Marine Biology with Biodiversity and Conservation - with Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (4 years)

Cambridge

September

Overview

If you’re passionate about protecting our planet, our four-year marine biology course will give you the skills you need to make a difference. Use the foundation year to build your scientific knowledge, then progress onto our BSc (Hons) degree course which is recognised by the Society of Biology.

Full description

Careers

Helping to protect our planet’s habitats and wildlife is fascinating and rewarding work. When you graduate, you’ll have built a deep understanding of issues relating to marine biology, backed up by your own practical experiences on a variety of field trips.

You’ll have the specialist skills you need to work in your chosen area of marine biology, ecology or conservation. You could apply for work in the UK or internationally, for employers such as governments, environment agencies, education institutions and research establishments.

Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us. If you’d like to continue your studies we offer a wide range of full-time and part-time postgraduate courses including MSc Animal Behaviour: Applications for Conservation and MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Biology of Cells
    In this module practical sessions on cellular respiration, osmosis and cell diversity will support your lectures. You will study the structure and function of cellular organelles, membranes and transport systems, in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. In addition, cell metabolism - the biochemical processes undertaken in living organisms - is a key component of this module, with the emphasis on cellular respiration of glucose and the role of mitochondria. The fundamental principle of biology, the ability to renew (cells) and reproduce, both sexually and asexually and the mechanisms of cell division, including mitosis and meiosis, will be studied.
  • Biomolecules
    In this module you will focus on the composition, structure and function of the four groups of macromolecules - proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and lipids. The central importance of water and carbon and the mechanism of action of enzymes and factors that affect enzyme function also will be studied. The lectures will be complemented by practicals that build on the lecture material and teach a range of laboratory skills.
  • Mathematics for Science
    Maths for Science is a course that ensures students have the necessary mathematical skills required for their chosen degree. Each mathematical concept is introduced by a lecture, in which examples of how to use and apply the concept are demonstrated. Students practise problems in a tutorial for each topic, using worksheets that include applied problems to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to their future degrees. The subjects covered are arithmetic skills, algebra, areas and volumes, trigonometry and basic statistics. In addition, there are sessions using Excel for manipulation of simple data sets using formulae and graphical presentation of the results. Students will be expected to apply the skills learnt in graphically presenting data to the other modules they are studying.The worksheets include problems applied to the various degree pathways to which the students will progress, to indicate the importance and applicability of mathematics to their future degrees. The subjects covered are a range of arithmetic skills, algebra, areas and volumes, trigonometry and basic statistics. In addition, there are sessions using Excel for manipulation of simple data sets using formulae and graphical presentation of the results. Students will be expected to apply the skills learnt in graphically presenting data to the other modules they are studying where applicable.
  • Chemical Principles
    This module provides an introduction to chemical science and includes the study of materials and the undergoing chemical changes. These principles will be developed further by exploring the periodic table, chemical equations, calculating concentrations, quantitative chemical analysis such as colorimetry, chemical equilibria and organic chemistry. The practical component of the course will allow students to gain practice in laboratory techniques based on the concepts covered in the lectures and how to report their findings. Tutorials will be held for students to practice questions and calculations based on the lecture material.
  • Physical Principles
    This module provides an introduction to the principles and laws of physics which underpin all life sciences. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed, and the focus will be on those aspects which are specific to the future requirements of students. The module will be taught with a mixture of lectures, workshops, tutorials and laboratory practicals. The module will encompass aspects such as how organisms move in relation to their environment, how they perceive their environment in terms of light and sound, how the physics of fluids and gasses affect the anatomy and physiology of organisms, how electricity is used to allow communication, and finally how radioactivity impacts on organisms, and the applications of physics in modern medicine The practical component of this module will allow the students to develop an understanding of how the theory they are taught in lectures is applied in practical situations.
  • Physiology
    Physiology is the science of body function and is related to the structure (anatomy) of the organism. In this module the main organ and regulatory systems that work to enable the body to function and respond to change, whilst maintaining a constant internal environment, will be studied. Although this module will focus mainly on the human body as an example of a much studied organism, reference to other organisms will be made to illustrate particular principles or to contrast different systems and mechanisms. Laboratory-based practicals and workshops will be used to build on the knowledge gained from the lectures. The practical sessions will enable the development of a range of laboratory-based skills, which will include the recording of observational findings as well as experimental results.
  • Biological Diversity
    The Biological Diversity module will provide you with an introduction to key processes operating within living organisms, including energy provision, transport, control and co-ordination. The structural detail and functions are considered at a range of scales from cells, through organ systems to whole organisms and applied to the main micro-organism, animal and plant phyla as appropriate. Interactions between organisms and their environment are examined together with the biotic and abiotic factors which control their distribution and abundance. The systems and mechanisms required to control and regulate water and temperature and how gas exchange is achieved will be studied. Basic principles of genetic inheritance will be introduced and considered in the context of Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Practical skills will be developed in laboratory session that will require observation and experimentation.
  • Introduction to Evolution
    This module is designed to develop fundamental scientific knowledge/ skills to enter level 4. It will also build on the Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics modules studied in semester 1. A variety of teaching modes will be utilized to investigate a range of topics in evolution and relationship with behaviour, ecology and physiology/ anatomy. A project related to evolutionary adaptation/ behaviour will start the development of the specialist skills required in your future degrees. The module will be assessed by a variety of coursework assignments, such as poster presentation, data analysis and tests.

Year two, core modules

  • Introduction to Wildlife and Conservation
    This module provides an introduction to wildlife taxonomy, conservation, distribution and ecology, with a focus on vertebrates found in Britain. For each major taxonomic group (birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles) and for selected individual species, key conservation and management issues are addressed. You will also consider historical changes in the distribution and abundance of wildlife, and learn to assess the problems and challenges posed by both re-introductions and by the release/introduction of non-native species. By taking this module you will acquire basic skills and knowledge relevant to a range of careers in ecology, conservation and wildlife biology.
  • Introduction to Marine Biology
    This module introduces you to the range of marine environments and marine life within the biosphere - and the factors which generate this variety. It provides the basis for studying other 'marine' modules later in the course. You'll cover aspects of the biology, ecology and environmental physiology of selected marine organisms around the UK shores and beyond. A range of marine habitats will be illustrated through the use of video (Blue Planet) while marine biodiversity will be covered 'practically' by a visit to a marine aquarium. The module will also involve a full day (weekend) field trip to a coast in East Anglia to study plant and animal life at the interface of land and sea. This field trip will require a certain amount of walking over rough terrain.
  • Biomeasurement
    This module introduces the use of statistics and computing software in the biosciences. Although we focus on biological applications, the quantitative and IT skills you will gain will be of benefit in a number of graduate employment roles. You will be shown how to use information in the form of data to answer questions about biological systems, and learn a range of visual data presentation and statistical techniques. We will also show you how to choose the most appropriate technique for a range of data types and circumstances, perform and interpret numerical and graphical analyses correctly, and communicate the results clearly and transparently.
  • Animal Form and Function
    The ways in which animals cope with the demands of everyday life, from feeding, moving and respiring to sensing the outside world and each other are as diverse as the animals themselves. This module will examine the variety of ways in which an animal's form and physiology are adaptations to the many tasks it faces to survive.
  • Introduction to Animal Behaviour
    In this module the philosophy and multidisciplinary origins of the scientific study of behaviour are reviewed. The ethically sound use of the scientific study of animal behaviour in pure and applied disciplines will be considered, especially in the context of the assessment of animal welfare. Differences in the emphases between the fields of psychology and animal behaviour are discussed, with particular reference to the learning process, and the synthesis of these fields is presented using a framework of proximate (developmental and mechanistic) and ultimate (functional and phylogenetic) explanations. Fundamental processes influencing animal behaviour will be considered, including the relative contributions of evolutionary processes, gene expression and environment in the elucidation of behaviour, and how the structures and processes of the nervous system underpin the biological bases of behaviour.
  • Origins of Life
    The origin of life on earth is one of the great mysteries of our age. It is of special interest to biologists, as it addresses the fundamental question of where we (and all other living things) came from. This module will begin with a philosophical exploration of the meaning of life and the role of science in exploring life (i.e. biology). We will discuss different interpretations of life through time, across cultures, and through academic disciplines and consider some basic background in history of science and philosophy of science. The module will give students an introduction to geological time, the origins of the planet Earth and changing environmental conditions (e.g. climates). It will then ask questions such as: When did life originate? Where did life originate? How did life originate? We explore the methods that modern biologists use for asking questions about the origins of life, and the different hypotheses about how life may have evolved from simple organic molecules (and whether life originated on Earth, or whether it may have been ‘seeded’ from elsewhere). We will discuss the major transitions in evolution, including the origins of replication, cell membranes, metabolic processes, multicellularity, sexual reproduction, the colonization of land and the emergence of plants, invertebrates and vertebrates (including the K/T boundary and the Cambrian explosion).
  • Ecology
    You will be provided with a broad introduction to animal and plant ecology and facilitate the study of ecological modules at higher levels. You will be introduced to ecological terminology, the scope of ecology and the potential role of ecological science in providing guidance on the sustainable use of the biosphere.
  • Evolution and Biodiversity
    This will introduce you to the major principles of evolutionary theory and highlight the major transitions that have occurred in the diversification of life. This module will begin by focussing on the early events in evolution, including the origin of life, the symbiotic creation of the eukaryotic cell, and the advent of multicellularity. It will go on to investigate the challenges and opportunities that multicellular life forms had to face, and the processes that led to diversification in some groups, with an emphasis on the theories and mechanics of speciation.

Year three, core modules

  • Biological Research Skills
    This module prepares you for being able to conduct independent research and is particularly relevant to preparing you to undertake your final year research project. Knowledge and skills needed to ask and answer biological questions in a scientifically valid, ethical and safe way will be introduced through lectures and consolidated through hands-on workshops. The quantitative, communication, critical thinking and IT skills gained from this module are applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities.
  • Field Skills in Biology
    This module is centred on a field course that will allow you to develop skills in various components of field biology. It will introduce you to the research methods necessary for conducting fieldwork in temperate habitats including how to identify UK fauna and flora, and planning and conducting a research project. Through a range of exercises, you will receive training in field techniques in marine terrestrial or behavioural ecology. Transport and accommodation are covered, but you will have to buy and cook your own food.
  • Marine and Terrestrial Communities
    In this module you will explore the relationships between community ecology and ecosystem functioning in aquatic and terrestrial environments.
  • Biological Oceanography
    In this module we will study oceanic ecosystems, focussing on factors which determine the distribution of organisms and productivity of the seas. We will also explore the less familiar realms of the ocean; the pelagic zone, the deep sea and the polar zones.
  • Invertebrate Biology
    Invertebrates account for over 99 % of all animal species. It is estimated that the total number of animal species on Earth may exceed 30 million although only around 1 million have been named. In this module we introduce the diverse world of invertebrates focussing on aspects of their classification, structure and function, ecology and behaviour.
  • Vertebrate Biology
    Vertebrates account for less than 1% of known species of animal life. Yet vertebrates (including humans) are some of the most successful and widely adapted animals on Earth. Vertebrates inhabit almost all corners of our planet, except the deepest parts of the oceans, close to the poles and on top of the highest mountain peaks. Vertebrate species may be terrestrial, arboreal or marine; they burrow, swim, run, climb, fly or glide. They include the so called "charismatic megafauna" such as tigers, eagles, elephants and pandas, as well as top predators such as sharks and crocodiles. You will study how these animals came to occupy their current dominant position among animal life on Earth.

Year three, optional modules

  • Evolution of Behaviour
    You will receive a detailed overview of the study of animal behaviour. The application of hypothesis testing to questions about behaviour is reviewed and used as a basis for illustrating recent advances in the scientific understanding of animal behaviour.
  • Principles of Genetics and Evolution
    Genetics unifies the biological sciences. Through an integration of concepts at the population, organismal, cellular and DNA levels, you will develop an understanding of the core principles of genetics and their applications and an understanding of the relationship between genetic variation and evolution. You will study the structure and nature of genes and genomes and then consider the rules of inheritance from an individual basis and how do they translate into the organisation of the gene-pool of a population and species. You will also be introduced to some of the genetic techniques used to answer behavioural, ecological and evolutionary questions. Your understanding of genetic processes will be developed through a variety of problems, case studies and laboratory sessions.
  • Biological Bases of Behaviour
    In this module you will examine the 'machinery of behaviour', covering the anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the nervous system and relevant components of the endocrine system. We will also investigate mechanisms associated with motivation and emotion and how these are thought to be mediated by the brain and endocrine systems. An important topic for any student of behaviour is the relationship between thinking, consciousness, learning and memory and how these relate to the physical 'machinery' of the brain. We will review the localised behavioural functions of the brain using the 'split brain' (the difference between the right and left hemisphere) as an explanatory model. We will also discuss the evolution of the nervous system and brain.
  • Animal Health and Nutrition
    This module will introduce you to the study of animal health and nutrition with particular emphasis on the relationship between health, disease, nutrition and welfare in domesticated animals. You will examine the essential components of food and learn how they contribute to a balanced diet in domesticated animals. We will discuss comparative digestive anatomy and physiology, as well as the impact of appropriate and inappropriate nutrition on animal health and welfare. You will examine the agents of significant animal diseases including epizootics and zoonoses, and the transmission, management and prevention of disease. We will discuss the use of veterinary intervention, drugs and feed supplements and the impact of these measures on welfare. We will also consider the ethical implications of their deployment in problems of animal disease.
  • Parasitology
    Parasitism is the most prevalent lifestyle among organisms. It is estimated that at least every plant and animal possesses at least one parasite. You will explore the unique relationship between a parasite and its host from a number of perspectives.

Year four, core modules

  • Biogeography
    Biogeography describes the spatial distribution of living things and how these have been affected by global change. In this module we will investigate climatology, geology, geography and computer applications, rooted in biology, particularly ecology, systematics and evolutionary biology.
  • Coastal Marine Biology
    Coastal areas are hotspots of primary productivity and are very important for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning and services. Indeed, they are economically crucial for many sectors such as fisheries, tourism and bioenergy. Human population densities are, however, also very high in coastal regions and this can place stress on both terrestrial and marine environments. In this module, which is largely student-led, we will explore various coastal environments, their structure, dynamics, communities and biological processes along with the potential impacts of natural factors (tides, weather related phenomena’s) and human activities (resources exploitation, energy generation, and climate change).
  • Wildlife Conservation
    Advance your skills in conservation and critically evaluate the science underlying conservation biology as well as exploring the multi-dimensional issues faced by working wildlife biologists. You’ll examine current conservation problems including socio-political dimensions, and explore the ways in which conservationists set out to find solutions.
  • Practical Marine Biology
    Practical Marine Biology comprises a series of lectures and practical workshops and a compulsory, residential field course at a UK marine biology field station. The field course provides you with advanced skills relevant to marine science including species identification, interpreting oceanographic data and experimental design. The field-work includes: surveying and collecting samples from varied shore environments to explain the distribution of fauna and flora; collecting samples from offshore environments, from a research vessel; and a short project based on any feasible aspect of marine animal or plant ecology, behaviour, physiology or systematics, using available material. The module has a compulsory field course. Please see the 'Additional costs' in the 'Fees and funding' section for more information.
  • Undergraduate Project
    You will create in a substantial piece of individual research and/or product development work, focused on a topic of your choice. You could choose your topic from a variety of sources including research groups, previous/current work experience, your current employer, a suggestion from your tutor or a topic you are specifically interested in. You will identify problems and issues, conduct literature reviews, evaluate information, investigate and adopt suitable development methodologies, determine solutions, develop hardware, software and/or media artifacts as appropriate, process data, critically appraise and present your finding using a variety of media. Regular meetings with your project supervisor will ensure your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.

Year four, optional modules

  • Mammalogy
    Although relatively few in number, the 4,600 or so known species of extant mammal are of considerable economic and cultural importance. As a vertebrate Class, the mammals are important to us as a food source (most domesticated animals are mammals); as companion animals; in medical and other scientific research; for transport and as pests and vectors of disease. This module is about the biology of the mammals and considers mammalian taxonomy, morphology, physiology, ecology, distribution, evolution and behaviour. A key theme of Mammalogy is the analysis of underlying similarities and differences between mammalian taxa, based on an understanding of mammalian evolution and adaptive radiation. Practical skills you are expected to acquire during this module include the ability to identify all extant Orders of mammals worldwide, on the basis of distribution and morphology and in particular the anatomy of skulls and teeth. You will develop your understanding of mammalogy through lectures, videos, active learning sessions and laboratory-based practical classes.
  • Behavioural Ecology
    Behavioural Ecology has been an established discipline within the natural sciences since at least the late 1970s. It brings together the theoretical understanding of evolution and ecology with the observational practices of early ethologists. In this module we will explore this across four major themes: communication; finding resources and avoiding being eaten; living with others of the same species and producing the next generation.
  • Tropical Ecology and Management
    Take part in a field course in tropical ecology, biodiversity and conservation and discover the complex habitats and ecosystems within the tropics, with particular reference to East Africa. Your field course activities will be a mix of group field work on specific aspects of tropical ecology and visits to one or more locations to observe and record and interpret various aspects of tropical fauna, flora and habitats. Through your experience of the country where the field course takes place, you will discover a range of anthropogenic influences and pressures on tropical habitats, such as effects of population growth, tourism and economic development, and how these relate to conservation. There is a compulsory two week field trip to Uganda with this module. Please see the 'Additional costs' in the 'Fees and funding' section for more information.
  • Countryside Management
    You will gain knowledge and skills appropriate for working in practical ecology or conservation in the UK countryside or for continuing to a higher degree in this area. You will cover aspects of the following areas: woodlands and forestry in the countryside, agriculture in the countryside, urbanisation of the countryside, management of rivers and wetlands, legislation relevant to managing the countryside, habitat restoration, national parks and upland management.
  • Population Ecology and Wildlife Management
    You will focus on the first principles of population ecology, and the ways this body of theory is applied practically in wildlife management. An important focus is the demography and dynamics of natural populations of both plants and animals.
  • Cognition, Evolution and Behaviour
    This module will give you the skills to identify and then develop a detailed knowledge and understanding of topics at the forefront of the study of Animal Behaviour or Animal Welfare. It will improve your time management, team work, self evaluation, communication and critical evaluation skills, applicable to a wide range of graduate employment opportunities. You will work in groups to research and then communicate to fellow students (and lecturers) topics at the cutting edge of research and debate in Animal Behaviour, Animal Welfare or related sub-disciplines (e.g. Behavioural Ecology, Socioecology).

Assessment

We’ll assess you regularly so that you can check your progress. We’ll use a range of methods, including exams, essays, practical reports, computer-based assessments, presentations, reviews of scientific papers and laboratory skills tests.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

The Faculty of Science & Engineering is one of the largest of the four faculties at Anglia Ruskin University. Whether you choose to study with us full-time or part-time, on campus or at a distance, there’s an option whatever your level – from a foundation degree, BSc, MSc, PhD or professional doctorate.

Whichever course you pick, you’ll gain the theory and practical skills needed to progress with confidence. Join us and you could find yourself learning in the very latest laboratories or on field trips or work placements with well-known and respected companies. You may even have the opportunity to study abroad.

Everything we do in the faculty has a singular purpose: to provide a world-class environment to create, share and advance knowledge in science and technology fields. This is key to all of our futures.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Additional study information

Placements

This course gives you the opportunity to take a work placement between years 2 and 3. You’ll get experience of seeking and securing a job and working in an industry relating to your course. You’ll also get the practical experience and industry contacts to benefit your studies and enhance your long-term career prospects.

Although they can’t be guaranteed, we can work with you to find a placement, using our contacts with a large number of employers. You’ll have regular contact with one of our course tutors and be supported by a supervisor from your placement company. Together they’ll monitor your performance and give you feedback.

To find out more about placement opportunities, email us at FST-Placements@anglia.ac.uk.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students starting 2018/19 or 2019/20 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2018/19 (per year)

£13,000

International students starting 2019/20 (per year)

£13,100

Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

Additional Costs

  • Walking boots - £60
  • Waterproof coat - £50
  • Wellingtons - £25
  • Waterproof trousers - £20
  • Poster printing - £20
  • Cost of printing dissertation/individual project

Additional field trip costs

Field trips that are a compulsory part of your course have no additional cost.
Optional residential field trips have an additional cost, as indicated below.

  • Isle of Rum field trip - £350
  • International Diving trip - £1200
  • Uganda field trip (two weeks) (Tropical Ecology and Management module) - £2100

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

You can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or alternatively, there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments

Scholarships

We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

International students

You must pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit or sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees

Funding for UK & EU students

Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

Funding for international students

We offer a number of scholarships, as well as an early payment discount. Explore your options:

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

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Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

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