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Bachelor’s in Marine Science: Top 20 Values 2020

College Values Online - Top Degree Programs-01In this ranking, we profile the top 20 values for bachelor’s in marine science programs of 2020.

A bachelor’s in marine science is an ideal undergraduate degree for students interested in studying the oceans from an interdisciplinary perspective. Coursework for this particular degree is often hands-on and includes myriad opportunities for experiential learning activities, fieldwork, and research. Many marine science college graduates pursue work as conservationists, consultants, professors, or researchers. Others enter graduate school to gain advanced research skills. Whatever your future plans, we can help you find a top value bachelor’s degree in marine science program.

Marine Science College Degrees: Top 20 Values Methodology

To compile the following list of the top 20 value bachelor’s in marine science degrees, we looked at a total of 85 colleges and universities listed by the Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) College Navigator offering a marine science undergraduate degree. We narrowed our original pool of schools by applying the following criteria: Regional accreditation, school or program ranking with a major publication like U.S. News and World Report, and affordability. We then ranked the top 20 schools selected according to raw affordability.

Below are the results of the top 20 values for bachelor’s in marine science programs.

#20 – Boston University

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Boston, Massachusetts

Website

Boston University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

A bachelor’s in marine science from Boston University offers prestige!

Undergraduate Tuition: $53,948

While not the least expensive in terms of undergraduate tuition, Boston University’s BA in marine science provides a rigorous, interdisciplinary study. Research-based courses in biological, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography are offered to all marine science majors. Some of the marine science courses include bio-optic oceanography, estuaries and nearshore systems, marine urban ecology, and scientific diving and underwater research methods. Boston University is a top-ranked institution. In fact, BU ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 40th best national university in the country. Several graduate and online programs have also received top rankings.

#19 – University of Miami

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Coral Gables, Florida

Website

University of Miami - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

University of Miami’s bachelor’s in marine science is ranked with U.S. News!

Undergraduate Tuition: $50,226

The University of Miami offers versatile bachelor’s in marine science programs through the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, with nine available focus areas in biochemistry and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, computer science, geological sciences, mathematics, meteorology, microbiology and immunology, and physics. The marine science degree curriculum is comprised of general education requirements, marine science core classes such as marine chemistry, scientific programming for marine science, and physical oceanography, as well as concentration-specific courses like computer architecture, modern physics, and structural geology. Recently, the University of Miami ranked with U.S. News and World Report as the 57th best national university and 77th best value school.

#18 – Eckerd College

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Saint Petersburg, Florida

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Eckerd College - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Eckerd College – Bachelor’s in marine science – ranked and accredited!

Undergraduate Tuition: $44,540

Eckerd College offers a bachelor’s in marine science program featuring four different areas of specialization: marine biology, marine chemistry, marine geology, and marine geophysics. The comprehensive, interdisciplinary curriculum is comprised of courses such as biological oceanography, coastal geology, marine and freshwater botany, and principles of hydrology. The school’s waterfront location off the Gulf of Mexico allows for many experiential learning and research opportunities. Study abroad programs and internships are also available for interested bachelor’s degree in marine science students. In addition to a quality marine science program, Eckerd offers a strong reputation as a nationally ranked liberal arts college. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranks the school #140 in best national liberal arts colleges.

#17 – University of New England

Bachelor’s in Marine Sciences

Biddeford, Maine

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University of New England - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

A seaside campus at University of New England offers an ideal setting for a bachelor’s in marine science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $37,620

The bachelor’s in marine sciences at the University of New England examines all facets of the marine environment. The university’s seaside campus serves as an ideal area to research marine, estuary, and freshwater habitats. In addition to the favorable setting, the school offers concentrations in marine biology and oceanography. Students may choose to tailor their degree by selecting one of the completion pathways. Courses for the marine biology track include cellular and molecular biology, ecology and the evolution of marine organisms, and oceanography. University of New England ranks #246 in best national universities and #234 in top performers on social mobility.

#16 – Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Standish, Maine

Website

Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Liberal arts study! St. Joseph’s College of Maine – Bachelor’s in Marine Science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $35,650

St. Joseph’s College of Maine is one of the only liberal arts schools to offer marine science as a major. Through a unique blend of study that includes independent work, internships, and senior research, St. Joseph’s provides a comprehensive program that takes full advantage of its shore location. Marine Science majors gain several unique opportunities, including a semester-long field-based study known as the Environmental Science Semester. In addition to the marine science major, students may elect to minor in either marine science or sustainable studies. St. Joseph’s ranks with U.S. News and World Report in the following: #129-#170 best regional universities in the North and #88 top performers on social mobility.

#15 – Samford University

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Birmingham, Alabama

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Samford University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Samford University – Offers a Christian perspective to marine biology.

Undergraduate Tuition: $31,650

Samford University offers a bachelor’s in marine science program through the Howard College of Arts and Sciences. In addition to the university core curriculum and general education requirements, students are required to take natural and computational science classes such as fundamentals of organic chemistry and organic reactions and mechanisms as well as marine science courses like marine botany, marine ecology, and marine vertebrate zoology. In addition, bachelor’s degree in marine science students are required to spend one semester studying marine science first-hand at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Mobile Bay. While recognized as a Christian institution, Samford ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school ranks #147 in the best national universities.

#14 – Nova Southeastern University

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Nova Southeastern University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Nova Southeastern University’s bachelor’s in marine biology provides a coastal Florida setting.

Undergraduate Tuition: $30,900

Nova Southeastern University offers one of the only marine biology bachelor’s programs on our list. Nova’s unique Florida coast setting provides students with access to one of the world’s largest laboratories for marine science and biology. Students also have the choice of selecting one of four minors designed to deepen knowledge in marine science. Minors include geographic information science, marine biology, marine ecology, or one from the comprehensive list of undergraduate minors. Core classes include topics like general chemistry, general ecology, introductory marine biology, and oceanography. Lab or field-based electives cover a wide range of topics, such as everglades ecology and conservation, island biogeography, and natural history of South Florida. One of the best marine biology colleges, U.S. News and World Report ranks Nova Southeastern #246 in best national universities.

#13 – Hampton University

Bachelor’s in Marine and Environmental Science

Hampton, Virginia

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Hampton University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Unique opportunities! Hampton University – bachelor’s in marine science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $26,702

The bachelor’s in marine science program from Hampton University is an interdisciplinary major in marine and environmental science. In addition to courses offered through the School of Science’s Department of Marine and Environmental Science, students will also take classes from several other departments, including physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and geology. Experiential learning opportunities include interactions with marine wildlife as well as field experiences at local wildlife preserves, including the Chesapeake Bay Wildlife Preserve. Hampton’s marine science degree students graduate prepared for entry-level positions in marine science or graduate study in the field. Hampton ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 218th best national university.

#12 – University of Mobile

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Mobile, Alabama

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University of Mobile - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

University of Mobile’s bachelor’s in marine science offers access to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

Undergraduate Tuition: $23,230

The University of Mobile offers a bachelor’s in marine science degree program through its College of Arts and Sciences. Although most coursework can be completed on campus, students should expect to spend at least two summers studying at the nearby Dauphin Island Sea Lab. In addition to the 28-semester hour university core, students will take major-specific courses such as ecology and field biology, fundamentals of organic chemistry, marine biology, and science and ethics. Bachelor’s degree in marine science students are encouraged but not required to minor in chemistry. The University of Mobile ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 11th best regional college in the South and 25th best value school.

#11 – Alaska Pacific University

Bachelor’s in Marine & Environmental Sciences

Anchorage, Alaska

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Alaska Pacific University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Marine and environmental sciences! Alaska Pacific University.

Undergraduate Tuition: $20,760

The bachelor’s in marine science degree program from Alaska Pacific University is a highly versatile option, allowing students to choose one of six distinct concentrations – applied math, aquarium and husbandry science, earth and climate, ecology, fisheries, or marine biology. An integrated degree may also be pursued for those interested in a broader marine science education. Minors in environmental policy, mathematics for environmental science, and marine & environmental sciences are also available. Marine science degree students also take advantage of the many internships, service learning opportunities, and experiential learning activities throughout Anchorage. APU ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 82nd best regional university in the West.

#10 – University of Connecticut

Bachelor’s in Marine Sciences

Storrs, Connecticut

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University of Connecticut - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

UCONN’s bachelor’s in marine science offers BA or BS pathways.

Undergraduate Tuition: $15,730

The University of Connecticut offers a dynamic bachelor’s in marine science program through its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Students can pursue either a BA or BS in marine science with concentrations in marine biology, oceanography, or environmental science. The curriculum consists of marine science core courses such as coastal systems science and environmental reaction and transport, social sciences courses like economics of the oceans and environmental law, and marine science electives in marine biology, physics, and chemistry. Optional internships are also available for juniors and seniors pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marine science. UCONN is a public institution that ranks with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the school ranks #64 in best national universities and #117 in best value schools.

#9 – Rutgers University

Bachelor’s in Marine Sciences

New Brunswick, New Jersey

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Rutgers University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Ranked and accredited – Rutgers University’s bachelor’s in marine sciences.

Undergraduate Tuition: $14,974

Bachelor’s in marine science students at Rutgers University, New Brunswick have the opportunity to choose from five available specialization options, including marine biology/biological oceanography, marine chemistry, marine geology, physical oceanography, and directed marine studies. Some sample course titles include aquaculture, dynamics of marine ecosystems, history of the earth system, and oceanographic methods and data analysis: biology/chemistry. In addition to field experiences and lab experiments, marine science degree students must also complete an experience-based education requirement prior to graduation. Rutgers ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 62nd best national university and 157th best value school in the country.

#8 – University of South Carolina

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Columbia, South Carolina

Website

University of South Carolina - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

University of South Carolina’s bachelor’s in marine science is ranked with U.S. News.

Undergraduate Tuition: $12,616

The bachelor’s in marine science degree program from the University of South Carolina is offered through the School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment. Enrolled students may choose one of five areas of emphasis, including biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, geological oceanography, physical oceanography, or coastal resource management/marine affairs. USC’s marine science degree is highly interdisciplinary, incorporating topics from many other subject areas, such as mathematics, engineering, social sciences, and physics, among others. Students graduate with a broad and holistic understanding of the oceans and surrounding environments. USC ranks with U.S. News and World Report. In fact, rankings include #104 in best national universities and #182 in best value schools.

#7 – University of Maine

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Orono, Maine

Website

University of Maine - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

University of Maine’s bachelor’s in marine science offers a residency at University’s Darling Marine Center.

Undergraduate Tuition: $11,170

The University of Maine offers a bachelor’s in marine science program with available concentrations in marine biology, physical marine science (oceanography), and aquaculture. The school also offers minors in aquaculture and fisheries. Enrolled students will take marine science core courses such as biology of marine organisms, marine policy, and oceans and climate change; non-marine science core classes like general physics and basic biology; and concentration-specific course titles including critical issues in aquaculture, descriptive physical oceanography, and field marine ecology. Marine science students are encouraged to participate in a residency at the University’s Darling Marine Center. University of Maine is ranked by U.S. News and World Report as a top public institution and best national university.

#6 – The University of Alabama

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Website

The University of Alabama - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Undergraduate research projects! University of Alabama’s bachelor’s in marine science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $10,780

The bachelor’s in marine science programs at the University of Alabama are technically double majors in marine science/biology, marine science/chemistry, and marine science/geology. Although general education courses and single disciplinary courses are offered year-round, marine science classes are only offered during the summer at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Undergraduate research projects are also encouraged. Marine science degree students graduate from the program well-prepared for graduate study in marine science or a related field or for entry-level positions in education, government agencies, or ecotourism. The University of Alabama ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 153rd best national university and 129th best value school.

#5 – Stony Brook University

Bachelor’s in Marine Sciences

Stony Brook, New York

Website

Stony Brook University - Bachelor's in Marine Science

A top value – Stony Brook’s bachelor’s in marine science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,625

Stony Brook University offers a top-ranked and highly interdisciplinary bachelor’s in marine science program through its School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. The curriculum is comprised of specialty course titles such as engineering geology and coastal processes, environmental instrumental analysis marine microbiology and microbial ecology, and Long Island marine habitats. Stony Brook’s bachelor’s degree in marine science students may also pursue a dual master’s degree in marine and atmospheric sciences. Students participate in hands-on activities through field and laboratory experiences near the campus and through the field station located at the Southampton campus. Stony Brook ranks with U.S. News and World Report as the 91st best national university and 149th best value school in the country. It also offers one of the most affordable marine science programs on our list.

#4 – North Carolina State University

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Raleigh, North Carolina

Website

North Carolina State University - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

NC State University’s bachelor’s in marine science offers a variety of concentration areas.

Undergraduate Tuition: $9,101

North Carolina State University offers a robust bachelor’s in marine science program with five distinct concentration areas, including biological oceanography, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics. In addition to concentration-specific courses, enrolled students will take foundational courses in marine science such as animal phylogeny & diversity, introduction to coastal environments, organic chemistry, and physics for engineers and scientists. Marine science students and NC State will also enjoy rich field experiences in the state’s diverse settings, as well as opportunities for internships and undergraduate research. NC State ranks #84 in best national universities, according to U.S. News and World Report’s most recent publication of Best Colleges.

#3 – University of Southern Mississippi

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Website

University of Southern Mississippi - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

Ranked and affordable options at University of Southern Mississippi – Bachelor’s in Marine Science.

Undergraduate Tuition: $8,624

The University of Southern Mississippi offers a unique bachelor’s in marine science in hydrography degree. The program is comprised of general education requirements, prerequisite math and science classes, a marine science core, and required courses in hydrographic science. Specialty course topics include electronic charting and navigation, nautical science, ocean policy and management, and remote sensing for hydrographers. The curriculum for this marine science degree program is largely driven by the standards of competency for hydrographic science as set forth by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). University of Southern Mississippi ranks #293-#381 in best national universities and #165 in top performers on social mobility.

#2 – University of Hawaii

Bachelor’s in Marine Science

Hilo, Hawaii

Website

University of Hawaii - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

University of Hawaii’s bachelor’s in marine science is highly affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,720

The versatile bachelor’s in marine science degree program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo is offered through the school’s College of Arts and Sciences. Students can choose to pursue either a BA or BS in marine science. A minor and certificate option are also available. Specialty course topics include coastal methods and analyses, global change, marine ecology and evolution, and statistical applications in marine science. Marine science students have access to special resources through the Marine Science Department, including a fleet of marine vessels, scuba diving equipment, and a scanning electron microscopy laboratory. Also, the institution ranks with U.S. News and World Report as a top national university.

#1 – University of North Carolina

Bachelor’s in Marine Biology

Wilmington, North Carolina

Website

University of North Carolina - Bachelor’s in Marine Science- Top 20 Values

#1 most affordable bachelor’s in marine science – UNCW!

Undergraduate Tuition: $7,091

The most affordable bachelor’s in marine science, or closely related, program on our list is the marine biology degree at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. UNCW’s marine bio curriculum includes a strong foundation in biology with an emphasis in marine biology during junior and senior levels. Some of the marine biology classes include invertebrate zoology, marine botany, marine phycology, plant and animal physiology, and statistics. The curriculum is flexible enough to meet the individual needs of students as it prepares for research and teaching careers. As one of the best marine biology colleges, UNCW ranks with major publications like U.S. News and World Report. In fact, the University of North Carolina Wilmington ranks #185 in best national universities and #183 in best value schools.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with a bachelor’s in marine science degree?

Marine scientists study animal and plant life, environment, and ecosystems related to the ocean. They observe and study marine organisms and populations of wildlife found on preserves designed to protect marine life, such as populations of marine fish. Marine biologists or scientists need excellent problem-solving skills, as well as a number of other skills. These highly specialized scientists know how to work with a team, conduct research, and synthesize their findings.

To become a marine scientist or marine biologist, certain qualifications must be met. Marine scientists nearly always hold a bachelor’s in marine science or an undergraduate degree in a closely related discipline. To work in a university or college setting, advanced degrees are required.

Individuals with a bachelor’s in marine science are qualified to work entry-level jobs at aquariums, marine preserves, or areas hiring marine scientists. Jobs that require a bachelor’s degree in marine science or marine biology include environmental restoration consultants or analysts, marine biologists, and marine ecologists. Many marine science research jobs require a master’s in marine science or several years of experience working in a lab or research capacity.

Earning a bachelor’s in marine science is often the first step to a rewarding career. A bachelor’s degree in marine science opens doors to employment opportunities and prepares individuals to enter graduate marine science programs.

How much money can I earn with a bachelor’s in marine science degree?

PayScale, a global compensation research organization that compiles salary data for specific jobs and education levels, reports individuals with bachelor’s in marine science or marine biology earn an average annual salary of $59,000. However, the average salary, as reported by PayScale, for marine biologists (regardless of degree level) is $51,580.

PayScale also reports a positive trend for pay by experience. This means that the more experience a marine scientist or marine biologist has, the more money they will likely earn. For example, an entry-level marine scientist right out of college and with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average yearly salary of $50,041. This number reflects total compensation, including any bonuses or overtime pay.

In addition to entry-level compensation, PayScale reported early career marine biologists with one to four years of experience earn an average total compensation of $50,350. Mid-career marine scientists with five to nine years of experience earn an average salary of $52,0000. Experienced marine scientists earn a significant amount more than less experienced marine scientists. Individuals with ten to nineteen years of experience working as marine scientists earn a total compensation of $60,330. Late career marine scientists with more than twenty years of experience earn the most. These highly skilled marine scientists earn an average total compensation of $70,986.

The more experience one has as a marine scientist, the higher your earning capacity.

What is the job outlook for individuals with a bachelor’s in marine science degree?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports the employment of zoologists and wildlife biologists is projected to grow five percent through the year 2028. More biologists and scientists, specifically niche biologists like marine and wildlife scientists will be needed to study human interaction with the ocean, marine life, and other environments. As the human population grows, the impact on natural habitats will need to be studies. This means we could see an increase in jobs for marine scientists and other specialized biologists.

However, since most funding for these jobs comes from the government, the demand for marine biologists and marine scientist jobs may be limited by budget constraints.

According to BLS, marine biologists, zoologists, and wildlife biologists could face strong competition when looking for jobs. Due to a fairly average job outlook as compared to all other occupations, job openings may be limited. Applicants with research skills or practical experience gained through summer employment, volunteer work, or internships before graduation from a bachelor’s in marine science program should see better opportunities for employment.

Also, with changes in climate patterns and increased sea levels, marine scientists with special skills or research acumen in climate change, ocean studies, and marine life will be needed to carry out conservation plans and efforts.

What courses will I take at one of these marine science colleges?

Courses vary by program, but overall, foundation classes for most bachelor’s in marine science programs are the same. If science interests you, then taking the large number of required hard science classes might be appealing. General courses in marine biology or marine science programs include biology, chemistry, and physics. Marine Science majors will also be expected to take courses in statistics and math, as well as an introduction to oceanography. Again, program requirements vary by school, so plan on conducting some research to find out the class requirements for your programs of interest.

After general or foundation courses are out of the way, students enrolled in bachelor’s in marine science degree programs often take a series of marine science courses and electives. Marine science courses prepare students for careers in marine biology or science. These courses may include environmental studies – reaction and transport, introduction to oceanography, marine sciences and society, or science and the coastal environments. All marine science courses emphasize oceanographic processes and examine the multiple impacts on environmental resources, marine life, and coastal habitats.

Students majoring in marine science will also choose advanced courses in marine physics, marine biology, and other areas of marine science. Often referred to as electives, these classes give students the opportunity to tailor their bachelor’s in marine science degree to meet individual interests and career goals.

How long does it take to earn a bachelor’s at marine science colleges?

How do you determine how long it takes to earn a bachelor’s in marine science degree? The answer often has to do with the student and program. Each program is as individualized as the applicant. Some students require online learning in order to balance life obligations such as work and family, while other students prefer a traditional pathway toward their degree.

Most of the bachelor’s in marine science programs on our list offer traditional pathways to completing the degree. However, some programs allow students to enroll on a part-time basis, while others require full-time enrollment. Full-time enrollment means earning your degree at a quicker rate. Most full-time bachelor’s degree programs take four years to complete. However, the benefit of part-time programs includes flexibility. Most part-time bachelor’s programs allow students to work at their own pace, earning their degree in up to six years.

Online bachelor’s in marine science programs are limited but do exist. Online options also offer flexibility. Students often take one to three courses at a time and earn their bachelor’s degree in 36 to 48 months on average.

Since most marine science undergraduate degrees require the completion of a research project, online options for earning this degree are limited. Most of the marine science college programs on our list may be earned the traditional way – on-campus.

CVO Staff
October 2019

Related:

This concludes our list of top 20 values for bachelor’s in marine science programs of 2020.

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