Marine Biology Graduate Schools with Program Information

Marine biology is the study of marine ecosystems, marine organisms and these organisms' interactions with other species and the environment. A graduate degree program in marine biology can prepare a student to conduct research or lab work for the government, engage in conservation or natural resource management work or teach undergraduate students.

How to select a Marine Biology Graduate School

Graduate programs in marine biology can be found at 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • School location
  • Hands-on experience opportunities
  • Financial aid opportunities
  • Internship opportunities

School Location

When selecting a school to pursue a graduate degree in marine biology, students might first wish to consider the college's proximity to marine environments. Generally, marine biology schools are located near a body of water to provide students with easy access to the subjects studied in the field. A school not located near an ocean may not offer the same research opportunities as a school located near one, which can make completing curriculum research requirements more difficult.

Hands-On Experience Opportunities

Students may also consider the amount of hands-on study of marine life included in a school's program. Some institutions own boat fleets that students can use for exploration, aquariums for observation or offer dive programs for interactive study. A program that offers extensive amounts of hands-on activities may better prepare students to work in the field or begin a research career after graduation.

Financial Aid Opportunities

Some marine biology graduate schools offer financial incentives stipends and teaching opportunities to graduate students. Students may want to explore a school's available financial aid to reduce the cost of their education.

Internship Opportunities

Finally, students may want to investigate a school's associations with marine laboratories and local aquariums. These associations may lead to internship opportunities that could lead to employment upon graduation. Internships may also make graduates more desirable to prospective employers.

Marine Biology Graduate Program Information

Master's Degree Programs

Master's degree programs in marine biology focus on the collection, care and feeding of live marine organisms. These programs tend to focus on research, and students in them are expected to write a thesis exploring a new area of marine biology based on supporting laboratory work and analysis.

Coursework in these programs covers topics such as:

  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Evolution and biodiversity
  • Proteomics
  • Marine microbial ecology
  • Biological oceanography

A master's degree curriculum may also include classes in SNP analysis, marine chemistry, toxicology and pharmacology, metagenomics and microarray technology.

Doctoral Degree Programs

Doctoral degree programs are often geared towards research and policy studies. They prepare graduates for careers in government, academia and research laboratory work. The curriculum may include approximately 80 graduate-level credit hours of study. A significant amount of work in these programs revolves around conceptualizing and producing a dissertation. Students may also need to complete a teaching experience. Doctoral courses may include:

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology
  • Evolution and biodiversity

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