From Tiny Plankton To Huge Whales: Marine Biology Degree

Do you have a love of the ocean and a keen interest in the types of organisms that thrive in saltwater? Would you like to work in a field where you get to study marine life, their various habitats and the influence that external factors have on these? If so, a degree in marine biology can prepare you for this hands-on field where you get to hone both your research and laboratory skills. It is a great area of study for anyone who love the natural environment and would like to ensure that marine life continues to thrive. Whether you are interested in working with marine animals, studying their habitats or even microscopic organisms living in the ocean, a marine biology degree is one of the best ways to get your feet wet in this industry.

Marine Biology Degree Information

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

The Bachelor In Science In Marine Biology degree typically takes about four years to complete and is aimed at teaching students all the required skills to become a modern marine biologist. The first two years of a marine biology degree usually focus on core biology modules along with other modules that will help with understanding the advanced modules in marine biology that comes later. Usually in the third year of study the focus changes from broad-themed modules to ones that are more specialized around marine biology while in the fourth year the emphasis is on specific research in the chosen area of students. Course topics may include Biology, Research methods in Biology, Ecology, Vertebrate Zoology, Comparative Physiology, Aquatic Ecology, Developmental Biology, Biology of Marine Organisms and Ecosystems and Conservation.

Master of Science in Marine Biology

Students who have a strong interest in marine research as well as oceanography and conservation can follow their bachelor’s degree with a two year Master of Science in Marine Biology degree course. This type of degree is designed to prepare students for careers where they might be required to conduct their own research in the field as well as in labs. This degree also enables students to take a closer look at ecosystems and the ecology of the ocean. Many courses at this level also feature a period of internship along with independent research projects. Course topics typically include Oceanography, Ocean and Coastal Sustainability, Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Coral Reef Ecology, Marine Conservation Biology and more.

Marine Biology Degree FAQs

Is It Possible To Study Marine Biology Online?

Like most degrees that are science-based, there are no marine biology degrees available that can be completed fully online. It is possible to take individual courses online, but since this type of degree has a lot of field and lab training the majority must take place at a campus. Hybrid programs may also exist, which offers a blend of face-to-face as well as online lectures for students who need greater flexibility.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Marine Biology?

Because marine biology involves a lot of science, it would be an advantage for students interested in this field to have a strong scientific aptitude. A love for nature in general and the sea in particular would also be beneficial in addition to being passionate about protecting natural ecologies. It is a field that is ideally suited for people who are responsible and able to work well with others as part of a team. What makes marine biology somewhat different from other scientific fields is that it often requires you to be in excellent physical condition as you might be required to dive or spend a lot of your time at sea on on board research vessels.

Other key skills that are required for marine biology is critical thinking, active learning and listening, as well as complex problem-solving abilities. Finally, students who want to study marine biology should also be comfortable working with various scientific and analytical software. Although most institutions have their own entry requirements, it is recommended to have subjects like physical sciences, mathematics as well as life sciences to prepare for studying marine biology.

What Type of Career Options Are Potentially Available After Studying Marine Biology?

The most common occupation for students who obtain a degree in marine biology is marine biologist, but this is by no means the only career path in the field. With the skills and knowledge acquired through your marine biology degree it is also possible to work in occupations as diverse as marine policy specialist, environmental analyst, aquarist, oceanographer, marine mammal trainer, marine geologist, environmental consultant, clinical researcher, pollution control chemist, zoologist, wildlife biologist and much more. In addition to being self-employed by working as a consultant, the major employers for people in this field are universities, commercial fishing companies, museums, the National Parks Board, Environmental Affairs and Tourism departments and the Oceanographic Research Institute.

What Type of Responsibilities Might I Have When Working In This Type of Industry?

Since there are numerous career paths in the field of marine biology, it is difficult to pinpoint exact duties. Your responsibilities will depend largely on whether your primary work is in the field of academia, research or whether you work in the private industry. Common duties include studying animals in their natural habitats, the identification and classification of animals, performing assessments to see what effects factors like industry or the environment has on animals as well as the dissemination of information. Some jobs have more administrative duties while others might require more time in the field or labs doing research.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn After Completing A Marine Biology Degree?

Although the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics does not list salary information for marine biologists, the 2016 median pay for zoologists and wildlife biologists is about $60,520 per year. The actual salaries for people who are employed in this field depends largely on the type of employer they work for, the position they have and how much experience they have. Your geographical location can also play a large role in how much you earn in this type of industry.

What Are The Other Advantages To Studying Marine Biology?

In addition to the satisfaction of discovering new information about marine life, most of the careers in marine biology also provide you with the opportunity to work outdoors as well as indoors. It is great if you are the type of person who like to experience and do something different every day at work as no two days are really the same. Finally, if you enjoy the thrill of discovery, then you’ll find the field of marine biology very rewarding. Marine life can be found all over the globe, so depending on the work and research you end up doing, you might get to travel to exotic locations. Since it is a field with a lot of learning and research, marine biologist also sometimes go on to become teachers and professors when they have had enough of working out in the field.

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