Marine Biology Colleges
If you're looking to major in marine biology, picking the right college is essential. While marine biology graduates are in high demand these days, choosing the right college can further your potential by connecting you with the right people and providing you with all the knowledge you need to kick-start your career.
You've already done a great deal by deciding you want to major in marine bio, so congratulations! Now, come with us as we explore some of the best marine biology colleges in the United States!
The 10 Best Colleges For Marine Biology In The U.S.
#1 University of Oregon - Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
Surprisingly, the University of Oregon is one of the few marine biology programs on the west coast that can provide marine biology students with a bachelor's degree in marine biology when they graduate.
This unique marine sciences program blends hands-on field experience with in-classroom biology studies. Plus, you can't beat the fantastic scenery that lines the rugged coast of Oregon.
The school has several research opportunities and internship placements that it provides students. One of the most popular is the Tropical Marine Biology Course, which takes place in Central America.
Many students visit the University of Oregon for its graduate biology studies as well. Students have the option to focus on marine ecosystems and marine organisms underneath the scope of the more extensive biology department.
#2 SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
The SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry is part of the SUNY school and is heralded as the nation's top institution for natural resource management and environmental science. Each year, the school attracts many of the nation's brightest students who want to study marine biology and aquatic sciences.
SUNY's aquatic program is recognized around the world and has trained many students to become professionals in marine sciences.
Beyond the core curriculum involving science and math, all students take a deep dive into the vast knowledge of our Earth's natural marine and freshwater ecosystems, gaining a better understanding of how we can protect and conserve them.
Students also take courses such as communications, social science, economics, and natural history, which broaden the scope of their studies, allowing them to pursue careers in environmental NGOs, private consultancies, government agencies, and more.
#3 Florida International University - Marine Sciences Program
Florida International University's Marine Sciences Program is conveniently located on the Miami coast, offering students a hands-on approach to field research amidst the vast and diverse marine ecosystem of South Florida.
This FIU program is interdisciplinary, meaning there are options for major and minor degrees. Students can choose to study in departments related to marine biology as well, including Earth & Environment or Biological Sciences.
Beyond that, FIU has a cohort program for marine/biology/biology that selects undergrads in the various biology departments.
The faculty at this school is world-class, and students enjoy the close mentorship they receive when studying here. Plus, students get access to early registration at some state labs and priority research opportunities.
#4 Northeastern University - Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology
Northeastern University is another east coast college known for its several high-end research opportunities. U.S.
News & World Report even named this college one of the top 50 universities in the United States.
With a heavily-funded science program, marine biology students can benefit a lot. One of the unique things about the program here is that students can choose to go on the pre-veterinary track alongside their core foundational studies.
This school is also home to the Three Seas Program, a marine biology program that allows students to spend a year in the field in places like Panama, New England, and the United States Pacific Coast.
#5 University of Tampa - Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology
The University of Tampa lies on the bay, offering the perfect backdrop for anyone with hopes of becoming a marine biologist. The location also provides a path for experiential learning, as many students go on to study at the Marine Science Field Station, which lies close to the campus.
However, that's not to say that many students don't choose to take the traditional learning approach. The college offers a variety of unique courses, including Marine Botany and Physical Oceanography. Plus, most of the faculty in the Biology Departments devote their time to studying marine life.
#6 Duke University - Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate in Marine Biology or Conservation Biology
Duke University, a private institution, was founded back in 1838. To this day, it is one of the top schools in the nation and has one of the best marine biology programs in the country. In addition, students will find over 45 research facilities on the campus, which will provide more opportunities to push the envelope on marine biology research.
Beyond its undergraduate programs, Duke offers a Doctorate and Master's program that focuses on marine conservation or marine biology.
No matter what program a student chooses to enroll in, they will have training in the fields of social and natural sciences.
FUN FACT: Duke University pioneered the use of coprolites (fossilized fecal matter) to reconstruct our knowledge or primitive ecosystems.
#7 Auburn University
Auburn Univerity is home to one of the best biological sciences programs in the nation, offering students opportunities to get involved with interdisciplinary research both on and off-campus. As a result, students often find themselves working with organizations around Auburn, including the Auburn Group in Ecology and the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.
Sometimes, students work with international organizations as well, such as the well-known Organization for Tropical Studies.
The beauty of this program is that it combines real-world field research with a traditional academic science curriculum, cultivating future careers for marine biology enthusiasts as they move their way through the program.
While traditional marine biology courses play a significant role, some of the other areas of focus in the marine biology program include ecological interactions, genetics, and marine evolution.
#8 University of Hawaii at Hilo - B.A. or B.S. in Marine Science
If you're looking to pick a marine biology program based on geography, then there's no better choice than an island.
The University of Hawaii at Hilo has a beautiful campus and offers a one-of-a-kind way for students to study marine science with a hands-on approach.
This college is a public university offering both a B.A. and B.S. in marine sciences, something you don't see with many other universities.
The school also provides a few unique marine science courses, including Techniques in Marine Monitoring and Marine Debris in the Pacific.
While the University of Hawaii at Hilo doesn't have the same brand recognition that the other Hawaiian institutions have, the marine science program is top-notch, perfect for anyone trying to enter the marine biology field.
#9 University of California, Santa Barbara - Aquatic Biology
The University of California, Santa Barbara, is quite unique in that it is one of the only colleges that allows undergraduates to major in aquatic biology. So, if you're looking to broaden your horizons in the world of aquatic education, then this is one of the best marine biology colleges around.
Not only do students get the opportunity to learn about oceanography and marine organisms, but they also get the chance to study freshwater ecosystems.
Students come out of this program with a tremendous sense of fulfillment, as the aquatic biology element of the marine biology program sets them up for careers in water quality, fisheries, marine conservation, and much more. However, several graduate students continue their studies at UCSB, hitting the Ph.D. track or completing their master's education.
Regardless of what they choose, UCSB students often benefit from the challenging yet rewarding marine science coursework they're given. Plus, since the campus sits on the shoreline, students get access to field experience in outdoor laboratories, which take them out into the rich and diverse ecosystem of the Pacific Ocean.
#10 University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA is one of the top schools in the nation, and the marine biology program is one of the best programs in the school. The marine biology majors lie under the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, taking students along a rich core curriculum that gets their heads out of their books and their bodies into the field.
The Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ) is a favorite among marine sciences students, as, during this time, they get to experience what life is like as a professional marine biologist.
Students use this quarter to practice collecting data and performing experiments, all while interacting with the school's top-notch faculty.
The classroom at sea puts students out in the Pacific Ocean, where they can learn about all kinds of marine animals, including pufferfish, dolphins, clownfish, and sharks.