Marine Biologist Courses

If you want to train to become a marine biologist or ocean scientist, you will need to take several specialized marine biology courses to fulfill your education requirements. Many accredited colleges and universities offer degree programs in marine biology, ocean science and related fields, and some offer a series of marine biology courses online. These courses provide advanced training in the areas of mammology, ocean systems, fishery biology and other subjects. Most of the schools offering marine biology courses and degree programs are located in coastal states so that students have a chance to work in the ocean and participate in fieldwork projects.

Types of Marine Biology Courses

You will need at least a master's degree in marine biology in order to qualify for research positions in this field. Taking marine biology courses towards a bachelor's degree will only prepare you for entry-level positions in this field, so it may be a good idea to learn about some of the advanced courses and graduate-level marine biology courses early in your career. Many students choose to complete a bachelor's degree in biology or zoology, and then minor in chemistry, marine biology, biological oceanography or a related field. Master's degrees are typically available in the field of marine biology and related fields from the same school.

You will need to complete some general education courses before you are able to take the specialized marine biology courses. General education courses typically include:

  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Critical Thinking
  • Arts and Humanities Courses
  • Biological Sciences
  • Physical Sciences with Lab
  • Mathematics
  • History and Social Sciences
  • Electives

Types of specialized marine biology courses include:

  • Introduction to Marine Biology
  • Evolution and Diversity Lab
  • Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Introduction to Ecology and Physiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Comparative Animal Physiology
  • General Ecology
  • Marine Biology
  • General Genetics
  • Ichthyology
  • Phycology

Many schools offering marine biology programs also require students to complete at least three or four electives. These include courses such as: Fisheries, Ecology and Conservation; Marine Microbiology; Ecology of Marine Communities; Wetlands and Mangrove Ecology; Marine Mammology; Field Methods of Ecology.

Taking Marine Biology Courses Online

Online marine biologist course options are available through some accredited colleges and universities, but taking online courses alone will not enable a student to fulfill their educational requirements. Many students completing marine biology courses online will still need to complete training in a classroom or lab setting because they need to perform experiments, work with computer modeling programs, and conduct tests in a lab environment. A good portion of the marine biologist degree program involves working in the field under the supervision of trained marine biologists and oceanographers.

Students may be able to complete simulations and work with 3D models as part of their online training program but will still need to fulfill their hands-on training requirements at a dedicated facility or training center. Taking marine biology courses online can give some students more flexibility with their schedule and make it easier to fulfill their marine biology degree requirements over the course of three or four years.