Studying Marine Science


How do you study marine science?

A degree in Marine Science at the University of Sydney can be obtained within various generic Bachelor degree programs, such as Arts or Science, or in the combined degree Arts/Science.

A major in Marine Science is offered - students will enrol in some Geoscience and Biology units as part of the completion requirements.

What will you study in marine science?

Although there are no junior units in marine science, you need 24 credit points from any first year units of study to gain entry into marine science subjects in second year.

Intermediate subjects are offered in second year that introduce students to various aspects of the marine environment. The first half is an introduction to the world’s oceans, seafloor and continental shelves. Specific attention is paid to the marine geology of ocean basins and continental margins. The second half covers the major biological systems of the oceans and coasts, including biological adaptation and field methods used to study them.

In third year students have a choice of twelve 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:

  • Coastal Environments and Processes
  • Rivers - Science, policy and management
  • GIS in Coastal Management
  • Global Energy and resources
  • Ecological Methods
  • Geophysical Methods
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Field Ecology
  • Ecophysiology
  • Ecology
  • Sedimentary and Environmental Geology

A short guide on how to study Marine Science at the University of Sydney can be downloaded from this website. And for further information on marine science units of study please check here.


Postgraduate study can be separated into coursework programs and research programs.

Coursework degree programs consist of individual units of study and usually require attendance at lectures and tutorials. Some programs also have a project or research component at the Master’s level. Details on postgraduate courses offered in marine science can be found here.

In postgraduate research programs, students undertake supervised research, the major component of which is a research project leading to the production of a thesis. The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Science (MSc) and Graduate Diploma in Science (GradDipSc) are all research courses.

For further information regarding Postgraduate Coursework and Research options please visit the Faculty of Science website or contact the postgraduate convenor for marine science .