Bachelor's Degrees in Marine Biology

Updated November 17, 2022

A bachelor's degree can help jumpstart a new career. Find out more on our most affordable bachelor's degrees in marine biology. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Considering how roughly 72 percent of Earth's surface is covered by water, studying marine life is an important endeavor. Students who pursue a degree in Marine Biology are often motivated for different reasons: some students love water and marine wildlife, while others are interested in environmental conservation and sustainability. 

Since the scope of study involving Marine Biology can be as broad or specific as needed, the diversity of possible careers after graduation are equally as vast. Students of Marine Biology often find themselves working professionally within research, environmental conservation, science education, and even health sciences. Studying Marine Biology also requires the study of biotechnology and microbiology, so many graduates often attend graduate school as well.

According to Graduate Prospect's online profile for careers in marine biology, job titles often include fishery data management, oil spill response specialists, and reef restoration project management. Working as a marine biologist is also financially stable, as well. The Bureau for Labor Statistics reports the median national salary for Wildlife Biologists at $63,420.

Selection Criteria

Best Value Schools publishes college degree rankings with the belief of how one's higher education should be, both, affordable and an investment of continued value for the students who pursue them. The staff of BVS collects data from reputable sources in order to calculate Net Price and the short and long-term value of every ranked degree. Collected data is simplified into weighted categories before scoring and then scaled through a BVS Score up to 100. The weighted categories are:

  • Degree Investment Return (25%)
  • Student & Alumni Evaluation (25%)
  • Cost Value (25%)
  • Matriculation (10%)
  • Academic Success (15%)

No matter what degree you decide on, we hope our research and support has made the selection process easier. There are numerous resources BVS utilizes to collect information on degrees, and we encourage you to check them out for yourself!

Here are the 10 Cheapest Bachelor's Degrees in Marine Biology!
#1 University of Washington Seattle, WA
#2 California State University-Long Beach Long Beach, CA
#3 University of Alaska Southeast Juneau, AK
#4 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC
#5 California State University-Monterey Bay Seaside, CA
#6 University of Hawai'i at Hilo Hilo, HI
#7 Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY
#8 University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
#9 University of Oregon Eugene, OR
#10 Duke University Durham, NC

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. University of Washington

    Seattle, WA



    The University of Washington in Seattle offers Best Value Schools' No. 1 Cheapest Bachelor's Degree for Marine Biology. Located near the Puget Sound of Northwestern Washington, UW Marine Biology students have direct access to a unique estuary environment, historically significant glacial zones, and the Pacific Coast Mountain System. Local affiliates, such as the Friday Harbor Laboratories, also provide UW students with research internships to study local marine wildlife. The Marine Biology major studies include Conservation and Management, Marine Evolutionary Biology, Marine Ecology, Marine Psychology, and Marine Evolutionary Biology. Classes incorporate field trips and labs at places such as Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands where an integrative field experience requirement is typically met. BSMB students at UW also study locally-relevant electives, such as The Changing Ocean, Marine Pollution, and Arctic Marine Vertebrate Ecology.

  2. California State University-Long Beach

    Long Beach, CA



    California State University Long Beach is oriented toward graduate studies, government work, and professional work within private sectors. CSULB is located near the Pacific ocean, so it's not hard to imagine the sheer amount of opportunity students have for hands-on study opportunities in and out of class. Faculty members are Ph.D.-level researchers who specialize in Ecology, Developmental and Larval Biology, Aquatic Toxicology, and Evolution. BSMB students at CSULB complete courses involving chemistry, mathematics, and physics in addition to electives in aquatic toxicology, wetland ecology, and physical oceanography. BSMB students are also encouraged to join The Marine Biology Student Association. Student participation enables MB majors to earn their SCUBA diving license and network with other students for community service events.

  3. University of Alaska Southeast

    Juneau, AK



    The University of Alaska Southeast provides an incredible Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. Much of this is due to the school's location in Juneau, which is a prime spot for studying marine science along the Gastineau Channel and Northern Pacific Ocean. UAS attracts faculty with diverse expertise in Marine Phycology, Ecology, Behavioral Ecology, Crustacean Physiology, Marine Pollution, and Marine Mammalogy. A minimum of 120 credit hours are necessary to graduate, and class options include Introduction to Ichthyology; Marine Ornithology and Herpetology; and Tropical Marine and Coastal Ecology. In addition, students can choose to pursue a Fisheries Science Emphasis which focuses elective options on courses related to fishery science.

  4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Chapel Hill, NC



    The Department of Marine Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Since 1969, UNC at Chapel Hill has upheld a long-standing tradition of offering an excellent education with research and public services for students to engage with high-level academia. Courses for undergraduates include Descriptive Physical Oceanography, Time Series and Spatial Data Analysis, Geologic and Oceanographic Applications of Geographical Information Systems, and Geochemistry. Research opportunities at both the graduate and undergraduate levels are vast, so students often take advantage of them. In addition, UNC offers a stellar graduate program in Marine Biology, which may be helpful to know for undergraduates seeking an advanced degree. You'll get plenty of field-experience when studying Marine Biology at UNC

  5. California State University-Monterey Bay

    Seaside, CA



    Studying Marine Science at California State University - Monterey Bay allows students to take advantage of the unique economic, cultural, recreational, and environmental aspects of the region. So much study in Marine Science is done in Monterey Bay institutions, such as the Moss Landing Marine Lab. Plenty of local experts can guide students through marine and coastal ecology. At CSU Monterey Bay, four learning outcomes drive the Marine Science program: Quantitative, Research, and Communication Skills; Personal, Professional, and Social Responsibility, Marine Science Depth of Knowledge, and Marine Science Integration and Synthesis. This being the case, the coursework offered includes Marine Invertebrate Zoology, Statistical Computing Skills, and Conservation Genetics. In addition to the Marine Science major, CSU Monterey Bay can choose from 35 available minors.

  6. University of Hawai'i at Hilo

    Hilo, HI



    What better place is there to study Marine Biology than on an island surrounded by ocean life? The University of Hawai'i at Hilo provides students this exact opportunity, offering a Bachelor of Science or Arts in Marine Biology. The University is located on the island of Hawai'i in the ancient city of Waiākea, which means broad waters in the indigenous Hawaiian language, although the city was renamed Hilo by colonial settlers around 1823. Overall, the Bachelors' in Marine Biology consists of 120 credits and requires students to pass courses such as Marine Biology-Diversity; Oceanography; and Statistical Apps in Marine Science. UH at Hilo also requires specific electives, such as Global Change, Coral Reef Ecology, or Marine Debris in the Pacific. There are also fun research electives for students interested in sea turtle conservation and ecology or the environmental significance of Hawaii's indigenous cultures.

  7. Stony Brook University

    Stony Brook, NY



    East Coast students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Marine Sciences from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. BSMS students at Stony Brook have access to the Long Island Sound, which is an important regional marine area along the Atlantic Ocean. The salt and freshwater environments are home to many plant and animal species, which includes five residential shark species! Stony Brook also houses the Marine Sciences Research Center, which is the only state-sponsored facility for marine education, research, and public outreach. Local affiliations include the Living Marine Resources Insitute and the Long Island Groundwater Resource Institute. The School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook also provides BS degrees for Marine Vertebrate Biology and minors for Environmental Studies or Marine Sciences. In terms of coursework, students master calculus and complete foundations for general and organic chemistry along with physics and their respective labs. Marine Biology electives include Limnology, Apex Predators, and Ichthyology.

  8. University of California-Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, CA



    The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California - Los Angeles offers a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. Graduates of UCLA's BSMB are prepared to professionally research oceanography, physiology of marine organisms, and subtidal ecology. In fact, many of UCLA's Marine Biology undergraduates have had the privilege of publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals while obtaining their degree. All BSMB students experience UCLA's Marine Biology Quarters, which is directly associated with the Marine Biology profession. Past locations have taken place in Tahiti, Catalina Islands, or Hawaii. Upper-division BSMB categories include Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Anthropology; and Life Sciences. The University also provides fun electives such as Earth, Planetary, & Space Sciences; Chemistry; and Geography. UCLA's academic expectations are competitive, and all students are asked to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0.

  9. University of Oregon

    Eugene, OR



    The University of Oregon provides oceanic academics an opportunity to study through the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology to earn a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology. The BS in Marine Biology from Oregon is the only marine biology degree provided in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon's Marine Biology major requires General and Organic Chemistry and studying calculus with physics. Other marine-relevant classes include Invertebrate Zoology, Cell Biology, Animal Behavior, and Molecular Marine Biology. The University additionally provides unique research opportunities through The Marine Biology Internship Program. Local affiliates include the South Slough Estuarine Research Reserve, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Coos Watershed, and the Charleston Marine Life Center. Oregon's Marine Biology students can also participate in the Tropical Marine Biology in Panama, or study abroad with faculty in Bonaire and Australia.

  10. Duke University

    Durham, NC



    Based in Durham, NC, Duke University offers an excellent undergraduate program in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology. The major requires a minimum of 10 biology core courses and electives. Pursuing a concentration in Marine Biology at Duke involves four specialized classes, which include Comparative Physiology of Marine Animals, Research Methods in Marine Science, and Coastal Watershed Science and Policy. Marine Biology students at Duke also complete two lab courses or participate in global experiential learning opportunities, which have historically taken place in the Republic of Singapore. Major Biology courses and prerequisites include Molecular Biology, Genetics & Evolution, and Organismal Diversity.

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