BSc

Marine and Freshwater Biology

Key Facts

Code C164
  • Typical A-level offer

    BBC-BBB with B in Biology or Human Biology

  • Course Length

    3 Years

Further details on entry requirements

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Situated on the coast of Cardigan Bay with a hinterland rich in rivers, streams and lakes, Aberystwyth University is the ideal location to study of Marine and Freshwater Biology. Easily accessible habitats range from mountain streams bearing salmon and trout and unique habitats for freshwater invertebrates, through estuaries of international importance, to sandy beaches, rocky reefs, salt marsh and a bay that is home to the largest residential population of bottlenose dolphins in the UK.

93% student satisfaction on our Marine and Freshwater Biology degree scheme (NSS 2016)

 Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS): 91% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates from IBERS who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

  • Overview
  • Modules
  • Employability
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Student Views

Overview

Why study Marine and Freshwater Biology at Aberystwyth University?

  • Two research vessels that give you hands on experience of the range of skills used by professional marine and freshwater biologists
  • A modern aquarium facilities aquarium systems for experimental studies of marine and freshwater organisms
  • Passionate teaching staff that conduct world-leading research across a wide range of marine and freshwater subject areas. You may have even seen some of them on TV documentaries explaining the secret lives of aquatic organisms
  • Participation in two residential field courses, each focused on either marine or freshwater biology
  • A wonderful museum and herbarium full of historic specimens collected from around the globe by generations of famous Aberystwyth University scientists 
  • We have invested over £55 million in infrastructure of student facilities 

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not take the chance to study abroad during your degree? 

We have exchange agreements with universities in Europe, USA, Canada, and elsewhere, so you can apply to spend all or part of your 2nd year studying marine and freshwater biology overseas. You’ll miss Aberystwyth, but you’ll love the new perspectives international study can bring. https://www.aber.ac.uk/en/international/study-abroad/

Want to study in Welsh? 

Students can elect to study a number of IBERS modules in the medium of Welsh. Ask the department for further details.

Our Staff

The majority of teaching staff at the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Vocational courses also have staff whose background lies within industry.  The Institute has a large number of research only staff with whom students may have contact.

Modules

Employability

What are our graduates doing now? 

Our Marine and Freshwater Biology graduates are equipped with the skills and knowledge to enter a wide range of careers including: 

  • Ecological  consultancy
  • Environmental management and conservation 
  • Teaching
  • Scientific journalism

This degree also frequently leads to postgraduate research at Masters and PhD level. 

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer.

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department.

Many students also gain research experience volunteering in the research laboratories of IBERS lecturers or through organisations such as Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre.   

What do I gain from studying Marine and Freshwater Biology?

Our degree at Aberystwyth University teaches you a broad range of skills such as observation, research, analysis, critical evaluation and reflection.

You will also be studying in a department that has invested over £55 million in infrastructure of student facilities.

The Institute has close links with many learned societies such as the Society of Biology which is great way of networking with those in your field. 

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

 In your first year you will explore:

  • Evolution & the diversity of life
  • Comparative animal physiology
  • Ecology
  • Plant biology
  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbial diversity
  • Field and laboratory skills

In your second year you will discover:

  • Marine biology
  • Freshwater biology
  • Applied aquatic conservation
  • Aquatic botany
  • Research design, planning and analysis
  • Optional modules include: vertebrate anatomy, animal behaviour and microbial ecology and environmental monitoring 

In your third year you will study;

  • Marine and Freshwater Biology Field Course – currently run in Portugal and Scotland
  • Dissertation which provides students with the opportunity to perform an in-depth research project under the guidance of a supervisor
  • Optional modules include: Fish, fisheries and aquaculture, wildlife conservation, behavioural physiology and population and community ecology 

How will I be taught?

Our course is delivered through lectures, workshops, tutorials, fieldwork and practicals and residential field courses. You will receive thorough training in the scientific method and concepts relating to the evolution and ecology of natural systems with an emphasise on marine and freshwater environments. 

You will be assessed through essays, practical exercises, oral presentations, worksheets, reports, statistical exercises, dossiers, posters, portfolios, wikis, reflective diaries, literature reviews, magazine articles field notebooks and exams. 

Student Views

"I enjoyed my time studying Marine and Freshwater Biology and I am able to now apply various aspects of what I was taught during my three years to my current job role, even though it is not directly related to my course. The practical elements of my course were excellent, especially the two 3rd year field trips." Rebecca – Project officer,  Forestry Commission

"Studying Marine & Freshwater Biology at Aberystwyth makes the course that bit more special. The location is perfect as you have both the sea and inland freshwater systems running through Aberystwyth into the sea. There is an array of diverse organisms right on your door-step at Aberystwyth; combining that with a lot of research in the field and the aquarium facilities makes the whole experience more engaging and enjoyable!" Richard Harris

"With the knowledge and scientific mindset I gain though my studies, I hope to be able to help preserve these fascinating environments for future generations. The course has been great; its main strength is its variety, with an array of topics covered over the three years in increasing detail." George William Middleton

"The course gave me a good grounding in all aspects of marine and freshwater biology. There were plenty of opportunities for fieldwork in the course, including the dissertation project, which prepared me for the survey skills needed in my current job." Laura – Environment Officer Gwynedd County Council

"At the Marine Conservation Society I head the conservation team of 17 individuals working on everything from overfishing and the need for marine reserves to dealing with the growing problem of plastic waste at sea. I'm 37 now and I look back at my time in Aber with real fondness. The study helped, but the most important thing for me was that I developed an interest in the sea. Aber was a truly great place to do that, living on the seafront, and diving with the University sub-aqua club." Simon – Head of Science, Marine Conservation Society

I really enjoyed the course. This made it easier to get up for lectures in the morning! The field courses were a highlight and nothing beats getting out there and getting your hands wet, whether it is doing a kick-sample in a small stream or doing a transect down a rock-pool strewn shoreline.  I really liked the broad scope of the course and the opportunity to tailor the course through the various optional modules in the second and third years. As such it has given me a great grounding in biological science as a whole – essential for a role where you have to consider the whole ecosystem and look at so much more than just the fish and the immediate riverine habitat.  Stuart Manwaring – Fisheries Technical Officer, Environment Agency

Typical Entry Requirements

A Levels BBC-BBB with B in Biology or Human Biology

GCSE requirements (grade C min):
English or Welsh, Mathematics and a Science subject

BTEC National Diploma:
DDM

UCAS Tariff:
112 - 128

International Students

International Baccalaureate:
30 points overall with 5 points in Biology at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
65-70% overall with 75% in specified subject

Applicants are considered on their individual merits and offers can vary. For further information, please contact ug-admissions@aber.ac.uk

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