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zoology vs marine biology

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    I'm looking into uni's in the UK and I have had a suggestion to maybe go for zoology instead of marine biology to find a better school.
    I have been pretty set on marine biology since I was about 9, and I'm not really sure that I would wanna change it....but I reallly wanna know what you guys think.

    Thank you
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    Well, which would you prefer to study?

    Also, how good are your grades? My first choice was Plymouth Uni for Marine Biology back when i was predicted BBBD with a D in Biology. Coming out with AAABB with an A in Biology i decided a BBB course at Plymouth was a bit silly, so now i'm general biology at UCL, and i've decided on a career in finance. If i'd achieved BBB then i'd be at Plymouth; it was my insurance anyway.

    So yes, you may prefer to study zoology to say, go to Imperial over St Andrews cause it's a better school; but if you actually want to be a marine biologist, then marine biology at Plymouth, St Andrews etc, is better than zoology at Imperial, UCL etc.
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    (Original post by orca92)
    Well, which would you prefer to study?

    Also, how good are your grades? My first choice was Plymouth Uni for Marine Biology back when i was predicted BBBD with a D in Biology. Coming out with AAABB with an A in Biology i decided a BBB course at Plymouth was a bit silly, so now i'm general biology at UCL, and i've decided on a career in finance. If i'd achieved BBB then i'd be at Plymouth; it was my insurance anyway.

    So yes, you may prefer to study zoology to say, go to Imperial over St Andrews cause it's a better school; but if you actually want to be a marine biologist, then marine biology at Plymouth, St Andrews etc, is better than zoology at Imperial, UCL etc.
    I have good grades ( I'm not sure you would understand american grades though )
    But I do reallly want to be in marine biology and the uni's I have really looked at are
    Aberdeen
    Glasgow
    Edinburgh Napier
    Stirling

    and some of my other options are
    Bangor
    St andrews
    Queens uni belfast
    Southhampton
    and
    Swansea
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    I think if you're really passionate about marine biology and it's what you want to do with your life then you should definitely go for it. Changing your major just so you could go to a better school seems like a really bad choice to me because not having as much interest in the subject is going to be evident in your grades and the academic references you may need, not to mention that perceived prestige is never going to get you a job. Besides, there are many good universities that offer marine biology degrees: Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton (this one's supposed to be especially good for marine bio), St Andrews... <- you could fill your five choices with only Russell/1994 group universities. And if you have good grades (As and some Bs, AP scores of 4 and 5 and good SAT/SAT II scores) then you should definitely have a shot at those universities.
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    (Original post by monypooh12)
    I have good grades ( I'm not sure you would understand american grades though )
    But I do reallly want to be in marine biology and the uni's I have really looked at are
    Aberdeen
    Glasgow
    Edinburgh Napier
    Stirling

    and some of my other options are
    Bangor
    St andrews
    Queens uni belfast
    Southhampton
    and
    Swansea
    I understand SAT and ACT scores to a point; try me?
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    (Original post by Peregrinum)
    I think if you're really passionate about marine biology and it's what you want to do with your life then you should definitely go for it. Changing your major just so you could go to a better school seems like a really bad choice to me because not having as much interest in the subject is going to be evident in your grades and the academic references you may need, not to mention that perceived prestige is never going to get you a job. Besides, there are many good universities that offer marine biology degrees: Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton (this one's supposed to be especially good for marine bio), St Andrews... <- you could fill your five choices with only Russell/1994 group universities. And if you have good grades (As and some Bs, AP scores of 4 and 5 and good SAT/SAT II scores) then you should definitely have a shot at those universities.
    Surprisingly when i researched, employers felt the opposite more often than not. Seems Southampton is good for oceanography, but not so good for marine biology.
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    (Original post by orca92)
    I understand SAT and ACT scores to a point; try me?


    I havnt taken mine yet, but my projected estimate is an 1860 on the SAT's
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    Ok, so your probably just about getting to the level of Imperial, UCL, Bristol i'd say. I think that really, if you want to study marine biology then you should go for that. Zoology and marine biology are both very different; they lack much overlap at all. Genetics and zoology would probably give more overlap than marine biology and zoology. Anyway, i'd go for marine biology if it's really what you want to do; but make sure you don't apply to any really bad unis, like Napier.
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    I know that Queen Mary do Zoology with Aquatic Biology if that interests you?
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    Funny, I am kinda struggling with the same problem... I am transferring from a U.S. college to an England university. And just like you I am hesitating with my choices. I have been accepted in Anglia Ruskin University (for marine biology with animal behavior), Portsmouth, Swansea and Plymouth (for marine biology) and Hull for Aquatic zoology. I was wondering if the difference is really that big for a bachelors degree... I believe it is easy to switch from marine bio to zoology when starting a masters degree.
    What is your field of interest? What do you want to achieve with your degree (either in marine bio or zoology)?
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    (Original post by orca92)
    Ok, so your probably just about getting to the level of Imperial, UCL, Bristol i'd say. I think that really, if you want to study marine biology then you should go for that. Zoology and marine biology are both very different; they lack much overlap at all. Genetics and zoology would probably give more overlap than marine biology and zoology. Anyway, i'd go for marine biology if it's really what you want to do; but make sure you don't apply to any really bad unis, like Napier.
    Hey Orca92, you seem to know a lot about the reputation of different Univ's in the UK. I need your help ! I am not at all familiar with the whole UK educational system but already applied through UCAS and got accepted in: Portsmouth (for marine bio.), Plymouth (for marine bio.), Swansea (for marine bio.), Anglia Ruskin (for marine bio with animal behavior) and Hull (for aquatic zoology). I have researched about the Univ's and most people agree that Hull is not a good place to go... as I said, I need your advice on those different choices. Also, I don't understand anything about the AABB level system. I have A's in all my science classes and C in math. But I don't get why your choice depends that much on the grades you achieve... What do you mean by 'bad' Univ's? Is it like poor quality education and that you wont find a job after it or...? I appreciate any advice
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    (Original post by Moana)
    Hey Orca92, you seem to know a lot about the reputation of different Univ's in the UK. I need your help ! I am not at all familiar with the whole UK educational system but already applied through UCAS and got accepted in: Portsmouth (for marine bio.), Plymouth (for marine bio.), Swansea (for marine bio.), Anglia Ruskin (for marine bio with animal behavior) and Hull (for aquatic zoology). I have researched about the Univ's and most people agree that Hull is not a good place to go... as I said, I need your advice on those different choices. Also, I don't understand anything about the AABB level system. I have A's in all my science classes and C in math. But I don't get why your choice depends that much on the grades you achieve... What do you mean by 'bad' Univ's? Is it like poor quality education and that you wont find a job after it or...? I appreciate any advice
    Firstly, are you applying with SAT, ACT and GPA scores, or have you taken A Levels/Scottish Highers? If as i expect you've taken American qualifications, then i'll explain A levels to you. Basically, /most/ people in the UK study 4 AS Levels, then they top 3 of them up to A Levels. You choose the subjects in a way that will let you get onto the university course that you want to get onto; so if you want to study biology, you have to study biology and another science at A level in order to meet the requirements. Each A level then gets graded based on your performance in the coursework and exams with A*, A, B, C, D, E, U; A* being the best, and U being the worst. You also get UCAS points based on your grade; an A* gets you 140 points, an A gets you 120 points, and so on; so a higher number of points is better.

    Universities then have mininmum requirements based on the grades and subjects of the applicants applying to that university for that course. So my course at UCL is "A levels: AAA-AAB to include two from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics." So to get onto the course with A levels as your qualification, you need to have at least AAB with two of biology, chemistry, physics and maths. In general, universities making higher offers, are better; so Cambridge tend to make all A*AA offers (as we'd expect, they're the best university so would be expect them to make the highest offers); whereas universities like Northumbria for example make UCAS points offers. Northumbria might make you a 280 points offer from 3 A levels; so this coverts to BBC at A level, which is obviously not as good as the A*AA from Cambridge. So in general, universities making high grade offers are the better ones, the ones that have more applicants etc; universities that make UCAS points offers are not as good.

    When you got accepted to each of the universities to which you applied they likely made you conditional offers based on you meeting academic criteria. Do you have conditional offers, or did the universities make unconditional offers? If you got conditional offers then you can choose a firm and an insurance; the firm is your first choice university, and the insurance is your second choice university. If you meet the grades of your firm, then you go there next year. If you fail to meet the conditions of your firm, but meet those of your insurance, then you go to your insurance choice. So, you may choose to firm Plymouth, and insure Portsmouth. If you meet the conditions of Plymouth then you can go there; if you fail the offer conditions, but still meet those of Portsmouth, then you can go there.

    Ok, in terms of universities, not all of them are of the same quality. If you compare, say Cambridge with Northumbria for example. Cambridge for a start has a reputation for producing very intelligent graduates; graduates that employers want to employ. If they see Cambridge on a CV versus Northumbria, then they're going to know that the Cambridge graduate is very intelligent, whereas they won't get this with the Northumbria graduate. So reputation of the university is a factor dictating whether it's a good or bad university, which then dictates employers opinions of you as a graduate of said university. Better universities, like Cambridge, can attract the leading researcher/lecturers in those fields. Two of my lecturers at UCL for example, are Steve Jones, and Nick Lane. Steve Jones has published lots of books in the area of genetics and has a worldwide high reputation for his research into the area of genetics. Nick Lane lectures in the zoology side of biology; he's the professor with the leading theory on how life first began. Just being lectured by these people top of their fields makes the quality of the lectures, and the information learnt in them better than at other universities like Northumbria, which in a way, gets the 'second pick' of lecturers. So better universities can attract the better lecturers which will then give their students of said university a better education, than by the worse lecturers at the worse universities. These better universities get more applicants that are of a higher quality and hence they can set the grades higher and continue to take the best students. I don't know if this makes sense; but the basic point is that there is a difference in the quality of the degree depending on where it's from. It takes more work to get a first from Cambridge than it does to get a first from Northumbria for example.

    Anyway yeah, your universities. When i researched marine biology i talked to several employers; and the consensus was that the top ones were St Andrews, Southampton, Plymouth, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Glasgow. This is expected; it's pretty much all the 1994 group and russell group universities, plus Plymouth, which just generally is very good for marine biology. Anyway, i personally applied to Plymouth, Southampton, and St Andrews for marine biology, and i visited Glasgow from those top ones, plus i've been to Newcastle University, but not to the marine biology department. These universities basically offer the highest grades, so take the best students, and give them a good education, so they get the better employment prospects, so the university remains as one of the best ones for the subject. If i was to rank your universities, then i'd definitely say Plymouth was the best; Swansea's also very good, i thought about applying there. Portsmouth, Hull and Anglia Ruskin aren't so highly thought of to be honest. Hull has a bad reputation due to the roughness of the city as well as the fact that it's not the best university. It's not really a nice city to live in; my Mums from there so I've been there a fair amount, and it's kind of ok in the centre with some regeneration; but compare it to Plymouth, and the cities awful. Plymouths a very nice and clean city, and on the sea; they have a nice pedestrianized area really central. They also have a decent student area, and the Hoe where there's grass to chill on right on the coast overlooking the bay. I've never been to Swansea, but i have a friend from there and she seems to rate the city highly. Anglia Ruskin is in Cambridge; it's a small city, but it's quite nice if you want somewhere smaller. I've never been to Portsmouth either; i think the city there is ok; it's about the same size as Plymouth. I mean, i don't really know what else to add; personally i'd go to Plymouth, but then that's my choice, and not yours; it'd help if you could like visit the universities obviously, but i doubt (being from abroad probably) you'd be able to. I can tell you that Plymouth and Swansea are the better two of those universities though.
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    (Original post by orca92)
    Firstly, are you applying with SAT, ACT and GPA scores, or have you taken A Levels/Scottish Highers? If as i expect you've taken American qualifications, then i'll explain A levels to you. Basically, /most/ people in the UK study 4 AS Levels, then they top 3 of them up to A Levels. You choose the subjects in a way that will let you get onto the university course that you want to get onto; so if you want to study biology, you have to study biology and another science at A level in order to meet the requirements. Each A level then gets graded based on your performance in the coursework and exams with A*, A, B, C, D, E, U; A* being the best, and U being the worst. You also get UCAS points based on your grade; an A* gets you 140 points, an A gets you 120 points, and so on; so a higher number of points is better.

    Universities then have mininmum requirements based on the grades and subjects of the applicants applying to that university for that course. So my course at UCL is "A levels: AAA-AAB to include two from Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics." So to get onto the course with A levels as your qualification, you need to have at least AAB with two of biology, chemistry, physics and maths. In general, universities making higher offers, are better; so Cambridge tend to make all A*AA offers (as we'd expect, they're the best university so would be expect them to make the highest offers); whereas universities like Northumbria for example make UCAS points offers. Northumbria might make you a 280 points offer from 3 A levels; so this coverts to BBC at A level, which is obviously not as good as the A*AA from Cambridge. So in general, universities making high grade offers are the better ones, the ones that have more applicants etc; universities that make UCAS points offers are not as good.

    When you got accepted to each of the universities to which you applied they likely made you conditional offers based on you meeting academic criteria. Do you have conditional offers, or did the universities make unconditional offers? If you got conditional offers then you can choose a firm and an insurance; the firm is your first choice university, and the insurance is your second choice university. If you meet the grades of your firm, then you go there next year. If you fail to meet the conditions of your firm, but meet those of your insurance, then you go to your insurance choice. So, you may choose to firm Plymouth, and insure Portsmouth. If you meet the conditions of Plymouth then you can go there; if you fail the offer conditions, but still meet those of Portsmouth, then you can go there.

    Ok, in terms of universities, not all of them are of the same quality. If you compare, say Cambridge with Northumbria for example. Cambridge for a start has a reputation for producing very intelligent graduates; graduates that employers want to employ. If they see Cambridge on a CV versus Northumbria, then they're going to know that the Cambridge graduate is very intelligent, whereas they won't get this with the Northumbria graduate. So reputation of the university is a factor dictating whether it's a good or bad university, which then dictates employers opinions of you as a graduate of said university. Better universities, like Cambridge, can attract the leading researcher/lecturers in those fields. Two of my lecturers at UCL for example, are Steve Jones, and Nick Lane. Steve Jones has published lots of books in the area of genetics and has a worldwide high reputation for his research into the area of genetics. Nick Lane lectures in the zoology side of biology; he's the professor with the leading theory on how life first began. Just being lectured by these people top of their fields makes the quality of the lectures, and the information learnt in them better than at other universities like Northumbria, which in a way, gets the 'second pick' of lecturers. So better universities can attract the better lecturers which will then give their students of said university a better education, than by the worse lecturers at the worse universities. These better universities get more applicants that are of a higher quality and hence they can set the grades higher and continue to take the best students. I don't know if this makes sense; but the basic point is that there is a difference in the quality of the degree depending on where it's from. It takes more work to get a first from Cambridge than it does to get a first from Northumbria for example.

    Anyway yeah, your universities. When i researched marine biology i talked to several employers; and the consensus was that the top ones were St Andrews, Southampton, Plymouth, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Glasgow. This is expected; it's pretty much all the 1994 group and russell group universities, plus Plymouth, which just generally is very good for marine biology. Anyway, i personally applied to Plymouth, Southampton, and St Andrews for marine biology, and i visited Glasgow from those top ones, plus i've been to Newcastle University, but not to the marine biology department. These universities basically offer the highest grades, so take the best students, and give them a good education, so they get the better employment prospects, so the university remains as one of the best ones for the subject. If i was to rank your universities, then i'd definitely say Plymouth was the best; Swansea's also very good, i thought about applying there. Portsmouth, Hull and Anglia Ruskin aren't so highly thought of to be honest. Hull has a bad reputation due to the roughness of the city as well as the fact that it's not the best university. It's not really a nice city to live in; my Mums from there so I've been there a fair amount, and it's kind of ok in the centre with some regeneration; but compare it to Plymouth, and the cities awful. Plymouths a very nice and clean city, and on the sea; they have a nice pedestrianized area really central. They also have a decent student area, and the Hoe where there's grass to chill on right on the coast overlooking the bay. I've never been to Swansea, but i have a friend from there and she seems to rate the city highly. Anglia Ruskin is in Cambridge; it's a small city, but it's quite nice if you want somewhere smaller. I've never been to Portsmouth either; i think the city there is ok; it's about the same size as Plymouth. I mean, i don't really know what else to add; personally i'd go to Plymouth, but then that's my choice, and not yours; it'd help if you could like visit the universities obviously, but i doubt (being from abroad probably) you'd be able to. I can tell you that Plymouth and Swansea are the better two of those universities though.
    First of all I would like to thank you for your detailed answer, I really appreciate it!! I have thought about visiting before but I won't have time for it since I will probably have to accept one of the unconditional offers that have been made to me by mid July... I did a lot of research and came to the same conclusion as you. Plymouth (first choice), Swansea or Portsmouth.

    The way I hear everybody talk it seems like there is a lot more things to do than what I have done... I did not take SAT's or any kind of tests... I have been accepted (I suppose) based on having an AA degree from the US with high GPA and a high school diploma from Europe (Belgium). Is that unusual, I mean that I did not have to go through other tests or A levels?

    Also, do you know anything about masters? Would it for example be hard to go from Plymouth (with a bachelors in marine bio) to Cambridge for obtaining a masters? I am thinking about doing my masters in marine bio (to have a broad concept) but than to specialize in marine vertebrate behavior for my masters...
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    (Original post by Moana)
    First of all I would like to thank you for your detailed answer, I really appreciate it!! I have thought about visiting before but I won't have time for it since I will probably have to accept one of the unconditional offers that have been made to me by mid July... I did a lot of research and came to the same conclusion as you. Plymouth (first choice), Swansea or Portsmouth.

    The way I hear everybody talk it seems like there is a lot more things to do than what I have done... I did not take SAT's or any kind of tests... I have been accepted (I suppose) based on having an AA degree from the US with high GPA and a high school diploma from Europe (Belgium). Is that unusual, I mean that I did not have to go through other tests or A levels?

    Also, do you know anything about masters? Would it for example be hard to go from Plymouth (with a bachelors in marine bio) to Cambridge for obtaining a masters? I am thinking about doing my masters in marine bio (to have a broad concept) but than to specialize in marine vertebrate behavior for my masters...
    I'm not sure what an AA degree is, and i know that GPA tends to not be properly official as such, right? I guess that the universities looked at these qualifications and things that you do have, and decided that you're well placed to cope on these courses. It is unusual; but i can see what they're looking at; 'can you cope on the course?' and they obviously answered 'yes' so made you unconditional offers.

    I know someone who went from Plymouth biology to Cambridge masters; so get a first and you're probably in a good position. However, do Cambridge actually offer marine biology related masters? I'm not sure, you'll have a better idea than me if you're looking into it closely. I know that St Andrews is good for marine mammal research, and they give you the option to lecture as a PHD student i think (i looked there and in the USA if i was to go into postgrad). Short answer; a first from Plymouth in marine biology, then continuing into marine biology postgrad at a top institution should be possible. Of course, you do get people with firsts from Imperial, UCL, Oxford etc in straight biology competing with you for marine biology masters, so i don't know how good on top of those people you'd have to be. Maybe email universities with masters courses that you're interested in and ask if Plymouth is good enough when competing with these people from better institutions.
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    (Original post by Moana)
    Funny, I am kinda struggling with the same problem... I am transferring from a U.S. college to an England university. And just like you I am hesitating with my choices. I have been accepted in Anglia Ruskin University (for marine biology with animal behavior), Portsmouth, Swansea and Plymouth (for marine biology) and Hull for Aquatic zoology. I was wondering if the difference is really that big for a bachelors degree... I believe it is easy to switch from marine bio to zoology when starting a masters degree.
    What is your field of interest? What do you want to achieve with your degree (either in marine bio or zoology)?
    Oh yeah and my offers are unconditional...

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