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Marine Biologist Education Requirements

This is a field where educational requirements tend to be fairly cut and dry. A scant few entry level positions may be available for graduates with a bachelor's degree in one of the biological sciences, but the grand majority of research positions will require at least a master's degree in marine biology. Those who wish to work their way into a position of authority where they are directing research projects will most likely need to earn a doctorate in marine biology. In other words, if you want to do your own work, rather than someone else's, you'll need a Ph.D.

Interestingly, many working marine biologists recommend that someone interested in a career in marine biology get a degree in a different biological science first and specialize in marine biology for their post-graduate work. Specialization in a particular discipline is considered a key turning point in the career of a marine biology graduate.

Education History of Marine Biologists

The most common degree held by marine biologists is Biology. 5 percent of marine biologists had a degree in biology before becoming marine biologists. That is over 2 times the average across all careers.

Marine Biologist Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Marine Biologist, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of marine biologists % of population Multiple
Biology 5.3% 2.5% 2.1×

How to Become a Marine Biologist

Think you might be interested in becoming a Marine Biologist? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good marine biologist? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    • Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Associates
    • Delaware State University | Dover, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • University of Delaware | Newark, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • Wesley College | Dover, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • Wilmington University | New Castle, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
  3. Get Hired
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Further Reading

  • Marine Biology Degree Programs In The U.S. www.ecologyproject.org

    Please note that most degrees in Marine Biology are earned at the Masters level or higher and usually require a Bachelor's degree first in Biology, Zoology or another life science.

  • So You Want To Be A Marine Biologist: Deep Sea News Edition deepseanews.com

    You have to have a solid, traditional science background to be a marine biologist. Classwork will give you the basics, but working in a lab or doing independent research is how you’re going to learn how science is actually done.

Find your perfect career

Would you make a good marine biologist? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

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Recommended Books

  • Marine Biology: Function, Biodiversity, Ecology www.amazon.com

    Examines marine biology from a unique global and evolutionary perspective.

  • The Biology of Sharks and Rays www.amazon.com

    The Biology of Sharks and Rays is a comprehensive resource on the biological and physiological characteristics of the cartilaginous fishes: sharks, rays, and chimaeras. In sixteen chapters, organized by theme, A. Peter Klimley covers a broad spectrum of topics, including taxonomy, morphology, ecology, and physiology.

  • Dolphin Confidential: Confessions of a Field Biologist www.amazon.com

    With Dolphin Confidential Maddalena Bearzi invites all of us shore-bound dreamers to join her and travel alongside the dolphins. In this fascinating account, she takes us inside the world of a marine scientist and offers a firsthand understanding of marine mammal behavior, as well as the frustrations, delights, and creativity that make up dolphin research.

  • Marine Biology www.amazon.com

    Marine Biology covers the basics of marine biology with a global approach, using examples from numerous regions and ecosystems worldwide. This introductory, one-semester text is designed for non-majors. Authors Castro and Huber have made a special effort to include solid basic science content needed in a general education course, including the fundamental principles of biology, the physical sciences, and the scientific method.

  • Marine Biology: A Very Short Introduction www.amazon.com

    In this unique Very Short Introduction, biologist Philip Mladenov provides a comprehensive overview of marine biology, offering a tour of marine life and marine processes that ranges from the polar oceans to tropical coral reefs, and from shoreline mollusks to deep-sea hydrothermal vents.

Become a Marine Biologist

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