challenges faced by the marine ecosystems and marine organisms. The module provides the you with the opportunity to engage in actual data collection and data analysis during a residential course (compulsory to the module). You will also look at contemporary environmental issues in marine biology. The module encourages you to adopt an investigative approach to ecological studies.

Animal Evolution (Marine and Wildlife)

This module provides an overview of how diversity in the animal kingdom has evolved. It also illustrates the basic principles of evolution as a force to create biodiversity.

Conservation Biology

This module will introduce you to the modern concepts of conservation biology at the level of species and populations, the existing tensions between theory and practice in species conservation planning, and an overview of the interdisciplinary toolbox used by conservation biologists (for example IT packages and DNA fingerprints). You will also be given the chance to design an appropriate conservation programme for a species or population, including the projection of future survival under varying scenarios.

Coastal Management

This module will engage you in some of the most challenging marine management problems currently faced as well as highlighting the complexity and controversy around the way we use the sea. You will grapple the uncomfortable realities of the trade-off faced by marine managers and policy developers, moving beyond that traditional ecological issues to consider socio-economics, governance and representation, power, equality, and ethics. The module will encourage you to consider multiple perspectives, whilst reflecting on your own views.

Research Skills

The aim of this module is to show you how to learn by observation, investigation, comparison and engagement and to develop your practical learning and presentation methods which can be applied generically during the rest of the course and beyond.

Data Science

The aim of this module is to develop the skills of students in data handling, data analysis and quantitative methods across a broad area within the Biological Sciences, with relevance for transferrable workplace skills and future employability. There will be a focus on developing skills with the statistical programming language R, which is becoming an industry standard and skill often sought by employers. 

Year three

Fisheries Science

This module will give you a broad understanding of the world’s fisheries, their usefulness, their drivers, their controversies; and the ability to assess the conflicts of interests among stakeholders. 

Marine Biotechnology

This module will equip you with knowledge and skills of cutting-edge biotechnologies applied to the marine ecosystem. This module provides you with the opportunity to engage in bioinformatic data analysis during computer-based sessions.

Applied Aquatic Biology

This module aims to enable you to gain a knowledge and critical understanding of the biology and ecology of freshwater systems relevant to the water industry and related organisations which regulate and control pollution of the aquatic environment.

It also provides you with the necessary skills and techniques to undertake biological and chemical evaluation of water quality ecology, fish population and condition to apply these in novel situations to generate data for interpretation. In particular, you will be provided with the necessary laboratory skills to test water quality to the standards of the Water Framework Directive UK.

Choose one option from:

Final Year Project with Science Communication and Professional Skills

This dissertation module allows you to develop independent research skills, including data analysis, while conducting research on a topic in an area relevant to your programme of study. You will learn about science communication and the variety of methods in which science can be disseminated and communicated, and then put these methods into practice. You will also develop your professional skills, with a focus on employability. 

Final Year Project and Professional Skills (HANS)

This dissertation module allows you to develop independent research skills, including both data collection/generation (for example, via lab-based research or fieldwork) and analysis, while conducting research on a topic in an area relevant to your programme of study. You will also develop your professional skills, with a focus on employability. 

Plus one option from

Environmental Geographical Information Systems

The aim of this module is to develop your knowledge and understanding of the factors controlling the design and implementation of GIS solutions to map, monitor and model terrestrial environments. You will also examine the major issues and impacts of GIS evolution and diffusion on society.

Diving for Marine Conservation

The aims of this module are to provide students with the opportunity to gain a critical understanding and experience of underwater surveying techniques in a field setting. In addition students will receive a structured series of lectures to provide an appreciation of the different diving techniques and how to critically analyse marine underwater data.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


The co-creation of knowledge is an overarching learning and teaching strategy at Salford. We encourage you to see yourself as a producer of knowledge and a collaborator in your learning experience.

Learning methods are designed to train you to assess real-life situations and provide measures that would lead to improved professional practice. Typical methods include:

  • Lectures which will introduce you to core marine biology topics 
  • Seminars and tutorials where you can discuss topics in more detail with your tutors and other students in smaller groups 
  • Laboratory practicals delivered in our Bodmer Laboratories where you can test and apply your knowledge and build proficiency using scientific equipment


Assessment strategies are designed to develop your skills for future employability and assessment success. We regularly provide you with feedback via written communication, online notes, and group activities.

Typical assessment combines coursework and examination, and this will vary depending on your level of study. We also use other formal, informal and continuous assessment methods that could include:

  • Research projects
  • Laboratory reports
  • Essays
  • Literature reviews
  • Data analysis
  • Presentations 
What you want to know

Frequently asked questions

What do marine biologists do? 

Marine biology is all about the study of marine life, that means all organisms in the sea. Marine biologists study how marine organisms behave and how they interact with their environment. 

What GCSEs and A-Levels do I need to study marine biology? 

Our BSc (Hons) Marine Biology degree requires GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/Level 4 or above and at least 104 UCAS points including A2 Biology at grade C or above. Full details on the entry requirements and alternative qualifications excepted for this programme can be found in the entry requirements section. 

A foundation year is available for this programme, which extends the completion of the course to 4 years but requires more relaxed entry requirements. 

Is marine biology hard? 

As a branch of science, marine biology can be a challenging field to study. At the University of Salford, you will be at the cutting-edge of research and the projects you will undertake will be exciting and inspiring. Despite the challenging and busy nature of the programme, it can also be very rewarding as you’ll be building your knowledge and making an impact in such an important field. By the end of your degree, you will have developed many key skills including teamwork, communication, numerical and data analysis and independent thinking. 

There are methods to ensure you’re getting the best of your degree, including practicing good time management and making time for yourself to recharge. If you find your studies overwhelming, there will be support available from your lecturers and university support staff. 

What jobs can I get with a marine biology degree? 

Upon graduating from the programme, you will be well-equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to build a career. Many marine biology graduates go on to become: 

  • Marine Biologists 
  • Marine Life Researchers 
  • Fishery Data Managers 
  • Reef Restoration Managers 
  • Marine Life Teacher 

...and more!

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Rising to the challenge of a changing world, our degree courses are designed to shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and leaders.

Driven by industry, and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the knowledge and skills to become unstoppable in your career.marine biology


As a marine biology student, you will be based in our advanced, integrated teaching laboratory known as the Bodmer Lab. This specialist, purpose built facility ensures that you benefit from the latest technologies to keep teaching and learning apace with cutting-edge innovation and discovery.

Industry collaboration and research

When you start this degree with Salford, you are also joining a community making a difference in industry, our local region and in our wider society.

Many of our academics and technicians who support your course also deliver collaborative, interdisciplinary, high-impact work in a range of bioscience issues and challenges.

Discover how you are part of something bigger.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

A bioscientist looking through a microscope


The course is designed to help you to develop a range of personal and professional skills which will make you highly-employable. These include specialised knowledge of marine ecosystems, organisms and conservation as well as field work, data interpretation, report writing and team work skills among others.

Climate change, pollution and unsustainable fishing are just some of the many challenges facing marine life today. Studying marine biology and building an understanding of the marine environment is the first essential step to finding solutions to these global issues.

Marine biology graduates can enter a wide range of career paths. These include careers related to the wider sciences training such as science communication and publishing, science administration, to marine life conservation and management. Other graduates may go on to work in the environmental consultancy industry, marine biotechnology as well as research institutes and government agencies.

Further study

You might find you want to learn more about biosciences. Building on our scientific expertise, we offer a range of postgraduate courses that can take your interests and career opportunities further. Salford graduates and alumni also receive a generous fees discount. 

Marine Biology graduates can also choose to follow a research programme with our Biomedical Research Centre or our Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre to further their knowledge in topics such as microbiology, parasitology and conservation. Learn more about postgraduate research opportunities available through our Doctoral School.

A taste of what you could become

A marine biologist

A marine life researcher

A fishery data manager

A reef restoration manager

A marine ecology teacher

And more...


What you need to know

Applicant profile

You should be interested in the study of the marine environment and processes, its biodiversity, challenges faced and management.

English language requirements

If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with no element below 5.5. We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take the Pre-Sessional English course to gain entry onto this degree.


This course is accredited by the Royal Society of Biology, which means that it meets their requirements for receiving up-to-date knowledge in the right learning, support and teaching environment. Studying an accredited course is one way of showing employers you have the knowledge and skills that they are looking for in graduates and has the potential benefits of greater employability prospects and enhanced competitiveness in a crowded global jobs market.

Standard entry requirements


English language and mathematics at grade C or 4 or above. Equivalents are accepted.

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.

UCAS tariff points

104 - 112 UCAS points 

A level

104 - 112 UCAS points including a grade C at A2 Biology. A Pass in the Practical Element of Science A levels must be achieved.

BTEC National Diploma

DMM in a suitable science subject, which must include biology

BTEC Higher National Diploma

Possible entry to year 3

Foundation Degree

Possible entry to year 3

Scottish Highers

104 - 112 UCAS points including Higher Level Biology

Irish Leaving Certificate

104 - 112 UCAS points including Higher Level Biology

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 60% including at least one science subject

International Baccalaureate

30 points including grade 4 in Higher Level Biology

Access to HE

104-112 UCAS points from QAA Approved Access Science Couse, must include Biology

International Students

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2024/25 £9,250.00per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £17,040.00per year
Part-time 2024/25 Part-time costs will be calculated on a pro rata basis
Full-time home 2025/26 £9,250.00per year
Full-time international 2025/26 £17,650.00per year

Additional costs

All national field trips are funded by the University, but you may need to consider additional costs such as food during day trips and spending money.

For the international field trip (as part of the optional module Diving for Marine Conservation) you will also be subsidised by the University, but a major contribution to flights and in-country costs will apply. You will be made aware of these costs before selecting the module.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's Apply

Enrolment dates

September 2024

September 2025

UCAS information

Course ID C161

Institution S03