Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Major

Description: A program that focuses on the scientific study of the ecology and behavior of microbes, plants, and animals inhabiting oceans, coastal waters, and saltwater wetlands and their interactions with the physical environment. Includes instruction in chemical, physical, and geological oceanography; molecular, cellular, and biochemical studies; marine microbiology; marine botany; ichthyology; mammalogy; marine population dynamics and biodiversity; reproductive biology; studies of specific species, phyla, habitats, and ecosystems; marine paleocology and palentology; and applications to fields such as fisheries science and biotechnology. Is Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography the right major for you?
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Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography Major

What Kinds of Students Major in Oceanography?

Students majoring in Oceanography are those who enjoy math and science and who have a fondness for being in the out-of-doors. Although much oceanographic work is done on board research vessels, employment on those vessels is limited for undergraduates, except as internships. Still, some opportunities exist for employment on shore-based work and research. Students who are serious about working in oceanography will probably have to commit to going to graduate school to find employment. Students are generally encouraged to focus on one of the sciences within this major.

Is Oceanography the right major for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it is one of your top recommended majors!

What Courses Do Oceanography Majors Take?

The required and elective courses you would take for Oceanography majors vary considerably among institutions. Courses are listed here that are illustrative of the breadth of topics you are likely to experience were you to major in this field.

  • Marine Geology and Geophysics
  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Coastal Landscape and Ecology
  • Field Oceanography
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Mammals
  • Marine Seismology
  • Methods and Measurements
  • Ocean Circulation
  • Ocean Circulation and Climate
  • Survey of Oceanography
  • Water Pollution

What other majors are related to Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography?

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