Studying Marine Science


How do you study marine science?

Marine Science can be studied at the University of Sydney as:

  • INDIVIDUAL units within the various generic, advanced and combined Bachelor degree programs, and as a
  • MAJOR (Bachelor of Science generic, advanced and combined degrees).

It is a multidisciplinary major, with subjects offered by the School of Biology and School of Geosciences.

Please check with your specific Faculty regarding your degree requirements if considering studying Marine Science units outside the Faculty Science. The units are available to students enrolled in other degrees in accordance with their degree resolutions.

If you want to attain a MAJOR in Marine Science, the minimum essential requirements are:

  • 24 credit points of Junior Science*
  • 12 credit points of Mathematics and Statistics units of any level*
  • 24 credit points of Senior GEOS or BIOL units listed under Table 1 for marine science which must include 6 credit points of GEOS3XXX and BIOL3013/3913 Marine Biology as a compulsory core unit of study

Recommendations: Intermediate and Senior units may have prerequisite units so plan your course study accordingly. To prepare for this, it is recommended that students complete 12 credit points of Junior Biology and 12 credit points of Junior Geosciences in first year.

* The Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science is exempt

What will you study in marine science?

    There are no specific marine science junior units but you do need 24 credit points of Junior Science to gain entry into marine science subjects in second year and 12 credit points of Junior Mathematics and Statistics *
    Intermediate subject units introduce you to various aspects of the marine environment and provide recommended pathways to the senior units in the Marine Science Major. First semester is an introduction to the world’s oceans, seafloor and continental shelves (GEOS2115/2915 Oceans, Coasts and Climate Change). Second semester covers the major biological systems of the oceans and coasts, including biological adaptation and ecological field methods used to study them (BIOL2024/2924 Ecology and Conservation).
    In third year you have a choice of senior units of study which cover a wide range of biological, geological and coastal topics, all taught by experts in their respective fields.

These include:

  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Field Ecology
  • Ecology
  • Coral Reef Biology
  • Animal Ecological Physiology
  • Animal Behaviour
  • Coastal Environments and Processes
  • GIS in Coastal Management
  • Environmental and Sedimentary Geology
  • Geophysical Methods


Research Programs

Teaching and research members of USIMS from the School of Biology or Geoscience supervise research projects leading to a production of a thesis.

Students studying Marine Science at University of Sydney are privileged to have access to our field stations which feature state of the art facilities and are located in some of the world’s most spectacular locations such as One Tree Island on the Great Barrier Reef, SIMS at Chowder Bay, Cape Banks Botany Bay and Warrah in Broken Bay.

Honours (Undergraduate)

Fourth year of study and research as part of current undergraduate degree, culminating in the writing of an Honours thesis


Graduate Diploma of Science (Postgraduate Honours-equivalent year)
Serves as a qualification for entry to higher research degrees, comprising work equivalent to that carried out in the Honours year.


Higher Research Degrees (Postgraduate Research):

  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Postgraduate Coursework Programs

Coursework programs in marine science related areas provide a more structured approach to further study, where you have the opportunity to choose from a range of postgraduate level units and degrees:

This USIMS course allows for enrollment in subjects at partner universities (UNSW, UTS, and Macquarie University) and SIMS (Chowder Bay)

For more information on the new program please visit

Other faculties:

  • ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE (Master, Grad Dip & Grad Cert)

Contact us to find out more!
USIMS, University of Sydney Institute of Marine Science
Madsen Building F09
University of Sydney NSW 2006
T +61 2 9036 9246
M +61 414763269