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Top Marine Biology Graduate Programs: School List

See which schools are top-ranked and offer graduate-level programs in marine biology. Find out what makes these schools special and get information about program options, too.

School Overviews

Many universities offer graduate degrees in marine science, but only a handful offer a graduate degree with its sole focus in marine biology. Marine biology is the study of ocean animals and plants and their relationships. Most schools offering graduate study in marine biology, including the College of Charleston and Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, are located on major bodies of water to offer marine biology students direct access to marine animal and plant life. While one school offers a master's degree program in the field, there's another school that offers both master's and doctoral degree programs.

Schools with the Top Marine Biology Graduate Programs

1. College of Charleston in Charleston, SC

The College of Charleston, ranked tenth in U.S. News and World Report's 2010 review of master's universities in the South, offers a master's degree program in marine biology; students who complete the M.S. program are able to continue to their Ph.D. at another institution or enter the field as a professional marine biologist. The marine biology degree program does not offer areas of specialization, but stresses physiology and cell biology, ecology, population biology, toxicology and marine genomics throughout the curriculum. By the end of graduate study, marine biology students will complete a minimum of 30 hours, and a degree will be awarded after the passage of a comprehensive exam and the completion, presentation and defense of a thesis. Teaching assistant positions and fellowships are available to help support graduate students during their time at the College of Charleston.

2. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, TX

Located on its own island, A&M-Corpus Christi offers marine biology students direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, bays and estuaries. In conjunction with Texas A&M's main campus at College Station, a university nationally ranked 61st according U.S. News and World Report's 2010 review, and Texas A&M University at Galveston, Corpus Christi's program is part of an interdisciplinary program which allows graduate marine biology students to benefit from the locations and faculty of all three campuses. A&M-Corpus Christi is one of only three schools to offer both a master's and doctoral degree in marine biology, specifically a Master of Science with or without a thesis and a Ph.D. Once students are admitted into either the master's or doctoral program they must complete a minimum of nine credit hours per semester to remain in the program.

List of Schools with Good Marine Biology Graduate Programs

School Name Distinction Location
Nova Southeastern University Oceanography graduate programs offer evening, online and blended courses and some programs all-online Fort Lauderdale, FL
University of Oregon Marine biology studies directed by the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology Eugene, OR
University of North Carolina-Wilmington Campus includes shellfish research hatchery, opened in 2010 Wilmington, NC
College of Charleston Graduate students can apply for a $22,000 fellowship in marine genomics Charleston, SC
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth Graduate students have access to a 50ft oceanographic research vessel North Dartmouth, MA
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Padre Island National Seashore 15 minutes away from campus Corpus Christi, TX
Texas A&M University at Galveston Campus has a new science complex that includes a sea life research facility Galveston, TX

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