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Studying marine biology

FishMarine biology is a huge subject. Dip your toe in the water with this guide to becoming a marine biologist.

What A-levels should I take?

Biology is, of course, a requirement for a marine biology degree. Other than that, most courses are quite flexible, but other science A-levels and maths will boost your chances. Studying maths will also make life easier once you start your course, as there will be maths involved in your degree.

Which universities offer marine biology degrees?

When you apply to university, remember that you don’t necessarily have to choose a course called “marine biology”. At many universities, the relevant course would simply be “Biology”, and you would choose your specialism later. Some courses might be even vaguer: for example, if you were applying to Cambridge you would simply apply for “Natural Sciences”. If you’re unsure what course to apply for, get in touch with the university’s admissions department.

However, some universities do have dedicated marine biology courses – for example, Plymouth, Swansea and Newcastle.

Remember when looking at universities that some universities have a definite advantage for a marine biology student – they’re by the sea!

What happens next?

Around 50% of marine biology graduates end up working in the field, although research positions are very competitive. Possible careers in marine biology include conservation, work with fisheries and aquaculture – the “farming” of marine life.

However, a marine biology degree is good preparation for a number of careers, as you will develop skills including research, computing, presentation and organisation.

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