Distance Learning Marine Biology Training Programs

Learn about distance learning marine biology online training programs, and get an overview of the program types, requirements, course descriptions, and a sample of class offerings for this field.

Essential Information

Some campus-based programs at undergraduate and graduate levels offer enough online classes to be considered hybrid options. This means that some courses are available online through the web, but also that the curriculum features face-to-face sessions, labs, presentations, hands-on practicums and fieldwork at oceans and beaches.

Marine biology courses focus on the ecosystems of the oceans, coasts and estuaries. They involve all plant and animal life, from microorganisms to whales, some of which are targeted at aquacultural production. Courses also incorporate chemistry and plant and animal science.

Students who are looking for a fully online program may consider a bachelor's degree program in biology. These programs are more general than marine biology programs, but they may contain elective courses in the subject, and they can be completed without any on-campus requirements.

Course Topics

Marine Biology

Students learn basic marine biology terms, scientific concepts, facts and theories. Online discussions focus on readings and scientific literature. This course expands on the knowledge of genetics, cells and evolution that students acquired in college-level biology courses.

Marine Chemistry

This course focuses on the chemical composition as it affects marine cultures. This includes the properties of seawater and its role in distributing and cycling inorganic nutrients, organic compounds, water-soluble gases and trace metals.

Marine Biological Resources

Topics include the principles of sea life behavior, especially endangered species. Students learn mathematical models that marine resource managers use in fisheries management. A background in algebra and calculus is required.

Marine Mammals

This course examines how marine mammals live, reproduce, communicate and eat. Other topics include migration patterns, mammalian sonar, marine biodiversity and interactions between ocean mammals and humans.


Colleges and universities typically require students interested in taking distance-learning marine biology courses to have taken at least one biology course. Some postsecondary schools mandate a college-level math course in algebra or calculus and solid writing skills.

Online Learning

Distance learning-based marine biology classes are more often independent, asynchronous modules. Courses are available through online lectures, videos, and slideshows of marine life and ecosystems developed by independent producers, researchers, aquariums, and other sources. Instructors lead online discussions of scientific theories that impact marine ecosystems.

Through online learning systems such as Blackboard, students obtain assignments and lecture notes, take quizzes, submit papers and communicate with instructors. Certain programs may require students to complete a final exam under the supervision of a proctor. Some courses require students to buy software and textbooks.

Career Information

Marine biologists collect samples, conduct research and analyze data. They work for the following:

  • Environmental organizations
  • Conservation organizations
  • Government agencies
  • Fishing companies
  • Aquariums
  • Museums

To summarize, online marine biology training programs may include a few online classes, but much of the instruction is provided on-campus or in the field. A fully online alternative for distance learners is a bachelor's degree in general biology.

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