Graduate programs in marine biology can be found at 4-year colleges and universities. Many marine biology schools are located near a body of water or affiliated with a marine biology institution, which can be provide students with practical learning opportunities.
Top Biology Schools with Marine Science Programs
The schools listed below were included in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 rankings of the top graduate biological sciences programs in the country:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Graduate Tuition Rates (2016-2017)*|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology||Cambridge, MA||4-year, Private||Doctorate||$48,140|
|Stanford University||Stanford, CA||4-year, Private||Master's, Doctorate||$47,331 for 11-18 units, $30,780 for 8-10 units|
|University of California-Berkeley||Berkeley, CA||4-year, Public||Ph.D.||$13,510 (includes fees)|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ||4-year, Private||Doctorate||$45,320|
|Duke University||Durham, NC||4-year, Private||Doctorate||$37, 250|
Sources: *School websites
Graduate School Selection Criteria
The hands-on nature of a marine biology degree means that there are some practical considerations for students when picking the right school and program:
- Students might first wish to consider a college's proximity to marine environments, since schools located near a body of water can provide them with easy access to the subjects studied in the field.
- Some institutions own boat fleets that students can use for exploration and aquariums for observation; they might also offer dive programs for interactive study.
- Some marine biology graduate schools offer financial incentives, stipends and teaching opportunities to graduate students.
- Some schools have links and associations with marine laboratories and local aquariums, which may improve students' internship opportunities.
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. 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.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a marine biology graduate program, which can be found at a wide range of private and public schools. Students may want to seek out schools that have strong connections with marine science institutions and are located relatively close to large bodies of water.