A bachelor’s in marine biology is an ideal choice for those students interested in studying marine animals in their natural habitats. This undergraduate degree is also a potentially lucrative option. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for zoologists and wildlife biologists is $59,680 a year. A marine biology degree can prepare students for entry-level positions in the field and for graduate study in the marine sciences. In this ranking, we explore the top 20 values for a bachelor’s in marine biology in 2017.

Ranking Methodology

Tuition Points:
• Under $30,000—1 point
• Under $25,000—2 points
• Under $20,000—3 points
• Under $15,000—4 points
• Under $10,000—5 points

Students Receiving Financial Aid:
• 60%–1 point
• 70%–2 points
• 80%–3 points
• 90%–4 points

Customization Options
• Content Customizations (e.g. Concentrations and Specializations)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option

Wow Factor
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

Best Value Colleges for a Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

To develop this ranking of the top 20 value bachelor’s in marine biology degree programs, our editors consulted College Navigator to identify the schools and universities across the country with undergraduate tuition numbers below $30,000 offering an undergraduate marine biology degree. This search yielded 43 results. To narrow the list to the top 20, we applied the ranking methodology above by consulting College Navigator and school websites.

#20 – Montclair State University

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology and Coastal Sciences

Montclair, New Jersey

Montclair State University bachelor's degree in marine biology

Montclair State University offers a bachelor’s in marine biology program that emphasizes experiential learning.

Website
Points: 7
Montclair State University offers an interdisciplinary bachelor’s in marine biology focusing on the core sciences of biology, geology, chemistry, and physics. The curriculum consists of required foundational courses such as Aquatic Biological Processes, Physical Geology, Environmental Geochemistry and Hydrology as well as elective courses like Biology of the Fishes, Human Impact on the Coastal Zone, and Principles of Soil Science. Bachelor’s degree in marine biology students regularly participate in hand-on labs and field experiences as part of their undergraduate study.
Tuition: $11,773

#19 – College of Charleston

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

Charleston, South Carolina

College of Charleston bachelor's degree in marine biology

The College of Charleston offers an elective-rich bachelor’s in marine biology program.

Website
Points: 7
The College of Charleston offers a research-intensive bachelor’s in marine biology program that prepares students for careers in marine science and provides a basis for graduate study in the field. Required courses for the major include General Ecology, Fundamentals of Analytical Chemistry, and Introductory Calculus. Students are also invited to choose from a long list of electives including Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates, Oceanographic Research, Principles of Neurobiology, and Developmental Biology. Marine biology degree students also have the opportunity to study abroad.
Tuition: $11,322

#18 – Auburn University

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Auburn, Alabama

Auburn University marine biology degree

Auburn University’s bachelor’s in marine biology program features a fully prescribed curriculum.

Website
Points: 7
Auburn University offers a bachelor’s in marine biology program that emphasizes hands-on lab work. Students are required to take classes at labs across the country, including the nearby Dauphin Island Sea Lab and Gulf Coast Research Lab. The curriculum is a fully prescribed one consisting of course titles such as Survey of Organic Chemistry, Invertebrate Biodiversity, Evolution and Systematics, and Ecology. Bachelor’s degree in marine biology students are encouraged to take part in internships and undergraduate research opportunities.
Tuition: $10,424

#17 – Stony Brook University

Bachelor’s in Biology: Marine Biology

Stony Brook, New York

Stony Brook University bachelor's degree in marine biology

Stony Brook University’s bachelor’s in marine biology program includes an optional honors track.

Website
Points: 7
Stony Brook University’s bachelor’s in marine biology offering is technically a BS in marine sciences with a focus in marine biology. Students first complete a life sciences curriculum consisting of courses such as Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Oceanography, and Molecular and Cell Biology. After completion of these initial required courses, they are encouraged to choose from electives in field courses, organismal diversity, and marine biology. All bachelor’s degree in marine biology students have access to ample undergraduate research opportunities on campus, and an honors track is also available.
Tuition: $8,855

#16 – Western Washington University

Bachelor of Science in Biology: Marine Biology

Bellingham, Washington

Western Washington University bachelor's degree in marine biology

Western Washington University’s bachelor’s in marine biology students have access to undisturbed beaches and a fleet of research vessels.

Website
Points: 7
Western Washington University’s bachelor’s in marine biology offering is actually a BS in biology with an emphasis in marine biology. The university’s location close to the Salish Sea provides a perfect learning environment for students interested in the marine sciences, and the school is also home to the Shannon Point Marine Center where students study in a living laboratory consisting of 3,000 feet of natural beaches and 78 research vessels. Marine biology degree students will take specific course titles such as Evolutionary Biology, Physiological Ecology of Animals, and Biology of Marine Mammals.
Tuition: $8,611

#15 – Salem State University

Bachelor’s in Biology: Marine Biology

Salem, Massachusetts

Salem State University marine biology degree

Electives provide Salem State University’s bachelor’s in marine biology students with some content customization options.

Website
Points: 8
The bachelor’s in marine biology option from Salem State University is a bachelor’s in biology with a concentration in marine biology. In addition to core education requirements, students will enroll in required courses for the major such as Biological Oceanography, Marine Botany, and Fish Biology. Students are also invited to choose between six and eight credit hours of elective classes. Bachelor’s degree in marine biology students take advantage of the ocean and marshes near the North Shore for field experiences and lab assignments.
Tuition: $9,246

#14 – Troy University

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Troy, Florida

Troy University bachelor's degree in marine biology

The bachelor’s in marine biology program requires that students spend two summers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Website
Points: 8
Troy University offers a bachelor’s in marine biology degree program that prepares students for research and practical careers in the field of marine science. The curriculum is mostly prescribed and includes foundational courses in biology and physics as well as major-specific classes such as Vertebrate Zoology, Marine Ecology, Oceanography, and Marine Botany. Bachelor’s degree in marine biology students are also required to spend two summers at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab where they will participate in experiential learning activities and field experiences.
Tuition: $7,924

#13 – University of West Florida

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

Pensacola, Florida

University of West Florida marine biology degree

The University of West Florida’s location near the Gulf of Mexico is ideal for bachelor’s in marine biology students.

Website
Points: 8
The University of West Florida offers a comprehensive bachelor’s in marine biology degree program through its Department of Biology. In addition to the general education curriculum, the program consists of biology courses like Principles of Evolution, Genetics, and Biochemistry, and marine science courses such as Concepts of Oceanography and Marine Biology, Aquatic Botany, and Coastal Marine Ecology. Hands-on learning experiences are made available to marine biology degree students on campus as well as at the nearby Santa Rosa Island campus and of course, the Gulf of Mexico.
Tuition: $6,360

#12 – University of Alaska—Southeast

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

Juneau, Alaska

University of Alaska--Southeast marine biology degree

University of Alaska–Southeast’s bachelor’s in marine biology students benefit from the school’s unique location.

Website
Points: 8
The University of Alaska—Southeast is home to a robust bachelor’s in marine biology offering. In addition to general education requirements and marine biology core courses such as Conservation Biology and Marine Mammalogy, students will choose both biology breadth electives and general electives, including titles such as Biogeochemistry, Marine Ornithology and Herpetology, and Wetlands Ecology. UA Southeast marine biology degree students enjoy small class sizes and a rich learning environment comprised of wetlands, ice fields, rain forests, and marine habitats.
Tuition: $6,132

#11 – Alaska Pacific University

BS in Marine Biology

Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska Pacific University marine biology degree

Alaska Pacific University’s bachelor’s in marine biology students must complete a practicum and culminating project.

Website
Points: 9
Alaska Pacific University’s bachelor’s in marine biology offering is technically a BS in marine and environmental sciences with an emphasis in marine biology. In addition to foundational studies, students take 82 credit hours of major studies directly related to the marine sciences such as Environmental Physics, Ecology, and Human Impacts in Marine Systems. Marine biology electives include Seabirds and Marine Mammals, Coral Reef Ecology, and Coastal Ecosystems, among others. Alaska Pacific’s bachelor’s degree in marine biology students will also participate in research, practicums, and a culminating project.
Tuition: $19,610

#10 – University of Rhode Island

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

Kingston, Rhode Island

University of Rhode Island bachelor's degree in marine biology

The University of Rhode Island offers a highly versatile bachelor’s in marine biology degree program.

Website
Points: 9
The University of Rhode Island offers a diverse bachelor’s in marine biology program that allows students to customize their degree by studying related areas of marine science such as Aquaculture and Fisheries, Marine Environmental Economics, Marine Archaeology, or Geology and Geological Oceanography, among others. In addition, the school offers a dual degree in marine biology and ocean engineering as well as a minor in marine biology. Marine biology degree students will choose from elective offerings such as Marine Environmental Physiology, Coral Reef Ecology, and Evolution and Diversity of Fishes.
Tuition: $12,862

#9 – University of Tampa

Bachelor’s in Marine Science–Biology

Tampa, Florida

University of Tampa marine biology degree

The University of Tampa’s bachelor’s in marine biology offering is a dual degree program.

Website
Points: 9
The bachelor’s in marine biology offering from the University of Tampa is a dual marine science and biology degree program. The curriculum is mostly prescribed but allows some flexibility for students to tailor their degrees around a specific area of interest through elective courses. The school’s location near the Florida Keys allows for rich experiential learning opportunities, and international study experiences are also available. UT’s bachelor’s degree in marine biology students will enroll in specific courses such as Marine Ecology, Physical Oceanography, and Environmental Chemistry.
Tuition: $10,314

#8 – Florida International University

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

North Miami, Florida

Florida International University bachelor's degree in marine biology

Florida International University’s bachelor’s in marine biology is interdisciplinary in nature.

Website
Points: 9
Florida International University’s bachelor’s in marine biology program is interdisciplinary in nature, offering courses from several different departments across the university including the departments of Biological Sciences, Earth and Environment, and Chemistry and Biochemistry, among others. The curriculum consists of general science courses in chemistry, biology, and physics as well as required marine biology classes such as Cell Biology, Physical Oceanography, and Ecology. FIU’s marine biology degree students will also choose from marine biology electives including Fisheries Science, Coastal Marine Conservation, and Marine Geology.
Tuition: $6,556

#7 – California State University—Monterey Bay

Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

Seaside, California

California State University- Monterey Bay bachelor's degree in marine biology

California State University–Monterey Bay’s bachelor’s in marine biology program features unique course titles like Environmental Modeling.

Website
Points: 9
The bachelor’s in marine biology offering from California State University—Monterey Bay is actually a BS in Marine Science with a marine biology concentration. Although students are required to take a number of required courses for the major, they are able to choose six elective courses from an impressive list of options, allowing them some degree of content customization. Core course titles include The Oceans and Atmosphere, Seafloor Mapping, and Marine Science in the Community. Some marine biology degree electives are Marine Fish Ecology, Aquatic Ecology, and Environmental Modeling.
Tuition: $6,119

#6 – Brigham Young University—Hawaii

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Laie, Hawaii

Brigham Young University-Hawaii marine biology degree

The bachelor’s in marine biology program from Brigham Young University–Hawaii features a standout course in Pacific Natural History.

Website
Points: 9
Brigham Young University—Hawaii’s bachelor’s in marine biology offering is actually a BS in Biology with an emphasis track in marine biology. The curriculum is comprised of a 60-credit hour general biology core as well as a 60-credit hour marine biology core. Although there are required courses in each core, some content customization is possible through the selection of electives. Marine biology degree course titles include Marine Microbiology, Pacific Natural History, Biostatistics, and Evolution and Human Prehistory.
Tuition: $5,100

#5 – University of West Alabama

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Livingston, Alabama

University of West Alabama bachelor's degree in marine biology

University of West Alabama’s bachelor’s in marine biology students can choose from interdisciplinary electives.

Website
Points: 10
The University of West Alabama offers a versatile bachelor’s in marine biology program. Although much of the curriculum is prescribed, students can tailor their coursework around an area of interest by choosing from major-specific and interdisciplinary electives. Specific course titles include Evolutionary Theory, Coastal Zone Management, Subtropical Ecology, and Environmental Chemistry. University of West Alabama’s bachelor’s degree in marine biology students conduct lab experiments and research assignments at the nearby Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Tuition: $8,734

#4 – University of North Alabama

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Florence, Alabama

University of North Alabama bachelor's degree in marine biology

The bachelor’s in marine biology from the University of North Alabama features BA and BS tracks.

Website
Points: 10
The bachelor’s in marine biology degree program from the University of North Alabama is designed to prepare students for either entry level positions in marine or aquatic biology or graduate studies in the field. Students are required to minor in chemistry and can choose from BA or BS tracks. The curriculum consists of specific course titles such as Marine Botany, Marine Behavioral Ecology, Evolution, and Microbiology. Specialty courses required for this bachelor’s degree in marine biology program are taken at the nearby Dauphin Island Sea Lab.
Tuition: $7,774

#3 – University of Maine at Machias

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Machias, Maine

University of Maine Machias marine biology degree

University of Maine at Machias’ bachelor’s in marine biology students conduct field experiences in diverse marine habitats.

Website
Points: 10
The bachelor’s in marine biology degree program from the University of Maine at Machias prepares students for careers in marine education, fishery science, and aquaculture. Students will also graduate prepared for further study in the field. Specific course titles include Marine Ecology, Experimental Design & Analysis for Biology, Introduction to Mariculture, and Population & Community Ecology. The school’s location near the Machias River estuary, the Gulf of Maine, and the Bay of Fundy makes it an ideal living classroom for the study of marine sciences.
Tuition: $7,480

#2 – Northwest Missouri State University

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Maryville, Missouri

Northwest Missouri State marine biology degree

The vast majority of Northwest Missouri State University’s bachelor’s in marine biology students are placed in jobs prior to graduation.

Website
Points: 10
Northwest Missouri State University offers a bachelor’s in marine biology degree program in connection with the University of Southern Mississippi’s oceanography program. The curriculum is mostly prescribed and includes course topics such as Animal Anatomy & Physiology, Geographic Information Systems, and General Microbiology. NMS’s marine biology degree students have access to undergraduate research opportunities, internships, and a study abroad program. The university boasts a 86% placement rate for marine biology graduates.
Tuition: $6,767

#1 – Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Cheyney, Pennsylvania

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania marine biology degree

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania’s bachelor’s in marine biology program features two areas of emphasis.

Website
Points: 11
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania offers a bachelor’s in marine biology program from the Department of Natural and Applied Science with emphasis areas in aquaculture and marine biology. In addition to general education requirements, enrolled students will take specific course titles such as Principles of Oceanography, Organic Chemistry, Invertebrate Biology, and Biochemistry. Cheyney University graduates are well-prepared for entry-level positions in aquatic sciences and aquaculture as well as further study in graduate programs in marine biology.
Tuition: $9,344

This concludes our ranking of the top 20 values for a bachelor’s in marine biology in 2017.

CVO Staff
November 2016