Marine Science


Marine studies at the University of Sydney encompass marine biology, marine geoscience and marine science.

In undertaking a marine oriented major, you will scientifically study the coast, oceans and seas in all their aspects. Marine studies draw together every aspect of science applicable to the understanding and management of the whole maritime environment. These areas include oceanography, biology, ecology, geography and geology and aspects of physics, chemistry and mathematics.

For more information on the program structure and content, view the Science Undergraduate Handbook.

Major outline

Recommended: To complete a Marine Science major the minimum requirement is 24 credit points of units listed under Table 1 for Marine Science, including BIOL3013/3913 and at least 6 credit points of GEOS3XXX. To prepare for this, it is recommended that a student complete 12 credit points of Junior Biology and 12 credit points of Junior Geosciences.

You will take intermediate units of study in biology and geoscience, which are prerequisites for your senior units of study. Your studies will look at the marine geology of ocean basins and continental margins, and the major biological systems of the oceans and coasts.

For a major in Marine Science, the minimum requirement is 24 credit points from senior units listed in this subject area, including BIOL3013/ 3913 and at least 6 credit points of GEOS3XXX.

Graduate opportunities

As a marine scientist, you can observe, measure and experiment in marine environments and habitats. You might find work constructing theories to explain what you see and measure in marine environments. You may work in laboratories, or in the field - gathering and interpreting data and material which may be collected in a variety of ways, from the physical collection of data and specimens to the utilisation of satellite data-gathering technology.

Further study for major

Further marine studies are available through an honours program and subsequent higher research programs, or through postgraduate coursework programs. All are very highly regarded by industry.

If you are eligible, a research honours year is the perfect way to find out whether you have the aptitude or ability for research in a specialised area of marine science and allows you to focus on the intellectual and practical challenges of a research project by conducting original research under the supervision of a member of our academic staff, culminating in the presentation of a thesis. The Faculty of Science offers marine science honours projects in a wide range of research areas usually from a geosciences perspective or a biological sciences perspective.

If you do very well in your honours year, you may wish to undertake a higher degree by research, through an MSc or PhD.

For a more structured approach to further study, there are postgraduate coursework programs in marine science related areas, such as the Master of Marine Science and Management, and the Master of Science in Environmental Science, where you have the opportunity to choose from a range of postgraduate level units.

Related subject areas

Environmental Studies
Geology and Geophysics
Soil Science

Our courses that offer this major