University of Sydney Handbooks - 2018 Archive

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Marine Science

Study in the discipline of Marine Science is offered as an interdisciplinary major. Units of study in this major are available at standard and advanced level.

About the major

The Marine Science major draws together relevant material to create a multi-disciplinary curriculum that provides you with in-depth knowledge in a range of marine science disciplines. The major is explicitly science-based but seeks to provide you with a broader range of capabilities and an interdisciplinary mind-set to service the large and growing demand for coastal and marine experts in a range of fields. You will take both biological and geological marine science units of study but with flexibility to choose your level of exposure within either of those broad disciplines.

Requirements for completion

A major in Marine Science requires 48 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level selective units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level core units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level core units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level skill units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level specialisation units

A minor in Marine Science is available and articulates to this major.

Pathway through the major

The requirements for a major in Marine Science are spread out over three years of the degree (possibly four years if students are completing a combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degree).

A sample pathway for the Marine Science major (over three years of a degree) is listed below.

Sample pathway: Marine Science major (48 credit points)



Units of study


Semester 1

Selective: 1000-level units listed for major

Semester 2

Selective: 1000-level units listed for major


Semester 1

Core: GEOS2X15 Oceans, Coasts and Climate Change

Semester 2

Core: BIOL2X22 Biology Experimental Design and Analysis


Semester 1

Core: GEOS3X09 Coastal Environments and Processes

Semester 2

Core: BIOL3X13 Marine Biology

Selective: 3000-level units listed for major

Please Note. This sample progression is meant as an example only. Depending on unit prerequisites, students may be able to complete these units in a different sequence from that displayed in the table above.

For details of the core and selective units of study required for the major or minor please refer to the Marine Science section of the unit of study table, Table S, in this handbook.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, which must include a minimum of 24 credit points in a single subject area at 4000-level, including a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Space is provided for 12 credit points towards the second major (if not already completed). 24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Requirements for Honours in the area of Marine Science: completion of 36 credit points of project work and 12 credit points of coursework.

Honours units of study will be available in 2020.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 4262

The University of Sydney Marine Studies Institute
Room 308, Madsen Building F09
University of Sydney NSW 2006

School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Level 5, Carslaw Building F07
University of Sydney NSW 2006

Dr Maria Byrne
T +61 2 9351 5253

Undergraduate advisor: Dr Will Figueira
T +61 2 9351 2039
Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Marine Science will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a coherent understanding of marine science by articulating the methods of marine science, and explaining why current marine science knowledge is both contestable and testable through further inquiry.
  2. Demonstrate a coherent understanding of marine science by explaining the role and relevance of marine habitats in society.
  3. Recognise that marine science knowledge has been acquired by curiosity and creativity, and demonstrate creativity in thinking and problem solving.
  4. Recognise and appreciate the significant role of marine habitats and biodiversity in sustaining life on our planet.
  5. Recognise the multidisciplinarity of marine science and the complex interlinkages between bio- and geosciences in understanding biophysical processes.
  6. Exhibit depth and breadth of “core concepts” that shape and influence marine and coastal environments, including geological and biological physical processes.
  7. Exhibit depth and breadth of marine knowledge by demonstrating that these ‘core concepts’ have interdisciplinary connections with other disciplines.
  8. Gather, synthesise and critically evaluate information about marine and coastal phenomena from a range of sources.
  9. Critically analyse observations of marine biological and geoscience phenomena by creating and developing models and/or proposing and testing hypotheses.
  10. Design and conduct field, laboratory based, or virtual experiments.
  11. Select and apply practical and/or theoretical techniques.
  12. Collect, accurately record, interpret, analyse, and draw conclusions from data.
  13. Use state-of-the-art technology such as big data, numerical modelling and geographic information systems to collect, analyse, and visualize data.
  14. Effectively synthesise and communicate marine science results using a range of modes (including oral, written, and visual) for a variety of purposes and audiences.
  15. Account for their own learning and marine science work by being independent and self-directed learners.
  16. Work effectively, responsibly and safely in individual and peer or team contexts.
  17. Demonstrate knowledge of the regulatory frameworks and ethical principles relevant to the marine science area, and apply these in practice.