Top Marine Biology Colleges

One of the earth’s biggest mysteries involves the secret of the seas. As the world begins to extend it’s economical boundaries into the world’s waterways, the study of Marine Biology has become increasingly important.

To that end, colleges for Marine Biology offer a curriculum designed to educate individuals on the ecology and wildlife associated with the deep blue sea. Throughout the U.S., there are just over 60 majors colleges or universities that offer degrees in Marine Biology. Many of them are accredited by the regional Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

Here is a list of the 10 best Marine Biology colleges in America, based on U.S. News & World Report.

1. Harvard University

(Wikimedia) Harvard University

(Wikimedia) Harvard University

Harvard was founded in 1636 and is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Biology of Marine Systems curriculum can be found under the direction of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. The university offers a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences with eight different areas of concentration. The most logical choice for a prospective marine biologist would be Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

The undergraduate degree is a prerequisite for the school’s graduate program where they offer a Master’s degree in Integrated Life Sciences with a concentration in Marine Biology. Annual Tuition: $43,938

2. Cornell University

Flickr / stacey shintani

Flickr / stacey shintani

The school is a private university located in Ithaca, New York. The school was founded in 1836. The school offers a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or the College of Arts and Sciences.

Course study includes Oceanography, Evolution and Marine Diversity, and Anatomy and Function of Marine Vertebrates with the mandatory field work being conducted at the Shoals Marine Laboratory, a facility shared with the University of Connecticut. Annual Tuition: $31,146 (resident), $47,286 (non-resident)

3. University of Miami (Fla)

(Wikimedia) University of Miami

(Wikimedia) University of Miami

The school is a private university founded in 1925 and located in Coral Gables, Florida. They offer a Bachelors of Science degree in Marine Science. Students are required to have a double major. The primary major is in Marine Science from the Rosenstiel School and a second major from the College of Arts and Sciences or the College of Engineering in a subject like Biochemistry or Microbiology.

Course study includes Biology, Marine Science, Oceanography and Chemistry. The school also offers a Master’s and PHD program in seven disciplines such as Marine Biology & Fisheries and Meteorology & Physical Oceanography. Annual Tuition: $41,580

4. University of California – Santa Barbara

Flickr / Vinay Shivakumar

Flickr / Vinay Shivakumar

The university is a public school founded in 1891 and located in Goleta, California, a few miles outside the beautiful community of Santa Barbara. The Marine Biology course study can be found within The Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology (EEMB). Students are offered a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis in Aquatic Biology.

The school’s research programs are greatly enhanced by the university’s proximity from the Pacific Ocean (4 mile). The primary course study is provided by a three course program on ecological processes in aquatic systems and aquatic communities. The school also offers a Master’s (Thesis and Comprehensive Exam options) and a Doctorate program in one of several concentrations. Annual Tuition: $12,192 (residents), $34,000 (non-residents)

5. University of California – Berkeley

Flickr / Alan Cordova

Flickr / Alan Cordova

This public school was founded in 1868 and is located in the city of Berkeley. Course study in the area of Marine Biology is listed under the College of Letters and Science, Earth and Planetary Science department. The school offers a Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Planetary Science with a concentration on Marine Science.

Along with the prerequisite course study, students will become involved in research related to topics such as coastal pollution and the effects on the ocean and the ocean’s wildlife, and climate change and the ocean. The university also provides a Master’s and PHD program with several discipline choices. Annual Tuition: $12,872 (residents), $35,000 (non-residents)

6. Duke University

Flickr / Nan-Cheng Tsai

Flickr / Nan-Cheng Tsai

This school is a private university located in Durham, North Carolina with a marine lab located in Beaufort. The school was founded in 1838 through its strong affiliation with the Methodist Church. Duke offers both a Bachelors of Arts and Bachelors of Science degree in Earth and Ocean Sciences through the Nicholas School of Environment. The course study includes Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences. Students also spend a great amount of time working in Duke’s state-of-the-art marine labs.

The school does offer a Master’s degree in Environmental Management which provides additional opportunities for research work at the marine lab. Finally, Duke has a PHD program offered by the the Division of Marine Science and Conservation. Annual Tuition: $22,900

7. Boston University

Flickr / Kunal Mukherjee

Flickr / Kunal Mukherjee

This is a private university located in Boston, Massachusetts and founded in 1839. The Boston University Marine Program (BUMP) is offered through the College of Arts and Sciences. They offer a Bachelors of Arts degree in Marine Science. As one of the top Marine Biology schools in the country, the course curriculum requires a great deal of research study.

The most exciting part of the program is the “Marine Semester” that requires one intense semester dedicated to four advanced level Marine Science courses. While the school doesn’t offer an advanced degree directly affiliated with Marine Biology, students have access to Master’s and PHD programs through the Biology and Earth & Environment departments. Annual Tuition: $45,686

8. University of Washington

Flickr / Curtis Cronn

Flickr / Curtis Cronn

This is a public university founded in 1861. The campus is located in Seattle. Students interested in Marine Biology will often pursue Bachelor’s degrees in Oceanography, Biology or Aquatic and Fishery Science with a declared minor in Marine Biology. Since the school is strategically located between The Puget Sound and the Pacific Ocean, students are exposed to a significant amount of hands on research work.

The school also offers Master’s degrees in Oceanography, Biology and Aquatic and Fishery Science. The exposure to Marine Biology remains very high with these programs. Annual Tuition: $12,397 (resident), $31,971 (non-resident)

9. Texas A&M

Flickr / Texas A&M AgriLife

Flickr / Texas A&M AgriLife

The school was founded in 1876. The primary campus for this public research school is located in College Station. However, the Marine Biology Department is run out of the Galveston campus. The school’s Marine Biology degrees are offered from the Marine Biology Department. There are three options of Bachelor’s degrees offered, Marine Biology, Marine Biology/License Option (provides a maritime license) and Marine Fisheries. Course study includes Biology, Chemistry and Oceanography. Maritime studies include business and history courses.

The Master’s program in Marine Biology is a interdisciplinary program that includes Marine Biology, Marine Science, Life Sciences, Oceanography, Wildlife & Fisheries Science, and Biology.
Annual Tuition: $176 per semester hour (resident), $730 per semester hour (non-resident)

10. College of Charleston

(Wikimedia) College of Charleston

(Wikimedia) College of Charleston

This public college was founded in 1770 in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. The curriculum for the Marine Biology can be found in the School of Sciences and Mathematics. They offer a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology.

Aside from the course work required in Biology, Chemistry, Ecology and Oceanography, students spend a significant amount of time doing research studies at The Grice Marine Lab at Fort Johnson. The school also offers a 30 credit hour Master of Science degree in Marine Biology. Annual Tuition: $10,230 (resident), $26,694 (non-resident)

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