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Marine Science

Bachelor of Marine Science

February, July
3 years full-time
Part-time available
Attendance mode
Entry Requirements
OP 12 | Assumed knowledge: English (4,SA), Maths B (4,SA), Chemistry (4,SA).
ATAR 73.3 | Assumed knowledge: English (Units 3/4,C), Mathematical Methods (Units 3/4,C), Chemistry (Units 3/4,C).
Rank 75
Recommended: at least one of Biology, Earth Science, Geography, Maths C or Physics (4,SA)
TSV: 316251
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Study in JCU's advanced research aquariums and laboratories. Learn how to manage human impacts and preserve dynamic marine environments. Undertake research at the JCU Orpheus Island Research Station, or on-site at various coral reef, island, seagrass and mangrove environments visited when completing this degree.

Develop high-level skills in evolving technologies that are providing solutions to previously unsolvable problems. Build your capabilities in the use of seabed mapping and fish assessment sonar, oceanographic sensors, and a range of technology used for gathering data above and below the waves.

Build networks with the international cohort who study this degree, and with the concentration of marine scientists and managers located in north Queensland. Opportunities may also exist to undertake an exchange program with an international university.
Additional information

About JCU's Bachelor of Marine Science

Pursue your passion for the ocean and marine life at the best marine biology university in the world*. James Cook University’s Bachelor of Marine Science degree is a comprehensive course studying the elements of the ocean with a strong focus on first-hand experiences. Access diverse learning environments including the Daintree Rainforest and Orpheus Island on the Great Barrier Reef.

A Marine Biology School with World-Class Teaching and Learning

JCU offers a world-class education in Marine Science. Explore the oceans like never before with our cutting-edge technology, including sensors and radar.

JCU’s marine science degree has a focus on the sustainability of the oceans and is ideal for students interested in physical, chemical and geographical ocean science. This specialist marine biology degree suits those interested in studying the flora and fauna of the oceans.

The challenges facing our oceans require bold minds and creative solutions. Marine science students are trained to work with developing technologies. Gain hands-on experience using seabed mapping technology, tagging and tracking equipment and high-precision sensors to track activity in the ocean.

Study Marine Biology in the Most Beautiful Locations on Earth

Take advantage of JCU’s real-world practical experience. Study your marine biology bachelor degree on-site at coral reefs, islands, mangroves, and seagrass beds including the Great Barrier Reef National Park. Access JCU’s research vessels and the JCU Orpheus Island Research Station and Aquarium Complex.

Learn from lecturers who are experts in their field and are passionate about addressing the challenges of our seas. Together with industry professionals, you will research solutions for the future and be part of a team solving problems that have eluded scientists for decades.

Understand how to collect data, map the seabeds, assess the health of marine life populations, look for underwater deposits, and monitor and track everything under the waves. Your research will take you to coral reefs, research ships and seagrass beds.

A Marine Biology University with Great Learning Resources

Master the fundamentals, such as understanding biological processes, the chemistry of the ocean, marine geography and fisheries science. Then, start planning field investigations and learn how to collect and analyse the data you find. Access the newest technologies and the most cutting-edge techniques to collate the data you need.

Learn how to draw logical conclusions from what you know and devise workable solutions to problems. Gain the skills to understand how the intricate ocean systems work together so you can manage them effectively. You will also master practical skills in working safely in diverse marine environments.

Marine Science at JCU - The Way to a Healthier Future for Our Oceans

JCU’s bachelor program in marine science offers students hands-on opportunities and invaluable experience that will help them succeed in the workforce.
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View the handbook for a detailed overview of core subjects and available options.

*Excellence in Research Awards 2018-2019.


High achieving Bachelor of Marine Science students can continue their studies through the Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree. This course consists of extra study and the development of a personal research project and thesis. An Honours degree is usually essential for entry to research higher degrees. Refer to the Bachelor of Science (Honours) Handbook for eligibility information.

Career Opportunities

The JCU Marine Science degree is one of the most respected courses of its kind in the world^.

Graduates can pursue a career in a diverse range of areas including fisheries science and management, marine resource management and conservation, coastal and marine geoscience, oceanography, and marine technology.

JCU Marine Science graduates find employment with both Government and private industry, in Australia and overseas. They fill positions such as marine conservation officer, marine planner, marine biologist, marine scientists for consulting engineering companies, oceanographer, aquatic veterinarian, fisheries manager, marine education and communication, and environmental manager.

^JCU Marine and Fresh Water Biology is ranked number 1 in the world by the Centre for World University Rankings.

Note the course QTAC code for the location you've chosen. You'll need to enter it as part of your QTAC application.

Townsville (316251) - Apply now

OP Score/Rank is indicative only. Entry scores will be finalised in the major offer round.

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Bachelor of Marine Science

Handbook year


Course code


Course type

Bachelor Degree (AQF Level 7)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Assumed Knowledge: English (4,SA); Maths B (4,SA); Chemistry (4,SA)

Recommended Study: At least one of Biology, Earth Science, Geography, Maths C or Physics

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 1 Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Additional course requirements

Applicants who have not completed high school intermediate level Mathematics B (or equivalent) must select MA1020: Preparatory Mathematics as part of their study plan to successfully complete the Bachelor of Marine Science.

Applicants who have not completed high school Chemistry (or equivalent) must select CH1020: Preparatory Chemistry as part of their study plan to successfully complete the Bachelor of Marine Science.

Students should undertake the above subject/s in intensive mode where available and be aware that restrictions may apply to electives if they wish to complete in the normal three (3) year time frame. These subjects typically start earlier than the standard course commencement date. Contact JCU on 1800 246 446 for more information.

This course involves mandatory field work and any costs associated with that field work will be at the student’s expense.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

72 credit points as per course structure

Additional course rules

Must complete a minimum of 18 credit points of Level 3 subjects.

Course learning outcomes

The graduates of James Cook University are prepared and equipped to create a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide.

JCU graduates are committed to lifelong learning, intellectual development, and to the display of exemplary personal, professional and ethical standards. They have a sense of their place in the tropics and are charged with professional, community, and environmental responsibility.  JCU graduates appreciate the need to embrace and be acquainted with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia. They are committed to reconciliation, diversity and sustainability. They exhibit a willingness to lead and to contribute to the intellectual, environmental, cultural, economic and social challenges of regional, national, and international communities of the tropics.

Graduates of the Bachelor of Marine Science at James Cook University will be able to:

  • Integrate and apply a coherent body of theoretical and technical knowledge of the marine environment and sustainable management of marine and coastal resources, with depth in the underlying concepts and principles in at least two science disciplines

  • Critically appraise the role and relevance of marine sciences in the creation of sustainable futures, particularly in the tropics, worldwide

  • Demonstrate broad understanding of the methods of science, particularly as applied to marine sciences, including the creative processes involved in developing scientific knowledge and its contestable and testable nature

  • Retrieve, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information from a range of sources

  • Plan and conduct reliable, evidence-based laboratory and/or field investigations, by selecting and applying appropriate methods, techniques and tools

  • Organise, analyse and interpret scientific data using mathematical, statistical and/or technological skills

  • Convey scientific ideas, arguments and conclusions clearly and coherently through well-developed written and oral communication skills and a variety of media

  • Identify, analyse and generate solutions to unpredictable or complex problems relating to the behaviour and management of marine systems by applying knowledge and skills with initiative and well-developed judgement

  • Critically review regulatory requirements, ethical principles and, where appropriate, cultural frameworks, to work effectively, responsibly and safely in diverse contexts and interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary teams

  • Reflect on current skills, knowledge and attitudes to manage their professional learning needs and performance, autonomously and in collaboration with others.

Course Structure


Level 1

BS1007:03 Introduction to Biodiversity

CH1001:03 Chemistry: A Central Science

EA1110:03 Evolution of the Earth

MA1000:03 Mathematical Foundations

MB1110:03 Introductory Marine Science

SC1102:03 Modelling Natural Systems or SC1109:03 Modelling Natural Systems - Advanced

Level 2

SC2202:03 Quantitative Methods in Science or SC2209:03 Quantitative Methods in Science-Advanced

EV2502:03 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

PH2006:03 Marine Physics

CH2042:03 Marine Chemistry and Chemical Ecology

MB2050:03 Functional Biology of Marine Organisms

Level 3

MB3050:03 Biological Oceanography

EV3406:03 Coral Reef Geomorphology

EA3110:03 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

EA3640:03 Advanced Environmental and Marine Geoscience Technologies and Applications

MB3270:03 Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems

SC3010:03 Sensors and Sensing for Scientists

SC3232:03 Marine Sensor Technologies and Applications


Applicants who have not completed high school intermediate level Mathematics B (or equivalent) must select MA1020 Preparatory Mathematics as part of their study plan to successfully complete the Bachelor of Marine Science.

MA1020:03 Preparatory Mathematics or any Level 1, 2 or 3 of AQ, BC, BM, BS, BZ, CH, CL, CP, CS, EA, EE, EV, MA, MB, ME, MI, PH or SC subjects

Applicants who have not completed high school Chemistry (or equivalent) must select CH1020 Preparatory Chemistry as part of their study plan to successfully complete the Bachelor of Marine Science

CH1020:03 Preparatory Chemistry or any Level 1, 2 or 3 of AQ, BC, BM, BS, BZ, CH, CL, CP, CS, EA, EE, EV, MA, MB, ME, MI, PH or SC subjects


Select 12 credit points of subjects from List 1 or a Minor from Table A or an Inter-disciplinary Minor

List 1

Note: Streams listed below are for guidance only


  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Fisheries
  • Marine Biology
  • Maths
  • Physics


CH1002:03 Chemistry: Principles and Applications

CH2310:03 Syntheses and Mechanism in Organic Chemistry

CH2103:03 Analytical Chemistry

CH3041:03 Environmental Chemistry

Earth Science

EA2404:03 From Icehouse to Greenhouse

EA2900:03 Introductory Field Geology

EA3800:03 Earth and Environmental Geochemistry

EA3210:03 Structural Geology Tectonics or EA3650:03 Sedimentary Environments and Energy Resources

Environmental Science

Select 4 subjects from:

EV1005:03 Environmental Processes & Global Change

EV2401:03 Australian Landscape Processes and Evolution

EV3401:03 Coastal and Catchment Geomorphology

EV3502:03 Advanced Geographic Information Systems

EV3506:03 Remote Sensing


BS2460:03 Fundamentals of Ecology

MB2080:03 Invertebrate Biology

MB3014:03 Managing Tropical Fisheries

MB3150:03 Fisheries Science

Marine Biology

Select 4 subjects from:

BS2460:03 Fundamentals of Ecology

MB2070:03 Marine Biogeography

MB2080:03 Invertebrate Biology

MB3160:03 Evolution and Ecology of Reef Fishes

MB3190:03 Coral Reef Ecology

MB3260:03 Ecological Dynamics: An Introduction to Modelling


MA1003:03 Mathematical Techniques

Plus select 3 subjects from:

MA2000:03 Mathematics for Scientists and Engineers

MA2210:03 Linear Algebra

MA2405:03 Advanced Statistical Modelling

CP2404:03 Database Modelling

MA3405:03 Statistical Data Mining for Big Data


PH1005:03 Advanced Stream Physics 1

PH3006:03 Oceanography and Meteorology

Plus select 2 subjects from:

PH2002:03 Classical Mechanics and Quantum Physics 1

PH2019:03 Introduction to Electromagnetism Optics and Early Quantum

PH2240:03 Atomic and Nuclear Physics


Type of Minor

Optional, Single

Credit points in minor

12 credit points




Advanced Chemistry



Advanced Mathematics



Advanced Physics






Environmental Geochemistry






Field Studies in Earth Sciences






Marine & Environmental Science and Sensors






Physical Geography











Expected time to complete

3 years full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

9 years

Maximum leave of absence

3 years


Course progression requisites

Must complete 18 credit points of Level 1 and 2 science subjects before attempting any Level 3 science subjects.

Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Course includes mandatory fieldwork


Special assessment requirements


Accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable



Students may apply for a credit transfer for previous tertiary study or informal and non-formal learning in accordance with the Credit Transfer Procedure.

Maximum allowed

48 credit points


Credit will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course.


Credit gained for any subject shall be cancelled 19 years after the date of the examination upon which the credit is based if, by then, the student has not completed this course.

Other restrictions

A maximum of 6 credit points of credit may be granted at level 3.

Credit will not be granted for CH1020, MA1020 or PH1001.

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on testamur

Not applicable - this course does not have majors

Exit with lesser award

Students who have completed 24 credit points of their course award requirements, and withdraw from or fail to meet the requirements for progression in the later years, may be eligible for the award of Diploma of Tertiary Studies.

Course articulation

Not applicable


Honours availability

Honours is available as a separate graduate entry course.


Students must satisfy the college requirements relating to the standard of academic achievement necessary to proceed to the honours degree.

Annual Tuition Fee: $9,527. (Estimate only)

Student Services and Amenities fee is payable per subject up to a maximum amount per year.

A variety of Scholarships are available to suit different student types.

An OP or ATAR is the score required for entry into most undergraduate courses. If you are not a Year 12 school leaver or do not have an OP or ATAR, you can be assigned an equivalent rank score. Ranks are calculated from previous study that you might have completed, either secondary, tertiary or vocational, or previous paid employment experience.

JCU offers pathway courses to help you move into a degree. Pathway courses provide you with an individualised study plan and specialised support as you transition to university.

Contact us to find about more.

#1 in the world

Be prepared with the technological and analytical skills needed to be ready for the jobs of the future. Study with the best in the world for Marine and Fresh Water Biology (CWUR, 2017).