Marine Science

What is Marine Science?
Why is marine science important to Australia?
How can I study Marine Science at the University of Sydney?
What is the UAI entry for the BSc(Marine)?
Can I do Marine Science units of study in other degrees?
What do I need to have studied at High School to do Marine Science at Sydney Uni?
What sort of jobs am I qualified for with the BSc(Marine)?
How can I study Marine Science as a postgraduate at Sydney Uni?
Can I do a subject not listed under the Postgraduate Section?
How do I apply?
Are there fees involved?
Are there any scholarships or financial assistance available?
What sort of jobs am I qualified for with a postgraduate Marine Science degree?


What is Marine Science?

Marine science is the application of all scientific disciplines to the study of the oceans, the coastal regions, harbours, bays and etuaries. It includes biology, physics, chemistry, the geosciences (geology, geography and geophysics) and mathematics and also involves engineering. Areas of marine science include marine biology, marine ecology, marine geology, oceanography, coastal geomorphology.

There are many different ways that marine science is practised. Much involves experimental work at sea such as diving to study at first hand the marine animals and plants and vessel based work from small boats for near shore work to large ocean research vessels for work offshore. There is wide use of moored or drifting equipment to record data at sea such as currents, water temperatures, wave heights and chemical and biological properties. Work in the laboratories and aquariums are also a major part of marine science. There is also theoretical work applying mathematics to understanding the processes of the ocean, and to making models or theories to explain the data collected at sea. There is increasing use of Automated Underwater Vehicles to collect data. Remote sensing of the ocean using satellites also provide valuable information for marine scientists.

Marine scientists may work individually or in small groups, but increasingly they are coming together to form larger interdisciplinary teams. The study of marine life, for example, involves not just biologists to study the animals and plants themselves, but also physical oceanographers to study the currents and waves that distribute both the nutrients that feed the animals and the pollutants, chemists to understand how the life depends on the ocean chemistry, geoscientists to understand the formations of sediments and rock strata that support plants an animals. The Australian Integrated Marine Observing System is an example of the way that marine scientists from many disciplines are working together.

Why is Marine Science important to Australia?

The oceans are the last great frontier of the world. Much is unknown and much is yet to be discovered. As an island continent, the surrounding oceans are particularly important to Australia. Our marine jurisdiction is one of the largest in the world, and substantially larger than our total land area. We have a responsibility to explore and to improve our knowledge of these regions and to safeguard them environmentally. We also obtain considerable resources from the sea: our surrounding oceans are very important economically.

In spite of the vastness of our continent, most of us, in fact, 85% of us, live within 50 km of the ocean. All our major cities are on the sea, surrounding harbours or rivers providing substantial challenges for environmental management. We have many areas of outstanding marine beauty and significance that attract tourists from around the world, the best known being the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. The major part of our imports and exports (by volume) go by sea. We obtain substantial resources from the sea such as food and minerals and must ensure that these are obtained in a sustainable way.
There is growing recognition of the importance of marine science to Australia. For example, “Wealth from the Oceans” is one of the small number of CSIRO flagships, their major research enterprises, developed over the last few years. The recent Australian Government initiative to support major science infrastructure nationally (NCRIS – National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy) is providing major support to marine science in the form of the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).

How can I study Marine Science?

There are Marine Science Units of Study available to undergraduate students at Intermediate, Senior and Honours levels. Staff from the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Geosciences teach these Units. For further information on all Units of Study, please refer to our list of Undergraduate Units of Study for more information.

Postgraduate students are able to study Marine Science via Coursework and Research programs. Full information about the available options for Postgraduate students can be found on the Faculty of Science website.

What is the UAI entry for the BSc(Marine)?

The UAI for 2008 was 81 and should remain around the mid 80s. The actual cutoff mark will be determined by how many people apply.

Can I do Marine Science units of study in other degrees?

Yes, but only the general Marine Science units. The specialist units, MARS2007 and NTMP3001-6, are only available to the BSc (Marine).

What do I need to have studied at High School to do Marine Science at Sydney Uni?

The only real requirement is 2 Unit Maths, but we prefer for you to have done two Units of Chemistry as well. Any other science subject or geography is also encouraged but not necessary.

What sort of jobs am I qualified for with the BSc(Marine)?

Jobs in Marine Science can be broken down into two areas - government and private industry. Government jobs can be found with employers such as National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Natural Resources (part of DIPNR, the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources), Department of Planning, NSW Fisheries, CSIRO, Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Sydney Water, ANSTO, NSW Coastal Council, Australian Museum, Sydney Aquarium, local councils, coastal authorities and many others including various federal government organisations like the Department of Environment and Heritage (previously known as Environment Australia) and CSIRO Marine Research.

In the private arena, most jobs are in consultancies or in analytical laboratories such as Australian Laboratory Services. There are also the conservation groups such as Greenpeace, Australian Conservation Foundation and the Nature Conservation Council. The Marine Science research and exploration industry is another major employer of marine scientists in Australia. For example, Geoscience Australia, Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia (PESA), and Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Limited (APPEA).For more information on careers in marine science, please refer to the Careers section.

How can I study Marine Science as a postgraduate at Sydney Uni?

There are several ways to study Marine Science at the postgraduate level at the University of Sydney. Generally speaking, you can study by research (Masters or PhD) or by coursework (Graduate Certificate, Diploma or Masters). There are a variety of coursework programs on offer, including study in Coastal Management.

For more information on postgraduate study in Marine Science please refer to the Postgraduate section.

Can I do a subject not listed under the Postgraduate Section?

Yes, provided approval is obtained from the Director of USIMS. If you find a subject you wish to do, then .

How do I apply?

Students interested in studying Marine Science should check the Faculty of Science's information for future students. International students should also check the university's application requirements for international students.

Are there fees involved?

All postgraduate coursework degrees, regardless of institution, are fee-paying degrees. As a general rule of thumb, for local students the cost of the Applied Science program is ~A$255 per credit point (each course or unit is worth 6 credit points). For international students, who are required to study full-time and therefore do 4 units per semester, the cost is A$11,200 per semester (a slightly higher rate per credit point than local students). More specific information can be obtained from the Science Faculty website.

Are there any scholarships or financial assistance available?

It may be possible to get a scholarship or other type of financial assistance to help offset the cost of study, whether you are doing the research degree or coursework study. There is also the possibility that your supervisor can provide you with some funding. For more information on scholarships and prizes, please visit the University of Sydney Scholarships website.

What sort of jobs am I qualified for with a postgraduate Marine Science degree?

If you are looking a change of direction or a new employer then, as with the undergraduate degree (see above), the range of employers is large and cover both the government and private industry spheres. Also see our Careers page.