Are you passionate about the health of our oceans and life in our seas?

Our degree in marine science is the integrated study of our coasts and oceans. It covers marine biology and ecology, coastal processes, sea level change, marine geology, underwater archaeology, oceanography and ocean engineering, and the oceans as an economic resource and as a global climate regulator.

3 Year BSc (Hons) | Optional Year Industrial Placement (DPP) | Optional Year Study Abroad (DIAS)



- Marine science is especially important today as climate change, pollution, and other factors are threatening the health of our oceans and marine life. In our degree, you'll explore the oceans as an essential global climate regulator and as a vast economic resource. 

- Oceans provide many opportunities for sustainable communities through renewable energy schemes, carbon sequestration and sustainable fishing. The Blue Economy (activities related to the ocean) is growing each year, and in 2018 was worth €566 billion while generating an estimated 3.5 million jobs across Europe.

- The human population, estimated at 7.6 billion in 2018, is expected to increase to 11 billion by 2100. With the majority of the world’s largest cities located in coastal zones, more than 75% of people are expected to live within 100 km of the coast by 2025. Managing fisheries for long-term sustainability is important to feed our growing world.

- At a time of unprecedented environmental change on Earth, society is having to adapt to processes and hazards that are poorly understood. Now, more than ever, society needs STEM graduates with an interdisciplinary understanding of the complexity and uncertainty of the marine and atmospheric systems, and with the skills and competencies to observe, measure, model and manage these systems. 

- We achieve this in our marine science degree through the integration of theoretical, practical and field-based approaches. Our Coleraine campus is ideally located on the Causeway Coast, one of the world’s most spectacular natural laboratories.



Year 1: The Fundamentals

You begin University life with a residential field school and then study modules related to sustainability, environmental processes, marine systems, the hydrosphere, the biosphere and the lithosphere, all the time developing a range of data analysis skills.

Year 2: Processes and Skills

In Year 2 you will study GIS, marine remote sensing, marine ecology, environmental impact assessment, the atmosphere, coastal and marine systems, and attend a residential field school, gaining hands-on experience onboard research vessels, using state-of-the-art scientific equipment.   

Final Year: Applying Knowledge

In final year you will undertake modules on research skills and an independent research project with an academic supervisor, exploring a marine theme of your choice. GIS and remote sensing is continued as a transferrable skill, with coursework exploring marine geology, marine renewables and underwater archaeology. Other modules focus on environmental change and management. You will study applied physical, chemical and biological oceanography in the field and explore the modelling of marine species and habitats.

Contact hours​ Typically 15 hours per week

Independent learning Typically 25 hours per week 

Assessment Typically 15% by exam and 85% by continual assessment   

Degree classification 30% contribution from second year and 70% from final year modules



Year 1: The Fundamentals

Skills Toolbox

Marine Systems

Society and Environment

The Hydrosphere

The Biosphere

The Lithosphere

Year 2: Processes and Skills

Marine Ecological Processes and Systems

The Atmosphere

GIS and Remote Sensing

Sustainable Planning
Coastal and Marine Processes

Marine Science Field School

Final Year: Applying Knowledge

Modelling Marine Species and Habitats

Environmental Change

Advanced GIS and Remote Sensing

Research and Professional Skills

Applied Oceanography




Duration: 3 years for BSc + 1 year for optional placement or study abroad.

Study abroad options: You will have the opportunity to study for a year at a university abroad. Options include a range of European countries, North America and partner universities in Australia and French Polynesia. On successful completion you will be awarded an additional diploma (DIAS).

Industrial placement option: The industrial placement scheme gives you the opportunity to work for 10 months within an organization developing skills and applying knowledge. On successful completion you will be awarded an additional diploma (DPP). We have strong links with industry and government agencies, and a dedicated placement co-ordinator to help and advise. 

Manta Ray


On 5 December 2017, the United Nations proclaimed a Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, to be held from 2021 to 2030. This Decade will provide a common framework to ensure that ocean science can fully support countries’ actions to sustainably manage the Oceans and more particularly to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Decade will provide a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to create a new foundation, across the science-policy interface, to strengthen the management of our oceans and coasts for the benefit of humanity.



What are the asking grades? 

BCC at A-level (or equivalent). No specific subjects are required, although a science subject is preferred for the marine science degree.

What happens if I don’t get the grades?

We offer a one-week bridging module for students who may not have obtained the necessary grades. The bridging module is held in late August on the Coleraine campus and involves field and laboratory exercises. On successful completion of a linked assignment, students may be offered a place on their chosen undergraduate course. 

How do I apply?

Through UCAS. Course codes and additional information available on the UU Prospectus.

Can I chat to someone about the degree?

Please get in touch with our Course Director Dr. Rory Quinn who will be happy to chat: RJ.Quinn@ulster.ac.uk



Our marine students find fulfilling and successful careers as geospatial analysts, hydrographic surveyors, coastal engineers, fisheries scientists, marine mammal scientists, policy makers and more. 

Some of our recent graduates are now working as: offshore geophysicist, aquaculturist, coastal engineer, ocean engineer, marine mammal scientist, GIS consultant, scientific officer, statistician, mapping officer, hydrographic surveyor, university lecturer, environmental consultant, fisheries scientist, fisheries officer, laboratory technician, science teacher, meteorologist, marine ecologist, fishery data manager, mathematical modeller, physical oceanographer, marine geologist,

marine archaeologist, marine conservationist, marine biotechnologist, mapping and charting officer, lab technician, commercial diver, scientific diver, outreach officer, environmental analyst, aquarium curator, marine guide, coastal zone planner, marine information specialist resource manager, coastal geomorphologist.

Check out our careers blog​ to see what types of jobs and placements are available to our students, and read about the career paths of some of our graduates below.



Environmental Advisor
ABCO Marine, Belfast

After graduating in marine science, I worked with McAdam Design, collecting water samples and flow rate measurements for NI shellfish and bathing water quality. I now work as Graduate Project Manager with ABCO, a marine civil engineering specialist working on dredging and sub-sea cables across Europe.

My role is primarily project management from an environmental perspective, ensuring compliance with regard to legislation, planning and license conditions. ABCO are at the forefront of offshore wind in the UK and France with ongoing projects in the renewable energy sector.



Marine Mammal Scientist
Baylor University, USA

I graduated with a degree in marine science after spending 12 months at Flinders University in Australia on the study-abroad scheme. I subsequently completed an internship with Cetacea Lab Canada, researching whales off the coast of British Columbia. In 2013, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Masters in Marine Mammal Science at the University of Miami in Florida.

In 2015, I started a PhD in the Laboratory of Ecological and Adaptational Physiology (LEAP) at Balyor University Texas, investigating the physiological adaptations and mechanism of animals in extreme and changing environmental conditions.



Digital Analyst
ARUP, Madrid

I spent my study abroad year at UNSW Sydney, Australia. After graduating, I worked at Blue Ocean Monitoring Ltd., which gave me valuable insight to the commercial sector of marine science. In 2017 I completed an MSc in Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews, which included a research cruise to Antarctica. I was extremely fortunate to be given the chance to study this competitive masters programme, only possible due to the opportunities available to me at Ulster.

I am now based in Madrid with ARUP, working as a GIS specialist.