Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges

Top Marine Biology Colleges

Marine Biology Colleges: Marine biology is a branch of biology that deals with the scientific study of organisms that inhabit oceans and other salt waters, and their interaction with their physical environment. Basically, this field is the application of different areas of biology as it requires the understanding of the organisms themselves as well as their habitats, interactions, and adaptations.


In the United States alone, there are a lot of schools that offer degree programs in marine biology. According to the US Department of Labor, employment rates and career opportunities for graduates of marine biology and marine sciences are expected to rise.

So if you are planning on becoming a marine biologist but torn from choosing the best school, congratulations! You have come to the right place. Listed below are the top 10 best marine biology colleges and universities that offer marine science courses.

Best Marine Biology Colleges

1. Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)

University of Duke - BiologyFounded in 1838, Duke University is a private institution that belongs to one of the top U.S. schools that offer an undergraduate degree in biology with a concentration in marine biology.

  • This university boasts more than 45 research laboratories that help their students excel in the field of marine biology research.
  • Aside from undergraduate programs, this university also offers both a Master’s degree and a Doctorate degree focusing on marine or marine conservation biology. Basically, students enrolled in such programs are trained in natural and social sciences.
  • This university has pioneered the use of fossilized fecal matter (called coprolites) in the reconstruction of the ideas about primitive ecosystems.

Further Reading: Duke University – Marine Biology

2. Boston University (Boston, Massachusetts)

Boston UniversityThe College of Arts and Sciences at the Boston University offers a degree program focusing on marine biology. Referred to as BUMP (Boston University Marine Program), the degree program involves a great deal of research on biomimicry, ocean exploration, marine conservation, and functional genomics.

  • Interestingly, Boston University offers a so-called “Marine Semester” that involves the in-depth study of marine biology courses.
  • Unlike other schools, there are no Master’s degree and Doctorate degree programs offered in this school. However, students can still pursue such degrees in the departments of Biology and Earth & Environment.

Further Reading: Boston University – Marine Biology

3. The University of Maine (Orono, Maine)

University of MaineWith the School of Marine Science as the university’s center of excellence in all aspects of the field, it is truly undeniable why the University of Maine made it to this list.

  • Powered with more than 30 professors specializing in marine sciences, the University of Maine represents the largest concentrations of experts in the state and is even considered as one of the best programs in the U.S.
  • This university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of Marine Science (with a concentration in marine biology and physical science) and Marine biology (majoring in oceanography), respectively.

Further Reading: University of Maine – Marine Biology

4. Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida)

Eckerd CollegeBeing one of the top schools that offer a degree in marine biology, Eckerd College prides out its unique curriculum with four fields of specialization: marine biology, marine geology, marine geophysics, and marine chemistry.

  • Aside from the said fields, the school also offers various courses, research opportunities, and grants, and study abroad grants.
  • Furthermore, the school is located in a strategic location (near the Gulf of Mexico). This ideal location allows the students to have a comprehensive hands-on experience of marine science.

Further Reading: Eckerd College – Marine Science

5. Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon)

Oregon State UniversityThe next in this list is the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University. The marine biology course offered by this school is designed to give students, from non-biology majors, biology and marine science undergraduate and graduate students, a multi-disciplinary education about marine biology and ecology as well as courses in other fields.

  • The Hatfield Marine Center offers three terms: in spring, the school offers marine biology; in summer, marine and environmental studies; and in the fall, coastal ecology and resource management.

Further Reading: Oregon State University – Marine Biology

6. University of Hawaii at Hilo (Hilo, Hawaii)

University of HawaiiFounded in 1941 as the Hawaii Vocational College, UH Hilo is a public co-ed institution and is one of the ten branches of the University of Hawaii educational system.

  • In the field of marine science, the school offers both a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) and B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degrees. Every year the school varies its course offerings, but they include the following: marine organisms, coral reef ecosystem, oceanography, and techniques in marine monitoring.
  • Recently, the Western Association of Summer Session gave the Excellence of Program Award to the Marine Science Summer Program of UH Hilo. The said association represents more than 80 academic institutions in the western U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Further Reading: University of Hawaii – Marine Science

7. University of New England (Biddeford, Maine)

University of New EnglandThe Department of Marine Sciences at the University of New England (Maine) also garnered a spot in this list.

  • The marine science program of the school is designed to provide the students with a well-rounded education in academics and research. The program is built along with the increasing need for practical uses of marine science.
  • The school boasts its state-of-the-art research facilities and laboratories that will train students not only in the core knowledge of marine science but its conservation as well.
  • According to UNE, the students “don’t just learn marine science – they do marine science“.

Further Reading: University of New England – Marine Biology

8. University of New Hampshire (Durham, New Hampshire)

University of New HampshireThe University of New Hampshire is a public university founded in 1866. The university offers marine science courses under the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, which is its first “interdisciplinary school“.

  • As its name suggests, the school aims to provide students interdisciplinary training in marine science and ocean engineering. With that, students are expected to contribute and be involved in scientific policies and the management of marine resources.
  • The school also has various research facilities and laboratories to enhance the student’s marine experience.

Further Reading: University of New Hampshire – Marine Biology

9. University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)

University of North CarolinaThe next university on this list is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The university’s Department of Marine Sciences (MASC) offers degree programs that center on the study of marine sciences.

  • While the school specializes in its graduate programs, it also offers introductory courses to students pursuing undergraduate programs.
  • To encourage more students to enroll in the program, the school funds Teaching Assistantships for graduate students in their first years. Aside from that, the school also offers partial funding for staff that assists students.

Further Reading: University of North Carolina – Marine Biology

10. University of Tampa (Tampa, Florida)

University of TampaFounded in 1931, the University of Tampa is a private co-ed university located in Tampa, Florida.

  • Among all degree programs, the Marine Science Biology degree is one of the defining and most prominent degrees that make the Department of Biology of the university stand out. This is because nearly half of the faculty biology studies marine organisms and the marine ecosystem.
  • The school is also located near Tampa Bay and thus allows easy and direct access for students, faculty, and researchers.

Further Reading: University of Tampa – Marine Science

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when choosing a marine biology college?

When choosing a marine biology college, consider the strength of the faculty in marine sciences, the research opportunities available, facilities such as laboratories and access to marine environments, and the types of marine biology degree programs the school offers. Additionally, you may want to look at the success rate of graduates in finding jobs in marine biology-related fields.

Which universities in the USA offer the best degrees in marine biology?

The following is our list of top universities for marine biology: University of California (several campuses, including San Diego and Santa Cruz), University of Washington, University of Miami, Stony Brook University (State University of New York), California State University (various campuses), University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Tampa, University of South Florida, Nova Southeastern University, University of Southern Mississippi, and University of Connecticut.

Are there colleges with marine biology programs focusing on oceanography?

Yes, many institutions combine marine biology and oceanography to give students a comprehensive understanding of marine life and the marine environment. Notable examples include the University of Washington, the University of Miami, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego.

Can I specialize in a concentration in marine biology, such as marine ecology or environmental science, at these colleges?

Absolutely. Many listed colleges offer concentration areas within their marine biology program to help students specialize in their fields of interest, such as Marine Ecology, fishery sciences, oceanographic research, and environmental science. It’s best to contact the colleges directly to learn more about specific concentrations.

How important are hands-on research opportunities in marine biology education?

Hands-on research opportunities are crucial in marine biology education. They allow students to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world situations, work closely with faculty on ongoing research projects, and gain experience highly valued by employers. California State University, the University of South Florida, and the University of Alaska offer robust research programs.

Can undergraduate students participate in marine biology research projects?

Yes, many marine biology colleges encourage undergraduates to participate in research projects. Participation can range from assisting faculty in their research to supervising independent projects. This involvement helps students gain practical experience and can be pivotal for those looking to pursue graduate studies in marine sciences.

How do I apply to these marine biology colleges?

The application process varies by school, but generally, you’ll need to complete an application form through either the Common App or the school’s website and submit your high school transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and letters of recommendation. It’s best to open directly to each school’s marine biology program webpage for specific requirements and deadlines or contact their admissions office.

Is financial aid available for students pursuing degrees in marine biology?

Yes, financial aid is widely available for students pursuing degrees in marine biology. Options include scholarships, Grants, work-study programs, and student loans. Some schools and MarineBio conservation societies also offer scholarships for marine biology students. Prospective students should contact each college’s financial aid office directly to learn about available assistance.

How can I contact the marine biology departments of these universities for more information?

To contact the marine biology departments of these universities, visit their official websites and look for contact information specific to the marine biology or marine science departments. Some universities may offer online inquiry forms, while others list email addresses and phone numbers for direct communication with department representatives.

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago
BioExplorer.net. (2024, April 12). Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/best-marine-biology-colleges.html/.
BioExplorer.net. "Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges" Bio Explorer, 12 April 2024, https://www.bioexplorer.net/best-marine-biology-colleges.html/.
BioExplorer.net. "Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges" Bio Explorer, April 12 2024. https://www.bioexplorer.net/best-marine-biology-colleges.html/.

After seeing all the best marine biology colleges, have you chosen your school?

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago
BioExplorer.net. (2024, April 12). Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges. Bio Explorer. https://www.bioexplorer.net/best-marine-biology-colleges.html/.
BioExplorer.net. "Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges" Bio Explorer, 12 April 2024, https://www.bioexplorer.net/best-marine-biology-colleges.html/.
BioExplorer.net. "Top 10 Best Marine Biology Colleges" Bio Explorer, April 12 2024. https://www.bioexplorer.net/best-marine-biology-colleges.html/.