Not sure where to apply to study Marine Biology? Here are 16 of the best colleges for Marine Biology in the United States.
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When it comes to Marine Biology, many colleges and universities don’t have the resources or location to facilitate a program
Marine Biology colleges tend to be located near oceans, estuaries, wetlands, and other sources of freshwater and saltwater ecosystems.
If you’re interested in finding the best colleges for Marine Biology, you’ll find that most of them are located on the coasts.
While all the schools on this list offer Marine Biology, it’s up to you to decide which program is the best fit. Some schools are very competitive and have limited spots for their well-funded, impressively staffed classrooms and labs.
Other schools are not as competitive but have a great location for this field of study. By the end of this article, you should have a good idea of what type of Marine Biology program best suits your interests.
The Best Colleges For Marine Biology
1. Duke University – Marine Biology
Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina. This notoriously competitive school is one of the best colleges for Marine Biology.
On average, they have a 7% acceptance rate, and only accept exceptional applicants.
While the first couple of years of this degree have the basic STEM requirements, Duke does require students in this program to take four course credits at the Duke University Marine Laboratory.
Here are some examples of Marine Biology courses offered at Duke:
- Experimental Tropical Marine Ecology
- Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles
- Sound in the Sea: Introduction to Marine Bioacoustics
- Biological Oceanography
2. Boston University – Marine Biology
With their impressive faculty and resources, Boston University’s Marine Biology program covers topics like ichthyology, sensory biology, marine conservation science, and marine community biology.
It is definitely one of the best Marine Biology colleges in the United States.
Here are some examples of Marine Biology classes offered at Boston University:
- Marine Biogeochemistry
- Coral Reef Dynamics
- Marine Genomics
3. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – Marine Sciences
The University of North Carolina is home to many teaching, learning, and research opportunities.
At a 25% acceptance rate, they are a competitive school with selective but impressive programs.
Students can minor in Marine Sciences while majoring in Geological Sciences, which fall under the same school.
Here are some examples of Marine Biology courses offered at UNC Chapel Hill:
- Biological Oceanography
- Comparative Biomechanics
- Estuarine and Coastal Marine Science
4. University of California, Santa Barbara – Aquatic Biology
Thanks to a campus that’s directly on the ocean, UCSB is within walking distance of the greatest facilities on earth for an Aquatic Biology program.
Students in UCSB’s undergraduate program will have time in the classroom and the lab thanks to their access to both fresh and saltwater sources.
Here are some examples of Marine Biology courses offered at UC Santa Barbara:
- Flow and Aquatic Ecosystems
- Aquatic Food and Resource Management
- Biology of Seaweeds and Phytoplankton
- Marine Microbiology
5. University of California, Los Angeles – Marine Biology
For another West Coast option, the University of California, Los Angeles has an acceptance rate of about 11%.
As a top-tier research facility, UCLA has access to impressive marine biology research facilities and renowned faculty members that both teach and mentor undergraduates in research.
Marine Biology is also a “capstone major” where students will design and execute their own research project based on theory learned in the classroom and in lab.
Some Marine Biology classes offered at UCLA:
- Biology of Marine Mammals
- Biology of Marine Tetrapods
- Marine Parasitology
- Aquatic Communities
6. California State University, Long Beach – Marine Biology
Undergraduate students in this program have access to California’s natural resources like bays, estuaries, and ocean habitats.
With the help of Marine Biology faculty and graduate students, undergraduates are able to conduct original research and eventually secure employment.
Here are some of the Marine Biology courses offered at California State University, Long Beach:
- Aquatic Toxicology
- Ecology of Marine Communities
- Fisheries Ecology and Conservation
- Marine Mammalogy
7. California State University, Monterey Bay – Marine Science
Not too far from Monterey Bay’s famous aquarium is CSU Monterey Bay, home of an extraordinary Marine Science program.
With an acceptance rate of 93%, this university isn’t overly selective.
Anyone who’s looking for opportunities to participate in Marine Science research and have access to California’s natural aquatic resources should look into CSU Monterey Bay’s program.
Here are some examples of Marine Biology courses offered at CSUMB:
- Ocean Instrumentation Projects
- Marine Fish Ecology
- Small Boat Field Techniques
- Marine Invertebrate Zoology
8: University of New England – Marine Science
While many colleges and universities on this list are public, the University of New England is a smaller private school.
Located in Biddeford, Maine, the University of New England is slightly selective at an 87% acceptance rate.
Undergraduates in their Marine Science program have access to applied marine technology courses and research where they can work with boating and robotics. The location and facilities also allow undergraduates to observe and work with marine life.
Here are some examples of Marine Biology courses offered at the University of New England:
- Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays
- Marine Mammal Policy
- Polar Biology
- Underwater Robotics
9. Stony Brook University – Marine Sciences
Stony Brook University offers a fantastic Marine Sciences program with access to Long Island habitats.
With at 49% acceptance rate, Stony Brook is fairly competitive.
Undergraduates have a unique opportunity to engage in nearby ecosystems and even take an introductory SCUBA diving course.
Much like other Marine Biology colleges, Stony Brook encourages its students to participate in research and internships. This major is very hands-on and will prepare them for any research or teaching positions they have after college.
Some Marine Biology classes offered at Stony Brook University:
- Introduction to SCUBA Diving
- Long Island Marine Habitats
- Waves, Tides, and Beaches
- Marine Conservation
10. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa- Marine Biology
Surrounded by the ocean, there are plenty of opportunities to learn inside and outside of the classroom.
Some Marine Biology classes you can take at the University of Hawai’i:
- Coral Reef Structure
- Behavioral Ecology Reef Fishes
- Remote Sensing Applied Marine Science
- Plant-Based Methodology
11. Eckerd College – Marine Biology
Get ready to roll your sleeves up and conduct lab work with marine plants! Due to its location, Eckerd offers its students a four-year experience full of professional research experience on the water.
Students often find themselves on one of Eckerd’s boats, fully immersed in a marine environment.
Here are some of the courses you may take at Eckerd College:
- Marine and Freshwater Botany
- Principles of Hydrology
- Coral Reefs
- Coastal Geology
12. Northeastern University – Marine Biology
If you’re looking for a more competitive program, it’s time to investigate Northeastern University.
With an 18% acceptance rate, Northeastern only accepts top applicants. As such, the undergraduates in their Marine Biology receive individual attention and great lab experience.
Some of the Marine Biology courses offered at Northeastern University:
- Disease Ecology
- Ancient Marine Life
- New England Marine Biomes
13. University of Oregon – Marine Biology
The University of Oregon is one of only a few schools on the Pacific that offer a B.S. in Marine Biology.
Many that go through their program eventually secure jobs in the state or federal government. This school has an acceptance rate of about 93%.
Here are some of the classes you may take at the University of Oregon:
- Marine Birds and Mammals
- Estuarine Biology
- Biological Oceanography
- Biology of Sea Slugs
14. University of Washington – Marine Biology
Their Marine Biology Program includes research at Friday Harbor Labs and a variety of networking opportunities to find research jobs after college.
Here are some of the Marine Biology courses offered at the University of Washington:
- Aquatic Ecophysiology
- Integrative Oceans
- Management of Aquatic Resources
- Marine Biogeochemical Cycles
15. University of Maine – Marine Biology
The University of Maine offers a unique Marine Biology degree with possible specializations in aquaculture, oceanography, and marine biology.
Undergraduates can tailor their degrees to their interests. This university has an average of 96% acceptance rate.
Here are some of the Marine Biology courses offered at the University of Maine:
- Marine Geology
- Marine Physics
- Techniques in Shellfish Aquaculture
- Marine and Freshwater Algae
16. University of Tampa – Marine Science
Another great option for Marine Science is the University of Tampa in Florida. In this program, you’ll gain lab experience while taking weekend field trips to places like the Florida Keys.
At a 54% acceptance rate, they’re pretty competitive. Students of UT’s Marine Science program enjoy four years of the biology, chemistry, and physics behind marine life.
Here are some of the Marine Biology courses offered at the University of Tampa:
- Biological Oceanography
- Marine Botany
- Origins & Evolution of the Marine Environment
- Chemical Oceanography
Final Thoughts On The Best Marine Biology Colleges
Whether you’re looking for a college experience in sunny California or New England, there are fantastic programs for Marine Biology all over the United States.
Most offer original lab research experiences, but only a few have direct access to both freshwater and saltwater habitats.
If you know your passion is Marine Biology, don’t be afraid to look at universities from coast to coast!
This post was all about the best colleges for Marine Biology in the United States.
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