Marine Biology Colleges, Schools and Universities in the U.S.
Marine biologists study saltwater life. A master's or doctoral degree is necessary for most positions in this field. Students preparing for graduate study in marine biology usually need firm grasp of math, biology and chemistry.
How to Select a Marine Biology Program
Students wanting to enroll in a graduate-level marine biology program should consider which area of marine biology they wish to focus on in their career. Possible focuses include the open ocean, intertidal zones, the coast, oceanography, ichthyology, marine mammals, marine ecology and phycology. Attending a program that offers specializations in the specific area of interest to the student may enable them to specialize their future career in their field of interest.
Students may also want to look at the research being conducted at various institutions. This is especially important for Ph.D. students, who will be working directly under researchers and conducting original research. Having an interest in an institution's research topics may mean that the student participates in research in their specialization, which may possibly make finding employment in that area easier after graduation.
Students that would like to teach after graduation might consider attending a program that includes teaching experience. Having teaching experience may increase employment opportunities for students interested in a career as a professor.
Observing marine life in its natural environment is important for marine biology students at any degree level. Students may consider attending a school close to the ocean where they can complete their fieldwork, or one that has an option for traveling to the coast to complete coursework or fieldwork during the summers.
Marine Biology Program Overviews
Master's Degree in Marine Biology
Students studying marine biology at the master's degree level usually develop a specialty and conduct research. In many cases, the curriculum is customizable and students work with an adviser to determine the classes that are most applicable to their interests and future career plans. The degree program takes two years to complete, and a thesis is usually required. Prerequisites include graduate exam scores and a bachelor's degree with some coursework in the life sciences.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Marine Biology
A Ph.D. in Marine Biology program prepares students for a career in research and teaching. During the first two years students complete advanced coursework. In subsequent years, students develop and conduct original research related to their dissertation topic. The entire program takes 4-6 years to complete. Students can enter a Ph.D. program with either a bachelor's degree and adjust their coursework requirements depending on their needs.
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