Physical Oceanography MSci
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.
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.
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.
Employability and the School of Ocean Sciences
The School of Ocean Science's 'hands on' approach to teaching is well known in the marine science community and we have close links with offshore industries which employ many of our graduates.
Employers know that Bangor graduates have practical as well as theoretical skills.
An Ocean Science degree not only provides sound scientific knowledge of the marine environment, but places strong emphasis on the key skills which are highly regarded by employers.
Depending on their degree and specialist module choices, graduates from the School of Ocean Sciences can apply for jobs in:
- Coastal and water resource management
- Environmental impact assessment
- Environmental toxicology
- Pollution monitoring/treatment and waste disposal management
- Coastal and offshore engineering, hydrography
- Remote sensing
- Sea bed exploration and surveying
- Research institutes
- Water companies
- Government laboratories (including Environmental Agency and CEFAS)
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Oil and gas industries
- Aquaculture industries
- Marine conservation
- Fish and shellfish culture
- Oceangraphic institutes
- Marine environmental impact studies
- Hydrocarbon companies
- Marine environmental consultancy
- The Environment Agency
- Policy Making (e.g the European Union)
- Regulatory Authorities
Opportunities at Bangor
The University’s Skills and Employability Service provides a wide range of resources to help you achieve your graduate ambitions. Developing your personal skills and enhancing your employability while at university is becoming increasingly important in today’s job market.
The Bangor Employability Award (BEA) and Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR)
The Bangor Employability Award enables students to build on their transferable skills through the recognition of activities they become involved in during their university life. Students can gain points towards the award through extra-curricular activities such as volunteering, attending workshops or actively participating in the Students’ Union’s clubs and societies.
The HEAR is a final graduation report that all undergraduates receive. The report itemises all academic achievements and additional extra and co-curricular achievements. Academic achievements appear on the report automatically and students are able to note their eligible activities by using the online platform ‘My Employability Hub’. This ensures that future employers are made aware of the additional skills the student has gained outside of the curriculum.
The Award is open to everyone and taking part in the scheme can make a major difference to your performance in the graduate job market.
Bangor University runs undergraduate and postgraduate internship schemes twice a year, which allow students to work in a professional environment while learning relevant skills and earning money.
Internships offer valuable experience in a professional workplace and there are a range of internships you can get involved in.
Not only is volunteering worthwhile – it also improves your employability and widens your experience.
The Students’ Union has a dedicated Student Volunteering Office (SVB) which currently contributes a total of 600 hours each week, promoting a close relationship between the university and the local community. Find out more on the Student Volunteering pages of the Bangor Student’s Union website.
TARGETconnect - Working while you StudyThe Skills and Employability Service offers support to students searching for employment during and after their studies.
- Graduate jobs – Local, National and International
- Full-time, part time, permanent and temporary jobs
- Work experience / internships
- Voluntary opportunities
TARGETconnect advertises the following opportunities:
For 2020 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.
For 2019 entry:
- 104-128 tariff points including a level 3 qualification* in Physics or Maths and one other science subject (Physics, Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Environmental Science or Geography), plus Grade C in GCSE Maths, two science subjects (or Double Award Science) and English Language. *Level 3 qualifications include A levels, Irish Highers, International Baccalaureate, Welsh Baccalaureate, Scottish Advanced Highers and others – for a full list, please refer to the new UCAS tariff at www.ucas.com.
- Due to the academic requirements for this programme, BTECs, City & Guilds and Access courses are considered on a case by case basis.
- We also welcome applications from mature applicants, individuals with European qualifications and international applicants (subject to minimum English language requirements).
General University entry requirements
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.
To study a degree, diploma or certificate course 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 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 help and advice about being a mature student at Bangor, please visit the Study at Bangor site.
Specific entry requirements can be seen on the individual course pages.
EU and International students' entry requirements
For information and further detailed guidance on 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.
Home/EU students and International UCAS applicants
E-mail for General Admissions: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Telephone: +44 (0)1248 383717
International students (non-UCAS applicants)
Email to International Admissions: email@example.com or write to
Telephone: +44 (0) 1248 382028
- Full time: £9,000 per year
- Part time: £750 per 10 credits
When coming to University, you will have two main costs, Tuition Fees and Living Costs.
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 guest tickets (£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.
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.
How to apply through UCASApply online via UCAS
UCAS stands for Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. All university applications are processed through UCAS and then passed on to the universities listed.
Students may apply for a maximum of five courses. For Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary courses students are only allowed to apply for four courses.
The application form is found on the UCAS website, under ‘Apply’.
When to apply?
We advise you to apply as early as you can as we will start considering applications and making offers straight away. The initial UCAS deadline for UK and EU students is 15 January, however we welcome applications after this date. Those received between 15 January and 30 June will continue to be forwarded to universities by UCAS and will receive consideration where places are still available.
Your Personal Statement
Writing your Personal Statement is the part of the application form that requires most work. You are only allowed 47 lines or 500–550 words to explain why you wish to study the course and the skills you have that are essential for university study.
To write a successful personal statement for your UCAS application you must have a good understanding about the course and its content. Remember that you write only one personal statement for your five choices. Make sure that the courses are similar, if not the same, and make sure that you do not mention a specific course or university.
Read our advice on how to draft a winning personal statement or watch our video guide.
After you’ve applied
You should keep an eye on your application on UCAS ‘Track’. Offers from universities will appear on track and you will be able to accept or decline offers.
You can only reply when you have received all your decisions. The types of reply you can make are firm acceptance and insurance acceptance. Usually students reply in early May.
If you are an international student, our International Student pages offer further information on applying.
As an international student applying to study one of our undergraduate programmes you can:
- apply via UCAS,
- or apply direct to Bangor through our online direct application system
- or apply with the help of one of our recruitment agents
We receive around 350 exchange students every year from all over the world. 45% of these students come from Europe and the remainder from as far as Singapore, South Korea and Australia.
The University’s International Exchanges Office is responsible for welcoming these students.
Confused about your next steps?
Take a look at our Going to University website for information and advice on getting ready for university.
Why study at the School of Ocean Sciences?
- The School of Ocean Sciences is one of the largest university centres teaching Marine Sciences in Britain and is among the biggest in Europe
- We are situated within a few metres of the sea, ideal for developing your skills in collecting data in estuaries, on the sea shore and at sea
- We have a £3.5m ocean-going research ship called Prince Madog
- The School was rated ‘excellent’ in the most recent UK-wide assessment of teaching quality and
- We gained 4 out of 5 in the Research Assessment Exercise
- Our excellent facilities include tropical marine, temperature marine and freshwater aquaria, an algal culture unit and specialised nutrition and microbiological laboratories.
- Bangor’s location makes it an ideal place to study terrestrial and aquatic habitats, with easy access to both the mountains and the sea for field trips
- Seabird, seal and dolphin populations are resident and accessible for field study
- The teaching laboratories in the School of Ocean Sciences are a few metres from the sea, enabling you to collect marine animals and study them in the laboratory in the same practical period
- We have an innovative approach to teaching – including plenty of ‘hands on’ practical work.
Studying at Bangor
Rated Gold for teaching
We have been awarded a Gold rating, the highest rating possible, for the standarad of our teaching in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) assessment. The TEF assessment took into account teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes and learning gain. We were judged to deliver consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for our students and our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.
A top 10 university
The National Student Survey (NSS) results place Bangor amongst the UK’s top 10 universities (excluding specialist institutions) for student satisfaction. This reflects the University’s focus on overall student experience.
Enjoy a university experience that’s amongst the best in the UK
Take advantage of the Bangor Student Experience with free membership of student clubs and societies, a new international experience programme and employability award scheme.
Award-winning clubs and societies!
Our clubs and societies have been named the best in the UK at the WhatUni Student Choice Awards 2019.
Choose to study in one of the best places in the UK to be a student. Bangor’s location – close to the mountains and the sea - has been described as ‘the best university setting in the UK’.
Bangor is the most affordable place in the UK to be a student (TotalMoney 2019).
Investment in facilities
Benefit from continued investment in facilities and services – with Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre, Halls of Residence, and improved sports facilities amongst recent developments.
Guaranteed accommodation in award-winning halls of residence
We guarantee accommodation for first year students who apply within the deadline and hold Bangor as their Firm Choice. Our accommodation has been named the best in the UK at the 2018 WhatUni Student Choice Awards.
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