Marine biology

Dive into the marine world and study the diversity of life from the deep sea to estuaries. Beyond evolutionary and behavioural biology, learn about the conservation and management of marine environments and how to protect these valuable and vulnerable ecosystems.

St Andrews is located on the shores of the North Sea near grey and common seal colonies and bottlenose dolphin feeding areas. This makes it the ideal place to study marine wildlife in its natural habitat. Fieldwork and diving expeditions to locations such as the Antarctic and Indonesia are also options for many programmes.

Bird spotting at BioBlitz


Postgraduate taught

Postgraduate research

The School of Biology offers PhD and MSc(Res) programmes in marine biology. Research on marine topics within the School is grouped into three main themes: 

  • developmental and evolutionary genomics
  • ecology, fisheries and resource management
  • marine mammal biology

To apply, you should first identify and contact a potential supervisor you would like to work with in your intended research area. Find out how to contact a research supervisor.

“A big motivation of mine for studying at St Andrews was the excellent research that is being carried out. As a biologist with the aim of going into research, it was important to me that the university had the facilities and people that would drive me in that direction. I love how personal the teaching style is here – students are welcome to chat to the lecturers and they are always happy to help.”

- Vienna, Austria


Second in Scotland for Earth and marine sciences

Guardian University Guide 2023

Second in Scotland for biological sciences

The Complete University Guide 2023

84% of research activity rated 3* or 4*

Most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021)