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Environment & Nature

Marine Biology Diploma

The Marine Biology Level 3 Diploma course in Marine Biology aims to give a comprehensive grounding in the fascinating subject of life in the sea.

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Level 3 / Quality Licence Scheme / ODL79

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over 12 months and £ deposit

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Course summary

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Course introduction

Throughout the 10 fully illustrated modules, the student will learn about many aspects of oceanography and marine biology such as how oceans are born and die and how life began and evolved in the sea over the past 4 million years.

We look at the ocean as an ecological habitat and the amazing evolutionary adaptations of aquatic animals to the harsh marine environment. The course looks at ocean habitats from the poles to the equator and from the sunlit surface of the sea to the dark depths of the deep ocean. Finally the human impact on the marine ecosystem is discussed.

The course comprises of ten detailed modules covering all aspects of Marine Biology and concludes with an online examination. Materials can be studied online or students have the option to have the printed materials delivered for an additional charge of £65.

There is a list of publications for further reading and a glossary of terms at the end of the course.

Required knowledge

No previous knowledge or experience is essential to study this course.

Assessment

Final online multiple choice examination counts for 100% of the final grade. Throughout the course there are ten SAPs (coursework) and a thesis. The course clearly states that this is not mandatory to complete as it has no bearing on the final grade. We do suggest that students complete these as this will not only assist them in examination preparation but also will give the student the skill set should they wish to continue their studies (continuous professional development) at a higher level.

Certification

At the end of this course successful learners will receive a Certificate of Achievement from Quality Licence Scheme and a Learner Unit Summary (which lists the components the learner has completed as part of the course).

The course has been endorsed under the Quality Licence Scheme.The Provider has undergone an external quality check to ensure that the organisation and the courses it offers, meet defined quality criteria. The completion of this course alone does not lead to a regulated qualification* but may be used as evidence of knowledge and skills gained.

The Learner Unit Summary may be used as evidence towards Recognition of Prior Learning if you wish to progress your studies in this subject. To this end the learning outcomes of the course have been benchmarked at QLS Level 3 against level descriptors published by Ofqual, to indicate the depth of study and level of demand/complexity involved in successful completion by the learner.

The Quality Licence Scheme is part of the Skills and Education Group, a charitable organisation that unites education and skills-orientated organisations that share similar values and objectives. With more than 100 years of collective experience, the Skills and Education Group’s strategic partnerships create opportunities to inform, influence and represent the wider education and skills sector.

The Skills and Education Group’s knowledge and experience of working within the awarding sector enables them to work with training providers, through the Quality Licence Scheme, to help them develop high-quality courses and/or training programmes for the non-regulated market.

*Regulated qualification refers to those qualifications that are regulated by Ofqual / CCEA / Qualification Wales.

Course modules

Module 1: Ocean formation
This module sets the scene by looking at how the oceans are created and destroyed by sea floor spreading and plate tectonics. Students discuss continental drift and the configuration of the oceans and continents through geological history with a speculative look into the possible future configurations should the continents continue to move as predicted. We study the major oceans of the present day with their geological features and follow an ocean as it progresses from birth to death.

Module 2: The Ocean as a Habitat
In module 2 we study some basic oceanography and the structure of the physical ocean from the continental shelf to the abyssal plain. We also descend into the deep ocean trenches. We look at the chemistry of seawater and how it gets its physical properties as well as the physics of light and sound propagation in the ocean. We look at the dynamics of tides and major currents and the large scale movements of seawater in the ocean basins. We discover how waves are formed and how temperature, density and salinity work together in the marine environment.

Module 3: Biological evolution in the oceans
In module 3, we look at how life evolved in the ocean and discover the fascinating hydrothermal vents which were found in the 1970s. We meet the peculiar animals that live in these habitats and discover how they are able to live in such extreme environments. We look at the evolution of animals in the ocean from the tiniest 1-celled animal to the largest marine mammals and discuss the mass extinctions and radiations that have punctuated the geological history of life on Earth.

Module 4: Food webs in the sea
In module 4, we discover the secret unseen world of the microscopic marine phytoplankton and zooplankton and discuss the primary productivity and the trophic food webs which support all life in the sea. We discover the incredible migration patterns of tiny zooplankton and how other marine animals exploit them. We look at how some of the smallest animals in the sea support some of the largest such as the great whales. Finally we look at the global distribution patterns of the tiniest organisms in the sea.

Module 5: Adaptations to life in the sea
In this module, we look at how life is adapted to the harsh marine environment. We discover how animals from the smallest fish to the largest whale are able to live in the ocean. We look at biological systems such as osmoregulation, thermoregulation, locomotion, respiration, reproduction, sensory systems, diet and foraging strategies. As a case study, we follow the extraordinary evolutionary adaptation of the whales and dolphins as they evolved from being land animals, 50 million years ago to the fully adapted marine creatures we see today.

Module 6: Tropical environments
In module 6, we look at the beautiful coral reefs and mangrove swamps of the tropics. We study coral anatomy and growth and look at their global distribution and ecology. We discover the geological aspects of coral reef formation and look at how the simple coral animals evolved throughout their geological history. We look at the delicate symbiotic relationships between the tiny reef organisms and their coral hosts and at the marvellous array of coral reef fishes and their ecology.

Module 7: Polar environments
In this module, we look at the physical environment of the polar regions and at the fundamental geological differences in the Arctic and Antarctic. We discover the ecology of polar environments and the different species found in the Arctic and Antarctic, along with the extraordinary evolutionary adaptations they show to life in such extreme environments. We look at animals such as the fish with antifreeze in their blood and at the way that warm blooded animals are able to survive in such extreme cold.

Module 8: The intertidal
In module 8, we study the physical environment and the animals of rocky shores, sandy beaches and muddy estuaries. These are all very different environments yet are all at the mercy of the daily tides. We look at the amazing adaptation of animals to such desiccating intertidal environments and at the physical and biological factors for zonation of animals and plants on the shoreline. As a case study, we look at the biology of a rock pool and the array of fascinating animals that are found there.

Module 9: Beneath the tides
In module 9, we venture into the depths of the abyss, a place we know less well than the moon. We study energy transfer and the surprisingly abundant animals of the deep sea. We discover the strange looking deep-sea fishes and invertebrates that are adapted to such incredible pressures exerted by the water column in this harsh environment and at the animals, which create their own light: bioluminescence. Then we finish the module off with a study of the ecology of a kelp forests in Alaska with its vitally important keystone species.

Module 10: The human impact on the sea
The final module looks at fisheries and the food we obtain from the sea and discusses the main food species along with the impacts of over-fishing. We look at ocean pollution; the toxic pollutants, sewage and marine debris which are degrading the ocean and how the animals of the sea are coping with it all. We look at oil spills and their aftermath and discuss whether we make things worse with our well intended clean up operations. We look at global warming and its implications for life in the sea by looking at the geological history of climate change over millions of years and comparing it with the predictions of some of the climate models for the future.

Learner support

12 months tutor support. Tutors are available to answer student questions relating to course materials and to comment on the assignments that are sent in to state how well students have understood the unit content.

FAQs

What does NCC stand for?

NCC originally stood for the National Consortium of FE (Further Education) Colleges. This brought together the FE Colleges to achieve the best provision. Regular national meetings were attended by both Colleges and Government agencies who funded them. This was very helpful to them both to best deliver training to their students.

For more than 25 years NCC has supplied FE Colleges with learning materials as well as student marketing.

NCC now specialise in online training of a very high quality to students both self-funded, paid for by schools, employers and training providers.

What is distance learning?

Distance learning is the most flexible and convenient approach to studying. There is no need for you to attend college and you can study anytime, anyplace, anywhere that fits in with your lifestyle. Distance learning programmes are ideal for people who may have a job, family commitments, or any other commitment that won’t allow them time off to study.

What is the difference between the online and paper versions of courses?

Both our online and paper courses are completed via an online learning portal (LMS) which you can access after you receive your login details by email. Please ensure that you check your junk email if you do not receive your login details within 48 hours.

All learners will submit their assignments, receive feedback and correspond with their tutor directly through the LMS. If you require help from our support team, then simply email [email protected].

If you opt for the online course, you will not receive any course materials through the post. Everything is available via the LMS.

If you opt for the paper version, you are simply paying for a study book to be printed and posted to your home, or place of work. You will use this book as a reference guide, but you will still be required to upload your assignments and correspond with your tutor via the LMS.

If you are unable to access our online LMS, we do have alternative options available, so please email [email protected] in order to request further support.

What do I need to do to get started?

We recommend that you choose a course that will interest you and help you to achieve your ambitions. If you would like some advice, or further information, contact us here or dial 0333 3445 690.

To purchase a course, simply click on the ‘Buy now’ button against your chosen course and follow the on screen instructions. Alternatively if you would prefer to purchase the course over the phone, call 0333 3445 690 and speak to one of our expert course advisors.

How much will it cost?

The cost largely depends on the type and size of the course. The course cost is determined by the expenses associated with its provision, taking into consideration the course's size and complexity, development costs, the presence of a study materials, and the level of tutor support required. Some courses also necessitate additional in-person assessments by assessors, which incur additional expenses and consequently affect the course's cost.

All prices are clearly stated on the course description page and will always be displayed prior to you committing to purchase a course.

Please note that there may be additional fees required should your course require an external invigilated assessment, such as A Levels, ICB qualifications etc. To clarify, please speak to a course advisor.

How do I enrol?

Once you've chosen your course, you have two options for enrolment:


  1. You can purchase the course online by clicking the "Buy now" button, which will enrol you automatically.
  2. Alternatively, you can call our helpline at 0333 3445 690, and our expert course advisors will assist you in signing up for the course and arrange for the delivery of any requested additional learning materials to your address.

All courses are available to purchase in full or via affordable monthly payments over 12 months. A £29 non-refundable deposit is required for monthly payments, and you will be required to set up a monthly direct debit.

We do not require you to complete a credit check to sign up for monthly payments.

How quickly will I receive my course materials?

We guarantee that you will receive any course materials ordered within 5 working days of registering, but for many of our courses it may take no more than 48 hours.

The course materials are always sent to you via a tracked courier service, to ensure that you receive your study book within our stated period.

Do I need any additional books or equipment to do my course?

All the relevant information required to complete your course is available via the LMS. Additional research via the internet is encouraged, depending on the level you are working at, to bolster knowledge of the subject area.

There is no requirement to purchase any additional materials.

What support will I receive?

You will have access to a dedicated personal tutor whom you can contact through the Learning Management System (LMS) for assistance and guidance on any course-related matters. Your tutor will only initiate contact in response to your messages. If you encounter any difficulties reaching your tutor, please don't hesitate to email us at [email protected]

Many courses require you to submit work to your tutor during the period of study, and your tutor will assess your work and provide feedback to you within 10 working days. Your tutor is available to you as much as you need them.

Please note that the course includes tutor support for a duration of 12 months. If you require additional time, please inform us, and we will make every effort to provide you with an option for a paid extension, if feasible, to assist you in completing your course.

Please be aware that our tutors are actively assisting multiple learners, and to ensure they are not inundated with excessive workloads, we have implemented a policy limiting learners to submitting a maximum of three units of work for evaluation at any given time. We recommend that you upload your completed units as you finish them. This way, you can benefit from your tutor's feedback to enhance your future assignment submissions.

How long will it take for my work to be marked by my tutor?

Your work will be marked and feedback returned to you within 10 working days after submission. This is because our tutors are required to provide detailed, considered feedback to our learners that may take a while to formulate. We find that by working this way, our learners actually complete their course in less time, as they rarely need to submit an assignment more than twice.

Whilst it is possible to submit multiple assignments at the same time, we advise that our learners submit only one at a time. We want our learners to develop as they progress through their course, and find this is best achieved when a student embarks on a new module having taken into account tutor feedback from the previous submission.

Kindly note that our tutors are currently supporting multiple learners simultaneously. In order to maintain a balanced workload for them, we have established a policy that restricts learners to submitting a maximum of three units of work for evaluation at any given time.

How long should it take to complete a course?

Depending on the course you have chosen, and the amount of time you can commit, it could take from 6 weeks to 12 months to complete your course. Your end of support date is when you need to have your course copmpleted by in order to be able to be certificated, this is usually 12 months from purchase.

The duration of the course is largely down to you. The beauty of home learning is that it allows you complete flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle and other commitments. You can dedicate as much, or as little, time as you want to your studies - no one will be chasing you for your work or asking why you haven’t submitted an assignment.

We do strongly recommend, though, that before you purchase a course you assess your ability to commit the necessary time to completing the course in a timeframe that will not leave you losing your motivation.

Will I have to sit an examination?

All of our courses are accredited, so you need to show that you have acquired the knowledge to pass the course – this may involve sitting an examination, but it depends on the course you have chosen.

Some courses require you to be continually assessed throughout the course, while others may require an end of course exam or assignment (which may be completed at home) to be submitted to your tutor.

Certain types of qualifications, A-levels and GCSEs for example, do require you to sit invigilated exams at a registered test centre. You will need to organise and pay for the examinations yourself, however full details of what you need to do will be available from the centre who are delivering the qualification.

If in doubt, please email [email protected], NCC can then discuss or put you in touch directly with the course provider.

Will I receive a qualification when I complete the course?

All of our courses are accredited and you will receive a certificate upon successful completion of the course.

For more information about this please see the section of the website that details how awarding bodies work and what the different types of qualifications are: https://www.ncchomelearning.co.uk/awarding-organisations

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes, you can take as many courses as your time allows, but we would recommend that you clearly evaluate how much time you can commit to your courses of study.

The good news is that if your circumstances change you can always take a limited break and come back to your studies to save your paid for support.

If you decide to enrol on more than one course at the same time, speak to our enquiries team for any bundle deals or offers.

Can I study from outside the UK?

Certainly, in most instances, there are no geographical constraints on where you can undertake your studies. However, it's important to note that specific courses may be subject to geographical limitations imposed by the Awarding Organisation, and these restrictions will be clearly stated in the course description.

You just need to be aware that all tutors are based in the UK and work may need to be submitted to them via post, although in most cases e-mail can be used.

Where the course requires that you sit an invigilated exam at a test centre, there are many exam centres outside of the UK. However, we would advise that you check with us before purchasing one of these courses if you want to study from abroad.

What if I’ve chosen the wrong course?

If, after receiving the course, you decide it isn’t the right course for you, you may return the materials within 14 days, provided you have not yet submitted any coursework for evaluation. Please note that you will be responsible for covering the return shipping costs. We will refund your payment, minus a non-refundable deposit of £29. Additionally, you have the option to select an alternative course that better matches your goals and aspirations.

For any help on cancelling your course please email [email protected], we will only deal with cancellation enquiries via email.

What is a Totum Card?

Totum is the new brand for UK student cards and replaces the old NUS student card. NCC students are eligible to sign-up for the Totum card where applicable, giving access to a multitude of retail, food and travel special discounts. For more information, you can visit their website: https://www.totum.com/

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