• A dog sled driven by a native Greenlander with instrumentation that allows scientists to gather information while the hunter is on the ice
    Marine Biology pathway
    Specialise in marine biological sciences

Marine Science with Marine Biology BSc (Hons)

Specialise in marine biological sciences  

Marine Biology pathway leader - Dr Callum Whyte  

From September 2023 students completing year 2 can decide to move onto this new and exciting Marine Biology pathway. In this programme, students follow the core marine biological modules and also complete a marine biological dissertation and literature review. A new module in marine mammals and megafauna is also introduced giving student the opportunity to explore the ecology and techniques needed to study large marine animals. As the world’s oceans are increasingly under pressure by climate warming and industrial impacts marine biology can help us to understand and protect our precious seas. 

Introducing our NEW module 2023 “Marine Mammals and Megafauna” - exclusive to students selecting the Marine Biology pathway.  

Module leaderDr Nienke Van Geel  

This course has been designed to offer in depth knowledge on marine mammals and other megafauna (i.e., marine mammals, basking sharks, and seabirds) ecology and focusses on providing experience and in-depth understanding of research study techniques for these species, such as photo-ID, line-transect distance sampling, passive acoustic monitoring, theodolite tracking, (satellite) tagging & tracking, necropsies etc. Students will learn how these techniques are being used to provide data for animal abundance estimation, health monitoring and to elucidate question regarding ecology and what scientists can gain by studying their behaviour. The course will also teach an understanding of current threats they face from factors such as climate change, underwater noise, and entanglement in fishing gear and how science can provide advice to policy makers to secure the conservation of these species. 

FIRST YEAR (SCQF 7) MODULES: All degree streams study the same six modules (see 'Marine Science BSc'): Fundamentals of Marine Physics; Fundamentals of Marine Chemistry; Fundamentals of Marine Geology; Fundamentals of Marine Biology; Maths and Data Science; Marine Field Course 

SECOND YEAR (SCQF 8) MODULES: Physical Oceanography; Chemical Oceanography; Marine Biology; Marine Geology; Data Science. Optional - Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Advanced Maths and Programming; Marine Resources.  

THIRD YEAR (SCQF 9) MODULES: Core: Literature Review (relevant to marine biology); Marine Microbial Ecology; Marine Zoology; Marine Mammals and Megafauna. Select 2 from: Marine Pollution; Marine Instrumentation and Data; Marine Biogeochemical Cycling; Marine Biotechnology; Marine Robotics; Ocean Circulation and Climate; Marine Conservation.  

FOURTH YEAR (SCQF 10) MODULES: Dissertation (marine biology topic); Behaviour and Biological Clocks; Deep-Sea Ecosystems. Select two from: Marine Environmental Impact Assessment, Coastal and Shelf Sea Dynamics; Aquaculture; Fisheries Ecology; Marine Modelling; Defining the Marine Carbon Cycle; Polar Seas 

Entry requirements are the same as for the UHI Marine Science BSc programme.

‘Tropical Ecosystems’ optional tropical marine biology field course. 

El Quseir, Egypt. Open to all year 1-3.  

 ‘Marine Mammals and Seabird Observations’  

Marine Mammal and Megafauna 3rd year module field trip – available only to students on the Marine Biology pathway.  

When do I need to decide when to join the Marine Biology pathway?  

Semester 2, Year 2 as the core modules start in semester 1 Year 3.  

Can I take Arctic Studies and Marine Biology  

Unfortunately you can only join one pathway. By choosing Arctic Studies you would miss your core modules for Marine Biology. However, you might be able to take some polar modules and still take the core Marine Biology modules.  

Can I take Oceanography and Robotics and Marine Biology  

As mentioned earlier, you can only join one pathway. You might be able to take Advanced Maths and Programming (year 2) and Marine Robotics (year 3). 

Do I have to join the Red Sea field trip?  

You do not have to join the Red Sea field trip, but you need to participate in one of the two proposed field trips; Red Sea or Seol Mara (local to SAMS) observing.  

Do I need to complete a marine biology literature review and dissertation?  

Yes – you must have completed a marine biological Literature Review (year 3) and a marine biological dissertation (year 4).  

Can I join an international exchange such as to Coastal Carolina University in USA?  

Sadly you cannot join an international exchange as the marine biology core modules are in semester 1 and 2 in year 3.  

I am not taking the marine biology pathway but can I still go on the field trips?  

Some field trips are open to students (e.g. Red Sea is open to all year 1-3). The Marine Mammal and Megafauna field trip ‘Marine Mammals and Seabird Observations’ is a closed field trip only available to those students joining the module and hence the marine biology pathway.  

I am not taking the marine biology pathway but can I still take Marine Mammals and Megafauna module?

This module is exclusive to Marine Biology students.

I am not taking the marine biology pathway but can I still take Behaviour and Biological Clocks module?  

As with the Megafauna module, this module is exclusive to Marine Biology students.



Course overview

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SAMS is Scotland’s largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science.

SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute,
Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA

+44 (0)1631 559000


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