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Marine Biology (BS)


Major Credits Required: 74-77 Credits

The marine biology major is composed of a rigorous sequence of courses leading to the Bachelor of Science degree. Students prepare for advanced work by taking a year (two semesters) each of general biology, general chemistry, and college physics, all with laboratory components. Mathematics preparation extends through integral calculus and statistics. A practical course in oceanographic field techniques, plus two semesters of general oceanography, with laboratory and fieldwork, complete the lower-division requirements. Advanced courses ranging from molecular biology to ecology offer students breadth and depth across the spectrum of modern biology and its marine applications. Laboratory and fieldwork take advantage of Hawai‘i’s tropical and oceanic setting and its wealth of marine life. The university’s research vessel supports small classes in advanced studies from fringing coral reefs in Kāne‘ohe Bay to the deep sea only a few hours away. Completion of the marine biology major prepares students to enter private or public sector careers in domestic or international fields, such as living marine resource management, marine environmental analysis and protection, and interpretation or teaching in biology and marine science. Students who aim for future leadership in marine biology also achieve the academic preparation to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in their field.

To complete the bachelor's degree, students must complete a minimum total of 120 credits with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0.


Students majoring in marine biology will:

  1. Demonstrate broad basic knowledge of the fundamental principles in the biological and physical sciences.

  2. Integrate scientific principles to explain complex biological problems in the marine environment.

  3. Plan and implement observational and experimental studies of marine organisms and ecosystems and analyze the data obtained from these studies using appropriate mathematical and statistical techniques.

  4. Communicate scientific ideas effectively in written and oral formats using appropriate computer applications for data analysis and presentation.

  5. Find and evaluate published information from a variety of printed and electronic sources.

  6. Use a biological perspective to analyze complex problems and develop relevant questions pertaining to the marine environment.