Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
About the Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Major
Just like land, there is a science specific to the sea. Students seeking to make a career out of their curiosity for aquatic life may want to pursue marine biology. Marine biology students study the behavior and ecology of plants and animals that live in oceans, coastal waters, and saltwater wetlands. Marine ecology, microbiology, and oceanography are among the main topics that students explore. Often offered as a separate degree, the field of oceanography explores the chemical, geological, and physical environment of the ocean.
While some schools do offer a Bachelor of Science in marine biology, most degrees in this field are earned at the master's or doctorate (PhD) level.
Undergraduate students can expect to complete core courses in physical and natural sciences, math, and computer science in preparation for graduate school. Marine biology-specific topics include oceanography, marine microbiology, marine botany, marine ecology, population dynamics, and biodiversity. Fieldwork is central to undergraduate and graduate marine biology education programs. Students participate in field research in laboratories and the habitats of marine life and are also encouraged to complete volunteer work and internships involving marine research.
Graduates of marine biology and oceanography programs find work at state and federal agencies, private industries, aquariums and marine science museums, environmental consulting firms, biomedical laboratories, and secondary schools.