Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
Top 20 Best Colleges for Marine Biology in the US Today

Marine biologists study marine life and, in some cases, the oceans themselves. They may study marine species' behavior and physiological processes, as well as diseases and environmental conditions that affect them. They may also evaluate the effects of human activity on marine life. Many marine biologists work as wildlife biologists, zoologists, fish and wildlife biologists, fisheries biologists, aquatic biologists, conservation biologists, and biological technicians.

Because marine biology is such a broad field, most researchers specialize in a specific area of interest. A species, group, behavior, technique, or ecosystem can all be the basis for a specialization.

Entry-level marine biology research jobs, such as those at private research organizations and biotechnology companies, typically require a bachelor's or master's degree. Doctoral degrees are typically required for positions in academia and other jobs that allow you to pursue your own research interests.

While several schools offer marine biology programs, many students earn bachelor's degrees in biology, zoology, fisheries, ecology, or other animal sciences. Chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics classes are also required. Public policy, English, and writing classes are also beneficial for working on regulatory issues and communicating with others.


What Is the Role of a Marine Biologist?

Marine biologists conduct research on marine organisms in their natural environments. They may look into the behaviors or physiology of a population. Alternatively, they may assess the state of habitats as well as the effects of human activity on those animals and habitats.

They typically conduct species inventories, test and monitor sea creatures exposed to pollutants, collect and test ocean samples, preserve specimens and samples of unknown species and diseases, and map the distribution, ranges, or movements of marine populations.

In some cases, they may suggest alternative industrial practices to reduce the negative impacts on marine species and habitats. They may also write reports and scientific journal articles to share their findings and recommendations.

Marine biotechnology is a specialty of some marine biologists. In other words, they look into how marine species' adaptations and advantages can be applied to industrial processes. For example, one biotech company has created doorknobs that are resistant to germs and viruses like MRSA by mimicking the structure of shark skin. This is a promising and intriguing area of study.

Why is Marine Science Important?

As our society's ability to produce food, water, and shelter is put under strain, we will continue to look to the oceans to help us meet our basic needs.

Technological advancements, combined with increased demand, will improve our ability to obtain food, drinking water, energy sources, waste disposal, and transportation from the ocean.

It will be up to this and future generations to expand on our current understanding of the ocean and its potential to help meet the world's and its inhabitants' needs.

What are The Best Colleges for Marine Biology in the US - Top 20

1. University of Connecticut

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
University of Connecticut

The University of Connecticut is ranked first on this list. The university has one of North America's best oceanographic research facilities and has produced many notable marine biologists. UConn's oceanography program is ranked among the top ten in the country, if not first.

The marine biology faculty is located on the Avery Point campus, which is located on the shores of Long Island Sound. It's a small campus with a lot of advantages. Smaller classes imply that more resources are available to each student. When a professor does not have to deal with tens of students, it is easier to get personal assistance from them.

The faculty is also highly qualified, having received numerous awards for their research. They also have a high graduate retention rate, so students receive the assistance they require to complete their degree.

Look no further than UConn if you want an excellent school with first-rate facilities and professors who live on campus.

The main disadvantage of studying here? There is a scarcity of on-campus housing. If you want to study at UConn, you must find your own housing.

2. Duke University

Location: Durham, NC

Undergrad Enrollment: 6,600

Acceptance Rate: 8%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1470-1570/34-35

Duke University, founded in 1838, is a private institution that is one of the top U.S. schools offering an undergraduate degree in biology with a concentration in marine biology.

This university has over 45 research laboratories that assist students in excelling in the field of marine biology research.

In addition to undergraduate programs, this university offers Master's and Doctorate degrees in marine or marine conservation biology. Students enrolled in such programs are primarily educated in natural and social sciences.

This university pioneered the use of fossilized fecal matter (known as coprolites) in the reconstruction of primitive ecosystem ideas.

3. University of Oregon

Location: Eugene, OR

Undergrad Enrollment: 19,100

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1090-1290/22-29


Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
University of Oregon

The University of Oregon's baccalaureate degree in Marine Biology is one of only a few on the Pacific Coast. In addition to a modern biology curriculum, students engage in hands-on, field-based learning. Students spend time at both the University of Oregon Eugene campus and the renowned Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB), where they complete at least three upper-level terms.

Internships and research opportunities are available to Marine Biology students, including programs offered by the OIMB. They may also travel to Panama every other summer for a Tropical Marine Biology course. For Marine Biology students, the larger university offers numerous additional study abroad opportunities.

4. Samford University

Location: Birmingham, AL

Undergrad Enrollment: 3,500

Acceptance Rate: 84%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1060-1240/23-29

With its small classes, one-on-one faculty attention, and emphasis on real-world experience, Samford University's marine science bachelor's program attracts science students from across the country.

The required semester spent working at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is a key feature of Samford's marine biology program.

It is the primary center for marine research and education in Alabama, located in Mobile Bay. Students benefit from the mentorship of lab faculty as well as the opportunity to conduct up-close marine field research during their time at the lab: an unparalleled experience that can help students immensely when it comes time to apply for graduate school or enter the workforce.

5. The University of North Carolina

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
The University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Wilmington offers a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Environmental Science, which includes field work with local coastal communities.

The school provides a marine sciences minor, which can be followed by an M.S. in marine sciences. It also has a strong graduate program, with PhDs in marine sciences available.

The university of North Carolina is built around field research. Look no further if you want an institution that practices what it preaches. Oceanography, marine biology, geochemistry, and other related fields are studied at the school.

The disadvantage of this school is that it is difficult to make friends outside of your major. The university has a small student population, and many students find themselves alone after graduation.

There are also few on-campus jobs available for students who do not want to take on additional responsibilities while in college. It's something to think about before deciding on UNC-W.

6. Boston University

Location: Boston, MA

Undergrad Enrollment: 18,500

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1310-1500/30-34

Boston University, a private university, enrolls students in its highly regarded marine science program. The school, which is located in Boston, Massachusetts, serves students from all backgrounds through campus and online courses. Academic and career advising are among the services available to undergraduates through the school's support services.

The bachelor's degree program in marine science includes general education as well as major courses that emphasize key skills and knowledge. Humanities, mathematics, and communication classes are all part of the general education curriculum. Learners take upper-division courses within the major that provide an advanced understanding of marine biology, preparing graduates for the job market.

7. University of Miami

Location: Coral Gables, FL

Undergrad Enrollment: 11,100

Acceptance Rate: 33%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1250-1420/28-32

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
University of Miami

The University of Miami's Department of Marine Biology and Ecology, located just a few miles from the beaches of southern Florida, provides passionate students with the classroom education and hands-on training they need to become experts in the most pressing issues confronting the world's oceans today.

Undergraduates pursuing a degree in Marine Biology and Ecology have numerous options, including Geological Sciences, Marine Affairs, Oceanography, and Marine Science. Students can choose a focus based on their research interests or what is most relevant to their intended future career: graduates of the University of Miami program have gone on to prestigious positions in conservation, environmental policy and law, business, and many other fields.

8. Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, MA

Undergrad Enrollment: 9,900

Acceptance Rate: 5%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1460-1580/33-35

Harvard is a well-known educational institution. The university has a faculty of biology of marine systems that conducts marine research.

Integrative Biology is a program offered by the university. It's extremely adaptable, with students able to choose from a wide range of biology-related courses, including marine biology and biological oceanography.

The disadvantage of attending Harvard is that it is not for everyone. Harvard is one of the most exclusive universities in the United States, if not the most exclusive. It's a well-known brand, and only about 400 students are admitted each year. As a result, admission to the school is difficult.

Furthermore, the tuition is very high, and admission to the program is difficult. This makes it more appropriate for students who are already on their way in life or who have spent some time at less rigorous schools.

9. Stony Brook University

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University, a mid-sized public university in Stony Brook (Long Island), New York, is a renowned STEM college with an especially strong Marine science program.

Stony Brook's program, like Boston University's, is focused on marine sciences, but it has four areas of specialization within the field, including Biological Oceanography, Experimental Marine Biology, Marine Pollution, and Aquatic Organism Diseases. Students start with fundamental biology, chemistry, and physics courses before progressing to upper division electives.

Stony Brook University has cutting-edge laboratory facilities as well as access to the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, giving students excellent opportunities for hands-on training and research in the field of marine sciences. As a public university, Stony Brook is also extremely affordable for New York State residents.

10. Oregon State University

Oregon State University has a great program and well-qualified professors, making it one of the best schools for marine biology. The programs offered here are among the most competitive in North America: if you want to be accepted or pass classes, you'll need to bring your A-game.

Oregon State University's marine biology course is unique in that it attracts students from all over the world. This means that the university has a diverse student body, with students from Mexico, China, and other countries attending.

At Oregon State University, there are numerous opportunities for undergraduate research. The professors also provide funding for students to study abroad and conduct field research. This level of adaptability is difficult to find at other universities!

Many notable alumni have graduated from the university, including Eva Godfrey, the first female to receive a PhD in marine biology.

OSU has some of the best marine biology facilities in the country, with cutting-edge technology and strong equipment available throughout the university.

The disadvantage? Before financial aid or scholarships are applied, tuition is around $30k per year. Those who cannot afford it do not have the option.

11. Syracuse University

Location: Syracuse, NY

Undergrad Enrollment: 15,200

Acceptance Rate: 69%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1130-1370/25-30


Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
Syracuse University

Prospective marine biologists at Syracuse can major in biology with a specialization in marine biology or another niche. Interdisciplinary majors provide students with another option. They will have access to internships and cutting-edge research opportunities in either case.

One of the most important courses is Marine Ecology of the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa. While studying the major coastal and marine habitats, the course compares cultural norms in North Africa and Europe. Students will travel along Spain's coast, stopping at important ecosystems, research centers, and historical sites.

12. University of California, Los Angeles

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Undergrad Enrollment: 31,500

Acceptance Rate: 14%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1290-1520/29-34

The university's Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ), which allows students to actively participate in marine biology expeditions and experiments over the course of a term, is a standout component of this program. This is required at UCLA for any future student interested in studying marine biology. Students must complete a minimum of 134 credit hours in order to graduate with a degree in this major, which means they will need to put in a lot of effort.

Aside from the Molecular Biology Quarantine, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to one of California's best marine biology programs. Because it is a public institution, the university's tuition will be lower for residents of the state.

13. The University of Maine

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
The University of Maine

The University of Maine's inclusion on this list is undeniable, with the School of Marine Science serving as the university's center of excellence in all aspects of the field.

With over 30 professors specializing in marine sciences, the University of Maine has one of the highest concentrations of experts in the state and is regarded as one of the best programs in the country.

This university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Marine Science (majoring in marine biology and physical science) and Marine Biology (majoring in oceanography).

14. Northeastern University

Location: Boston, MA

Undergrad Enrollment: 13,900

Acceptance Rate: 20%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1410-1540/33-35

Northeastern's Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology program, with an emphasis on climate change, seeks to provide future professionals in the field with a foundation in sea life, allowing them to explore topics such as ocean and coastal processes, marine biogeochemistry, ecology and evolution of marine organisms, and more. Students investigate contemporary issues affecting marine organisms and ecosystems, as well as participate in experiential learning opportunities such as lab and field trips, as well as internships at Northeastern's Marine Science Center in Nahant, Massachusetts.

Northeastern also offers interdisciplinary programs and several study abroad options. The Three Seas Program, a two-semester optional program, is known for its innovative approach, which combines inquiry-based global study, fieldwork, and research in the Gulf of Maine, tropical coastal Panama, and the Pacific Northwest.

15. University of California—San Diego

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
University of California—San Diego

The University of California-San Diego is one of North America's oldest institutions. The school was established in 1960 with the goal of providing students with a research-based education close to the ocean.

The school provides marine biology courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, but it has a small undergraduate population. Incoming freshmen can expect smaller classes and more personalized attention from their professors as a result of this.

Because this is a private school, they can easily provide scholarships. Tuition discounts may also be available for students from military families or those who have demonstrated academic excellence throughout their high school careers. It is worthwhile to apply for these scholarships as soon as possible!

The institution has some of the best technology in North America, with cutting-edge research equipment and cutting-edge technology available throughout campus.

16. Eckerd College

Eckerd College, a private institution, welcomes students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in marine science. The school enrolls students in on-campus and online programs from its Saint Petersburg, Florida campus. Flexible enrollment options and comprehensive support services are available to undergraduates.

The bachelor's degree in marine science program combines general education and major courses to provide students with in-demand knowledge and skills. Courses in diverse academic subjects such as the humanities, math, and natural sciences are included in the general education curriculum. Advanced marine biology courses cover both theoretical and practical topics, preparing graduates for employment or further education.

17. Auburn University

Location: Auburn, AL

Undergrad Enrollment: 24,600

Acceptance Rate: 85%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1160-1320/25-31

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
Auburn University

Auburn University, which has a large biological sciences department, allows marine biology students to participate in interdisciplinary research projects across campus and beyond. Students frequently interact with local organizations such as the Alabama Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and the Auburn Group in Ecology, as well as international organizations such as the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Marine biology students at Auburn get a head start on their future careers by combining an academic science curriculum with cross-campus and real-world field research. The program's key areas of focus include marine evolution, genetics, ecological interactions, and much more. Wherever students choose to focus their attention, they will find passionate faculty members eager to include undergrads in the exciting scientific work that happens every day at Auburn.

18. University of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire's Bachelor of Science program in Marine, Estuarine, and Freshwater Biology at its main Durham, NH campus provides students with a comprehensive education in marine science.

UNH does not have a residency program or a quarter at sea like OSU or UCLA, but it does offer a wide range of quality marine biology courses as well as freshwater biology courses due to New Hampshire's abundant freshwater reserves. This distinguishes UNH's Marine Sciences program in its own right.

As a public university, the University of New Hampshire offers an affordable option for freshwater Marine biology.

19. Florida International University

Location: Miami, FL

Undergrad Enrollment: 48,800

Acceptance Rate: 58%

Middle 50% SAT/ACT: 1110-1260/23-29

Top 20 Most Prestigious Colleges for Marine Biology in the US 2023/2024
Florida International University

FIU's Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in structural and evolutionary developmental biology, physiology, organismal diversity, physical oceanography, and ecology.

They can explore Florida's and the Caribbean's diverse marine species while conducting research both in the lab and in the field.

Outstanding students in the Honors in Marine Biology program have the opportunity to work with faculty mentors, conduct original research, complete a thesis paper, and present their findings at a departmental seminar.

20. University of Hawaii at Hilo

UH Hilo is a public co-ed institution that was founded in 1941 as the Hawaii Vocational College. It is one of the ten branches of the University of Hawaii educational system.

The school offers both a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) and a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree in marine science. The school's course offerings vary from year to year, but they include marine organisms, coral reef ecosystems, oceanography, and techniques in marine monitoring.

The Marine Science Summer Program at UH Hilo recently received the Excellence in Program Award from the Western Association of Summer Session. This organization represents over 80 academic institutions in the western United States, Mexico, and Canada.


Students who want a successful career in marine biology can get the academic foundation and practical experience they need by enrolling in the appropriate college program. As a result, many people want to know which universities have the best marine biology programs.

It's time to start considering your options for the next steps you can take to achieve your professional goals by researching some of the best marine biology schools in the country.

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