Marine Science Colleges and Programs

Read about the typical coursework for undergraduate and graduate degree programs in marine science. Get info on choosing a college for your marine science education, such as looking into schools located on the coast. Learn what careers you could pursue with a degree in marine science. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Colleges and universities across the United States offer undergraduate and graduate training programs in marine science. Because these programs are science-intensive, most colleges insist that program applicants have strong backgrounds in biology, chemistry, and physics.

Colleges Colleges and universities, usually located near the coast
Programs Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees
Future Career Options Exploration diver, marine science technician, marine ecologist, professor

What Will I Learn in an Undergraduate Program?

Undergraduate programs in this field commonly award a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science. These degree programs include coursework in marine policy, oceanography, resource management, and geology. Hands-on experiences allow you to study the ecology of an estuary, examine federal coastal documentation, and dissect an oyster.

You might specialize in aquacultural methods for raising finfish and shellfish species. Coursework includes management concepts, marketing, nutrition, food processing, and aquatic life forms. A Bachelor of Arts in Marine Studies might also be available. These course topics may be covered:

  • Physical geology
  • Statistics
  • Physical geography
  • International politics
  • Anthropology

What About Master's Degree Programs?

Students in a marine science master's degree program take on advanced topics in ecosystem dynamics, fluorescence data analysis, paleoceanography, fluid dynamics, and biogeochemistry. Some programs may allow you to focus on areas such as biological or chemical oceanography, marine policy, or marine resource assessment. Many Master of Science in Marine Science degree programs exist. Students can choose from various concentrations such as biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, physical oceanography, and marine resource assessment.

What Doctoral Programs Are Available?

A marine biology doctoral degree will provide you with research and teaching experience in one of these fields. While completing coursework, you will be expected to find an original research area and solve the problems pertaining to it. There are various Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Science degree programs available.

Can I Study Marine Science Online?

Most programs are typically offered on campus. Related online undergraduate degrees in oceanography or fisheries and wildlife science may be available, but these programs are rare. Schools with marine science programs are typically located along the coast. Many provide students with opportunities to conduct fieldwork aboard research vessels or at aquacultural stations.

What Will These Programs Prepare Me For?

The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SFSC) states that a bachelor's or master's degree is usually required for entry-level research positions in the marine science field ( Other employment possibilities for graduates of bachelor's degree programs include jobs as exploration divers and marine science technicians, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and New Hampshire Sea Grant Program ( Master's degree program graduates have also worked as fisheries biologists, marine ecologists, and extension agents.

A Ph.D. program can prepare you to help set policy for government agencies, teach college students, or work in the industry as a manager. You may also conduct independent research in marine biology and oceanography with this degree, according to the SFSC.

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:
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