How do I Choose the Best Marine Biology Schools?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Marine biology is a very large and diverse field, which means that there are a number of academic institutions to choose from when it comes to pursuing studies in marine biology. There are a variety of things to think about when evaluating marine biology schools to determine which one has the best program. Choosing a school is a big decision, and taking time to research and consider all of the options is an excellent idea, as it will make it more likely that a student ends up in the right school the first time, rather than needing to transfer.

The first thing to consider is one's area of interest in marine biology, whether one is looking at graduate or undergraduate programs. Some topics in marine biology include: microorganisms in the ocean, shore and seabirds, deep ocean life such as that found in trenches, fisheries, marine mammals, open ocean life, near shore life, and so forth. Many programs offer more in particular areas, so someone with a definite area of focus should take care to choose schools which offer training, courses, and research in that area.


Another issue to consider is the quality of the program. School rankings can be used to assess quality, and people can also look at prominent people in the field of marine biology and see where they went to school. If many prominent people in a particular area of interest went to the same school, chances are that the program is of high quality and will help students make connections in that area. Faculty members can also be important, and people should also consider how much interaction they will have with notable faculty members. If a famous marine biologist is on the faculty, she or he may not teach very many classes or may not have very many openings for researchers.

Location can be a consideration when evaluating marine biology schools. Most marine biology schools are near the ocean, and have facilities and equipment which allow people to run experiments and go out on the ocean. People may want to think about where they will be willing to live while they are in school, and whether or not a school's facilities will meet their needs. Someone who wants to study cetaceans, for example, may want to attend a school with facilities for keeping animals such as dolphins.

There are some more mundane considerations to keep in mind when looking at marine biology schools. These include the length of the program and the cost, as these may determine whether or not someone is able to go. The availability of financial aid is also important, and people may be concerned with issues like available housing, or the possibility of creating a custom schedule which will allow a student to work or care for a family member while in school. Finally, people concerned about their careers may want to pursue training at marine biology schools which offer job placement assistance.



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