School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

BSc (Hons) Marine Biology with Foundation Year

Do you have a passion to study marine biology, but lack the normal entry requirements for one of our honours degrees? Perhaps you've shown evidence of good academic potential, but don’t have sufficient qualifications or have been out of formal education for a while. This new four year degree route incorporates a foundation year, which has developed from our extended science course giving you the study skills and scientific underpinning to continue the remainder of the course with confidence.

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Key features

  • Apply through UCAS and receive funding in the same way as an honours degree course.
  • Study two core biology modules, one in each semester.
  • Study either chemistry or physics in each semester.
  • Take a core module in study and mathematical skills for life sciences to prepare you to get the most from your university studies.
  • Receive support from a personal academic tutor who's one of our marine biology subject staff.
  • Meet a wide range of marine biology staff in lectures and discussion sessions, gaining an introduction to their research and ‘hot topics’ in marine biology with our specialist issues in marine biology module.
  • Subject to achieving an average mark of 60 per cent across 120 credits in the foundation year, you will continue your studies in one of the related degrees - marine biology, marine biology and oceanography or marine biology and coastal ecology.
  • We'll guide you to the most appropriate route to meet your interests through the tutorials and discussion sessions to decide your next step.
  • In Year Zero, you will be taught at the University by the same academic team as our normal degree courses and will gain the understanding and confidence needed for your future studies.

Course details

  • Foundation Year
  • You will be taught at the University by the same academic team as our normal degree courses and will gain the understanding and confidence needed for your future studies.


    Core modules
    • BIO012 Biology 1

      This module introduces students to the study of biology and its fundamental importance as a cornerstone of modern science. No prior knowledge is required or assumed. The emphasis is on understanding some of the core principles of biology, and applying these across the breadth of the subject. To ensure that key practical skills are developed, the module will incorporate many hands-on learning experiences.

    • BIO013 Biology 2

      This module builds on the core ideas introduced in BIO012, introducing a range of additional biological concepts. There will be a strong emphasis on applying scientific principles to a wide range of topics in biology, including many hands-on learning experiences to ensure that key practical skills are developed.

    • GEES001 Study and Mathematical Skills for Science

      This module is designed to enable learners to adapt to the Higher Education Learning Environment by the development of a more independent, reflective and self-managed approach to study, learning, scientific writing, time management and mathematical skills for the study of science.

    • MBIO001 Issues in Marine Biology

      This module examines the role of science in addressing key contemporary issues in Marine Biology. The module takes an investigative approach, aiming to develop in students both a critical appreciation of the ways in which issues in Marine Biology can be approached and resolved, and to develop in students the skills needed for effective study of such issues at undergraduate level.

    Optional modules
    • CHM009 Chemistry 1

      This module introduces students into the world of chemistry and its fundamental importance as a cornerstone of science. No prior knowledge of science is required and the emphasis is on applying the principals of chemistry across a wide subject area, with many hands-on learning experiences.

    • CHM010 Chemistry 2

      This module is designed to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills inculcated in CHM009 and to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of organic Chemistry at a level sufficient for entry to the degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Science and Environment, including the Chemistry Degree programmes.

    • MATH019 Mathematics and Statistics for Science

      This module provides the basic mathematical background to enable learners to progress to honours degree programmes in science.

    • PHY009 Physics 1

      This module introduces students into the world of physics and its fundamental importance as the cornerstone of science. Little prior knowledge of science is required and the emphasis is on applying the principals of physics in all areas of science with many hands-on learning experiences.

    • PHY010 Physics 2

      This module is designed to build on the knowledge, understanding and skills inculcated in PHY009 and to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of thermodynamics, environmental physics, nuclear physics, AC Theory and magnetics, at a level sufficient for entry to the degree programmes offered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

96

The foundation year is intended for higher level motivated students who wish to study marine biology, but who do not meet the usual entry criteria for entry to the first year of our honours degree courses in marine biology, marine biology and oceanography or marine biology and coastal ecology.

A limited number of places are available and applicants will only be considered if they can provide suitable evidence of qualifications already achieved, together with relevant interests or experience appropriate to marine biology. 

  • For applicants with A levels at least 96 points from a minimum of two A levels including biology and a second science is normally required. BTEC Diploma (112 points) and comparable international qualifications at an appropriate level and with relevant subjects will also be considered.
  • GCSE mathematics and English language at grade C or above is normally required. 
  • All applicants are normally interviewed prior to a formal offer being made. 
  • Applications from mature students are especially welcomed; other qualifications and professional experience will be considered. Please contact us to discuss your options.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Please contact us to enquire about your suitability for admission. 

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Marine Station

Boasting lecture facilities overlooking the sea, a wet lab for sample examination and analysis, a seawater aquarium, and field equipment storage and changing facilities.
Discover more about the Marine Station

HSE Professional SCUBA diving course

Plymouth is unique in offering our students the opportunity to gain the HSE Professional SCUBA certification alongside their degree. The course is an intensive four week full-time programme designed to prepare candidates for undertaking media, scientific and archaeological diving projects. If you are looking to do any underwater work in the UK and be paid, you will require a HSE qualification. The Professional SCUBA course is the minimum requirement if you wish to work on scientific, archaeological or media diving projects.

Learn more about the HSE Professional SCUBA diving course.

Additional fieldwork and equipment costs

This course includes residential fieldwork. Typically, where the fieldwork is a compulsory part of the course, transport, accommodation and the majority of food costs are paid by the Faculty.

Some courses offer alternative or optional field courses with an additional cost.

Find out more information