Marine and Freshwater Biology is the study of the world’s aquatic systems, which cover the majority of the Earth’s surface and host an array of biodiversity across habitats including lakes, rivers, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs and the deep sea. These environments are heavily influenced by exploitation, pollution, infrastructure and climate change, yet provide essential ecosystem functions and ecosystem services.
- Our teaching is informed by cutting-edge research and close links with the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine.
- You can gain a range of practical skills and experience across multiple field courses, including exotic locations and our own field station at Loch Lomond, the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment.
- Expeditions are carried out by the Glasgow University Exploration Society to a range of locations each year. Previous expeditions have included Sri Lanka, Egypt, Trinidad, Iceland, Tobago, Guyana, and remote parts of Scotland. They are independent of any course and are open to all students.
- Our student Zoological Society meets regularly for talks and activities (jointly with and Marine and Freshwater Biology students).
Life Sciences at Glasgow
With hands-on experience and flexible degrees, studying at the School of Life Sciences challenges you to apply the theory of the classroom in practical situations, in the lab or the field. We offer an extremely wide range of courses in Human and Animal Biology, Biomolecular Sciences, Infection and Immunity.
Our aim is to offer internationally competitive degrees that meet the needs of today’s science graduates. To achieve this aim, we utilise the research and teaching strengths of the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences to provide our graduates with the skills necessary for success in any chosen career.
We have a large and diverse student body, which includes Scottish, UK, EU and international students. We regularly welcome visiting and exchange students, and we believe in the many advantages our students gain from adding an international dimension to their studies.
Strengths of the School include:
- Substantial flexibility within our range of degree programmes
- An opportunity for students to gain experience working or studying abroad
- Annual field courses to destinations around the globe
- Access to the UofG’s world-renowned museums of Anatomy and Zoology
- Top-quality student experience.
What to Expect
A degree at the School of Life Sciences offers you the flexibility to study a range of subjects in your first two years, giving you a breadth of experience, before specialising for your Honours years.
In first year, you’ll normally select three Level-1 courses, according to your interests and long-term plans. These will include Biology and a Chemistry-based course.
Although your interests are likely to be science subjects, you may also be able to choose an Arts or Social Sciences subject as a third choice, subject to availability.
In second year, you may select all of your courses from Life Sciences or combine them with additional Level-1 or Level-2 courses.
At the end of second year, most of our students progress to a Bachelor of Science with Honours degree (four years). We also offer a Master in Science Advanced Honours degree (five years) and a Bachelor of Science designated degree (three years).
You will be given a general introduction to all aspects of modern biology and encouraged to acquire general scientific skills.
You will be introduced to specialist subject areas according to your interests (e.g. animal biology; biomolecular sciences; human biology; infection biology).
You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.
Years 3, 4 and 5
If you progress to Honours, you will study a wide range of topics including animal diversity and its classification; ethical aspects of scientific work; evolution and ecology; wildlife conservation; animal behaviour and animal welfare; environmental management (aquatic pollution); and aquatic environments. There are also visits to hatcheries, fish farms and aquaculture projects.
Another major component of your final year is an independent research project, which can be carried out in the laboratory, or in the field, at home or abroad.
Marine & Freshwater Biology can be taken as an MSci, which includes an additional placement year between the third and final years of the degree, normally spent undertaking research in industry in the UK or overseas.
Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.
Our international links
You may have the opportunity to undertake an overseas field course. For example, the tropical marine biology course includes an optional fieldtrip to study the coral reefs and mangroves of the Red Sea, Egypt.
for entry in 2019
About entry requirements
The S5 Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the grades which, if attained in addition to successfully meeting mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests), will normally result in an offer being made. Students must achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of S5 (cumulative S4 and S5).
The S5 Minimum Academic Entry Requirements represent the minimum grades which an applicant must have obtained by the end of S5 (cumulative S4 and S5) in order for them to be considered for a conditional offer based on S6 results. Not all applicants who achieve the Minimum Academic Entry Requirements will be made an offer. This will depend on the number of applications we have received for a degree programme and the number of applicants who have met the Standard Academic Entry Requirements.
Where an applicant is made a conditional offer based on S6 results, the S6 Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the cumulative grades that must be attained by the end of S6, in addition to meeting any mandatory subject and non-academic requirements. All degree programmes allow applicants to “double count” Highers and Advanced Highers in the same subject when calculating cumulative grades. A Grade B in an Advanced Higher will be regarded as another Grade A at Higher Level and a Grade C at Advanced Higher will be regarded as another Grade B at Higher Level. All degree programmes require grades in a minimum of four different subjects.
Advanced Highers are a qualification of increased importance to the University, which recognises that applicants with these qualifications find the transition to university easier and perform better in their university exams. Many of our degrees specify Advanced Highers as part of the S6 Entry Requirements.
If a school is unable to offer specific Advanced Higher subjects applicants will be made bespoke offers which will normally require the applicant to attain additional relevant Highers in S6.
Adjusted Entry Requirements
We adjust the Standard Academic Entry Requirements for eligible applicants who complete one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes. Criteria for eligibility include attending a Scottish target secondary school, living in a priority Scottish postcode area, current or previous experience of living in care or estrangement from family support.
For more information about your eligibility and our pre-entry programmes see: Access Glasgow.
A-levels and International Baccalaureate
The Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the grades at which any possible offer would be made. Students must also meet mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests).
The Minimum Academic Entry Requirements represent the minimum grades that the University will accept for entry to the degree programme. Students must also meet mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests).
- Standard academic entry requirements: AAB.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: BBB.
- Other mandatory requirements: Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry A-level at Grades A or B.
- Standard S5 academic entry requirements: AAAA/AAABB.
- Minimum S5 academic entry requirements: ABBB.
- Standard S6 Academic entry Requirements: AAAAAB.
- Other mandatory requirements: Highers in two Science subjects one of which is relevant to the programme. Higher Biology OR Human Biology OR Chemistry at Grades A or B.
We adjust these entry requirements for eligible applicants who complete one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes: see Access Glasgow.
- Adjusted S5 academic entry requirements: AABB/ABBBB.
- Adjusted S6 Academic entry Requirements: AABB-BBBBB.
- Adjusted mandatory requirements: Highers in two Science subjects one of which is relevant to the programme applied for. Higher Biology OR Human Biology OR Chemistry at Grade B.
- Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points including three HL subjects at 6,6,5
- Minimum academic entry requirements: 32 points including three HL subjects at 6,5,5
- Other mandatory requirements: Minimum of two relevant Science subjects at HL: SL6 will be considered for one. Biology or Human Biology or Chemistry at SL6 or HL6.
Typical entry requirements for European qualifications: European requirements: Arts, Science, Engineering, Accountancy, Social Sciences [pdf]
Accepted Science subjects
Accepted Science subjects:
- Computing Science
- Engineering Science
- Environmental Science
- Human Biology
- Lifeskills Mathematics
- Mathematics of Mechanics
Please note: all A-Level, International Baccalaureate, and other EU entry requirements must be achieved in first sitting.
Applicants who achieve exceptional grades in their Advanced Highers, A-levels or International Baccalaureate may be considered for Advanced Entry, meaning that an Honours degree can be completed in three years instead of the normal four years, or four years for five-year integrated Masters programmes. Indicative grades that must be attained in order to be considered.
- A-levels: A*AA.
- Advanced Highers: Three Advanced Highers at Grades AAA including two Science subjects one of which is relevant to the programme. Grades must be attained at one sitting.
- International Baccalaureate: 38 Points.
The mandatory requirements specified must also be met. All applicants should use the standard UCAS code but apply for Y2 entry.
Glasgow International College
International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of foundation certificates.
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
English language requirements
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):
- overall score 6.5
- no sub-test less than 6.0
- or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)
Common equivalent English language qualifications:
- ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
- IGCSE: English as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
- IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests
* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
- School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study
- BALEAP guide to accredited courses
What do I do if...
my language qualifications are below the requirements?
The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.
my language qualifications are not listed here?
Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk
If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:
- UK Border Agency Tier 4 English Language requirements
- UKBA list of approved English language tests [pdf]
Visa requirements and proof of English language level
It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.
For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.
The Marine and Freshwater Biology course uses current research to equip students with the essential knowledge and practical skills of the discipline to provide them with key attributes for a range of different careers. These include undertaking postgraduate studies in aquatic biology, pursuing research, marine management, conservation, consultancy and aquaculture.
Careers of some of our graduates include:
- Ornithologist: Balfour-Beatty
- Seabird Research Assistant: British Antarctic Survey
- Environmental Analyst: Marine Harvest
- Seabed Image Analyst: National Oceanographic Centre
- Policy Officer: RSPB
Degrees and UCAS codes
When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:
You may apply for transfer to the MSci mid-programme. MSci applications are NOT taken via UCAS.
Fees and funding
How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see 2019/20 Tuition fees for details.
The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.
The University of Glasgow offer a 10% discount to student of Sun Yat-sen University who have completed the first 2 years of their undergraduate degree at Sun Yat-sen University and wish to complete their degree at the University of Glasgow.More Information
RUK Access Bursary 2019 Entry
The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship and available to new entrant full-time undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2019-20 as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.More Information
RUK Excellence Scholarship 2019
The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent).More Information
African Excellence Scholarship (IE Abroad)
The University of Glasgow is offering 1 exclusive scholarship to students from either South Africa or Zimbabwe who have been supported in their application by our representative in these countries – IE Abroad. The scholarship is available to students entering any of the University’s Colleges to undertake an undergraduate programme excluding Medicine or Dentistry.More Information
Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship
The University of Glasgow has a total of 100 Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new international students for 2019 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.More Information
The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.More Information
The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database
How to apply
If you’re seeking full-time study you must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
The deadlines for applications to Medicine, Vet Medicine and Dentistry is 15 October each year. The deadline for applications to all other degree programmes is 15 January each year.
The University of Glasgow does not usually accept any applications after these UCAS deadlines. It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their application prior to submission, and requests from applicants to correct erroneous application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these UCAS deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.
- 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or applying to Oxford or Cambridge
- 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
- 30 June: international (non-EU) students.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.
UCAS tariff points
The University does not frame its offers in terms of UCAS tariff points.
How soon will I receive a decision?
We will usually respond before the end of March.
If your qualifications meet our requirements and we believe you could benefit from study at Glasgow, you will receive an unconditional offer.
If you haven’t yet gained the necessary passes for entry to your chosen subject(s), we may look at the qualifications you are taking when you apply and make you a conditional offer.
Will I be interviewed?
An interview will be part of the selection process for: Community Development, Dentistry, History of Art & Art-world Practice, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Teaching, and Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. You may also be interviewed if you’re applying for entry into Year 2 in any subject.
Is deferred entry available?
For Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine programmes we are unable to consider applications for deferred entry. In other cases deferring may be possible but it’s not granted automatically.
Transfers from another University to the University of Glasgow will only be considered under the following circumstances:
- The applicant has a genuine personal circumstance (illness, bereavement or other family situation) which requires the student to move back to their home town to be closer to family; AND
- The applicant would have met the University of Glasgow entrance requirements at the time he/she went to the other institution. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted if he/she was marginally below the University of Glasgow entrance requirements, and they have performed above average at the other institution.
We want to help talented applicants from all backgrounds to study at Glasgow. See our range of widening access pre-entry programmes at Widening Participation.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.
More information about this programme
BSc Marine & Freshwater Biology students were satisfied overall