The Top 15 Marine Biology Colleges in the US

Perhaps you’ve just begun to pursue your ambition of learning more about the diverse range of life forms that inhabit the ocean, or perhaps you’ve always had a passion for marine biology.

Regardless of how your desire to pursue a career in marine biology came to be, it is now time to start examining the next steps you may take to realize your goals by looking at some of the top marine biology programs in the country!

In this article, you will get to see the top 15 Marine Biology Colleges and more information about them.

The top (15) Marine Biology Colleges in the US

1. Duke University – B.S. Biology with Marine Science Concentration

The Marine Biology program at Duke University, a sizable private college in Durham, North Carolina, is the best of the best.

A top-notch biology degree with a marine biology concentration is available from the university. However, what makes Duke’s curriculum particularly unique is that the university does not regard marine biology as a distinct field from general biology. This allows students to specialize in Marine studies while also gaining the most biology knowledge and experience feasible.

Some of the courses in marine biology provided at Duke:

Marine Ecology Biology and Sea Turtle Conservation

Sojourn in Singapore: Urban Tropical Ecology of Marine Comparative Physiology “study abroad”.

In addition, Duke requires that before graduating, students acquire considerable research and laboratory experience.

They will therefore have both a textbook and practical understanding of the course by the time they start looking for a job.

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2. Boston University – BA in Marine Science

Stony Brook University is a well-known STEM college and a medium-sized public university in Stony Brook (Long Island), New York. It has a particularly strong marine science program.

Stony Brook’s program, like Boston University’s, is centered on the marine sciences but offers four subfields of specialization: biological oceanography, experimental marine biology, marine pollution, and diseases of aquatic organisms. Before enrolling in higher division electives, students should take foundational courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.

At Stony Brook University, some notable marine science courses include:

Ocean Biogeochemistry

Adaptive Oceanography

Thanks to the university’s partnerships with the New England Aquarium, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and the University of Belize, students have access to a wide range of research opportunities.

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3. Stony Brook University – B.S in Marine Sciences

Stony Brook University is a well-known STEM college and a medium-sized public university in Stony Brook (Long Island), New York. It has a particularly strong marine science program.

Stony Brook’s program, like Boston University’s, is centered on the marine sciences but offers four subfields of specialization: biological oceanography, experimental marine biology, marine pollution, and diseases of aquatic organisms. Before enrolling in higher division electives, students should take foundational courses in biology, chemistry, and physics.

At Stony Brook University, some notable marine science courses include:

Biological Oceanography

Experimental Marine Biology

Marine Pollution

Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Students at Stony Brook University have excellent chances for practical training and research in the field of marine sciences thanks to the university’s cutting-edge lab facilities and proximity to both the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean beaches. For citizens of New York State, Stony Brook is very cost-effective because it is a public university.

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4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – B.An in Biology with a Minor in Marine Sciences

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, there is a sizable public university called the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There is no marine science major at UNC. The institution’s top-ranked Biology program is where it belongs.

Students interested in studying marine sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill are recommended to declare a general Biology major (123 credit hours), as marine biology falls under the broad category of biology. They can then decide on a minor in marine sciences that require a minimum of 12 credits.

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The following marine science programs are available at UNC-Chapel Hill:

Barrier Island Ecology and Geology

Modeling of Marine and Earth Systems

Marine Phytoplankton

Marine Invertebrate Biology

In addition, UNC is home to the Institute of Marine Sciences and the Aquarium Research Center, two renowned research facilities with a focus on marine sciences that provide students with some of the greatest hands-on training available. As a public university, like Stony Brook, UNC is also highly affordable for residents of North Carolina.

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5. University of California, Los Angeles – B.S in Marine Biology

UCLA is a sizable public university in Los Angeles, California, and it provides a curriculum with a focus on marine biology.

The university’s Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ), where students actively participate in marine biology trips and investigations throughout a term, is a component of this program that stands out.

All UCLA prospective marine biology students must complete this. With at least 134 credits needed to graduate in this major, students will also need to put in a lot of effort.

Among the courses offered by UCLA’s program are:

Marine Biology Quarter


Marine Organismic Biology

Marine Laboratory

In addition to the MBQ, UCLA is the location of several of California’s leading scientific institutions. Due to the university’s public status, in-state students will also pay less to attend.

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Also, see Top Ten Free Online Courses in Biology With Certificates in 2022

6. Oregon State University OSU – B.S in Biology with Marine Biology Option

While Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, is also on the West Coast, it does not offer a marine biology major as UCLA does, but students may choose it as a specialization within the Biology department.

One distinctive aspect of OSU’s marine biology program is its residency at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. Where students spend a term and take courses while living there.

This residency provides students with crucial exposure to and experience with practices in the marine biology field.

OSU offers a variety of courses, such as:

Estuarine Ecology

Biological Oceanography

Aquatic Microbiology

Aquatic Biological Invasions

OSU is a reasonably priced public university with some of the best marine biology resources accessible, situated close to Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Ocean. Even US News and World Report recognized it as one of the Most Innovative Schools.

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7. University of New Hampshire – B.S in Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology

In contrast to OSU and UCLA, UNH does not provide a residency program or a quarter at sea, but it does provide a wide range of top-notch marine biology courses, as well as freshwater biology courses because of the state’s plentiful freshwater resources. Due to this, UNH’s marine sciences department is distinctive in its own right.

The following are a few of the marine, estuarine, and freshwater biology courses offered by UNH:

Aquatic Plants in Restoration/Management

Aquatic Animal Diversity

Introduction to Aquatic Botany

Ecology and Marine Environment

As a public university, the University of New Hampshire offers a cheap choice if you’re seeking freshwater marine biology.

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8. University of Maine – B.S in Marine Sciences

The Marine Sciences program at the University of Maine goes by a less impressive moniker, but because of its unique Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences degree, it is nonetheless quite good at providing high-quality education in the field of marine sciences.

The university’s marine sciences program, which is based in Augusta, Maine, gives students access to a variety of aquatic settings but focuses mostly on marine ecology. In addition, UM offers a Semester by the Sea program, comparable to those at OSU and UCLA, where students undertake research at the university-owned Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine.

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Among the marine science courses offered at UM are:

Invertebrate Zoology

Marine Ecology

Coral Reefs

Marine Biogeochemistry

UM offers an economical choice as a public institution with resources that compete with those of others on this list if you’re searching for a hands-on Marine sciences experience at a university on the East coast of the United States.

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9. California State University, Long Beach – B.S in Marine Biology

Why not travel to the west and enroll in one of the nation’s largest programs in marine science while you’re there? The California State University system is the largest public university system in the United States.

Students in the Marine Biology program at CSULB can benefit from being in a beautiful Pacific coast location, taking a range of interesting courses, and even participating in a field study on Santa Catalina Island, which is just off the coast of Los Angeles.

The program at CSULB offers a variety of courses, including:

Fish Physiology

Aquatic Toxicology

Tropical Marine Ecology

Marine Micro-organisms

The large university system’s extensive access to facilities and research across the state of California makes CSULB a fantastic place to study marine biology. Because it is a public university, residents of California may find it to be an affordable option.

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10. University of New England: B.S in Marine Sciences/4+1 M.S Program


The University of New England, a private university in Biddeford, Maine, may provide more possibilities to study marine science than any other college on this list.

The standard B.S. in Marine Sciences, the 4+1 Masters program in Marine Sciences, the B.A. in Marine Law, the B.S. in Marine Entrepreneurship, the B.A. in Marine Entrepreneurship, and many more are among the marine science concentrations available to students at UNE.

Courses in marine sciences at UNE include, among many others:

Marine Biology

Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays

Marine Conservation

Experimental Animal Physiology

At the University of New England, especially in their Marine sciences curriculum, there are countless opportunities.

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11. University of Washington – B.S in Marine Biology

The University of Washington in Seattle, another prestigious public institution on the West Coast, provides a comprehensive degree program in marine biology.

The UW Marine Biology department strongly advises fieldwork as a component of a student’s degree program. This can be done most conveniently at the university’s Friday Harbor facility in the San Juan Islands, off the coast of Washington State. To graduate from this program, students must earn 180 quarter credits, so they will need to put in a lot of effort.

The UW’s program offers the following courses:

Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of Marine Organisms

Marine Botany

Integrative Oceans

Hydrothermal Systems

The University of Washington’s marine biology program should be seriously considered by students seeking a variety of research and fieldwork possibilities. It is particularly affordable for citizens of Washington state because it is a public university.

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12. Eckerd College – B.S in Marine Science

The B.S. in Marine Sciences program at Eckerd College provides exactly what you’re looking for if you want a truly distinctive marine science experience while pursuing your undergraduate studies.

Eckerd University makes use of its ideal waterfront position in the Tampa Bay area of Florida by holding classes on the water or even in university-owned boats! Additionally, Eckerd provides numerous chances for research, including the Dolphin Project and a study abroad program in the Bermuda Islands. Yes, that is unique.

Of course, Eckerd College also provides conventional marine science courses:

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Marine Biology

Marine Geology

Coastal Geology

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13. California State University, Monterey Bay – B.S in Marine Biology

If you want to study marine biology in California, you might want to choose a school near the Bay Area. Look no further than the B.S. in Marine Biology program at California State University, Monterey Bay.

As a part of the huge CSU public university system, Monterey Bay has access to some of the most comprehensive resources available in the area, including options for fieldwork at the neighboring Monterey Bay Aquarium or their Moss Landing Marine Lab.

The following are a few of the marine biology courses offered at CSUMB:

Small Boat Field Techniques

Marine Fish Ecology

Robotics for Ecological Research

Management in the Marine Environment

CSUMB is a reputable, reasonably priced school to study marine biology because of its idyllic location next to the Pacific Ocean and abundance of research opportunities.

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14. The University of Hawaii at Hilo – B.A/B.S in Marine Science

Geographically speaking, Hawaii is the ideal island (or series of islands) on which to study marine science. That opportunity is available at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

This public university, which is one of the few on this list to offer both a B.A. and a B.S. in Marine Sciences, is situated in the City of Hilo on the Island of Hawaii. To gain research possibilities and fieldwork experience, students can go on boat trips and scuba diving adventures.

The following courses in marine sciences are available in Hilo:

Marine Debris in the Pacific

Biological Oceanography

Techniques in Marine Monitoring

Marine Organisms

Even within its state, the University of Hawaii at Hilo may not have the same reputation as other schools, but its marine sciences program is equally as good as any other on this list.

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15. University of Tampa – B.S in Marine Science Biology

The University of Tampa, located in Florida, comes in last but surely not least on this list of the best 15 colleges for marine biology.

The University of Tampa offers many opportunities for experiential learning, including the chance to study at the institution’s Marine Science Field Station close to the campus. The university shares a convenient bay location with Eckerd College. Of course, students in this program also have the choice of traditional education.

The University of Tampa offers the following courses in marine science:

Physical Oceanography

Marine Botany

Introduction to Marine Science

General Chemistry

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If you happen to have a passion for Marine biology then these institutions should help you to achieve your passion. It’s one thing to have a passion and another to find the right institution to train your passion.

I hope from this article, you have been able to learn more about these colleges and I believe that the FAQ section answered most of your questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Credentials Do I Require to Become a Marine Biologist?

For employment in a research post, a degree in biology, geology, ecology, oceanography, or zoology is typically necessary, followed by a Ph.D.

What Is The Work Of A Marine Biologist?

The primary focus of marine biologists is on research initiatives, which involve gathering samples at sea, consolidating data, and conducting laboratory tests.

What Equipment Do Marine Biologists Use?

Remotely controlled vehicles, sonar, and fishing nets are just a few of the equipment used by marine biologists.

What Qualifications Must Marine Biologists Possess?

As a marine biologist, you need certain skills like team skills, technical skills, and observatory skills and this includes:
-Research Skills.
-Teamwork Skills.

Is marine biology a good degree?

It’s fascinating to study marine biology. It provides a wide variety of professional choices.


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