Schools with Marine Biology Programs

Marine biology deals with the observation, study, management and protection of all forms of ocean life, including animals, plants and microbes. Get an overview of degree programs, areas of specialization and graduation requirements. Learn about employment and continued education options after completing a degree program. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Marine biology programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, with most programs offering hands-on field experience and internships. See what kind of schools offer marine biology programs and how to select one.

Can I Pursue Marine Biology at a Landlocked School?

Schools situated near the seashore are appropriate places for you to study marine biology. Their location alone, with ready access to the ocean, makes it easier for you to complete required field courses. However, some so-called landlocked schools also offer viable programs in the field. These schools have a partnership or collaborative agreement with an approved field-laboratory facility or biological field station. You meet practicum and field course requirements at these facilities. Depending on school policy, these off-campus components may take place over an entire semester or in a series of summer programs.

How Do I Choose a School?

The National Marine Educators Association provides a link to the Bridge Ocean Education Resource Center, which offers an online list of recommended colleges and universities that provide programs in different aspects of marine education, including marine biology. You can also access the database at the National Center for Educational Statistics. You'll find a listing of over 90 public and private postsecondary schools that offer programs in marine biology or biological oceanography.

What Degrees Do Schools Offer?

Online courses in marine biology are not widespread. Entire online programs are non-existent. Some schools offer stand-alone courses that you can pursue on campus or online. Generally, these are introductory courses that give you an overview of the subject area and may often fulfill a basic or core requirement.

Though somewhat rare, there are community colleges where you might earn an associate's degree in marine science or marine biology. After completing programs containing courses in chemistry and biology, as well as practicums in oceanographic research and field procedures, some students enter the work force as research assistants or technicians. Others apply the academic credits earned toward a bachelor's degree.

Schools that offer you a chance to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Marine Biology are fairly common. In addition to class room work, most B.S. programs consist of a large amount of field work and outdoor labs. Schools may give you the opportunity to specialize in an area such as marine organisms, marine biotechnology, coastal resource management, aquaculture or marine pollution. Often, schools have you engage in research projects starting during your freshman year. Internships and foreign study components are common in bachelor's degree programs.

Schools Offering Associate Degrees in Marine Biology

Marine biology programs at the associate's degree level typically exist in areas of the country near the ocean. Here are a few to consider:

  • Daytona State College offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • Seminole State College of Florida offers an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • Southern Maine Community College offers an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program in Marine Science

Schools Offering Bachelor Degrees in Marine Biology

Bachelor's degree programs in marine biology are widely available. The following is a list of programs to help you decide:

  • Millersville University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • Duke University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • The University of West Florida offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree program in Marine Biology

Where Can an Undergraduate Degree Take Me?

Typically, programs leading to a Master of Science in Marine Biology can prepare you for further graduate study, management of marine or coastal resources, teaching at the secondary school level, or specialized research. Your undergraduate degree should ideally be in biology, oceanography or a related subject. A school may offer you a stipend as a teaching or research assistant.

Common courses in a master's program can include molecular biology, evolutionary biology, ecology, physiology and biological oceanography. Depending on the school, you may have the option of completing a master's thesis, a capstone review paper or both in different areas of marine biology. Though you'll receive broader training, participation in more than one option will require you to complete additional coursework. Internships at the master's level are not uncommon.

In order to qualify for a Ph.D. program, most schools require you to hold a master's degree in an area such as biology, marine biology or biological oceanography. Primarily a research degree, a doctorate in marine biology can prepare you for employment as a researcher in academia, government or private sector laboratories, as well as for a faculty position at a university. Earning a Ph.D. gives you considerably more freedom than a master's degree, allowing you to conduct independent research and supervise projects.

Schools offering Master Degrees in Marine Biology

There are many options for studying marine biology at the master's degree level. Students can choose from Master of Science or Master of Art degree programs:

  • The University of Hawaii offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • Boston University offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • The University of North Carolina-Wilmington offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Marine Biology

Schools offering Doctorate Degrees in Marine Biology

Studies at the doctorate level in marine biology are available all around the country. Consider studying in Alaska, Oregon, Florida or elsewhere:

  • The University of Oregon offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Biology with research specialties including Biological Oceanography, Deep-sea Biology, Ecology, and Marine Invertebrates
  • Nova Southeastern University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Marine Biology
  • The University of Alaska-Fairbanks offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree program in Marine Biology

There are a number of options for students to study marine biology at the undergraduate and graduate level, depending on your career goals. With a little research on your part, you're sure to find a proper fit for your goals and passions in the field.

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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  • The George Washington University

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  • Indiana Wesleyan University

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  • CDI College

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    • Anywhere: Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey
  • The University of Alabama

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    • Georgia: Athens
  • University of Connecticut

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    • Connecticut: Storrs