Top Marine Biology Graduate Programs: School List

Aug 16, 2018

See which schools are top-ranked and offer graduate-level programs in marine biology. Find out what makes these schools special and get information about program options, too.

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Students wishing to study marine biology at the graduate level can choose from a few top institutions across the United States. Learn more about what makes these top master's and doctorate programs stand out. Many universities offer graduate degrees in marine science, but only a handful offer a graduate degree with its sole focus in marine biology. Most top schools, including the College of Charleston, Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, and Nova Southeastern University, are located on major bodies of water to offer students direct access to marine animal and plant life. The non-profit organization Marinebio also lists each selected school as viable in preparing students for a career.

College of Charleston in Charleston, SC

The College of Charleston hosts classes at the Grice Marine Laboratory on James Island in tandem with marine scientists from the Fort Johnson Marine Science Center. The college offers a master's degree in marine biology. Grduates may earn a Ph.D. at another institution or enter the field as a professional marine biologist. Teaching assistant positions and fellowships are available to help support graduate students during their time at the College of Charleston.

Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi is the only university in the country that is located on its own island, which offers marine biology students direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. In conjunction with Texas A&M's main campus at College Station and Texas A&M University at Galveston, Corpus Christi's program is part of an interdisciplinary program which allows graduate marine biology students to benefit from the locations and faculty of all three campuses. A&M-Corpus Christi is one of only three schools to offer both a master's and doctoral degree in marine biology, specifically a Master of Science with or without a thesis and a Ph.D. Once students are admitted into either the master's or doctoral program they must complete a minimum of nine credit hours per semester to remain in the program. A Fisheries & Mariculture program is also available, in addition to a Master's International Fisheries & Mariculture via the Peace Corps program.

Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL

At Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, oceanography graduate programs offer evening, online, and blended courses, with some programs fully online. Nova Southeastern offers a Master of Science and Ph.D. in Marine Biology as well as a Master of Science in Coastal Zone Management or Marine Environmental Sciences. The Master of Science in Marine Biology offers a capstone track that requires 45 credits and a thesis track that requires 40 credits. The Ph.D. program requires at least 90 credits beyond a bachelor's degree and must take at least three years to complete, but can take up to nine years.

Top Marine Biology Graduate Programs

Let's discuss some additional schools with unique marine biology graduate programs.

School Name Distinction Location
University of Oregon Offers marine biology studies directed by the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology Eugene, OR
University of North Carolina - Wilmington Home to a campus that includes shellfish research hatchery Wilmington, NC
University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth Allows graduate students access to a 50ft oceanographic research vessel North Dartmouth, MA
Texas A&M University campus in Galveston has a new science complex that includes a sea life research facility Galveston, TX

A handful of institutions offer graduate degree programs specifically in marine biology, including the College of Charleston and Texas A&M in Corpus Christi. These top graduate programs are distinguished by the programs, facilities, and learning experiences they offer.

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