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At University of Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Marine Science encompasses the study of marine life and environments, how they are formed and evolve, and how they are affected by human activity. Topics covered in this programme include marine biology, earth science, chemistry and experimental physics, mathematics, statistics, oceanography, meteorology, botany, geology and microbiology.
The degree in Marine Science is a four-year degree leading to a BSc (Hons). At the end of the degree, you will have improved your knowledge about the marine environment and will have developed your thinking and practical and personal skills, enabling you to undergo further academic training in a wide variety of scientific disciplines or begin your career. Marine Science is a broad area and the programme aims to help you find what speciality you prefer to study by introducing the subject in a general way at first and allowing you to follow your particular interests later on.
At present, NUI Galway is the only Irish university offering this degree programme and it now has the highest concentration of marine scientists of any institution in Ireland. Research ranges from fundamental understanding of the marine ecosystem to very applied activities involving close co-operation with industry and state agencies. The 3,000 square metre Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute houses most of the teaching and research activity in Marine Sciences at the university. MRI Carna carries out applied research in Carna, County Galway.
Applications and Selections
Who Teaches this Course
The course is mostly taught by academic staff from The School of Natural Sciences. Optional modules are available in languages, maths, geography and politics. Key lecturers include:
- Prof. Louise Allcock https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/louiseallcock/
- Prof. Grace McCormack https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/gracemccormack/
- Dr Anne Marie Power https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/annemariepower/
- Dr Christopher Coates (not IRIS yet)
- Der Martin White https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/martinwhite/
- Dr Rachel Cave https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/rachelcave/
- Dr Anthony Grehan https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/natural-sciences/anthonygrehan/
- Professor Peter Croot https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/natural-sciences/petercroot/
- Professor Dagmar Stengel https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/natural-sciences/dagmarstengel/
- Professor Mark Johnson https://www.nuigalway.ie/our-research/people/natural-sciences/markjohnson/
Requirements and Assessment
Minimum Grade H5 in two subjects and passes in four other subjects at O6/H7 level in the Leaving Certificate, including Irish, English, Mathematics, a laboratory science subject (i.e, Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Physics with Chemistry (joint), Computer Science or Agricultural Science) and any two other subjects recognised for entry purposes.
Next start date
A Level Grades (2022)
QQI/FET FETAC Entry Routes
Mode of study
This year is a foundation year to ensure that all students have the background needed for more advanced material. The staff teaching science subjects (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) will not assume that all the class have studied the subject in their school-leaving qualification. There are additional supports to help students like SUMS - the mathematics support centre at NUI Galway
Students are able to select from a range of appropriate science modules, alongside core marine material in modules like Fundamentals in Aquatic Plant Science, Introduction to Ocean Science and Invertebrate Zoology (many invertebrate groups are exclusively or mostly marine)
This year continues the balance of core (e.g., Marine Habitat) and optional modules. This is also the year where it is possible to participate in an Erasmus exchange or apply for one of the College of Science and Engineering’s study abroad opportunities).
The 4th year includes a major research project carried out with an academic supervisor. This helps develop deeper knowledge alongside skills in project management and data evaluation. Also in this year there is a module (Field Skills in Marine Science) structured around experience on one of the Marine Institute’s research vessels. There is a free choice of optional modules, including a module in ocean politics.
Curriculum InformationCurriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.
Glossary of Terms
- You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
- An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
- Some courses allow you to choose subjects, where related modules are grouped together. Subjects have their own required number of credits, so you must take all that subject's required modules and may also need to obtain the remainder of the subject's total credits by choosing from its available optional modules.
- A module you may choose to study.
- A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
- Required Core Subject
- A subject you must study because it's integral to that course.
- Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year, so a three-year course will have six semesters in total. For clarity, this page will refer to the first semester of year 2 as 'Semester 3'.
Year 1 (60 Credits)Optional MA161: Mathematical Studies - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MA180: Mathematics (Honours) - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional MP180: Applied Mathematics - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Optional CS102: Computer Science - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Required PH101: Physics - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Required CH120: Chemistry: Molecular Science - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Required BO101: Biology - 15 Credits - Semester 1
Year 2 (60 Credits)Optional MI202: Laboratory Skills in Microbiology I - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional BO202: Evolution and the Tree of Life - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional MA211: Calculus I - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional MP231: Mathematical Methods I - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional MP236: Mechanics I - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional BO201: Molecular and Cellular Biology - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional BO2101: Scientific Writing Skills - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional GR224: Beginner's German for Science - 10 Credits - Semester 3
Optional GR252: German - 10 Credits - Semester 3
Optional GR353: German - 10 Credits - Semester 3
Optional MA284: Discrete Mathematics - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional LN2210: Scileanna Gaeilge don Eolaíocht 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional ST2001: Statistics for Data Science 1 - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Required EOS213: Introduction to Ocean Science - 10 Credits - Semester 3
Required BPS202: Fundamentals in Aquatic Plant Science - 5 Credits - Semester 3
Optional MP237: Mechanics II - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional MP232: Mathematical Methods II - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional MI203: Laboratory Skills in Microbiology II - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional MA203: Linear Algebra - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional MA212: Calculus II - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional FR252: French - 10 Credits - Semester 4
Optional PAB2101: AgriBiosciences - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional LN2211: Scileanna Gaeilge don Eolaíocht 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional EOS2102: The Earth: From Core to Crust - 10 Credits - Semester 4
Optional BPS203: Plant Diversity, Physiology & Adaptation - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional ST2002: Statistics for Data Science 2 - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Optional MA2111: Anailís - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Required ZO208: Invertebrate Biology - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Required MI204: Microbes and the Environment - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Required ZO209: Vertebrate Zoology - 5 Credits - Semester 4
Honours BSc Marine Science graduates can pursue higher degrees in a wide range of related disciplines. Recent examples include PhD projects in Sweden, Austraila and Ireland, with M.Sc. courses taken across Europe.
Why Choose This Course?
The oceans are fascinating and full of things to discover, and it has always been good advice to study something you are interested in. At the same time, we are in the middle of what has been called a ‘blue acceleration’. This is a rapid expansion across the world in marine-related sectors like marine protected areas, offshore renewables, aquaculture, and shipping. All these sectors need marine scientists working in non-governmental organizations, government agencies and private companies. The types of jobs may include data collection in the field, data analysis, laboratory analyses, report writing, fund-raising, education, or policy advice. There are well over 100 small companies in the Irish marine sector, most of which you will not have heard of due to their size, but some of these companies will expand as the blue acceleration proceeds. There will also be a continual need for marine scientists at the Marine Institute and in other government agencies and departments.
We have graduates working in marine-related roles in the Irish public and private sector. Our graduates have also gone on to study and work overseas. A final thing to remember: Although you will always have studied marine science, the skills from a degree are transferrable, allowing access to many different types of graduate careers.
Who’s Suited to This Course
Transferable Skills Employers Value
Erasmus opportunities in Oviedo, Spain. Marine Science students also go to Hong Kong with the HKUST exchange scheme. https://www.nuigalway.ie/studyabroad/
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student Contribution
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
EU Fees are comprised of Tuition + Student Contribution Charge + Student Levy** €140. **Payable by all students and is not covered by SUSI. Further detail here.
Find out More
Professor Mark Johnson
College of Science
T: 353 (0)91 492126
What Our Students Say
Alina Madita Wieczorek | 4th Year Marine Science
I moved from Germany to Galway to study Marine Science as I wanted to study in English and as close to the Atlantic as possible. The first year of the course focused on giving the same background knowledge to all students. During the second and third year I gained in-depth knowledge in many different areas of Marine Science as the course is truly multidisciplinary. I more and more realise now that this is one of the more important if not the most important aspect of my studies in Univerisity of Galway as it enables me to link up topics from different areas such as how ocean physics influence the biology of our oceans. My favourite part of the degree was the research project in year four where the lecturers hand over to you. In this period I picked up many valuable skills, which are of great help to me now. At the moment I am doing a bursary in the Marine Institute. I hope in the future to do research around marine environmental issues and acquire a PhD in this area.