Marine Biology Graduate Schools with Program Information

Marine biology programs instruct students in the complexities of marine ecosystems, marine organisms and these organisms' interactions within 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. Generally, marine biology schools are located near a body of water to provide students with easy access to the subjects studied in the field, but this is not always the case. 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.

Other considerations for a potential student of marine biology:

  • Some institutions own boat fleets that students can use for exploration, aquariums for observation or offer dive programs for interactive study.
  • Some marine biology graduate schools offer financial incentives stipends and teaching opportunities to graduate students.
  • Students may want to investigate a school's associations with marine laboratories and local aquariums, which may lead to internship opportunities.

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

Top 10 Biology Schools with Marine Science Programs

College/University Institution Type
Harvard University 4-year, Private
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 4-year, Private
Stanford University 4-year, Private
University of California--Berkeley 4-year, Public
California Institute of Technology 4-year, Private
University of California--San Francisco 4-year, Public
Princeton University 4-year, Private
Cornell University 4-year, Private
Duke University 4-year, Private
Colombia University 4-year, Private

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