Find your passion

Marine Biology Degree: What to expect?

You loved the ocean the first time you hit its salty shores, wanted a fish rather than a dog, and thought Jaws was just a misunderstood animal looking for a hug. Yep, you’ve got Marine Biologist written all over you!

Marine Biologists work in the water, studying sea and river life as well as the ecosystems that contain them. You might do research on a new species, care for the marine mammals at an aquarium, or work for a state’s wildlife department. Think of yourself as a modern-day Jacques Cousteau. If this describes you, then the get started on your way to becoming a Shark Biologist, a Fish Culturist, or anything in between, with a degree in marine biology.


Getting an undergrad degree in either biology or marine biology is a good way to start in this field. When checking out the marine biology programs of your chosen schools, be sure to look at how well-known their programs are, what type of marine biology they deal with, and how much fieldwork you’ll be able to do.

Make sure you can do an internship. This will give you vital experience, and let you know whether you want to specialize as a Whale Biologist, work for a nonprofit like Sea Shepherd, or make your professional home at an aquarium.

Next Step

After college, spend some time in an assistant position. This will give you professional experience, and let you form the necessary connections that will eventually land you a full-time job.

An undergrad degree will get your foot in the door and let you work as an associate or Technician, but if you hope to go further, you’ll need a higher-level degree. Once you have either a master’s in marine biology or a Ph.D. (or both), you’ll open up your options to include positions like university Professor, Researcher, Administrator, or official at organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency.

Was this helpful?YesNo

Careers You May Like

Marine Biologist

Study the creatures that inhabit the oceans.


Conduct research on fungus.

Wildlife Biologist

Study wild animals in their natural habitat.

Fisheries Biologist

Explore the life processes of fish.


Investigate the life functions of organisms big and small.

Molecular Biologist

Study how genes work in living organisms or in test tubes.

Plant Ecologist

Learn how plants are affected by their surroundings.

Snake Milker

Draw venom from snakes to create lifesaving antivenoms.