To be read in conjunction with the program of study requirements for the Bachelor of Science (Specialisations).

The Marine Biology Specialisation requires three years of full-time study (or the equivalent part-time). The Specialisation is offered by the School of Biological Sciences within the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Admission requirements

The minimum requirements for consideration for entry to all undergraduate courses are specified in detail in the University Entry Requirements.

There are no formal prerequisites for the specialisation in Marine Biology, but knowledge of Mathematics and/or Physics to SACE Year 11 level is desirable.

Course aims

The program of studies aims to provide students with a broad understanding of the biology of marine organisms, their relationships with the physico-chemical marine environment, and their potential responses to changes. It also provides students with the ability to acquire extensive subject knowledge in marine biodiversity, ecology, genetics, conservation, fisheries and related areas. It also aims to to develop a range of transferable skills for research, analysis and communication skills including the capability to:

  • understand and apply scientific principles in a marine biology context
  • retrieve and present scientific information about marine biology, including communicating effectively with a variety of audiences in written and spoken form
  • critically analyse and evaluate information relevant to marine biology and solve problems
  • appreciate the multidisciplinary aspect of marine sciences and engage positively with people and ideas beyond their discipline area
  • work effectively and productively within teams
  • work independently and take responsibility for updating and adapting their knowledge and skills
  • appreciate the ethical and societal contexts of marine sciences.

This course provides the broad-based foundation that will support ongoing professional development, preparing graduates for further study in marine sciences or for a career in marine biology or related area where the range of skills and knowledge acquired is needed or desirable.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • demonstrate familiarity with theories, subject content, professional methodologies, ethical frameworks and research procedures in marine sciences and be able to critically apply them in marine biological studies
  • understand and describe the processes through which current knowledge about marine biology and its related disciplines were developed
  • analyse and critically evaluating ideas/information/data in marine biology, and apply relevant scientific principles to solve problems by, for example, creating hypotheses, testing theories and predictions, designing and carrying out experiments and analysing reported data
  • competently design marine biological studies, employing sampling methods and techniques that work effectively in the field and laboratory, and applying numerical skills for data analysis
  • appreciate work practices relating to OH&S and animal ethics in regards to marine biological studies
  • demonstrate skill at identifying organisms found in marine and costal environments
  • understand the dynamics of marine ecosystems and their potential responses to changes
  • apply conservation and management principles for marine conservation and sustainable use of marine resources
  • communicate their findings to a variety of audiences in written and spoken form
  • appreciate that marine biology is multidisciplinary and has connections to other science and non-science disciplines
  • work and learn independently and appreciate the need for continuing professional development
  • interact effectively as part of a team in order to achieve common goals.

Program of study

To qualify for the Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) specialisation a student must complete 108 units, with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic, according to the program of study detailed below.

No more than 45 units of First Year level topics may be included in the 108 units for the degree. 

Elective topics to complete 108 units may be selected from any offered within the University or, with approval from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, from outside the University, provided any course and prerequisite requirements are met.

Not all topics are necessarily available in a given year.

Specialisation - Marine Biology - Year 1 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 1 topics

 BIOL1101  Evolution of Biological Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1102  Molecular Basis of Life  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1301  Introduction to Marine Biology  (4.5 units)
 EASC1102  Marine Sciences  (4.5 units)
 SPOC1701  The Nature of Science I  (4.5 units)
 STAT1122  Biostatistics  (4.5 units)

Option - Year 1 topics

Plus one of:

 CHEM1101  Chemical Structure and Bonding  (4.5 units)
 CHEM1201  General Chemistry  (4.5 units)


 CHEM1202  Chemistry for the Life Sciences  (4.5 units)

Specialisation - Marine Biology - Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 2 topics

 BIOL2701  Experimental Design and Statistics for Biology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2702  Genetics, Evolution and Biodiversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2711  Ecology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2712  Animal Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2742  Marine Ecology  (4.5 units)
 EASC2701  Coasts and Oceans  (4.5 units)

Elective - Year 2 topics

Plus 9 units of elective topics^ from across the University where entry requirements are met.

Specialisation - Marine Biology - Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 3 topics

 BIOL3700  Biology Research Project  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3701  Conservation Biology and Restoration Ecology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3702  Marine and Freshwater Biology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3711  Plant and Algal Diversity  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3751  Marine Mammals, Birds and Reptiles  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3752  Fisheries Biology, Science and Management  (4.5 units)

Elective - Year 3 topics

Plus 9 units of elective topics^ from across the University where entry requirements are met#.

#Students are encouraged to enrol in XXXX3700 Science Practicum (9 units) as a third-year elective.

^Specialisation - Marine Biology - Recommended Electives

While students are able to select elective units from anywhere across the University, these are Recommended Electives.

 BIOD1102 Introduction to Biodiversity and Conservation  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1112  Biology and Society  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1201  Introduction to Aquaculture  (4.5 units)
 BIOL1711  Introduction to Animal Behaviour  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2721  Foundations of Animal Behaviour  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2731  Aquaculture Nutrition and Water Quality  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2732  Aquaculture Systems and Technology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2761  Virology  (4.5 units)
 BIOL2771  Biochemistry  (4.5 units)
 GEOG2700  Geographical Information Systems  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3712  Integrative Physiology of Animals and Plants  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3721  Research in Animal Behaviour  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3722  Conservation and Ecological Genetics  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3731  Aquaculture Reproduction  (4.5 units)
 BIOL3732  Aquaculture Health and Product Quality  (4.5 units)
 ENVS3711  Coastal Studies  (4.5 units)


Admission to an honours program may be offered to a student who meets certain academic criteria and subject to the school/department being able to provide appropriate resources and staff to supervise the program of study. Refer to Bachelor of Science (Honours).

Combined degrees

The Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) may also be studied in a combined degrees program with the: