Marine Biology, B.S

Marine Biology, B.S

What is a Marine Biology Degree?

Marine Biology BSWhether you want to explore the mysteries of deep-sea organisms, discover marine animal interrelationships or become a leader in marine veterinary science, you can reach your goals with a marine biology degree from Florida Tech. One of the first undergraduate marine biology programs in the country, Florida Tech's is also one of the strongest.

Oceans cover over 70% of our world, yet scientists estimate that a fraction of the oceans have been explored. Marine biology encompasses so much of the biology of these oceans and marine organisms, from viruses to whales, molecular biology and global warming. Studying for a marine biology degree can include a wide variety of other scientific disciplines, from aquaculture and oceanography to chemistry, meteorology and zoology.

Engage in Marine Biology Right from the Start

Our marine biology degree, a four-year program, engages first year students in their major when they start their first semester. Introduction to Marine Biology, Biological Discovery 2 and General Chemistry kick start your marine biology degree program. Freshman students also jump right into the laboratory to delve into marine biology research. Guided by highly qualified faculty and members of the Marine Biological Society, students are immersed in their major immediately.

Build Professional Relationships

Beyond the classroom, marine biology majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and participation in academic organizations like Tri Beta (biological sciences honor society), student government and over 100 other student organizations. Each of these experiences gives you a way to interact with other marine biology students, professors and industry professionals.

Gain Practical Experience

The marine biology degree program is the most popular of the biological sciences programs at Florida Tech. This course of study is very hands-on, with small classes and intensive faculty-student interaction. As a student in the marine biology department you have the opportunity to undertake exciting independent or collaborative (with a peer or professor) research in a topic of your choosing. Hands-on experience in the field is close by as Florida Tech is strategically located near the estuarine habitats of the Indian River Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean marine ecosystems. As a result, students get practical experience, an enhanced job search portfolio and a stronger sense of yourself as a scholar–the perfect preparation for graduate and professional school and employment.

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Employers notice a marine biology degree from Florida Tech. Many Florida Tech students are recruited for internships and careers by companies such as the American Museum of Natural Science, Baltimore Aquarium, Epcot, Florida Medical Entomology Lab and Hubbs-Sea World.

Earn an Advanced Marine Biology Degree

After receiving their marine biology degree, many of our majors go on to master's and doctoral programs at Florida Tech and other prestigious universities, such as the University of Florida, University of Miami, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and Duke.

Envision yourself at Florida Tech and imagine the opportunities that are available with a diverse and sought-after marine biology degree.

Why Pursue a Marine Biology Degree at Florida Tech?

Established in 1971, Florida Tech's undergraduate marine biology degree program made it one of the first marine biology colleges in the United States. Our program has been one of the most popular and highly regarded majors at the university. The marine biology degree is a four-year program with broad training in biological sciences and specialization in marine topics. First year students are engaged in their major right away, with course study, student-faculty research opportunities and hands-on field experiences.

Strong Learning Relationship Between Faculty and Students

All Florida Tech marine biology faculty members hold doctoral degrees in their fields. They teach all lectures and provide close supervision over graduate teaching assistants in the labs. Students benefit from small class sizes within a tight-knit community of scholars and learners in collaboration. In fact, Florida Tech is one of the most popular marine biology colleges because the faculty is so accessible.

For curriculum and career planning, students meet regularly with faculty advisors who typically have only 20 to 30 undergraduate advisees each, staying with them for all four years. This strong working relationship between students and professors gives us an edge over other marine biology colleges and is only one of the many benefits our students enjoy.

Valuable Laboratory & Field Research with Faculty

In terms of resources, Florida Tech easily has most other marine biology colleges beat. Students have the opportunity, and are strongly encouraged, to volunteer in research labs where they work with faculty, graduate students and fellow undergraduates on research projects. Many students also present their research at regional and national professional meetings and some students are published in research journals.

Marine biology colleges need to be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and Florida Tech is no different. Here you have access to the state-of-the-art F. W. Olin Life Sciences Building, a teaching and research laboratory that includes an aquaculture facility, climate change institute and the offices and research labs of several of the marine biology faculty. The newly built 29,000-square-foot Harris Center for Science and Engineering serves the research needs of our aquaculture and fish biology programs; small-scale culture of algae, shellfish and fish species is conducted here. This includes:

  • Eight teaching labs, 12 modern research labs, a 16-workstation computer facility and an electron microscope suite
  • 2,500-square-foot indoor aquaculture facility, primarily wet laboratory space
  • Recirculating systems ranging from small glass aquaria to 720-gallon tanks harboring a wide variety of aquatic species
  • The Vero Beach Marine Laboratory, an off-campus facility on the Atlantic Ocean where large-scale culture is conducted
  • The Sportfish Research Institute for students who study vital sport fish species like the Atlantic Tarpon

The availability of these resources allows professors to provide every student, starting in the freshman year, hands-on laboratory-research opportunities, making us one of the most attractive marine biology colleges.

Classrooms in the Backyard of Florida Tech

Florida Tech's location on the Space Coast puts it in close proximity to rich marine environments like the Indian River Lagoon and other marine biology colleges simply can't compete. The lagoon is the most diverse estuary in North America and the Atlantic Ocean. Our location in a state with so many miles of coastline provides us with many local, state and national agencies, marine environmental consulting firms, public aquaria, mariculture companies, private marine research organizations and other possibilities for internships and employment. In addition, the Florida Keys and Everglades are just a short trip away.

How Will a Marine Biology Degree Prepare Me for the Future?

Marine biology internships are among the many hands-on experiences available to Florida Tech students while studying for their degree. Research facilities, both on and off-campus, allow students to conduct in-depth research alongside faculty on many marine biology topics.

These valuable learning opportunities build valuable skills and a highly competitive resume that equip you for future marine biology internships or jobs. Florida Tech students interact directly with marine life as well as experts in the field at a wide variety of organizations and companies, including:

  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
  • Hubbs SeaWorld
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Mote Marine Labs
  • Shedd Aquarium
  • The Perry Institute for Marine Science

Students taking part in these marine biology internships learn valuable skills to help prepare them for future careers.

Marine Biology Classrooms are Actual Marine Life Habitats

In addition to marine biology internships, Florida Tech's location on the Space Coast is in the heart of a wide variety of marine habitats, including mangrove, sea grass, salt marsh, sand and mud flat, lagoon, reef, high-energy sand beach and the open Atlantic Ocean. These habitats act as real-world laboratories for our students to research a vast range of marine plants and animals. In addition, the Florida Keys and Everglades are just a short trip away.

Students have the opportunity and are strongly encouraged to volunteer in research labs where they work with faculty, graduate students and fellow undergraduates on research projects. Students may also conduct research for university credit to help them sharpen their skills while also moving closer to their degrees, marine biology internships and careers.

Florida Tech professors conduct research in a variety of areas including marine birds, fish and invertebrate mariculture, coral reef populations, reproductive biology and the role of environmental and chemical cues in habitat selection.

Florida Tech students are also welcome to take on assignments in our research labs and students may elect to enroll in undergraduate research for credit. This helps students develop a strong and highly competitive resume detailing laboratory training and research experience.

Expand Your Horizon in Summer Programs

Whether they're diving in the warm water of the Great Barrier Reef or observing tropical flora and fauna on the Galapagos Islands, our marine biology students take research to a whole new level. Florida Tech students travel around Florida and the world in summer courses to do intensive marine biology internships or field studies of exotic species and ecosystems in the field of marine biology at such iconic locations as:

  • The Bahamas
  • Jamaica
  • Puerto Rico
  • The Galapagos
  • Costa Rica
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • The Florida Everglades

These exhilarating hands-on research opportunities provide a huge resumé boost for students looking to pursue marine biology internships and careers. Part of our mission is to train you as professional biologists!

Professional Clubs and Organizations Enhance Your Experience

Tri-Beta is a biology-based honor society that works to teach others the importance of studying biology. This active student organization holds regular field trips around Florida and puts on fun events such as BBQs and picnics to bring faculty and students from all departments together. It is the perfect way to network with other biological sciences students to learn about marine biology internships, research students and hands-on activities.

What Can You Do with a Marine Biology Degree?

A marine biology degree from Florida Tech will open the door to a variety of careers in marine biology. Shows on Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the History Channel often highlight becoming a marine biologist in an exciting and adventuresome way, making these careers more attractive than ever. Tracking sharks in the Pacific or discovering deep-sea organisms is, of course, not a typical day at the office.
A Bachelor's of Science degree in Marine Biology from Florida Tech is the ideal academic pursuit for the student who wants to explore the mysteries of the sea, discover marine animal interrelationships or become a leader in marine veterinary science.

Marine Biology Careers Expected to Grow

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Standards (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things. According to the Bureau, job growth for biological scientists is expected to grow more than 20% through 2018. Growth is also expected in careers for marine biology, but at a lower rate given its specialized field.

Entry-level salaries in marine biology are reported by PayScale.com to be $40,100 with further earning potential to grow to $72,200.
Other careers available with a marine biology degree also provide good salary potential such as:

Agricultural and food scientist: $44,000 - $81,100
Biochemistry: $43,200 - $88,500
Oceanography: $44,900 – $82,500
Environmental scientist: $47,900 – $89,700

Careers in marine biology are as varied as they are challenging. They include careers such as:

  • Marine Biologist
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist
  • Marine Geologist
  • Marine Mammal Trainer
  • Pollution Control Chemist
  • Oceanographer
  • Aquarium Biologist
  • Clinical Researcher
  • Aquarist
  • Environmental Consultant
  • Fish Hatchery Manager
  • Fish and Game Warden
  • Environmental Analyst
  • Marine Policy Specialists

Florida Tech Gives You a Good Foundation for a Graduate or Doctoral Degree

Interested in a graduate or doctoral degree before you enter the workforce? A Bachelor's of Science degree in Biological Sciences-Marine Biology provides a solid foundation for the pursuit of a master's or doctorate degree at such prestigious institutions as:

  • Cambridge University (UK)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University of Alaska
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Texas

A Biological Sciences-Marine Biology degree from Florida Tech will open up many career options as a marine biologist.

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