From microscopic algae to giant whales, most of our planet’s life is found in the oceans. As a marine biologist, you will learn about the behaviour, physiology, and ecology of marine organisms, and how marine food webs are influenced by global warming and fisheries.
We produce highly employable marine biologists, able to apply their knowledge and skills to fields including monitoring, pollution, conservation, and aquaculture.
Our four-year integrated master’s programme is designed to train high performing marine biologists to the best possible standard to prepare them for PhD research and employment.
Programme in detail
Modern marine biology requires a wide range of skills, from field work to data analysis. The first two years of study help you develop these core skills. There are week-long field courses in every year of study, including opportunities for boat work. Students currently make an independent overseas study visit in the summer of Year Two, for which past destinations include Australia, Tanzania, Ecuador and Iceland.
In Year Three, you will take advanced modules in your area of interest, and spend a large amount of time working on your independent research project. Recent projects include investigating physiological data on how cormorants stay warm while diving in frigid Arctic waters, building mathematical models of coral reefs, and looking at the impacts of a wind farm on benthic communities.
You can choose modules from the School of Life Sciences, ocean sciences, and geography in each year of study on topics such as climate change and ocean physics, population ecology, physiology, conservation, parasitology, microbiology, molecular biology and genetics.
Our degree is one of only a handful in the UK to be accredited by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMAREST).
A number of the School’s degree programmes involve laboratory and field work. The field work is carried out in various locations, ranging from inner city to coastal and mountainous environments. We consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same basis as all other students, and reasonable adjustments will be considered to address barriers to access.
Students go on week-long residential field courses in each year of study. We also make the most of the unrivalled diversity of marine ecosystems in our local area which include estuaries, mudflats, restored and commercial docks, sandy shores and dune systems, rocky coasts and offshore in the Irish Sea. We visit these sites on whole-day and half-day trips, using our research vessel where appropriate.
Department Key Facts
Number of first year students
134 Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences Year One undergraduates in 2016
UK league tables
1st Liverpool was the first UK university to offer a degree in Marine Biology
National Student Survey
• 100% of our students said staff were good at explaining things (National Student Survey 2016)
• 93% of students are satisfied overall with their programme (National Student Survey 2016)
Why this subject?
Be part of a group whose world-leading research is helping to tackle today’s greatest environmental challenges
Our research into the vulnerability of marine species and habitats to fishing, global climate change and coastal development is helping organisations such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea to develop sustainable management plans.
Bring your studies to life with field teaching
Field teaching is at the centre of learning in all years, because it gives students a practical hands-on experience to gain an understanding of the natural environment that cannot be achieved in the classroom alone. Our residential field course locations currently include Pembrokeshire, Devon and the west coast and highlands of Scotland but we also regularly get out into the local area around North West England and North Wales.
Broaden your perspective by experiencing study overseas
All of our students organise and undertake an independent study visit overseas to a country of their choice. This gives you vital scientific work experience on a subject that interests you. You will also learn about the culture and biodiversity of another country and expand your network of contacts. An increasing number of our students take the chance to study abroad during their second year with one of our exchange partners in countries such as Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Sweden.
Benefit from our excellent facilities and partnerships
Our outstanding facilities include our custom-built remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), long-term field study sites, and the Central Teaching Laboratories (CTL). Students use the CTL’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment for practical work, field work and analytical skills such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Liverpool hosts the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) who contribute to research-led teaching. Local, national and international partners including World Museum Liverpool, RSPB and the Marine Biological Association help with field teaching and research projects.
Thrive in our friendly and supportive atmosphere
From day one, you will study with fellow students from your programme, on modules designed specifically for you. Intensive field courses and projects will give you the opportunity to work closely with our award-winning academic staff. Throughout your studies, your personal tutor will guide and support you and help to prepare you for the next step in your career.