Students interested in learning How To Become a Marine Biologist should first look into the schooling requirements. Learn about the many degrees required for a career as a marine biologist and some supplementary marine biologist education.
A marine biologist is an expert on the ocean’s health and the marine species that live there. They could research everything from viruses to marine creatures to climate change. In addition to working in a lab and/or office, marine biologists are likely to work full-time.
Depending on their specialization, they may study various issues and try to understand better the species, ecosystems, and processes of the seas and other bodies of water. The findings of these scientists are usually presented in reports and scholarly articles. A quick outline of the occupation can be seen in the table below.
How To Become a Marine Biologist
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level jobs as a marine biologist. However, students can choose from various marine biology-related degree programs, such as biology with a marine biology focus, wildlife biology degree programs, or a bachelor’s degree in marine biology.
Due to the hands-on nature of the profession, online marine biology colleges are uncommon. However, a few universities offer a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Marine Biology. Generally, four-year programs offer various hands-on learning opportunities such as labs, internships, and research. The following are examples of course subjects that may be covered in these programs:
- Marine biology
- Organic chemistry
- Organism diversity
2. Earn a Master’s Degree
A master’s degree usually allows marine biologists to start doing more sophisticated scientific or investigative work later in their careers. At the master’s level, there are several marine-related degree programs available, including degree programs in marine conservation and master’s degrees specialized in marine biology.
On-campus master’s degree programs in marine biology are commonly provided as Master of Science degrees. Students in some of these schools may be able to begin concentrating on a certain species or habitat. These programs can be finished in as short as 15 months, although they often require two years. Extensive research and hands-on learning activities are typical features.
3. Earn a Doctorate
A Ph.D. is required for marine biologists who want to teach at a university and/or undertake independent research. Doctorate programs in marine biology are offered. However, students can also pursue doctoral degrees in other fields such as oceanography. These programs can need up to 90 credits in addition to a bachelor’s degree, and they usually include comprehensive examinations and a dissertation. These programs usually take a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years to complete.
4. Complete Marine Biologist Training
While formal training is not necessary, certain marine biologists may require training and/or experience in the field with various types of equipment and procedures. For example, marine scientists may need to know how to handle a boat to research open water. Internships, research projects, and volunteer work are common ways for marine biologists to experience these diverse skills and approaches.
What Education is Needed to Become a Marine Biologist?
If you’re wondering how to become a marine biologist, you can generally follow these steps — earn a postsecondary degree(s) in a related field, participate in an internship, consider a graduate degree and complete any necessary training. Here we examine the different degrees needed to be a marine biologist at various levels and answer questions like ‘how many years of college to be a marine biologist?’ in more detail.