c350 - Marine Zoology BSc

Photograph of student that studied this course

Meet Hanne from Norway

About me

  1. Name: Hanne
  2. Course: Marine Zoology BSc Honours
  3. Where I'm from: Norway

Why did you choose to study at Newcastle University?

In Norway, if you want to do marine biology you have to do a BSc on biology and then a MSc in marine biology, so going abroad was my preferred option. I spent one year as an exchange student in Cardiff doing AS levels, and fell in love with the student life. It’s also not too far from home which is very nice.

I chose Newcastle because the city seemed like an amazing city to live in. Relatives of mine have been here before and they really urged me to go. The university also looked really good judging for the information found in both the prospectus and online at different websites. Another strong factor was the Newcastle University has its own research vessel for marine science to use, indicating that I could get to spend more time outside learning by doing. And I have!

Another reason was that the university offers a degree in marine zoology and marine biology with oceanography in addition to the marine biology course.

What do you think of the teaching quality on your course?

It does vary but generally I am happy with it. The lecturers are all passionate about what they are teaching us, and can use examples and stories from their own experiences to further lift the lecture material. They are genuinely concerned for our learning and eventual employability, and provide us with the skills and tools we need to complete the work set. We also have a tutor that we meet with about every other week, and we go through what we have learnt recently and get to ask questions and talk about things both on the course and in our lives in general in a much more personal manner than with just any lecturer.

What do you most enjoy about studying your course? What has been your favourite module?

My favourite parts are the field weeks, where we spend a week in each semester at the lab by the coast in Cullercoats. We travel to visit the habitats and environments we’ve spent weeks reading about, and preform practical work to further our understandings. This really helps us as students by letting us get a glimpse of what it might be like to work as marine scientists. This summer we’re even going to Scotland for a week to work out in the field as part of Stage 2! We also have days on the boat mentioned earlier, where we go out at sea and collect samples first hand using different methods and equipment.

Another great part is the labs we have, and the lecturers preforming the labs are very enthusiastic about the work and are willing to help and guide us in the right direction if we ever get stuck. With the boat we are able to get extremely fresh samples to work with in the labs.

If you had to recommend your course to a student choosing a university what would you say to them?

Definitely give Newcastle a chance. The city is a great one to live in, the campus is located right in the city centre, and the people here are lovely. As a foreigner I have had no problem fitting in at all.

If you choose to study marine science here, you’ll have the opportunity to choose between oceanography or zoology in your second and third year to tailor to what you enjoy about the course. I have heard great things about both these modules. Before you even come to Newcastle you get assigned a mentor from the year above you, who will help you settle in and answer any questions you might have. In addition, you get a tutor who will stay with you through all three years, and who you may feel more comfortable enclosing sensitive information to than to any odd lecturer.

Also the facilities are good, and we have our very own research vessel that you will get to spend some time on. There is a lab down by the coast in Cullercoats, and you get to spend two wonderful weeks here as field weeks – one for each semester. In June after your first year you will all be going to Scotland for another week to work out in the field.

Because the course is quite a small one, 60-70 students, we have all become very good friends and we spend a lot of time together outside of our studies as well.

What do you enjoy most about life in Newcastle? If you had to recommend it to a friend what would you say?

Everything is very accessible, with the campus being in the city centre. The shopping is great, there’s a permanent market with all sorts of quirky little things as well as fruit and veg, and the night life is amazing. And cheap. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with a night out in Newcastle. And if none of this appeals to you, glorious beaches are only a short metro or bus ride away, suddenly giving you the feeling that you have travelled to a more southern country.

What do you think about the clubs and societies that you can join? If you have been a member of one, what sort of activities has it involved?

There are a lot to choose from, and it will be hard not to find anything that you would like to try out. There are so many sports societies I had never even heard of, and you can find anything to suit your weird interests. I joined the Scuba Diving society, NUSAC, where I got the opportunity to further my diving or, as someone who has never done it, learn to become a diver. They also organise some good nights out with amazing themes such as a gender swap night out and a back to school night out.

As part of learning to dive we drove to Capernwray in Lancashire where we spent a weekend diving in the quarry, which was a lot of fun. If you are an experienced diver they also organise trips to the Farne Islands, for examples, where you can dive and watch the seals.

Where did you live in your first year? Tell us about your student accommodation experiences.

In The View. It’s located right next to St. James’s Park, the Business School and other student accommodations, as well as being in the city centre. Everything is close, which as amazing, and living in this building feels very safe. The people working in the reception are nice and helpful, and the rooms are big with a three-quarter bed and its own bathroom.

But no matter what accommodation you live in, you will make friends both in your flat and on your course! I don’t think the quality matters, it’s what you make of it and the friends you make that will make your year a great one.

Do you have any tips on budgeting, student finance or funding your studies?

Don’t buy all your food from the Tesco Express downstairs in The View, because it is more expensive and you get much less to choose from than if you walk to the bigger shops or get your food delivered.

What are your career aspirations after you graduate? Explain how studying at Newcastle is helping you to achieve your career goals?

I want to work out doing research, something a feel so much more prepared for now than I did only a year ago with respect to the experience I have gotten from the field weeks and boat day. The lectures have also given me a broad understanding of the oceans and its life and forces, and I have been given the tools I need to do further reading and research on my own about the specific topics that I am interested in.
Studying in England rather than in Scotland, where a lot of the good universities with marine science are located, gives me the chance to start working a year earlier as the BSc is 3 years instead of 4.