BSc Honours Marine Biology (UCAS Code: C160)
For entrance requirements
T: +44 (0)28 9097 3838
For students whose first language is not English
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University. Further information on other acceptable English Language qualifications is available here
If you are an international student and you do not meet the entrance requirements, you should consider a preparation course at INTO Queen's University Belfast, which will prepare you for successful study on these degree courses. INTO Queen's University Belfast is based on the University campus and offers a range of courses including:
International Foundation in Engineering and Science
Over 70 per cent of the Earth's surface is covered by seawater and all known phyla are believed to have originated in the sea or have marine representatives. The world's oceans influence all major processes on earth and provide a large proportion of the resources used by humans. The Marine Biology degree at Queen's spans this multidisciplinary field, linking Biology with Oceanography to look at how life on Earth affects, and is affected by, marine processes.Back to top
Genetics and Molecular Biology
Introductory Skills for Biosciences
and normally Biochemistry
This gives Marine Biology students a broad base in the biological sciences on which to build their Stage 2 and Stage 3 studies.
There are three compulsory modules for Marine Biology students at Stage 2:
Adaptations in the Marine Environment (tbc)
Marine Ecology (with field course)
The remaining modules normally include:
Environmental and Applied Microbiology
Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics
plus one other module
During their final year, students take a two-module research project carried out under the supervision of one or more members of the academic staff. The project generally involves practical work carried out in the field and/or at Queen's University Marine Laboratory, in one of the many active areas of marine research in the School of Biological Sciences.
There are three compulsory taught modules at Stage 3:
Ocean Research (with associated short research cruise) (tbc)
Students are also required to take one additional taught module, normally Parasitology or Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology.Back to top
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 the BSc in Marine Biology 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.Back to top
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:
Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.Back to top
An Honours degree in Marine Biology offers comprehensive training in one of the most popular environmental disciplines, and good graduates move on to pursue diverse careers at home and abroad. Many recent graduates have secured MSc and PhD positions at leading universities in the UK, Republic of Ireland and overseas whilst others work in secondary education or for conservation organisations and government environmental agencies. The experience that you gain from applying the scientific approach to living organisms, solving numerical and practical problems, developing written and oral communication skills and using a wide range of sophisticated equipment will also help you to find employment in a variety of non-biological careers. Many employers are looking for graduates in any discipline, provided they show academic confidence, the ability to communicate, handle quantitative data and solve problems, and have good social skills, a wide range of interestsand a record of success. We believe that studying Marine Biology at Queen's will enable you to acquire and develop these qualities.
The most generally appropriate professional bodies for graduate marine biologists are the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, the Fisheries Society of the British Isles and Society of Biology
Other Career-related information: Queen’s is a member of the Russell Group and, therefore, one of the 20 universities most-targeted by leading graduate employers. Queen’s students will be advised and guided about career choice and, through the Degree Plusinitiative, will have an opportunity to seek accreditation for skills development and experience gained through the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer. See Queen’s University Belfast fullEmployability Statementfor further information.
Degree Plus and other related initiatives: Recognising student diversity, as well as promoting employability enhancements and other interests, is part of the developmental experience at Queen’s. Students are encouraged to plan and build their own, personal skill and experiential profile through a range of activities including; recognised Queen’s Certificates, placements and other work experiences (at home or overseas), Erasmus study options elsewhere in Europe, learning development opportunities and involvement in wider university life through activities, such as clubs, societies, and sports.
Queen’s actively encourages this type of activity by offering students an additional qualification, the Degree Plus Award (and the related Researcher Plus Award for PhD and MPhil students). Degree Plus accredits wider experiential and skill development gained through extra-curricular activities that promote the enhancement of academic, career management, personal and employability skills in a variety of contexts. As part of the Award, students are also trained on how to reflect on the experience(s) and make the link between academic achievement, extracurricular activities, transferable skills and graduate employment. Participating students will also be trained in how to reflect on their skills and experiences and can gain an understanding of how to articulate the significance of these to others, e.g. employers.
Overall, these initiatives, and Degree Plus in particular, reward the energy, drive, determination and enthusiasm shown by students engaging in activities over-and-above the requirements of their academic studies. These qualities are amongst those valued highly by graduate employers.Back to top
Facilities: excellent facilities for training and research in Marine Biology are provided at Queen's University Marine Laboratory in Portaferry. The Laboratory provides opportunities to gain field experience on small boats and a wide range of shoreline and laboratory-based techniques.
Accreditation: the most generally appropriate professional bodies for marine biology graduates are the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom and the Society of Biology.Back to top