What Is a BS in Marine Biology?

Marine Biology BS

Whether 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 toward 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 only 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, and from molecular biology to 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 kickstart your marine biology program. First-year 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.

Gain Practical Experience

Established in 1971, 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 can undertake exciting collaborative research with a peer or professor, or work independently 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.

Why Pursue a BS in Marine Biology at Florida Tech?

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Get the facts about graduate studies at Florida Tech

You have two graduate study opportunities:

  1. On Campus
  2. Download the Grad Guide!

  3. At an Education Center near you
  4. Get the Education Center Brochure

You have three graduate study opportunities:

  1. On Campus
  2. Download the Grad Guide!

  3. At an Education Center near you
  4. Get the Education Center Brochure

  5. 100% Online
  6. Learn more about Florida Tech Online

You have two graduate study opportunities:

  1. On Campus
  2. Download the Grad Guide!

  3. 100% Online
  4. Learn more about Florida Tech Online

You have two graduate study opportunities:

  1. At an Education Center near you
  2. Get the Education Center Brochure

  3. 100% Online
  4. Learn more about Florida Tech Online

A 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. Students have the opportunity, and are strongly encouraged, to volunteer in research labs where they work with faculty, graduate students, and fellow undergrads on research projects. Many students also present their research at regional and national professional meetings, and some students are published in research journals.

State-of-the-Art Facilities

Marine biology colleges need to be equipped with cutting-edge facilities and Florida Tech is no different. Here you have access to the renowned F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building, a teaching and research laboratory that includes an aquaculture facility, a 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
  • A 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 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 first year, with hands-on laboratory-research opportunities, making us one of the most attractive marine biology colleges.

Classrooms in Florida Tech’s Backyard

Florida Tech’s location on the Space Coast puts it near 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 the Everglades are just a short trip away.

The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us). The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship and employment opportunities.

Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.

Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations

Beyond the classroom, marine biology majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and participation in academic organizations like Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta, the biological sciences honor society), student government, and over 100 other student organizations.

TriBeta 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.

How Will a BS in Marine Biology Prepare Me for the Future?

Peerless Study and Internship Opportunities

Internships offer valuable learning opportunities that build valuable skills, giving you a highly competitive résumé that equips 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 flats, lagoons, reefs, high-energy sand beaches, 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.

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 welcome to take on assignments with their professors in our research labs, and students may elect to enroll in undergraduate research for credit.

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 résumé boost for students looking to pursue marine biology internships and careers. Part of our mission is to train you as professional biologists!

What Can You Do with a BS in Marine Biology?

What could my career look like with a degree in Marine Biology, B.S?

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.

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
  • Florida Medical Entomology Lab
  • Sea World

Career Outlook

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor’s 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.

Career Options

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

Graduate and Doctoral Programs

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:

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