Top 10 Best Colleges for Marine Biology in the World, 2023 | Cost, Requirements

Marine biology is a branch of biology that deals with the scientific study of organisms whose habitat is oceans and other salt waters, and their interaction with their geographic area and factors around them that influence what foods are available to them and how food is obtained.

Fundamentally, this field is the application of various areas of biology as it requires the understanding of the organisms themselves besides their habitats, interactions, and adaptations.

Marine Biology Colleges are colleges where Marine biology is studied and there are a number of such colleges in the world but among them are few that are the best colleges for Marine biology

In countries like the United States and other countries of the world, many schools offer best marine biology programs.

We expect the data from the US Department of Labor shows that employment rates and career opportunities for marine biology and marine sciences graduates to rise in no time.

Marine biology is obviously one course you would want to study as it is quite interesting.  If your plan is to become a marine biologist and you are looking for one of the best schools to choose from, we are glad to let you know that you are at the right place, so, congratulations.

Is a marine biology degree worth it? Why study marine biology?

Oftentimes courses could be demanding to the extent that one starts asking whether the efforts put in is commensurate to/ worth the degree that will be earned at the end of the day. This is oftentimes the case with students studying marine biology.

To the question of whether a marine biology degree is worth it or not, my answer is yes! This is so because of the following reasons:

Marine biology education is part of deep-sea exploration hence a marine biologist has much knowledge at his disposal with regards to facts about underwater exploration.

This biology degree is worth it because it is a science that studies life phenomena, processes, and laws in the water body. Marine biology is a focal subject of Marine science and also an exhaustive interdisciplinary subject, covering the functions of Marine organisms, Marine biodiversity, and ecology.

The degrees provided by schools that offer marine biology include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Some good colleges for marine biologists afford students the privilege to earn two degrees (combined bachelor’s and master’s degree education in marine biology) in a comparatively short time.

Marine biology program commonly covers research and laboratory methods, research marine biology kits, and professional science marine biology articles to write

Studying marine biology and graduating successfully makes one established in different areas of specialization through electives, independent study classes, and a thesis through marine biology textbooks and professors.

What do Marine Biologists do?

The job description of marine biologists includes the following:

  • Study of marine organisms in their natural habitats.
  • Investigation of a population’s behaviors or physiology.
  • Assessment of the condition of habitats, and the effects of human activity on those animals and habitats.

The research commonly carried out by marine biologists includes the following:  

  • conducting species inventories,
  • testing and monitoring sea creatures exposed to pollutants,
  • collecting and testing ocean samples,
  • preserving specimens and samples of unknown species and diseases, and
  • mapping the distribution, ranges, or movements of marine populations.

Periodically, they may also communicate their findings and recommendations by writing reports and scientific journal articles.

Some marine biologists specialize in marine biotechnology, where they investigate the adaptations and advantages of marine species and how they might be useful to industrial processes.

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Where do marine biologists work?

State and federal government agencies employ most marine biologists.

These positions are known for offering greater job security and more room for advancement.

Most marine biologists work at private research laboratories or consulting firms. Others work for aquariums, zoos, and museums or become faculty members in different tertiary institutions, while some become high school science teachers.

They are known for conducting research which usually makes them spend a significant amount of time outdoors.

The following often makes up the fieldwork of Marine biologists:

  • Working on ships to locate, tag, and monitor marine animals and their movements, and
  • Collection of seawater samples.

What is the job outlook of marine biologists?

Oftentimes, there is the question: “is it hard to find a job as a marine biologist.”

Finding a job as a marine biologist largely depends on the individual rather than on the job market. The marketability of an individual will be the main factor in determining whether he will find a job as a marine biologist.

To be very marketable as a marine biologist, you are to ensure that you are well-prepared for this career and will most likely look less for a job.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, the growth rate for all zoologists and wildlife biologists is 7 percent from 2020 to 2026. This is slower than average.

Information from the DISCOVER career information system shows that marine biologist jobs are expected to grow at 1.3 percent annually. These statistics exclude account degree or experience level.

Some marine biologists should expect a better outlook than others — such as those with master’s or Ph.D. degrees or impressive work experience and marketability.

How much does a marine biologist make?

As of June 29, 2021, a Marine Biologist in the United States earns an average monthly pay of $5,518.

ZipRecruiter sees monthly salaries of Marine biologists as high as $8,167 and as low as $1,750. While this is the case, most Marine Biologist salaries currently range between $3,792 (25th percentile) to $7,042 (75th percentile) across the US.

There is a great variation in the average pay range for a Marine Biologist (by as much as $3,250). This suggests that there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location, and years of experience, among many other criteria.

Which body accredits marine biology programs?

Talking about accreditation for marine biology degrees, well-known postsecondary schools voluntarily submit to a process of accreditation whereby an independent accreditor carries out an evaluation on a school’s academic offerings according to set standards.

To determine the quality of the program offered by a school, you are to examine its accreditation.

Institutions that are nonprofit degree-focused commonly seek regional accreditation while for-profit vocational and sectarian schools often apply for another accreditation – national.

There’s a tendency for stakeholders to hold regional accreditation in higher esteem because there’s the application of a more rigorous process of evaluation by regional accreditors.

Beyond signifying the quality of education a school offers, accreditation also determines the funding available to students. For instance, the United States Department of Education directs financial aid only through accredited institutions. As a student, to apply for financial help from the government, you must enroll in an accredited school or program.

The following bodies are in charge of the accreditation of marine biology-related courses at the University of Southampton:

  • The Geological Society of London
  • Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)

How much does it cost to complete a marine biology program?

To complete a marine biology program, an applicant must note that the average tuition & fees of the Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography program are placed at $11,410 and $34,549 for state residents and non-domestic students, respectively, for the academic year 2023-2024.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the average tuition costs of colleges offering Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography program is $34,549 and $27,306 for undergraduate and graduate programs, respectively.

How many years does it take to complete a marine biology program?

To become a certified marine biologist from any of the best marine biology colleges, you must complete a bachelor’s degree program, which takes a minimum of four years.

To get a master’s degree in Marine biology, it might take you two to three years to complete the required courses for this degree.

Earning a Ph.D. in Marine biology will take at least six years.

How does one apply for marine biology programs? What are the requirements you need to apply for marine biology programs?

There is a process for becoming a Marine Biologist, and it can take as little as obtaining a biology degree or as much as bagging a doctorate (Ph.D.). This is the case because job options are so wide-ranging.

To become a marine biologist, there is a basic process to follow, and it is:

  • Gain recreational, voluntary, and high school experience in life sciences
  • Take science electives in high school
  • Earn a bachelor’s degree in biology
  • Get an entry-level job in marine biology
  • Obtain advanced degrees (master’s and doctorate), according to career goals.

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The Top 10 Best Colleges for Marine Biology in the World

The top 10 best colleges for marine biology in the world are listed below, including the programs they offer, tuition, school ranking, acceptance rate, and the school’s marine biology program link.

They include:

  • Duke University
  • Boston University
  • University of North Carolina
  • Eckerd College
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • Oregon State University
  • University of Maine
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Stony Brook University
  • California State University – Long Beach

#1. Duke University

Duke University is among the universities that offer the best marine biology programs and a private institution and was founded in 1838.

It belongs to one of the top schools in the United States that offer an undergraduate degree in biology with a concentration in marine biology.

Tuition: $60,488

School ranking: Duke University ranks #12 in National Universities, #9 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and #13 in Best Value Schools.

Acceptance Rate: 8.6% (2023)


#2. Boston University

Boston University does offer graduate degrees in marine biology but only undergraduate degrees.

The Boston University Marine Program, well known as BUMP, is within the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University is the Boston University Marine Program.

BUMP focuses on research in areas like marine conservation, ocean exploration, and functional genomics, to mention but a few.

The degree offered by BUMP includes multiple opportunities for undergraduate research and honors courses.

Number of programs offered: 5

Tuition: $58,560

School ranking: Ranked #42 in the edition of Best Colleges among National Universities

Acceptance Rate: 22.1%

Program link:

#3. University of North Carolina

Located in Chapel Hill, NC, the University of North Carolina offers multiple degree programs focused on marine sciences. This university was founded in 1789 and has a booming population of over 18,000 undergraduate students.

The school is quite large in population but through that, it makes attentive education available to students.

The University of North Carolina has many graduate and undergraduate degree programs alike and offers both advanced and introductory coursework in marine sciences, and is among the good colleges for marine biologists.

Number of programs offered: 4

Tuition: 36,159 USD

school ranking

University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill ranks #28 in National Universities

Acceptance Rate: 21.9%

Program link:

#5. Eckerd College

Located in St. Petersburg, FL, Eckerd College is open to students interested in pursuing degrees in marine biology Aad is among the best marine biology colleges.

Eckerd College offers four specialization areas in marine biology which include the following: Marine Geophysics, Marine Biology, Marine Geology, and Marine Chemistry.

Eckerd College is popular for combining extensive opportunities in research with professional preparedness, intensive laboratory experiences, and affordable financing options.

Number of programs offered: 5

Tuition: $47,704

Acceptance Rate: Eckerd College has an acceptance rate of about 67%

Program link:

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#5. University of California-Los Angeles

There are over 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered at the University of California-Los Angeles that applicants are to choose from, making it seem difficult to find the right program for your career goals when you are studying at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Be that as it may, the marine biology degree is a clear standout, making available to students all the skills needed to succeed in the workforce upon graduation.

The degree in Marine biology offered by the University of California-Los Angeles is designed for students wishing to take on a specialization in marine biology. While also giving room for customization in topics such as subtidal and intertidal ecology, physiology of marine organisms, and oceanography.

Number of programs offered: 4


Local tuition:13,240 USD,

Domestic tuition: 42,994 USD

School ranking: University of California-Los Angeles is ranked 15th in the world and number 2 among U.S. public universities.

Acceptance Rate: The University of California-Los Angeles has an acceptance rate of 16.1%

Program link:

#6. Oregon State University

Located in Corvallis, OR, the marine biology program of Oregon State University is offered via the Hatfield Marine Science Center. The program is for students who might not necessarily have a marine biology or ecology background.

Students with biology or non-biology majors may participate in this degree program, which has three separate start terms throughout the calendar year.

Number of programs offered: 5


Local tuition: 11,715 USD,

Domestic tuition: 31,215 USD

School ranking: Oregon State University ranks #153 in the edition of Best Colleges among National Universities,

Acceptance Rate: Oregon State University has an acceptance rate of 86%.

Program Link

#7. University of Maine

Founded in 1865, the University of Maine is a public university with a campus located in a rural area about an hour from the Atlantic coast. This university has fewer than 10,000 undergraduate students and is among the best marine biology colleges.

The marine biology program offered by the University of Maine is considered being one of the top programs in the United States and is available in both undergraduate and graduate fields of study.

Number of programs offered: 5


Local tuition: 11,438 USD,

Domestic tuition: 31,748 USD

School ranking: the University of Maine ranks #600 in the US college ranking.

Acceptance Rate: 84.8%

Program link:

#8. University of New Hampshire

The first interdisciplinary school of the University of New Hampshire is the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering, which is among the best marine biology colleges. This university offers marine science classes that are exceptional.

The program provides students interested in marine and freshwater biology the skills and education to pursue various careers and graduate studies.

This program allows you to specialize in an area of interest, such as aquaculture or animal behavior.

Number of programs offered: 4


In-State: $33,750

School ranking: the University of New Hampshire is ranked 143 in the edition of Best Colleges among National Universities.

Acceptance Rate: 73.9%

Program Link

#9. Stony Brook University

Located in Stony Brook, NY, Stony Brook University is among the best colleges for marine biology and is a public institution founded in 1957.

The marine biology program is among the few programs offered by Stony Brook University that brings theory life back through employing the power of hands-on learning in all of its programs.

The School of Marine administers the marine biology degree and Atmospheric Sciences and is among the top oceanographic institutions in the nation.

Number of programs offered: 5


In-state: $14,032

Out-of-State: $25,820

School ranking: Stony Brook University is ranked #88 in the edition of Best Colleges among National Universities,

Acceptance Rate: 42%

Program Link

#10. California State University – Long Beach

The California State University – Long Beach is a public university founded in 1949.

There’s just one program offered at the California State University – Long Beach: the Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. You can choose to pursue a graduate degree in marine biology in this school too.

Number of programs offered: 5


In State: $6,834

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Out of State: $18,714

School ranking: Ranked #14 in the edition of Best Colleges among Regional Universities West,

Acceptance Rate: California State University – Long Beach has an acceptance rate of 31.6

Program Link

FAQs on Best Colleges for Marine Biology

How long will I complete a bachelor’s degree in marine biology?

Marine biology bachelor’s programs commonly take four years to earn the degree. This is typical of other undergraduate degrees, which take four years to complete.

Where is the best country to study marine biology?

The best country to study marine biology is Costa Rica. This is the case because the country is one of the most biologically intense countries and is home to 4% of all the species in the world.

Is it easy studying marine biology?

The journey to becoming a respectable marine biologist is a long and arduous one. To pursue a marine biologist career, you need to choose subjects such as physics, mathematics, chemistry, and of course – biology during your undergraduate years.


A degree in marine biology, as you’ve seen, is worth it as there are many benefits in studying marine biology.

As a marine biologist, your job would be to study marine organisms in their natural habitats, investigate a population’s behaviors or physiology, and assess the habitats’ condition and the effects of human activity on those animals and habitats, among many others.

As a marine biologist, you can work in private research laboratories or consulting firms, aquariums, zoos, and museums, etc.

Indeed, marine biology is among the sought-after courses in the world and can have a lot in store for you.



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