Best Marine Biology Degrees

A bachelor's in marine biology provides a framework for understanding the diverse ecological roles of sea creatures. Marine biologists often possess a strong affinity for ocean life and a commitment to preserving and improving the ocean environment.

Best Marine Biology Degrees

Are you ready to find your fit?

A branch of science focusing on ocean life, marine biology studies the diverse species that live in the earth's saltwater environments. Marine biologists study the behavior of marine animals, the physiological processes of different species, and the different habitats and environments found in the ocean. They also examine how human actions impact marine life. These professionals explore viable solutions to problems such as global warming and rising sea levels, oxygen depletion in the earth's oceans, and widespread chemical and plastic pollution.

A bachelor's in marine biology provides a framework for understanding the diverse ecological roles of sea creatures. Marine biologists often possess a strong affinity for ocean life and a commitment to preserving and improving the ocean environment. Graduates of an accredited bachelor's in marine biology program often qualify for jobs as zoologists, conservation biologists, and marine ecologists.

FAQ on Marine Biology Programs

What is marine biology?

Marine biologists study various organisms that live in saltwater ecosystems such as oceans, estuaries, and hydrothermal vents.

How long does it take to earn a bachelor's in marine biology?

Just like other undergraduate degrees, marine biology bachelor's programs typically take four years to complete.

Can I study marine biology online?

The majority of schools offering a bachelor's in marine biology require on-campus attendance. However, some schools offer specific courses online.

What marine biology graduate degrees are available?

Graduates of an accredited bachelor's in marine biology program often explore postgraduate programs in several fields. This can include marine conservation, evolutionary ecology in aquatic environments, and marine science and climate change.

mini icon

Accredited Online College Programs

Explore our featured online programs and find the right match for you today.

Career and Salary Outlook for Marine Biology

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), biologists earn a median annual salary of $63,270, much higher than the median annual salary for other jobs ($39,810). The BLS projects a 4% growth rate for jobs in this sector, about as fast as the average growth rate for all occupations.

Not all marine biologists spend their professional life out on the ocean collecting specimens and examining natural ocean habitats, although many certainly perform these tasks. Marine biologists work in various settings including laboratories, aquariums, and zoos. Marine biologists with advanced degrees work as college professors, researchers for independent environmental organizations, and consultants for government agencies.

A marine biologist's work often relates directly to their specialization area. A broad field of study, marine biology offers specializations in fields such as mammalogy, aquaculture, and marine archeology. Many marine biologists currently serve in varying capacities to address and mitigate the impact of climate change on the earth's oceans and the creatures that live there.

Career Salary Potential
Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10%
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists Less than $38,880 $63,270 More than $101,780

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Marine Biology Degrees

Reputable postsecondary schools voluntarily submit to an accreditation process, whereby an independent accreditor evaluates a school's academic offerings according to established standards. Nonprofit degree-focused institutions typically seek regional accreditation while for-profit vocational and sectarian schools often apply for national accreditation. Stakeholders tend to hold regional accreditation in higher esteem because regional accreditors apply a more rigorous evaluation process.

Accreditation not only signifies the quality of education offered by a school, but also the funding available to students. The U.S. Department of Education channels financial aid only through accredited institutions. Students who intend to apply for financial assistance from the government must enroll in an accredited school or program.

To date, no accrediting body exists that deals specifically with marine biology programs. Examine the school's accreditation to determine the quality of their program.

Courses in a Marine Biology Bachelor's Program

Course offerings for marine biology majors vary by program. While foundation courses likely cover similar topics, specializations (if any) typically include specific classes and course requirements.

Marine biology bachelor's programs include classroom lectures, laboratory work, and field experiences. These different modes of teaching and learning prepare graduates to take on wide-ranging professional responsibilities. The five courses below represent some of the common marine biology subjects offered in schools today.

Students explore topics such as the molecular basis of behavior, signal transduction pathways, and molecular endocrinology. Enrollees examine the physiological and behavioral responses of different organisms to environmental stimuli. The course familiarizes enrollees with traditional and emerging research theories and methodologies used to study control systems and molecular signaling.

The course introduces enrollees to various policies relevant to conservation issues and the preservation of diverse species populations. Students explore topics such as habitat fragmentation, ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation, and reserve design. They examine the close interrelationship between living organisms and their physical environment to craft viable conservation policies and sound ecological alternatives.

In this course, students examine the biodiversity of marine communities on several locations like beaches, marshes, coral reefs, and tidal flats. Topics covered include biogeography, physical attributes of marine systems, and environmental adaptation. Students also study factors that affect the diversity and distribution of marine organisms such as invertebrate animals, micro- and macro-algae, and vascular plants.

The course introduces students to core molecular biology concepts such as replication, DNA structure and function, and protein synthesis. Students also examine cell structure and metabolism, as well as various molecular mechanisms. A molecular biology course typically also considers the relevance of molecular biology to diseases and the implications for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

The course gives enrollees the chance to study the physiological characteristics of various marine and estuarine animals. Students examine how marine animals adapt to major environmental forces such as temperature, oxygen and light levels, and water salinity. The course includes lectures and laboratory work that familiarize students with different methodologies and analytical techniques. Students also learn how to report their findings in a scientifically appropriate manner.

Scholarships for Marine Biology

Colleges and universities offering some of the best marine biology bachelor's degrees also often administer various scholarship and grant programs. In addition to schools, marine biology majors often also explore financial aid packages from federal and state governments and additional assistance from private organizations and nonprofit agencies. The three scholarships below represent a small sample of funding options for marine biology students.

Gladys Carol Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: The Gladys Carol Scholarship Program welcomes applications from full-time undergraduate students pursuing a STEM program (including marine biology). Eligible applicants show a minimum 3.75 cumulative GPA and an SAT score of 1290 or an ACT score of 28.
Amount: $2,500 per year (renewable for up to two years)

National Ocean Scholar Program

Who Can Apply: Applicants participate in at least one National Ocean Sciences Bowl and submit an essay on a given topic. Applicants also show a history of academic excellence.
Amount: Varies

NOAA Undergraduate Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration welcomes applications from students pursuing an accredited academic program that supports the organization's mission. Recipients also participate in a paid summer internship program.
Amount: $9,500

Best Colleges for a Bachelor's Degree in Marine Biology 2022

The schools listed below offer some of the most affordable marine biology bachelor's programs today. While cost remains a major factor in deciding which college or university to attend, these schools offer other advantages as well including accreditation, specialization areas, and scholarship opportunities. Begin with this list in your search for an affordable bachelor's in marine biology.

#1

Boston University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Admission Rate 19%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Boston University, a private institution, enrolls learners in its top-ranked marine science program. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, the school serves students of all backgrounds through campus and online courses. Undergraduates benefit from the school's support services, which include academic and career advising.

The bachelor's in marine science program includes general education and major courses that emphasize key skills and knowledge. The general education curriculum includes classes in the humanities, mathematics, and communication. Within the major, learners take upper-division courses that provide an advanced understanding of marine biology, preparing graduates for the job market.

Boston University at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 19%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 109

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 4

Undergrad Tuition In State: $54,720

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $54,720

Graduation Rate: 88%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $52,800

Visit Site
#2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School Information
Location Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Admission Rate 23%
Graduation Rate 91%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 12% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The marine sciences degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a public institution, ranks among the best programs of its kind. Located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the school offers on-campus and online courses. Undergraduates benefit from flexible course options and comprehensive college support services.

Majors earn a bachelor's degree from the marine sciences program after taking and general education courses. The general education curriculum strengthens communication and critical thinking skills through coursework in diverse academic fields. Upper-division classes explore theoretical and practical issues in the field, preparing graduates for entry-level roles or further education.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 23%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 62

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,019

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $34,198

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $13,697

Graduation Rate: 91%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $49,900

Visit Site
#3

Eckerd College

School Information
Location Saint Petersburg, Florida
Admission Rate 67%
Graduation Rate 66%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Eckerd College, a private institution, welcomes degree-seekers to its bachelor's in marine science program. From its campus in Saint Petersburg, Florida, the school enrolls degree-seekers in on-campus and online programs. Undergraduates benefit from flexible enrollment options and comprehensive support services.

The bachelor's in marine science program incorporates general education and major courses to build in-demand knowledge and skills. The general education curriculum includes courses in diverse academic subjects like the humanities, math, and natural sciences. Advanced marine biology courses cover theoretical and practical topics, preparing graduates for the workforce or a higher degree.

Eckerd College at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 67%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 12-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 55

Undergrad Tuition In State: $45,452

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $45,452

Graduation Rate: 66%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $36,000

Visit Site
#4

University of California, Los Angeles

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 12%
Graduation Rate 92%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 5% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor's in marine biology program at the University of California, Los Angeles, which offers 112 bachelor's programs, stands out for its excellent reputation. With a degree in marine biology, students bring the knowledge and skills required for careers in diverse industries. After earning a bachelor's degree, graduates also apply to master's programs to open up additional career opportunities.

The bachelor's curriculum introduces major principles and practices in marine biology. Undergraduates also take general education courses, which strengthen communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Minors and second majors allow students to explore their other interests.

The school's student services help incoming degree candidates integrate into the larger campus community. For example, career counselors help students identify strengths and plan for the job market.

University of California, Los Angeles at a Glance:

Location: Los Angeles, California

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 12%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $11,442

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $41,196

Visit Site
#5

Oregon State University

School Information
Location Corvallis, Oregon
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The marine studies degree at Oregon State University, a public institution, ranks among the best programs of its kind. Located in Corvallis, Oregon, the school serves students of all backgrounds through campus and online courses. Undergraduates benefit from flexible enrollment options, rigorous academics, and comprehensive college support services.

The marine studies curriculum combines upper-division classes with general education courses. Students take humanities, math, and communication classes as part of the general education curriculum. Marine studies major courses introduce theoretical and practical approaches to the field, preparing program graduates to enter the workforce or pursue further education.

Oregon State University at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 82%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 18-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 83

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 22

Undergrad Tuition In State: $9,846

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $29,445

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $7,288

Graduation Rate: 67%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $42,700

Visit Site
#6

University of Maine at Augusta

School Information
Location Augusta, Maine
Graduation Rate 13%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Maine at Augusta offers a total of 23 bachelor's programs, including a BS in marine science. The degree prepares students for entry-level roles in many fields. After earning a bachelor's degree, graduates also apply to master's programs to continue their education.

The bachelor's curriculum includes introductory classes and upper-division courses. Undergraduates complete general education courses that strengthen communication, writing, and critical thinking skills. Electives, minors, and double majors allow students to explore other academic and professional interests.

The school's student services help incoming degree candidates make connections on campus and thrive in their program. For example, career counselors connect students with job fairs and internship opportunities.

University of Maine at Augusta at a Glance:

Location: Augusta, Maine

Type of School: Public

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 13

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,170

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $17,340

Visit Site
#7

University of New Hampshire

School Information
Location Durham, New Hampshire
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 76%
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 16% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A public institution, the University of New Hampshire enrolls learners in a top-ranked marine, estuarine, and freshwater biology program. Located in Durham, New Hampshire, the school serves students of all backgrounds through on-campus and online courses. Undergraduates benefit from flexible enrollment options, rigorous academics, and comprehensive college support services.

The marine biology curriculum includes and general education courses. The general education curriculum includes classes in the humanities, mathematics, and communication. Advanced courses cover theoretical and practical subjects, training graduates for entry-level careers or further education.

University of New Hampshire at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 84%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 86

Undergrad Tuition In State: $15,520

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $32,050

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,193

Graduation Rate: 76%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $44,900

Visit Site
#8

Stony Brook University

School Information
Location Stony Brook, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 76%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Stony Brook University, a public institution, offers a top-ranking marine sciences program. Degree-seekers take classes online and on the Stony Brook campus. Undergraduates benefit from the school's support services, which include academic and career advising.

The bachelor's in marine sciences program incorporates marine biology and general education courses. The general education curriculum includes classes in the humanities, mathematics, and communication. The marine sciences curriculum covers theoretical and advanced topics, preparing graduates for the workforce or further education.

Stony Brook University at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 44%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 75

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $7,070

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $24,740

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,540

Graduation Rate: 76%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $44,000

Visit Site
#9

University of Oregon

School Information
Location Eugene, Oregon
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor's in marine biology program at the University of Oregon prioritizes accessibility in its course options. Students gain the knowledge and skills required for diverse career paths in the marine biology program. Graduates also meet the requirements for master's programs after completing a bachelor's degree.

The bachelor's curriculum covers core and advanced topics in marine biology. Undergraduates also strengthen analytical and critical thinking skills during general education classes. Students gain a well-rounded education by declaring a minor or second major.

The school's student services help incoming degree candidates thrive in their bachelor's program. For example, financial aid counselors recommend scholarships while academic advisors suggest course options.

University of Oregon at a Glance:

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 82%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $10,440

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $34,335

Visit Site
#10

California State University, Long Beach

School Information
Location Long Beach, California
Admission Rate 39%
Graduation Rate 74%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor's in marine biology program at California State University, Long Beach is one of 91 total bachelor's programs. Students gain the knowledge and skills required for diverse career paths in the marine biology program. The degree also prepares graduates for master's-level programs, which open up additional career opportunities.

The bachelor's curriculum includes lower-division and upper-division marine biology classes. General education requirements also strengthen writing, communication, and critical thinking skills. Students gain interdisciplinary skills by declaring a minor or second major.

The school's student services help incoming degree candidates transition into a bachelor's program. For example, financial aid counselors meet with students to identify their financial need and suggest funding sources.

California State University, Long Beach at a Glance:

Location: Long Beach, California

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 39%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,742

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $17,622

Visit Site
#11

The University of Tampa

School Information
Location Tampa, Florida
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 58%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 0% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor's in marine science biology at The University of Tampa, a private institution, stands out for its academic quality. From its campus in Florida, the school offers both in-person and online enrollment options. The school sets high academic standards while offering flexible course options.

The BS in marine science biology program requires general education and major courses that build key knowledge and skills. The general education curriculum includes courses in diverse academic subjects like the humanities, math, and natural sciences. The marine biology curriculum covers theoretical and advanced topics, preparing graduates for the workforce or further education.

The University of Tampa at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 45%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 17-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 57

Undergrad Tuition In State: $27,990

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $27,990

Graduation Rate: 58%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $42,300

Visit Site
#12

University of New England

School Information
Location Biddeford, Maine
Admission Rate 84%
Graduation Rate 68%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of New England, a private institution, offers a top-ranking marine biology program. The school, located in Biddeford, Maine, offers both in-person and online classes. Undergraduates participate in rigorous academic programs and benefit from comprehensive support services.

Majors complete a bachelor's degree from the BS in marine sciences program by taking general education and marine biology courses. Humanities, math, and natural sciences courses, which make up the general education curriculum, strengthen critical thinking and communication skills. Advanced marine biology courses cover theoretical and practical subjects, training graduates for entry-level careers or further education.

University of New England at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 84%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 13-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 38

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $37,390

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $37,390

Graduation Rate: 68%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $41,200

Visit Site
#13

Duke University

School Information
Location Durham, North Carolina
Admission Rate 8%
Graduation Rate 95%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 6% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A private college, Duke University offers a top-rated bachelor's in marine biology. From its campus in Durham, the school offers both in-person and online enrollment options. Undergraduates benefit from rigorous academic standards and comprehensive college support services.

Majors take marine biology courses in the program and meet general education requirements to complete their degree. Students take humanities, math, and communication classes as part of the general education curriculum. Graduates prepare for the workforce or a further degree by taking advanced courses that cover theoretical and practical topics.

Duke University at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 8%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 6-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 68

Undergrad Tuition In State: $55,880

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $55,880

Graduation Rate: 95%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $93,200

Visit Site
#14

California State University, Monterey Bay

School Information
Location Seaside, California
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 37% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The bachelor's in marine science at California State University, Monterey Bay, a public institution, prioritizes flexibility. From its campus in Seaside, California, the school enrolls degree-seekers in on-campus and online programs. Undergraduates benefit from flexible program options, rigorous academics, and the school's support services.

The bachelor's in marine science program strengthens in-demand skills through general education and major courses. Students complete general education requirements by taking classes in the social sciences, STEM, and humanities. Graduates prepare for the workforce or a further degree by taking advanced marine biology courses that cover theoretical and practical topics.

California State University, Monterey Bay at a Glance:

Admission Rate: 75%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 23-to-1

Total Bachelor's Programs: 28

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,742

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $17,622

Average Amount of Aid Awarded: $9,505

Graduation Rate: 63%

Average Graduate Earnings After Six Years: $35,100

Visit Site
#15

University of Washington

School Information
Location Seattle, Washington
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 84%
Accreditation Yes Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Percent Online Enrollment 8% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The University of Washington offers 245 bachelor's degrees, including a bachelor of science in marine biology program that stands out for its quality. Students enter the workforce prepared for diverse career paths with their marine biology degree. Graduates also apply to master's programs, which open up additional career opportunities.

The bachelor's curriculum covers the major principles and methods in marine biology. In addition to major coursework, undergraduates take general education courses that build writing, communication, and critical thinking skills. Minors and second majors allow students to explore their other interests.

Student services help incoming degree candidates transition into the school's community. For example, financial aid counselors recommend scholarships, while academic advisors suggest course options.

University of Washington at a Glance:

Location: Seattle, Washington

Type of School: Public

Admission Rate: 52%

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 2

Undergrad Tuition In State: $10,370

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $37,071

Visit Site

Online College Resources

Helping you prepare and gain the most out of your educational experience.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Search schools to find the program that is right for you.