Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

Go below the surface   

Marine biology is the study of our planet’s largest and most diverse ecosystem—the sea.  

Marine biologists observe, preserve and discover ocean life, from tiny shelled creatures and thriving underwater forests to flashing squids and roving sharks.

The University of Adelaide is ranked in the top 100 in the world for Earth and Marine sciences and best in South Australia*.

What will you do?

Our Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) has a focus on contemporary marine biology practices on both a local and global scale. You will:
  • get hands-on in marine and freshwater environments
  • master your expertise in the lab, then apply these techniques in the field
  • learn the skills to be able to work on temperate seas—from sub-polar to sub-tropical, where there is a high demand for graduates
  • explore pressing and critical issues like conservation, species protection and the effects of plastics on the ocean
  • access cutting-edge technology and equipment used in pioneering research around the world
  • learn from nationally and internationally acclaimed researchers
  • dive into coastal management, evolutionary science and marine ecology.

Where could it take you?

You could explore future life in a high-CO2 world, dive on underwater volcanoes or lead oceanic ecotours. You might study the effects of climate change on our reefs or research the impact of microplastics in fish. Perhaps you’ll make documentaries to educate the wider public or discover totally new marine species.

  • Top 100 in world and #1 in South Australia for Marine Science*
  • No. 1 in South Australia for careers in Environmental Science**
  • Field work in marine and freshwater environments

*QS World University Rankings by Subject, Earth and Marine Sciences, 2021
**Good Universities Guide, 2021

Entry Requirements

Please note: For programs including placements and/or study-related activities in settings where COVID-19 vaccination is mandatory, it is an inherent requirement that all students be fully vaccinated prior to undertaking the placement and/or study-related activity.
For our students who are studying offshore in 2022, the University will continue to offer high-quality access to the learning resources remotely for most programs. This includes all lectures, tutorials and other support material. Students will be advised in advance if there are course components that cannot be provided in remote mode and, wherever possible, offered alternative courses.
Please refer to the COVID-19 FAQ page for further information and a list of programs where in-person attendance is required.

Choose your applicant type to view the relevant admissions information for this program.
I am a:

Domestic applicants

Admissions information

SATAC Code 324431
2021 CSP ATAR 72.2
2021 CSP IB 26
Guaranteed Entry Score - ATAR 75
Guaranteed Entry Score - IB 26
Deferment Yes - 2 year
Intake February and July
Assumed Knowledge SACE Stage 2: Chemistry and Mathematical Methods
Selection Criteria
Recent Secondary Education Applicants with recent secondary education are those whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the last two years, however if you completed your secondary education more than two years ago, you may still be able to be considered on the basis of your secondary schooling. You must not have completed more than 2 years full time equivalent university study (48 units). You compete for a place with your Selection Rank (ATAR plus any applicable adjustment factors). Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Higher Education Study You must have completed at least six months full time equivalent higher education study (the number of courses and units will vary depending on your prior institution however at the University of Adelaide, this equates to 4 courses / 12 units). A Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated for each separate program you have undertaken (apart from some double degree programs where the GPA is combined). You compete on the basis of your best GPA. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) study You must have completed an AQF Certificate IV or above from a Registered Training Organisation. Your application will be ranked according to the level of the award. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Work and life experience To be eligible to sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) as as pathway for entry, you must be 18 years or over before 1 February 2022. If you have studied at higher education level in the last two years (for 2022 entry this means you were enrolled in either 2021 or 2020), you must not have accumulated more than a TOTAL of 2 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) higher education study (ie. including any study prior to 2020). If you meet this criteria, you will be ranked according to your result in the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). Your STAT result is not weighted between verbal and quantitative components. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Other Entry Pathways
How to Apply
SATAC Code: 324431

2021 Admissions Data for school leavers
(raw ATAR, excluding any applicable adjustment factors)
Lowest ATAR to receive an offer 69.1
Median ATAR to receive an offer 75.8
Highest ATAR to receive an offer 93.7
Selection Rank
(ATAR plus any adjustment factors)
Lowest Selection Rank to receive an offer 72.2
Median Selection Rank to receive an offer 78
Highest Selection Rank to receive an offer 96.6
Minimum eligibility score 65
Additional criteria considered Selection rank only
Student Profile
Applicant background Semester one/Full year intake 2021
Number of students Percentage of all students
(A) Higher Education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
7 26.9%
(B) Vocational education and training (VET) study <5 N/A
(C) Work and life experience
(admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
(D) Recent secondary education:
  • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR
    (regardless of whether this includes the consideration of adjustment factors)
12 46.2%
  • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered
    (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
  • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor
    (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation scheme with no minimum ATAR requirement)
<5 N/A
International students <5 N/A
All students 26 100.0%

Fees and Scholarships

Choose your applicant type to view the relevant fees and scholarships information for this program.
I am a:

Domestic applicants

Indicative annual tuition fees
Commonwealth-supported place: $8,055

Where the standard duration of the program is less than one year the full cost of the program is displayed.

More information on Student Contribution Amounts.


These scholarships, as well as many others funded by industry and non-profit organisations, are available to potential and currently enrolled students.

Find a Scholarship.


Career Readiness

The Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) degree sets you up for successful employment with:

  • conservation groups
  • consultancy firms
  • councils
  • environmental protection agencies
  • state governments
  • university research laboratories
  • water authorities.

You might be: 

  • collecting data and resources by scuba diving and boats
  • managing fisheries and coastal planning
  • monitoring climate change and water quality
  • policy formation and creating marine protected areas.

The University of Adelaide Careers Service prepares, inspires and empowers students to achieve successful career transitions and connect with industry.

Graduate Attributes

The objective of this program is to produce graduates with specific attributes as outlined in University of Adelaide Graduate Attributes.
  1. Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
  2. Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
  3. Teamwork and communication skills
  4. Professionalism and leadership readiness
  5. Intercultural and ethical competency
  6. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency
  7. Digital capabilities
  8. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

Industry Placement

Throughout your degree, you’ll take field trips to local beach and areas. In third year, you’ll go on a week-long field camp at the Marine Research Station in Yorke Peninsula.

During most years, you’ll also have the opportunity to go on international trips to coastal regions including Timor-Leste and China. You’ll visit aquaculture farms and fish markets, undertake scuba diving courses, help local communities monitor marine parks, map local habitats and learn about coastal communities in developing countries. These international trips usually run for two weeks.

Potential careers

Microbiologist, Conservation Scientist, Life Scientist, Environmental Project Officer, Research Associates, Resource Management, Environmental Management, Scientific Officer, Biodiversity Assessment, Resource Manager, Environmental Remediation Officer, Environmental Scientist, Aquaculture, Science Communicators, Ecotour Operator, Environmental Manager, Wildlife Conservationist, Research Scientist, Environmental Biologist, Environmental Consultant, Marine Biologist, Fisheries Researcher ...

Degree Structure

Level 1 involves core studies in biology, geology and statistics. At subsequent levels, students study ecological and evolutionary biology courses that include marine biology components, as well as coastal management and specialised research methodology. At level 3, there are specific marine courses that cover the theoretical, practical and fieldwork aspects of marine biology.

Academic Program Rules

The Calendar is a comprehensive handbook of the University's academic program rules.

Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

Example Study Plan

Indicative study plan
Year1 S1 BIOLOGY 1101 Biology I: Molecules, Genes and Cells 
BIOLOGY 1401 Concepts in Biology I 
GEOLOGY 1103 Building a Habitable Planet SCIENCE 1410 Science or Fiction (Marine Biology) I Approved Level I Elective 1 x 3 units
S2 BIOLOGY 1202 Biology 1:Organisms  ENV BIOL 1002 Ecological Issues I  STATS 1004 Statistical Practice I (Life Sciences) Approved Level I Elective 1 x 3 units
Year2 S1 ENV BIOL 2500 Botany II  ENV BIOL 2530 Zoology II (Marine Biology) Approved Level II Elective 1 x 3 units Approved Level II Elective 1 x 3 units
S2 ENV BIOL 2502 Ecology II Approved Level II Elective 1 x 3 units Approved Level II Elective 1 x 3 units Approved Level II Elective 1 x 3 units
Year 3 S1 ENV BIOL 3520 Research Methods in Marine Biology III  ENV BIOL 3121 Concepts in Ecology III  ENV BIOL 3124 Frontiers in Marine Biology III Approved Level III Elective 1 x 3 units
S2 ENV BIOL 3505 Marine Biology III  ENV BIOL 3010 Marine Ecology III Approved Level III Electives 2 x 3 unitsor
Approved Level III Elective1 x 6 units


Assignments, exams, practical work, field trip reports


Studying has provided me with a solid foundation of knowledge that I rely on in my career today.
Sarah Hamlyn

Sarah Hamlyn

Staff Biologist, Monte Marine Laboratory at the International Centre for Coral Reef Restoration, Florida

Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology)

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

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Last updated: Wednesday, 30 Mar 2022