The Best Marine Biology Colleges in the World

December 26, 2022
By AdmissionSight

The Best Marine Biology Colleges in the World

Maybe you’ve always been interested in marine biology, or maybe you just recently decided to pursue it as a career.

Marine biology is a field that has attracted the attention of many academic institutions over the years. The US has succeeded in producing notable marine biology colleges.

As can be observed by their influence on the international marine biology community and the awards they have received, certain institutions have developed the field more than others. Check out our list of the best marine biology colleges in the world.

James Cook University

James Cook University, formerly known as the University College of Townsville, was proposed in 1957 and established in 1961. Legislation passed by the Queensland Parliament in 1969 gave the university its current name. Since its founding in the 1950s, JCU has been dedicated to advancing knowledge, especially in the field of marine biology.

Both the undergraduate and graduate marine biology programs at James Cook University are housed in the College of Science and Engineering. As a sub-division of the Department of Tropical Environments and Societies, CSE is concerned with the dissemination of knowledge and its practical application in fields such as marine biology. The college emphasizes experiential learning and rigorous research to provide credible results.

View of James Cook University building

It’s hardly surprising that the CSE and JCU achieved greater than average renown, given their dedication to promoting marine biology and related fields. Numerous accolades have been bestowed upon it in recognition of the high quality of its research and alumni. So it should come as no surprise that JCU is now ranked first among international institutions that offer marine biology.

Ocean University of China

In 1924, Ocean University of China began its existence as the Private Qingdao University. After that, in 1930, the university was taken over by the state and renamed the National Shandong University.

After going through multiple name changes and a merger, the institution formerly known as the Ministry of Education changed its name in 2002 to the Ocean University of China. The institution takes great pleasure in achieving outstanding levels of success in the field of fisheries and marine sciences.

Asian students talking in front of a laptop.

The College of Marine Sciences of the Ocean University of China was one of the first departments to open when the university itself was established. The CMS is representative of the OUC’s emphasis on the study and investigation of ocean sciences.

With unwavering support from the Chinese government, the Ocean University of China has established itself as a leading institution in the field of marine biology.

University of Queensland

The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, was formed by a law passed by the State Parliament in 1909. 1910 was the year that the university was formally established, and the following year was when classes first began.

After the end of World War I, UQ experienced a period of tremendous expansion, during which it developed its various subjects and disciplines.

Close-up view of a building in University of Queensland

The Centre for Marine Science at the University of Queensland is widely regarded as the most prestigious research and education facility in the field of marine science. One of Australia’s most comprehensive and multidisciplinary gatherings of marine specialists may be found at this center.

The University of Queensland has been rated highly among other universities throughout the world that specialize in marine science for a long time.

University of Tasmania

The University of Tasmania is Australia’s fourth oldest university and is included in our list of best marine biology colleges in the world. Having first opened its doors in the year 1890, the institution upholds a philosophy that encourages a mutually beneficial relationship between the academic and research community and the natural world.

The connection centers on the conduct of ecological research and the protection of natural resources for the mutual advantage of both parties.

The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania is the primary institution that the university has dedicated to advancing this field of study. The institute takes great pleasure in its status as a center of excellence for research and education on a global scale.

University of Tasmania building near a river.

The University of Tasmania has been placed in the upper bracket of marine science universities around the world as a result of the high quality of trained scientists and researchers that it produces. This has been acknowledged by a variety of global-ranking organizations.

Aarhus University

Fifth on our list of best marine biology colleges in the world is Aarhus University. Located in Denmark, it was established in 1928, and its founding coincided with the beginning of University Studies in Jutland. Through the assistance of the government as well as the backing of the town of Aarhus, the institution was eventually given the name of Aarhus University in the year 1933.

The Department of Ecoscience at Aarhus University was originally established in 1989 under the name National Environmental Research Institute. After becoming a part of Aarhus University, NERI transitioned into its current role as the Department of Ecoscience.

The department’s ever-evolving techniques to accommodate the challenges and requirements of marine research are characterized by the succession of name changes that have been implemented.

Aarhus University building with a modern design built next to a river.

This respected marine biology institution’s Department of Ecoscience is widely regarded as the preeminent center for the study and investigation of marine science both in Denmark and throughout the rest of the world. The industry acknowledges its graduates as leading specialists and researchers in their respective fields.

Aarhus University is currently ranked extremely well among international marine science universities located all over the world.

Sorbonne University

Another of the world’s top universities for marine biology is Sorbonne University, which is located in France. The Paris-Sorbonne Institution and the Pierre and Marie Curie University came together to form this new public university in 2018, and it began its existence as such.

The structure of the University of Paris-Sorbonne is organized around the university’s three faculties: arts and humanities, science and engineering, and medicine.

View of Sorbonne University painted in white with intricate design.

The marine science program at Sorbonne University can be found in the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the university. Simply based on its own merits, Pierre and Marie Curie University is already regarded as one of the world’s premier institutions of marine science education. The new institution was able to make great strides in the field of marine research as a result of the merger.

When developing new policies, the Faculty of Science and Engineering frequently consults with the research teams and specialists under its wing. Taking this strategy will ensure that the community continues to exhibit relevant brilliance and innovative thinking.

The success of the faculty can be seen in the number of highly skilled marine scientists who have graduated from Sorbonne University and gone on to achieve success in their field on an international scale.

University of Porto

Now we go to the sunny Iberian Peninsula in our search for the best marine biology colleges in the world.

In 1911, under the newly established republican government of Portugal, the University of Porto was established. Even in the face of the difficulties posed by the political upheaval in Portugal, the institution has managed to survive and even thrive in modern times.

Several fields of study made strides forward and developed their approaches to research and classroom instruction within their particular academic departments.

View of University of Porto fountain placed next to a building.

The origin of the Faculty of Sciences, also known as the Faculdade de Ciencias at the University of Porto, may be traced back to 1762 when the first Nautical Class was held. The advancements and adjustments were presented to the teaching staff by the administration of the university. Because of these enhancements, the Faculty of Sciences has developed into a department that is on par with the best in the world.

The improvement of the study of marine sciences is supported by the provision of a variety of research and teaching facilities by the Faculty of Sciences. The level of scholarship and expertise generated by the FCUP is on par with that of larger colleges found all across the world.

The University of Porto is considered to be among the high tiers of the world’s universities that specialize in marine science.

Newcastle University

In addition to its well-deserved reputation as one of the best marine biology colleges in the world, Newcastle University also takes great pride in the fact that it was ranked first in the United Kingdom for sustainable development by the Times Higher Education 2022.

The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) acknowledges the Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology degree as meeting the educational requirements for marine scientists because it offers a comprehensive curriculum.

Students majoring in Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, which is located along the coast and the North Sea, are assured to participate in an immersion research study.

Front view of Newcastle University

In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in educational field trips to the Isle of Cumbrae as well as chosen locations in Portugal, Mexico, or Bermuda.

What is the usual Marine Biology program structure?

What are the typical components of a Marine Biology degree program? The Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology can be earned after three or four years of study at the undergraduate level. An additional option is to pursue an MBiol (Master of Biology) degree, which combines a bachelor’s and master’s degree into a single course of study that can be completed in either four or five years.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in marine biology or in a field that is connected to biology, you have the option of enrolling in a separate master’s in biology (MSc) program that will take between one and two years to complete. In order to graduate from the majority of doctoral schools and earn a Ph.D. in marine biology, the process can take as long as five years.

In most marine biology programs (especially in the best marine biology colleges in the world), students will participate in a variety of instructional activities, including lectures, seminars, laboratory work, and fieldwork. Essays, written tests, oral presentations, laboratory reports, and a research dissertation at the end of the academic year will be used to evaluate your progress.

Marine biology is frequently taught in conjunction with another field of study as part of a dual honors degree or as a concentration in a particular field of study. You could, for instance, decide to study marine biology in conjunction with oceanography or marine biology in conjunction with zoology.

Because marine biology can encompass a wide variety of subfields, it should come as no surprise that the curriculum and organizational structure of each program will be unique to the specific institution to which you apply.

It is advised that you verify the course outline before you apply, however, the following is a list of some of the modules that you should anticipate studying:

  • Biodiversity and evolution
  • The exploitation of the sea
  • Marine conservation
  • Marine ecology and oceanography
  • Marine invertebrates and vertebrates
  • Microbiology
  • Research methods in marine biology
  • Zoology

What are some important books for Marine Biologists?

What are some of the most significant books that marine biologists should read? The following books would be helpful during your study time if you are currently a marine biologist or are planning on becoming one in the near future:

  • A Life Underwater – Dr. Charlie Veron
  • Flotsametrics and the floating world – Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer & Eric Scigliano
  • Mapping the Deep – Robert Kunzig
  • Narwhals: Arctic Whales in a Melting World – Todd McLeish
  • Reflections on a Summer Sea – Prof. Trevor Norton
  • Spirals in Time – Dr. Helen Scales
  • The Empty Ocean – Richard Ellis
  • The Unnatural History of the Sea – Prof. Calum Roberts
  • Vanished Ocean: How Tethys Reshaped the World – Prof. Dorrik Stow
  • Voyage of the Turtle: In pursuit of the Earth’s last dinosaur – Prof. Carl Safin

Is there a lot of Math in Marine Biology?

Does Marine Biology need a lot of mathematical work? Don’t worry, you’ll have the hang of the fundamental skills in no time.

Biologists come from different walks of life, from those who prefer to crunch numbers to those who are more interested in the larger picture.

Even fields like marine biology, which have traditionally relied less heavily on mathematical analysis than, for example, molecular biology or quantitative genetics, cannot avoid the application of mathematical principles in the modern world of research.

However, if one’s calling is to study marine life, one should not let a fear of mathematics prevent them from pursuing that calling, nor having the intent to study in one of the best marine biology colleges in the world.

Although the field of marine biology is founded on a foundation of statistics — from the concentration of pores on a shark’s snout to the survival rates of seal pups or the distribution of worms in sea-floor sediments — not every successful marine biologist is an expert with numbers.

Every researcher will have some areas in which they are lacking expertise up until the point where the ideal scientist is developed.

AdmissionSight is here to help

The study of marine organisms and creatures that are dependent on bodies of water, including their behaviors and interactions with the environment, is referred to as marine biology. Because marine biology science is such a broad field, with many subfields to choose from, academic scholars typically narrow their attention to one particular area of the field.

The importance of studying marine biology can’t be overstated when one considers how dependent and intertwined human societies are with our planet’s waters.

Earning one’s place as a respected marine biologist requires a lengthy and challenging path to success. In order to pursue a career in marine biology, it is necessary to major in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology while pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Our staff here at AdmissionSight is excited to work with you to accomplish what you set out to do. Over the past decade, AdmissionSight has been assisting students just like you in gaining admission to the schools and universities of their first and second choices. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us as soon as possible if you would like to schedule your initial consultation at no cost to you.

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