Course Content (including module information)
- Biodiversity Molecular Basis of Life
- The World of Microorganisms
This gives a broad base in the biological sciences on which to build Stage 2 and Stage 3 studies. This module combination provides students, who may be undecided as to their final specialist degree area, with considerable flexibility as they enter Stage 2; at this stage students enrolled in Marine Biology can move into Zoology or Biological Sciences.
- Animal Behaviour
- Animal Biology and Physiology
- Cell Biology 2 OR
- Cell Biology 1
- Ecology and Evolution
- Work Placement
- Conservation Biology
- Future Oceans
- Global Change Biology
- Research Project
During their final year, students undertake a two-module research project carried out under the supervision of one or more members of academic staff. The project generally involves practical work carried out in the field and/or at the Marine Laboratory, in one of the many active areas of marine research in the School.
Assessment & Feedback
The way in which you are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. All modules are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
Learning and Teaching
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.
On our Marine Biology courses we achieve this goal by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
Lectures: introduce basic information about new topics as a starting point for further self-directed private study/reading. Lectures also provide opportunities to ask questions, gain some feedback and advice on assessments (delivered in large groups to all year group peers at Level 1, with smaller, more specialised course at Levels 2 and 3).
Practicals: where you will have opportunities to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life or practical contexts. At level 1 practical sessions are generally laboratory based and are designed to reinforce the general principles of biology (e.g. physiology, genetics, micro-biology, biological diversity) with a residential field course at Portaferry Marine Laboratory associated with the Environmental Biology module. There is also a strong emphasis on skills development and data analysis during the first year through the ‘Skills for Biosciences’ module. Subject specific practicals come into play during Level 2 through the ‘Adaptations in the Marine Environment’ and ‘Marine Ecology (with field course)’ modules which are compulsory for all marine biology students. The final year starts with the ‘Marine Zoology’ module which introduces students to a range of contemporary skills used in marine science and includes 8 practical sessions on a range of marine species. The practical sessions in the other compulsory level 3 module, ‘Marine Processes’ help students to think critically and move beyond the text books into cutting edge marine science.
E-Learning technologies: Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Queen’s Online. A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree through, for example: interactive group workshops in a flexible learning space; IT and statistics modules; podcasts and web-based learning activities; opportunities to use IT programmes associated with design in practicals and project- based work etc.
Seminars/tutorials: Each of the four compulsory marine modules incorporates tutorials and question and answer sessions. These help students to move beyond merely memorising facts to pass exams, towards a deeper understanding of the subject matter. Tutorial sessions are also run prior to exams to allow students to revisit areas of the modules that they feel are their particular weak points. These sessions provide significant opportunity for students to engage with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions of them and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of peers.
Self-directed study: This is a vital part of life as a Queen’s student when important private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, reflection on feedback to date and assignment research and preparation work is carried out. The subject matter covered in lectures and practical sessions is the backbone of the information you will need for exams, but it is always necessary to expand upon this material to achieve the highest marks.
Work placements: Students taking Marine Biology (with Professional Studies) undertake a work-placement after Level 2. This is a significant learning and employability enhancement opportunity.
Work-Related learning/Field Trips/Study Tours: Facilities for training and research in Marine Biology are provided at the University's Marine Laboratory in Portaferry. The Laboratory provides opportunities to gain field experience on small boats and in the varied marine habitats found around the Northern Irish coast.
Marine Biology students undertake a residential field course at the Marine Laboratory in all three years of their degree. These activities are supported by a well structured programme of extracurricular activities organised by the Queen’s Marine Biology Society. The aim of the Society is to encourage students to develop their CVs beyond the degree itself which feeds directly into the Queen’s Degree Plus scheme.
Supervised projects: In final year, you will be expected to carry out an independent research project under the guidance of one or two members of academic staff. This exercise serves to consolidate the information and practical skills you have obtained during your degree and is you first solid step to becoming a research scientists. The broad research interests of the Marine Biology staff at Queen’s (from molecules to ecosystems) means that students are able to choose a project that is suited to their own specific interests.
Personal Tutor: Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor during Level 1 and 2 who meets with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.