Best Marine Science and Marine Biology Programs: List of Top Schools

Find out which top schools offer degrees in marine science or biology, fields of study that examine plants and animals in their native habitats or the physical attributes of marine environments. Learn about the academic options at three leading institutions, and check out the table at the end of the resource to see what other schools in the U.S. have programs for marine biologists and scientists.

School Information

In a marine biology or science program, students can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A. or A.B.), Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Some universities may offer a combined study program of the two fields. The three schools highlighted below include a national university, a private college and a public sea-grant college. Each of the three schools offers specialized undergraduate programs in biology or marine science; students at Duke University can pursue a doctoral degree.

1. Duke University in Durham North Carolina

School Highlight: Biology Department has more than 45 research laboratories.

In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked Duke University 8th among national universities. The university's Biology Department offers a B.S. and an A.B. in Biology with a specialization in marine biology. Students in both programs take courses in math, chemistry and ecology, as well as electives in microbiology or other related subjects.

The Duke Department of Marine Science and Conservation offers a Ph.D. with a concentration in marine biology or marine conservation biology and policy. Students in the marine conservation biology and policy track receive training in natural and social sciences. Both doctoral tracks place a program emphasis on research.

2. Boston University in Boston, MA

School Highlight: Marine Science Association offers lectures and social opportunities for marine science students.

Boston University (BU) is a private college that made The Princeton Review's edition of 'The Best 376 Colleges' in 2012. BU's College of Arts and Sciences offers a B.A. in Marine Science. Once enrolled, students take courses in marine geology and biology and complete a chemistry, physics and statistics core. They also participate in a mandatory, 4-course marine semester, through which they can study the sensory biology and tropical oceanography of the Caribbean Sea. Students who pursue the minor in marine science take a total of five courses in marine biology, offered through the Department of Biology, Department of Environment and Earth Sciences and Department of Geography.

3. The University of Maine in Orono, ME

School Highlight: Honors College is among the oldest in the U.S.

The University of Maine (UM) is a designated sea-grant college that U.S. News & World Report ranked 97th among top public schools for 2014. UM's School of Marine Sciences offers a B.S. in Marine Science with a specialization in marine biology, aquaculture or physical ocean sciences. During their junior or senior year, students can participate in a semester-by-the sea residential program at the Darling Marine Center. Students explore the habitats of the Gulf of Maine while learning about marine ecology and the biology of marine invertebrates.

Top Marine Science and Marine Biology Schools

School Name Distinction Location
Eckerd College Marine science program includes hands-on courses St. Petersburg, FL
Oregon State University Majors and minors in marine biology available Corvallis, OR
University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Arts and Sciences offers a marine biology laboratory course Hilo, HI
University of New England Marine sciences program prepares students for positions in education and governmental laboratories Biddeford, ME
University of New Hampshire Marine program provides undergraduate internship opportunities Durham, NH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Marine sciences graduate program offers six areas of specialization Chapel Hill, NC
University of Tampa Has a 45-foot research vessel for the study of marine ecosystems Tampa, FL

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