Marine Biology Curriculum

View the requirements for an AOC in Marine Biology and see sample pathways to graduation.



Area of Concentration Requirements

An area of concentration in Marine Biology normally begins with work in a two-semester course (Foundations of Biology 1 and 2), which may be taken in any order, and an introduction to the properties of the marine environment (Introduction to Oceanography or Introduction to Coastal Marine Systems). A strong foundation in basic biological concepts is acquired through study of three core levels of organization. One lecture and one laboratory course is required in each of the following areas (marine course offerings are marked with a *):

Genetics, Genetics Laboratory, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Microbiology Laboratory, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Cellular Biology, Cellular Biology Laboratory

Organismal biology:
Organismic Biology, Organismic Laboratory, Botany, Botany Laboratory, Entomology, Entomology Laboratory, *Fish Biology, *Fish Biology Laboratory, *Invertebrate Zoology, *Invertebrate Zoology Laboratory, Plant Physiology, *Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays, *Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays Laboratory, and *Marine Mammal Biology

Ecology and Evolution:
Animal Behavior, Animal Behavior Laboratory, Biology of Urbanization, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Ecology Laboratory, Evolution, Forest Ecology Laboratory

Students should complete at least three marine-focused courses or tutorials. In addition to the above-noted (*) courses, other current courses with a marine emphasis also include: Coral Reef Ecology, Methods of Field Ecology, Sensory Biology of Fishes, GIS and Remote Sensing Apps to Coastal and Marine Studies.

Additional foundational coursework in the other Natural Science disciplines is also required. Marine Biology students should complete Calculus 1, Calculus 2, a statistics course (Biostatistics, Dealing with Data, or Introductory Statistics), Physics 1, Physics 1 Laboratory, Physics 2, Physics 2 Laboratory, General Chemistry 1, General Chemistry 2, and General Chemistry Laboratory. Organic Chemistry 1, Organic Inquiry Laboratory, Organic Chemistry 2, and Organic Chemistry 2 Laboratory are strongly recommended.

Students will also complete one Independent Study Project in Marine Biology (fieldwork is strongly recommended and one in either Biology or Marine Biology. Students are encouraged to participate in internships and/or study at marine field stations to broaden their experience.

Students must also complete a senior thesis in Marine Biology and a successful baccalaureate exam to complete the expectations for the Marine Biology Area of Concentration. A member of the Marine Biology faculty must serve as the thesis sponsor, one other Biology or Marine Biology faculty member must also be a member of the student’s thesis/baccalaureate exam committee.

Joint Disciplinary AOC Requirements

Requirements for an AOC in Marine Biology/Other Discipline
Students should fulfill all the normal requirements of the Marine Biology AOC listed above, including completing a thesis sponsored by a member of the Marine Biology faculty. At least one faculty member from the other discipline must agree that the student has completed sufficient work to qualify for a slash in that discipline and be a member of the student’s thesis/baccalaureate exam committee.

Requirements for an AOC in Other Discipline/Marine Biology
To earn a joint disciplinary concentration in Marine Biology, students should complete the two-course introductory Biology sequence (Foundations of Biology 1 and 2), Introduction to Oceanography or Introduction to Coastal Marine Systems, plus two upper-level lecture and two laboratory Marine Biology courses. At least one member of the Marine Biology faculty must be a member of the student’s thesis/baccalaureate exam committee.