colleges for marine biology

Marine Biology is the study of marine organisms and creatures depending on bodies of water, including their behaviors and interactions with the environment. Marine Biology science is a vast discipline with various specializations; hence, university researchers focus on a particular aspect of the study. The reliance and adherence of world societies to our world’s oceans emphasize the importance of marine biology study.

Many universities worldwide have focused on the science of marine biology throughout the years. Some have developed the discipline in their institutions above other schools, seen from their impact on the global marine biology community, and received recognition. Here are some of the best marine biology schools in the world.

Top Marine Biology Schools for International Students

1. James Cook University

The University College of Townsville, the former name for James Cook University, was proposed in 1957 and officially opened in 1961. The university got its new name through a Queensland Parliament bill in 1969. Since its conception in the 1950s, JCU has continued the pursuit of scientific excellence, particularly in marine biology.

James Cook University’s College of Science and Engineering houses the marine biology program for undergraduate and graduate tracks. CSE focuses on the education and application of areas, including marine biology, as part of the Division for Tropical Environments and Societies. The college utilizes a hands-on learning and research approach to ensure quality outputs.

Since the CSE and JCU focused on advancing the disciplines within and around marine biology, it is no surprise that its prestige went above par. It has received multiple awards and honors for the excellence of its research and graduates. It’s no surprise that JCU is among the best marine biology schools and is currently in the top spot among international institutions offering marine biology.

See Also: Best Countries to Study Marine Biology

2. Ocean University of China

The Ocean University of China established itself as the Private Qingdao University in 1924. Qingdao was later nationalized in 1930 and renamed the National Shandong University. A merger and several name changes later, the Ministry of Education changed its name to the Ocean University of China in 2002. The institution prides itself on attaining excellence in the fisheries and marine sciences field.

The Ocean University of China’s College of Marine Sciences started with the foundation of the OUC itself. The CMS embodies the OUC’s focus on studying and researching the ocean sciences. The Ocean University of China is one of the top institutes for marine biology, with full support from the Chinese government.

3. University of Queensland

A 1909 State Parliament Act established the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The university was founded officially in 1910, and teaching started the following year. UQ rapidly expanded after World War I, developing its fields and disciplines decades forward.

The University of Queensland’s Centre for Marine Science is the leading research and training institution for the marine science discipline. The center is one of the largest and most diverse collaborations of marine experts in Australia.

Through the efforts of its faculty, researchers, and students, the Centre for Marine Science’s record in developing and promoting knowledge, approaches, and technologies is unparalleled. The University of Queensland consistently ranks as one of the best marine science universities worldwide.

4. University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania started in 1890 and is Australia’s fourth oldest university. The university promotes a philosophy of symbiosis between the environment and the academic and research community. The relationship revolves around environmental study and preservation for the benefit of both sides.

The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies is the University of Tasmania’s premier institution for promoting the discipline. The institute prides itself as a world-class center of excellence for research and education. Various global ranking organizations have already cited the University of Tasmania for its high quality of trained scientists and researchers, placing it in the upper bracket of marine science universities globally.

5. Aarhus University

Aarhus University in Denmark started in 1928 upon the inauguration of the University Studies in Jutland. The university eventually gained recognition as Aarhus University in 1933 through the help and support of the government and the Aarhus community.

Aarhus University’s Department of Ecoscience started in 1989 as the National Environmental Research Institute. NERI became part of Aarhus University and then became the Department of Ecoscience. The series of name changes characterize the ever-changing strategies of the department to adapt to the challenges and demands of marine science.

The Department of Ecoscience in this esteemed marine biology institution is recognized in Denmark and around the world as today’s leading institution for the study and research of marine science. Its produced experts and researchers are well-recognized in the field. Aarhus University occupies the top ranks of international marine science institutions worldwide.

Check Also: How to Study in Denmark for Free

6. Sorbonne University

Sorbonne University is yet another one of the best marine biology schools in the world. It started in 2018 as a public university created by the merger of Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University. Sorbonne University’s structure focuses on the three faculties of arts and humanities, science and engineering, and medicine.

The Sorbonne University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering houses the institution’s marine science program. On its own, Pierre and Marie Curie University already rank among the best marine science universities in the world. The merger made significant leaps forward in marine science for the resulting institution.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering relies on its research teams and experts to formulate its policies. This approach ensures consistent innovation and relevant excellence within the community. The faculty’s success is visible through the number of well-trained marine scientists from Sorbonne University, excelling in the discipline internationally.

7. University of Porto

The newly implanted Portuguese republican system created the University of Porto in 1911. Despite the challenge brought about by political unrest in Portugal, the university continues to thrive up to this day. Various disciplines gained ground and developed their research and teaching techniques in their respective departments.

The Faculty of Sciences or the Faculdade de Ciencias Universidade do Porto, traces its history to 1762 when the Nautical Class began. The university’s administration introduced developments and changes to the faculty. The improvements molded the Faculty of Sciences into the world-class department it is today.

The Faculty of Sciences provides various research and training facilities to improve the study of marine sciences. The quality of research and experts produced by the FCUP is comparable to larger schools worldwide. The University of Porto is among the upper brackets of international marine science universities.

8. Newcastle University

Already reputed as one of the best marine biology universities in the world, Newcastle University also prides itself on being the 1st in the United Kingdom for sustainable development in the Times Higher Education 2022.

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology is recognized by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) due to its comprehensive curriculum for marine scientists. Situated along the coastline and the North Sea, Marine Biology students are guaranteed an immersive research study. Furthermore, educational field tours at the Isle of Cumbrae and selected spots in Portugal, Mexico, or Bermuda can be experienced by students.

9. University of Maine

The School of Marine Sciences at the University of Maine prides itself on being one of the university’s centers of excellence. Aside from that, the other 15 departments are dubbed “Signature and Emerging Areas of Excellence”.

Undergraduate students specializing in Marine Biology must take 15 credits from the electives of the School of Marine Sciences. This should include courses on primary producers, vertebrate, and invertebrate organisms. Graduate students will take on a range of related disciplines from comparative morphology, genetics, and physiology to cellular and molecular biology. All students of Marine Biology will benefit from renowned and experienced faculty members.

10. University of Miami

The University of Miami embraces all kinds of students and teaching staff, making up a diverse student body and valuable teaching personnel. This idea is supported by the university’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and the Multicultural Student Affairs.

Marine Biology & Ecology bachelor’s degree is intended for students who are aiming for a holistic research experience in the areas of genomics, immunology, evolution, and the like. Those who will complete the undergraduate program of Marine Biology are fit to enter medical school and graduate school. On the other hand, Marine Biology graduate students are invited to collaborate in research endeavors with university partners namely, National Center for Coral Reef Research.

Best Colleges for Marine Biology in California

  1. University of California, Santa Cruz: UC Santa Cruz is renowned for its marine science programs and its proximity to the Monterey Bay. The Long Marine Laboratory and Seymour Marine Discovery Center provide students with valuable hands-on experience and a wide range of research opportunities.
  2. Stanford University: Located near the coast, Stanford offers a unique interdisciplinary approach to marine biology through its Hopkins Marine Station. Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and are encouraged to participate in groundbreaking research.
  3. University of California, San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography): Scripps is globally recognized for its oceanography and marine biology programs. With world-class faculty and research opportunities, it’s a prime choice for those interested in marine science.

Florida Colleges for Marine Biology

  1. University of Miami: The Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami offers excellent marine biology programs. Located in the vibrant city of Miami, students benefit from a tropical marine environment and a wide variety of research opportunities.
  2. Florida Institute of Technology: FIT’s location on the Space Coast provides students with access to the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. The university offers strong marine biology programs with a focus on hands-on learning and research.
  3. University of Florida: UF boasts a top-tier marine biology program within the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience. The Gulf and Atlantic coasts offer diverse ecosystems for student exploration.

Best Colleges for Marine Biology in Texas

  1. Texas A&M University: Texas A&M’s Department of Oceanography offers a range of marine biology programs. Located near the Gulf of Mexico, students have access to diverse marine environments for research and fieldwork.
  2. University of Texas at Austin: UT Austin’s Marine Science Institute on the Gulf Coast provides students with a wealth of marine biology research opportunities. It’s an ideal choice for those seeking a comprehensive marine education.

Hawaii Colleges for Marine Biology

  1. University of Hawaii at Manoa: The University of Hawaii’s location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean offers unparalleled access to some of the most diverse marine ecosystems on the planet. Its School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology is world-renowned for marine research.
  2. Hawaii Pacific University: Located in Honolulu, Hawaii Pacific University is well-known for its marine biology programs and the opportunity to explore the rich marine life of the Hawaiian Islands.


When it comes to studying marine biology, the choices are diverse, and each location offers unique advantages. California, with its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, provides ample opportunities for research and exploration. Florida, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, offers a range of marine ecosystems to study. Texas, located along the Gulf Coast, is a prime destination for marine biology enthusiasts. And Hawaii, in the heart of the Pacific, provides an unmatched setting for the study of marine life.

Ultimately, the best college for marine biology depends on your specific interests and goals. Consider the location, faculty expertise, research opportunities, and the ecosystems available for study when making your decision. Whichever college you choose, the study of marine biology is a rewarding and impactful journey, contributing to the preservation of our planet’s oceans and their remarkable inhabitants.

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