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Top 5 Colleges for a Marine Biology Major

written by: Destiny Keller•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 11/26/2010

There are many colleges offering majors in Marine Biology, and other closely related fields, which makes it difficult to rank, however we have done it here! These top 5 schools are ranked by enrollment, as enrollment is usually a great indication of how well the program is doing.

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    The term 'Marine Biologist' can cover a broad spectrum of jobs in the marine sciences, such as mammalogist, ichthyologist, biological technician, microbiologist, or even a mathematician! According to the bureau of labor statistics, a Marine Biologist has at least a bachelor’s degree in marine or biological sciences. Most people wanting to get into marine biology have to start in the same place, and attend a college with a marine biology major to get a solid background in the subject area. Students will want to take many biology courses, as well as a few courses in zoology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and statistics.

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    Top 5 Marine Biology Schools

    The schools listed below offer degrees in Marine Biology or very closely related fields, such as Biological Oceanography or Marine Science. Although some undergraduate institutions offer a Marine Biology major, many schools do not, and instead students can achieve this degree at the Masters and PhD level. At those institutions, students can instead earn Bachelor’s degrees in Biology, Zoology, or other life sciences. There are hundreds of schools that offer marine biology or similar majors, which makes it difficult to list the top five colleges for a Marine Biology Major. However, enrollment is usually a great indicator of how well a school is doing, from the student's perspective, so the top five schools below are listed mainly on enrollment.

    Florida International University-This public institution gives students distinctive contact to the diverse coastal ecosystems of South Florida and the Caribbean as well as long-term programs worldwide. The have about 38,000 students enrolled.

    Florida State University-This public university closely tails Florid International University with 38,000 students enrolled. One of the great things about this program is they offer undergraduate research experience which gives students hands-on internship opportunities with a mentor in the marine sciences.

    University of California-Los Angeles- This public institution has about 38,000 students enrolled. It has many biology classes that go on field trips to local coastal habitats to give students exposure to many concepts in Marine Biology.

    California State University-Long Beach- This public college has about 37,000 students enrolled. It is fairly close to the Pacific Ocean, where students have the opportunity to study a wide variety organisms and processes in the field and lab. Their marine lab was also recently renovated. This school has boats used for research and teaching as well as the ability to use three large research vessels from the S. California Marine Institute.

    Rutgers University-New Brunswick- This public institution found in New Jersey is part of the International Marine and Costal Sciences, which is a world-class oceanographic research organization committed to discovering more about critical science for the earth for the assistance to our society. They have around 36,000 students enrolled.

    All of these programs are great mainly because they all offer students hands on experience because they are located near the ocean. This gives students a great advantage over other students, as it means more experience and hands on learning for them.

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    More Options

    The top 5 schools for a Marine Biology major listed above are great schools! Each has their unique style and geography. However, there are plenty of schools that offer Marine Biology Majors, or something similar. When choosing a college, be sure to take in every aspect of the college, besides the degrees it may offer. Make sure it feels like it could be home, make sure it is a place you would be comfortable living around for the next few years, and be sure to check out their class sizes, and make sure you are comfortable with that as well. In any case, Marine Biology is a great field to get into, just be prepared to work hard, study hard, and enjoy the many benefits of working with marine life.

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    Southwest Fisheries Science Center - - -

    Education Portal - - -

    CalState LB -

    IMCS Rutgers -

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