In first year, modules introduce you to core subject material relevant to all biology degree programmes. Both of the following modules are compulsory.
- Biology 1: provides an introduction to molecular and cellular biology. It covers cell diversity and the origins of life, cellular structures and fundamental processes.
- Biology 2: provides an introduction to the diversity of life on Earth and will address key elements of organismal and ecological aspects of life.
In second year, modules are chosen which will best prepare you for Marine Biology, and new topics are introduced in some second year modules such as evolutionary biology and ecology. Students on the Marine Biology course must take the following modules:
- Research Methods in Biology: develops essential academic and transferable skills, with major emphasis on problem solving. This is achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, independent data-handling workshops and group work on a mini research project.
- Ecology: introduces basic concepts in population and community ecology and how they relate to biodiversity.
Students must also take two of the following modules:
- Evolutionary Biology: gives an overview of the history and major principles of modern evolutionary biology.
- Vertebrate Zoology: explores the diversity of vertebrate animals, beginning with the closest relatives of vertebrates and the evolutionary origins of the group.
- Invertebrate Zoology: surveys the major invertebrate groups, emphasising the diversity of body plans while demonstrating how the common functional requirements such as feeding, reproduction, respiration and excretion are achieved.
- Comparative Physiology: covers the principles of physiological adaptation in a range of animals, including examples from all major taxa and from all habitats.
In third year, you will have the opportunity to begin specialising in Marine Biology via the wide range of modules provided. Modules that have been offered in previous years include:
- Aquatic Ecology
- Ecosystems and Conservation
- Developmental Biology
- Biology of Marine Organisms
- Tropical Research and Field Study
- Scientific Diving.
In fourth year, students typically undertake an independent 7 to 12-month research placement hosted by an external institute or company. The external placement gives students the opportunity to practice and learn a range of scientific and generic skills, including an element of independent working in a working environment outside of St Andrews.
During fifth year, you will take advanced research-led modules in your chosen speciality. Advanced modules offered in the past include:
- Marine Bioacoustics
- Foraging in Marine Mammals
- Animal Cognition
- Advanced Biological Statistics
- Polar Ecology: A field course in Antarctica
- Marine Mammals and Man.
In fifth year, you will also undertake an advanced laboratory research project to investigate a defined problem within marine biology. The project will involve initiative and independence in experimental design and in pursuing the literature, as well as excellent experimental and analytical techniques. Students will be allocated to a member of staff within the School of Biology who will guide and advise them in research activities throughout the academic year. The project will be presented in the form of a proposal, a research dissertation, an oral presentation and a viva.