Marine Biology Degrees and Courses

Marine biology focuses on the wildlife and habitats of ocean environments. Learn about available degree programs, how to choose one that will work for you, potential coursework and online options. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

You can take courses in marine biology to prepare for a career as a technician or as a biologist. Programs typically require that you complete field work, so you should choose a school that has access to coastal waterways to gain first-hand experience of marine life.

Degrees Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology, Master of Science in Marine Biology, Master of Science in Marine Science with a concentration in Marine Biology, Ph.D. in Marine Biology, Ph.D. in Marine Science
Certificates Marine Science Technician Certificate, Biological Sciences Certificate with a concentration in Marine Science
Courses Corals and coral reefs, phycology, marine botany, molecular ecology, genetics, comparative anatomy and physiology, marine ecosystems, ocean law, biostatistics

What Undergraduate Degrees are Available in Marine Biology?

Most undergraduate programs focus on the fundamentals of biology, chemistry and mathematics in addition to specific topics in the marine sciences or oceanography. Additional coursework in a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology degree program might include these topics:

  • Academic writing
  • Experimental design
  • Cross-cultural perspectives
  • Tropical marine vertebrates
  • Tropical marine vegetation
  • Beach ecology
  • Global issues
  • Biochemistry
  • Animal behavior
  • Zoology
  • Introduction to oceanography
  • Environmental science
  • Cell biology

What About Graduate Degree Programs?

Graduate programs, on the other hand, may require you to specialize in an area within marine biology, such as marine ecology, botany or physical oceanography. Master's degree programs tend to take 2 to 3 years of full- or part-time study to complete, which may include time spent on an original research thesis. Marine biology Ph.D. programs often have the same initial course requirements as those for the master's degree, but Ph.D. tracks may require a minimum of 5 years and candidates must complete an original dissertation.

How Can I Choose a Degree Program?

When looking for a marine biology program, you may want to select one that offers courses and employs faculty that specializes in your areas of interest. In addition to these academic classes, some programs also offer marine biology internships or field-study courses that may provide useful hands-on or career experience.

You may also want to base your choice on which program will give you access to nearby natural habitats, research aquariums or lab facilities that will help you in your study. A university located near natural marine ecosystems, for example, may provide you with many opportunities for original research.

What Will I Study?

Marine biology courses involve academic study in the natural and environmental sciences along with research and lab work. Marine science courses are typically divided into four categories: biological, chemical, geological and physical oceanography. Other courses in areas, such as environmental policy or aquatic pollution may also be offered.

Can I Earn My Degree Online?

While there are limited options for marine biology degrees offered entirely through online study, select schools do have relevant degree programs that can be completed at least partially through distance learning.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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