What Can I Do with a Marine Biology Degree?

Marine biology is the study of saltwater organisms. If you've received a master's degree in marine biology, you are eligible to hold a career in one of the many subcategories of the marine biology field. A bachelor's degree is considered sufficient education to work in some entry-level positions and as an aquarist. Continue reading for more details about studying marine biology and entering a career in the field. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Marine Biology Defined

Marine biology involves studying and protecting marine organisms and their environments. You may compare the behavior of fish population in its natural environment to that in a laboratory environment. Or, you might collect environmental samples in the field and carry out laboratory research to learn about ocean pollution or the growth process for various types of algae. Some marine biologists focus on conservation efforts and manage marine wildlife preserves.

Marine biology is a very broad category that encompasses many occupations and subcategories. Though marine biologists typically work with many different types of marine microbes, plants and animals, they also usually select an area of specialization, such as a particular species or ecosystem, on which to focus their research.

Important Facts About Marine Biology

Median Salary (2019) $51,480 for all marine biologists
Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% for all zoologists and wildlife biologists
Key Skills Physical stamina and research, communication, and observational skills
Work Environment Typical work weeks, though weekends are sometimes required
Similar Occupations Microbiologist, Conservation Scientist, Forester, Agricultural and Food Scientist

Sources: PayScale.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Degree Programs and Careers

Receiving a master's degree or Ph.D. in marine biology is the most common way for you to become a professional marine biologist, although a few entry-level jobs might require only a bachelor's degree. Several job positions that are held by marine biologists include environmental consultant, wildlife conservationist, ichthyologist, fishery manager, marine biochemist and aquatic animal behaviorist. Continue reading for details about two occupations:


If you aspire to care for fish and other underwater creatures at an aquarium, a career as an aquarist may be right for you. As an aquarist, you would be responsible for feeding animals and observing them for any indication of illness or injury. You would also be in charge of keeping the water and tanks clean, presentable and at the right temperature. Sometimes, aquarists also have marine mammal training duties. You can find a job as an aquarist if you hold a bachelor's degree in marine biology, although you typically also need to be a certified diver.


If you want to become an oceanographer, you may need to receive training in mathematics and chemistry along with your marine biology education. As an oceanographer, you'd study the chemical balances and other physical components of the ocean, such as the circulation of ocean water. Specialized branches in oceanography include biological, geological, chemical and physical oceanography. Oceanographers tend to study the ocean as a whole, instead of just the animals living there, and biological oceanographers may study relationships among marine creatures, examine unique marine life adaptations or review how ocean contamination affects marine species.

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.

Popular Schools

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Alabama: Birmingham
    • Tennessee: Birmingham, Cookeville, Nashville
  • University of Georgia

    Campus Locations:

    • Georgia: Athens
  • The University of Alabama

    Campus Locations:

    • Alabama: Tuscaloosa
  • University of Connecticut

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: Storrs
  • Boston University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Boston
  • Florida State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Tallahassee