About This Course
This degree focuses on the study of the processes which drive the ocean and which link it to the atmosphere and the cryosphere.
The course is concerned with the physics of the ocean and understanding the forces which shape the global climate by moving heat around planet Earth. Physical Oceanographers are in great demand and are required to tackle issues such as predicting future climate and sea-level change, marine pollution dispersion, offshore engineering related and exploitation of marine renewable energy.
This course is available as a 5-year ‘with Placement Year’ option. Please apply for Physical Oceanography with Placement Year MSci F73P. Find out more about 'with Placement Year' courses here.
The placement year provides you with a fantastic opportunity to broaden your horizons and develop valuable skills and contacts through working with a self-sourced organisation relevant to your degree subject. The Placement Year is undertaken at the end of the second year and students are away for the whole of the academic year. The minimum period in placement (at one or more locations) is seven calendar months; more usually you would spend 10-12 months with a placement provider. You would normally start sometime in the period June to September of your second year and finish between June and September the following year. Placements can be UK-based or overseas and you will work with staff to plan and finalise the placement arrangements.
You will be expected to find and arrange a suitable placement to complement your degree, and will be fully supported throughout by a dedicated member of staff at your academic School and the University’s Skills and Employability Services.
Why choose Bangor University for this course?
- The School of Ocean Sciences is one of the largest university centres teaching marine sciences in Britain and was recently described as probably the best place in Europe to study Physical Oceanography by New Scientist magazine.
- The physicists on our staff have expertise in dynamics, ocean optics, oceanographic instrumentation, turbulence and mixing and computer modeling. We have strong links with the National Oceanography Centre, Met Office and the marine renewables industry.
- We are situated within a few metres of the sea, ideal for developing your skills in collecting data in estuaries, on the seashore and the sea.
- We have a £3.5m ocean-going research ship as well as several smaller survey boats.
- Students from this programme have taken International Experience years at Sun Yat Sen University in China and undertaken internships at the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool.
The course involves up to 25-35 hours per week of lectures, practicals (laboratory and fieldwork), private study, tutorials and project work. You will also complete literature reviews, exercises, essays, practical and field-work write-ups and do reading. In the Third year you work on a dissertation which will provide the foundations for your Fourth year research project.
The research project will be individually supervised by a Physical Oceanography staff member with the expertise relevant to your project. The project may take the form of field and laboratory based experiments or the development and application of numerical models for making practical predictions of, for example, ocean temperature or the potential of tidal energy schemes.
In your third and final years, you will be invited to a series of guest lectures (and often interviews) with prospective employees; and be offered trips to various national industry meetings (e.g. Oceanology, Ocean Business).
Assessment methods vary - most modules combine elements of continuous assessment and formal examination.
What will you study on this course?
Please see below.
Modules for the current academic year
Module listings are for guide purposes only and are subject to change. Find out what our students are currently studying on the Physical Oceanography Modules page.
Course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change.
Suitable clothing and equipment for fieldwork will be required e.g. suitable footwear, waterproofs, rucksack. The cost of these will vary. Approximate cost: £50-£100
Appropriate stationary for any note-taking during classes e.g. notepad, pens and pencils. The cost of these will vary. Approximate cost: £20-£30.
Necessarily Incurred Costs:
Materials for the preparation of academic poster for assessment. The cost and number of these will vary. Approximate cost £10-£15.
Travel and subsistence costs if undertaking extended periods fieldwork as part of Year 4 research project. The cost will vary by project and may only be partly incurred because travel and accommodation costs for shorter periods of fieldwork can be covered. Any costs will be made clear before projects are chosen by the student and not all projects will incur such costs. Approximate cost for a UK-based project £100.
The School of Ocean Sciences is based in Menai Bridge, c. 1.5 miles from Bangor and the halls of residence. Most classes are held on the Bangor site, but some laboratory practicals are held in Menai Bridge (typically 6-10 per semester). Travel to these are covered in Year 1, but not in subsequent years. Many walk or cycle between the venues, but some opt for public or private transport. Approximate cost if latter two options taken: £40/year.
General University Costs
Home (UK) students
- The cost of a full-time undergraduate course is £9,000 per year (2021/22 entry).
- More information on fees and finance for Home (UK) students.
International (including EU) students
There are also some common additional costs that are likely to arise for students on all courses, for example:
- If you choose to study abroad or take the International Experience Year as part of your course.
- If you attend your Graduation Ceremony, there will be a cost for gown hire (£25-£75) and cost for additional guest tickets (c.£12 each).
Course-specific additional costs
Depending on the course you are studying, there may be additional course-specific costs that you will be required to meet. These fall into three categories:
- Mandatory Costs: these are related to a particular core or compulsory module that you’ll be required to complete to achieve your qualification e.g. compulsory field trips, uniforms for students on placement, DBS Check.
- Necessarily Incurred Costs: these may not be experienced by all students, and will vary depending on the course e.g. professional body membership, travel to placements, specialist software, personal safety equipment.
- Optional Costs: these depend on your choice of modules or activity and they are shown to give you an indication of the optional costs that may arise to make sure your choice is as informed as possible. These can include graduation events for your course, optional field trips, Welcome Week trips.
For 2021 entry:
GCSE: grade C/4 in English, Maths and Double Award Science. Typical offer is based on a minimum 128 tariff points from a Level 3 qualification* e.g.:
- A Levels (including grades AB in Maths or Physics and usually in 1 other science subject - Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Environmental Science, Geography, Economics, Psychology; excluding General Studies.
- International Baccalaureate Diploma (include H6 in Maths or Physics and another science subject)
- BTEC National/Extended Diploma in Applied Science**: DDD
- City & Guilds Advanced Technical / Extended Diploma in Environmental Conservation or Countryside & Environmental**: Distinction.
- Access to HE Science**: Pass
- Welsh Baccalaureate is accepted
- Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma is not accepted.
International Candidates: school leaving qualifications and college diplomas are accepted from countries worldwide (subject to minimum English Language requirements). More information here.
We also welcome applications from mature applicants.
*For full details go to our website and for a full list of accepted Level 3 qualifications, go to www.ucas.com.
**Similar subject areas may be considered on a case by case basis.
General University Requirements
To study for a degree, you’ll be asked for a minimum of UCAS Tariff points. For a fuller explanation of the UCAS Tariff Points, please see www.ucas.com.
We accept students with a wide range of qualifications and backgrounds and consider each application individually.
All students need to have good basic skills and the University also values IT and communication skills.
As part of the University’s policy we consider applications from prospective disabled students on the same grounds as all other students.
We also consider applications from mature students who can demonstrate the motivation and commitment to study a university programme. Each year we enrol a significant number of mature students. For more information about studying as a mature student, see our Studying at Bangor section of the website.
EU and International Students' Entry Requirements
For detailed guidance on the entry requirements for EU and International Students, including the minimum English Language entry requirement, please visit the Entry Requirements by Country pages. International applicants can also visit the International Education Centre section of our website for further details.
Bangor University offers International Incorporated Bachelor Degrees for International students whose High School qualification is not equivalent to the UK school leaving qualification. The first year (or Year 0) is studied at Bangor University International College, an embedded College on our University campus and delivered by Oxford International Education Group.
Bangor University has been offering degrees in Physical Oceanography for over 50 years, with graduates going on to be leaders in both the offshore industry and academia. The course provides an ideal preparation for careers in climate change research, marine renewable exploitation, and the offshore industry, environmental impact assessment, the water supply industry, coastal zone management as well as government advisory bodies and the scientific media.
Opportunities at Bangor
The University’s Skills and Employability Service provides a wide range of resources to help you achieve your graduate ambitions.
The Bangor Employability Award (BEA)
With the BEA, you can gain recognition for your extra-curricular activities (e.g. volunteering, clubs and societies, part-time work, etc.)
Bangor University runs a paid internship scheme within the university’s academic and service departments.
Volunteering widens your experience and improves your employability. Find out more about the volunteering on the Students’ Union’s website.