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How To Get Into Marine Biology

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University Of Maine Bs In Marine Sciences

How to Become a Marine Biologist (step by step) // Marine Biology Careers & Marine Research

The University of Maines Marine Sciences program has a more mundane name, but its still quite effective at delivering quality education within the Marine sciences field thanks to its specific Bachelors of Science in Marine Sciences degree.

Located in Augusta, Maine, the universitys Marine sciences program offers students access to a range of aquatic habitats, but it specializes in marine ecology. UM also offers a Semester by the Sea program, similar to those offered at OSU and UCLA, where students conduct research at Darling Marine Center in Walpole, ME, owned by the university.

Some of UMs Marine science courses include:

  • Invertebrate Zoology
  • Coral Reefs

If youre looking for a hands-on Marine sciences experience at a university on the East coast of the United States, UM presents an affordable option as a public university with resources that rival those of others on this list.

S: Experience And Education Needed To Become A Marine Biologist

Ecology Project International participants work side-by-side with field researchers from Costa Rica, Galapagos, Hawaii, and Mexico, and often return home with a new goal: Become a marine biologist. Pursuing a career in marine biology or oceanography can be competitivebut youll have a harder time finding a marine biologist with regrets on their career choice. We hope the following tips will help you navigate the diverse paths to becoming a marine biologist:

1. Get your feet wet!

Most conservation researchersmarine or otherwiseare driven to pursue their career out of an authentic love for and curiosity about the natural world. Its never too early to cultivate this type of appreciation for your surroundings. Get outside, be inquisitive and never let the walls of the classroom be the boundaries of your education!

2. Show your passion for science and Marine Biology

3. Research colleges that offer Marine Biology as a major

Focusing on marine biology as an undergraduate, rather than general biology, might provide you with a leg up on the competition when it comes to marine biology-specific fellowships, internships, jobs, and graduate programs. MarineBio.org has a great list of schools by state that offer marine biology programs.

4. Build your Marine Biology resume

5. Pursue a graduate degree in Marine Biology

Volunteer Intern And Get Involved

A good place to start is local. Get involved with beach cleanups or maybe see if there is a way you can help at your local aquarium. For many though, helping with marine conservation will involve looking overseas.

Overseas volunteering

Voluntourism is a big industry and marine focused volunteering seems to be exceptionally expensive. There are some reasonably priced opportunities such as Wildtracks in Belize who rescue manatees or La Tortuga Feliz in Costa Rica who protect sea turtles. Or CBMWC takes seasonal volunteers for free to help with dolphin research.

If you are considering volunteering, James Borell put together 10 questions to ask yourself as a conservation volunteer.

Set up something yourself

If this is proving too expensive, one approach is to find a way to set up or influence your own marine conservation project. This could be working with dolphin tour companies in the Philippines and joining tours to educate members of the public about conservation issues, or becoming involved with a dive centre where you can carry out surveys or Lionfish containment for a set amount of time.

Can you think of any other organisations you could connect with to set up a marine conservation initiative?

Heres a great article for inspiration on a young advocate who set up her own Whale Shark project in Madagascar.

Volunteer on a research project

Get a job in marine conservation

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Dive Into Noaas Resources

When youre searching for reliable free information, youll want to check out NOAAs marine science resources. Here, youll find articles on topics, such as coral reefs, the carbon cycle, or ocean acidification.

To top it off, NOAA also has career information, additional readings, and experiments to try. If these resources spur your interest in research, check out this article to learn more about undergraduate research.

Responses To So You Think You Want To Be A Marine Biologist

An Interview with Marine Biologist and Coral Reef Researcher, Khatija ...
  • hannahMarch 12, 2018 at 10:47 pm#

    i really want to be a marine biologist but i am scared of getting in the ocean, what do i do


  • Charlotte OrbaMarch 19, 2018 at 10:00 am#

    Hi Hannah, well not all marine biology work takes place in the sea theres plenty of research done in research labs and offices. However, you might be missing the best bit! We are not sure exactly what scares you about the oceans but firstly, we would suggest that you feel confident as a swimmer perhaps get some lessons. Then it is a case of practice makes perfect and gradually introducing yourself to the wonders of the underwater world. Make sure you have a good buddy with you who can support you and knows the area/conditions. Its also a good idea to learn more about the creatures that live in the sea youll find out that they have a lot more to fear from us than we do from them. We hope that helps!


  • Brittney ThompsonMarch 14, 2019 at 4:19 pm#

    I have always dreamed of being a marine biologist. I am 24 and planning on starting college soon. I love the thought of traveling and studying for the rest of my life.

  • Charlotte OrbaMarch 20, 2019 at 6:04 pm#

    Great! Go for it!


  • morganMarch 30, 2019 at 3:50 am#

    i am not scared of sharks are anything like that. but do i need to study tne whole ocean or the creatures in it. how many years of college do i have to go through. i would really appreciate it if you recommended any colleges or universitys.

    Thank you


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    How Did You Find Your Internships

    I found many of the internshipsthrough postings on the internet and mailing lists such as who list jobs, internships, publications and PhDs. I also checked university and organisation websites looking for opportunities and spent time talking to senior scientists and peers to find out what was available. Talking to people isnt always easy, but once youve built up a relationship and have shown them your abilities many times they will often think of you and send along internships opportunities or job postings so dont be shy!

    For my internships Ive worked in British Columbia studying gray whales with the Society for Ecology and Coastal Research, which was my first internship and taught me a lot about how to conduct surveys and collect data. The next one was with the Pacific Whale Foundation on Maui in Hawaii doing humpback whale photo identification work and snorkel reef surveys. After that I was a research assistant on Sperm Whale research project in Kaikoura, New Zealand, where I learnt to do land-based surveys and use new equipment including hydrophones.

    Free Marine Focused Courses

    Getting a good basic understanding of marine sciences and conservation issues is a good place to start. Not only will it give you an indication of how interested you really are in the topic , but will also give you a good knowledge base that can be applied to future opportunities.

    Go into this with an open mind. While I love the big stuff whales, dolphins, manta rays I was surprised that when I started to learn about the ocean at a deeper level I developed an absolute fascination with celaphods and the deep ocean. It really opened up my view of the world.

    There are lots of free marine biology courses available so all you need is a bit of time and dedication. Use Google to keep checking for new courses, although here are some to get you started.

    Free online marine courses

    • Exploring Our Oceans is an online 4-week Future Learn course run by Southampton University. Its a fantastic course and I loved working through the videos and quizzes. Future Learn also offer other relevant courses that focus on the environment and conservation.
    • Edx do a fantastic 4-week course on Sharks
    • TED Studies have put together a that covers some current conservation issues.
    • You might also want to print out a glossary of Marine Biology terms.
    • Although you need to know specifically what you are looking for, has lots of marine biology and conservation information available on the website.
    • National Geographic do some great short conservation courses including an ocean challenges one

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    What Key Bits Of Advice Would You Give Others Seeking To Follow In Your Footsteps

    Say yes a lot! If someone offers you something and you think you can do it, then say yes and be open to new experiences and to learning new skills. The best things have happened to me when Ive said yes and made things happen.

    What has also worked for me so far is talking to lots of people, and taking opportunities that come along like introductions to new people and learning opportunities. It can be scary and you need to be confident, but youve got to get out there and meet with anyone you can within your field of interest. They might not be able to offer you a job or a PhD, but they will be interesting to talk to and might be able to help you in the future with advise from their career experiences.

    Theres also a lot of luck involved, so dont get disheartened and keep trying!

    Boston University Ba In Marine Science

    How to Become a Marine Biologist? Marine Biology Career | Course Skills Job Salary | Vedantu

    A large private university in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston Universitys Marine biology program is a great option for prospective students.

    Unlike Duke, Boston University offers a specific degree option in Marine Biology, known as the Boston University Marine Program . The program offers extensive hands-on training in areas like marine conservation, ocean biology and exploration, and marine ecosystems. Students in this program are also required to take general Biology and Science courses to expand their breadth of knowledge.

    Some of the many Marine science courses offered at Boston University include:

    • Aquatic Geochemistry
    • Biology of Sharks

    University partnerships with the New England Aquarium, the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and University of Belize provide students with plenty of research opportunities, which comprise part of the Marine biology graduation requirements.

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    How To Earn A Master’s Degree In Marine Biology

    Students typically complete these degree programs in two years, and depending on the program, may choose from applied or thesis-focused programs. While every master’s degree program in marine biology has its own requirements, commonly students will require at least a bachelor’s degree to enter these programs, where they will learn about oceanography, corals and sustainability.

    Learn The Skills You Need

    If you want to be hands-on with conservation then you are going to need some training. Becoming a skipper or licenced boat driver could be useful. Really though, I dont think there is any better way to get up close and personal with the oceans than diving.

    Becoming a recognised diver

    To get recognised as a competent diver, you are going to need PADI qualifications. At the very least Advanced Open Water . The next level which can really open doors is becoming a Divemaster. With this qualification, you can start to take a lead role in diving. If you are really serious, you can go all the way to Instructor level but this is where the courses get pricey.

    Knowing how to dive is great, but marine conservationists need more than just this. They need to be able to recognise undersea components and learn useful skills such as identifying, surveying and gathering data.

    Become a marine conservation diver

    I did alot of research to try and find a diving focused course that would give me an array of skills in marine conservation. I found some great organisations but time again found that for the price, you were actually getting very little transferable experience. I was very clear that I wanted training, not to be volunteering.

    By the end of the month, I felt like a competent and capable marine conservationist and even went on to set up my own marine project. So I can really recommend the GoEco course! You can read all about my experience on the course, here.

    Diving scholarship

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    Education & Training For A Marine Biologist

    To become a marine biologist you usually have to study marine or environmental biology, marine science, marine environment or a related field at university. You may also consider major streams that emphasise marine biology, such as aquaculture. A bachelor degree in science can then follow into a major in marine biology or science. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry, earth and environmental science, biology and physics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

    Explore Marine Biologist Career Resources


    Dive into some of our favourite resources for marine biologists such as:

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    How Much Do Marine Biologists Make

    The average salary for a marine biologist is $43,916 per year. Salaries in the field range greatly between $20,637 and $88,243 per year. The amount you can earn will depend on your location, the field you wish to study and your education level. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the link provided.

    Listen And Learn Anywhere

    While you clean that precarious mountain of laundry in your room or even while you try out that food kit you got in the mail, you can still learn marine biology. With the help of a speaker or a good pair of earbuds, you can tune into information-rich marine biology podcasts anytime and anywhere.

    If youre new to the podcast world and looking for way to dip your toes, here are few podcasts to try:

    All these podcasts are available for free via Spotify and Apple podcasts.

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    What About Future Prospects

    Job vacancies are often offered for a fixed-term of two to three years to work on a particular project. Many jobs are based overseasor at sea! It is possible for marine biologists to progress to senior research scientist and management-level positions.

    The IMarEST keeps an up-to-date Jobs Board, on which it advertises job vacancies from across the marine sector, including those in marine biological professions. Please visit the board regularly for a job that may be of interest and to give you an idea of the types of jobs that exist in the marine biology domain.

    One of the IMarESTs Marine Partners, , is a specialist partnership based recruitment business aimed specifically in placing candidates in high-quality permanent UK and International jobs across the marine industry. Get in touch with them to assist you in your job search and entry into the field of marine biology.

    What Is A Marine Biologist

    How to Get into Marine Biology

    Now you might have come to this page because working with life in the seas sounds like a pretty cool job, but we’ll bet you’re still wondering “just what is a marine biologist?”

    When you picture a marine biologist at work, you may imagine some bronzed Adonis immersed in blissful tropical waters as dolphins and seals cavort alongside them. While some marine biologists do work with the cuddlier, more recognisable sea creatures, many more study things like plankton, algae and crustaceans.

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    Channel Your Inner Bookworm

    Were you the kid always getting in trouble for reading in class? If you were, Id highly recommend checking out Libby.

    Completely free and easy to navigate, Libby grants you access to your local librarys ebooks and audiobooks. Because of the vast breadth of knowledge your library holds, learning marine biology from home just got easier.

    You can use Libby on your computer or download it to your smartphone via the App Store or Google Play.

    Doctoral Coursework And Dissertation

    A Ph.D. or doctoral degree is necessary for research or teaching positions in marine biology. Pursuing a doctoral degree requires even greater focus, and students must commit to studying a very specific area of marine biology. Most programs require a dissertation in the focus area, an extensive research project capped with a research paper they have to defend before faculty members.

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    College Requirements For A Marine Biologist


    Educational requirements for a marine biologist include at least a bachelor’s degree in marine biology and significant coursework in the physical, earth and life sciences. Many students continue their studies to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in marine biology, and these programs require more research and specialization. In addition to the time spent studying in a classroom, marine biologist training happens in the field where they spend many hours in oceans, lakes and rivers studying plants and animals.

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