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

Dec 19, 2019

Some of the best marine biology colleges are located in states that are near the ocean, such as Oregon, Florida, and Maine. Explore a few of the best marine biology programs and learn what makes them unique.

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Best Marine Biology Colleges

Schools across the country offer bachelor's degree programs in marine biology and marine science, but there are very few if any online marine biology schools available, due to the hands-on nature of the field. Some of the best marine biology colleges provide students with a wide range of hands-on learning experiences, quality academic coursework and resources, and school reputation/prestige. Here is a list of some of the top marine biology schools in the United States:

  • California State University Monterey Bay
  • Stony Brook University
  • University of Washington
  • University of Oregon
  • University of New England
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • Oregon State University
  • Eckerd College
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of New Hampshire

Best Marine Biology Programs

Bachelor's degree programs in marine science or marine biology are usually offered as Bachelor of Science (BS) degrees and include hands-on learning and research experiences in labs and outdoors in marine environments. Some marine biology programs may be considered the best for the quality resources and experiences they offer, the availability of different concentrations, and more. Here we highlight a few of the best marine science and marine biology schools and what makes their undergraduate programs stand out.

University of Washington

The University of Washington in Seattle, WA, offers a BS in Marine Biology. This program covers topics in marine physiology, marine ecology, conservation, and more. Towards the end of the program students can choose from advanced electives offered in related departments, like the School of Oceanography and the School of Aquatic and Fishery Science. Students in the major are required to complete a field course or research experience at the university's Friday Harbor Labs or other field site.

University of New England

The University of New England in Biddeford, ME, offers a BS in Marine Sciences with a track in marine biology or oceanography. The school also offers an honors program and a 4+1 BS/Master of Science (MS) option to allow students to earn their bachelor's and master's in 5 years. The program offers unique courses in areas like polar biology, marine mammal policy, and underwater robotics, as well as hands-on experiences at the university's own private island and Marine Science Center. Students in the program may also participate in student-centered education communities and research opportunities, using school resources like flow-through seawater teaching labs and research vessels.

Eckerd College

Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, has a bachelor's degree program in marine science with available specializations in marine biology, marine geophysics, marine chemistry, or marine geology. Students receive hands-on training in the field on Tampa Bay in the school's own water vessels. The program also offers a wide range of unique research opportunities, including the Eckerd College Dolphin Project. Students may also pursue internship, service learning, and study abroad opportunities while in the program.

Best Marine Science Graduate Programs

Some students may wish to pursue further study in the field of marine science beyond their bachelor's degree. Graduate programs in marine science can include a wide range of topics, including marine conservation programs, marine biology, and marine science. Some of the best marine science graduate programs may be available at top schools for undergraduate programs, as well as other schools that offer top academic and research opportunities in the field. A few of these top graduate programs are offered at schools like:

  • University of California-San Diego
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of New England
  • Stony Brook University
  • Duke University
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