Marine Biology Major - Bachelor of Science

Love the ocean and marine life? In the Marine Biology major in the Bachelor of Science you explore marine sciences, including the biology of fish and aquatic plants and marine invertebrates.

With 71 percent of the earth’s surface covered by water, marine life is critical to our existence. It’s one of the most valuable sources of food, medicine and raw materials. New discoveries are made daily in marine biology and ecology, making this an exciting and dynamic career choice with endless potential.

This major covers marine biology (the scientific study of organisms in the ocean) and marine ecology (how marine organisms interact with each other and the environment). Field trips are a key part of this major – you frequently go out on boats to investigate marine life or learn about aquaculture techniques, coastal processes, oceanography, management and conservation theories and practices.

This is part of the Bachelor of Science.

Start date: 2021

Year 1

Complete the following papers

HEAL506 Knowledge, Enquiry and Communication
HEAL507 Health and Environment
BIOL502 Plants and Animals
ECOL501 Ecology and Evolution
BIOL501 Biological Sampling and Interpretation

At least 3 of

CHEM501 Principles of Chemistry
SCIE503 Biophysics
MICR501 Microbiology
CHEM502 Biological Chemistry
ENVS521 Physical and Human Geography

Year 2 and 3

Level 6 papers

ENVS601 Environmental Law
SCIE602 Research Techniques
BIOL602 Fish and Aquatic Plants
BIOL603 Marine Invertebrates

Plus 4 elective papers.

Level 7 papers

BIOL702 Marine Ecology
ENVS701 Ecosystem Management
BIOL701 Oceanography

Plus five elective papers, or three electives and the Research Project paper.

Workplace experience

In your final year you can enrol in the Research Project paper (30 points) if you have at least a B grade average in 60 points at level 6. This may involve working on an industry-related project related to your major.

Companies or research organisations involved include

  • NIWA
  • New Zealand Premium Whitebait
  • OceaNZ Blue

SCIE701 Research Project

Aquaculture business owner
Marine scientist or technologist
Farm/hatchery manager
Production supervisor
Science teacher*

*After completing a graduate diploma in education.


Find out more about industry trends, job descriptions and what employers may be looking for.

Marine Biology Careers

Other majors in the Bachelor of Science

You can combine this major with other majors like Environmental Sciences, Geospatial Science or Applied Conservation, and complete your Bachelor of Science within three years without doing more than the standard eight papers (120 points) per year.

Postgraduate study options

Key features
  • Dynamic industry with regular new discoveries
  • Hands-on learning in marine environments, using AUT’s custom-built boat
  • Opportunity to complete a research project and industry placement
See yourself as
  • Enquiring, observant and patient
  • Motivated and persistent
  • Someone who enjoys the outdoors
  • Passionate about the ocean and the life within it
Jeremy Li
Antony Vavia
Dannie Cullen

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.

Website search