Best Marine Biology Universities in Europe

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

Your dream is to become a marine biologist and travel to the remotest parts of the planet to study the sea. You want to study the most important marine species and maybe get some special recognitions in your career. In short, you want to attend the best marine biology universities in Europe.

Congratulations! You’ve decided that you’d like to pursue a career in marine biology.

Perhaps you recently realized your dream of studying the ocean and its wide variety of life forms, or maybe you’ve always had a passion for marine biology. 

However your desire to study marine biology came to fruition, now it’s time to start evaluating the next steps you can take towards achieving your career ambitions by looking at some of the best marine biology programs in the United States!

Collegelearners will provide you with all the relevant information you are looking for on best marine biology universities in the world, university of algarve marine biology, international marine biology masters, and so much more.

best universities for marine biology

Check out our reviews of the best schools for marine biology majors to find the best higher education for your conservancy goals!

Duke University – B.S. Biology with Marine Science Concentration

duke university campus

A large private college in Durham, North Carolina, Duke University’s Marine Biology program is the class of them all.

The university offers a top-notch biology degree with a specialization in Marine biology. What makes Duke’s program particularly special, however, is that the school doesn’t view Marine biology as a separate entity from general Biology. This gives students the ability to gain as much Biology knowledge and experience as possible while also being able to specialize in Marine studies.

Some of the Marine biology courses offered at Duke include:

  • Marine Ecology
  • Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles
  • Comparative Physiology of Marine Animals
  • Sojourn in Singapore: Urban Tropical Ecology (study abroad).

Additionally, Duke requires its students to have extensive research and laboratory experience prior to graduation, so by job search time, they’ll possess both textbook and field knowledge in Marine biology.

 Boston University – BA in Marine Science

Boston University

A large private university in Boston, Massachusetts, Boston University’s 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 (BUMP). 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:

  • Marine Biogeochemistry
  • Dynamical Oceanography
  • 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. 

Stony Brook University – B.S in Marine Sciences

A mid-sized public university in Stony Brook (Long Island), New York, Stony Brook University is a renowned STEM college, but has an especially strong Marine science program. 

Like Boston University, Stony Brook’s program is focused in the Marine sciences, but has four areas of specialization within the field including Biological Oceanography, Experimental Marine Biology, Marine Pollution and Diseases of Aquatic Organisms. Students begin with basic biology, chemistry and physics courses before moving into upper division electives.

A few highlighted Marine science courses at Stony Brook University include:

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Experimental Marine Biology
  • Marine Pollution
  • Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

Stony Brook University has state of the art laboratory facilities as well as access to both the Long Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, providing students with prime opportunities for hands-on training and research within the Marine sciences field. Being a public university also means Stony Brook is extremely affordable for New York State residents. 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – B.A in Biology with Minor in Marine Sciences

University of North Carolina

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a large, public university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. UNC doesn’t have a Marine science major. Instead, it’s part of the institution’s top-ranked Biology program. 

Students at UNC-Chapel Hill who want to study Marine sciences are advised to declare a general Biology major (123 credit hours), since that’s the umbrella field that encompasses Marine biology. They can then select a Marine sciences minor that consists of a minimum of 12 credit hours.

Among the Marine science courses offered at UNC-Chapel Hill include:

  • Barrier Island Ecology and Geology
  • Modeling of Marine and Earth Systems
  • Marine Phytoplankton
  • Marine Invertebrate Biology

UNC is also home to the Institute of Marine Sciences and the Aquarium Research Center, two premier research institutions that specialize in Marine studies, giving students access to some of the best practical training in the industry. Like Stony Brook, UNC is also a public university, meaning it is very affordable for North Carolina residents. 

University of California, Los Angeles – B.S in Marine Biology

A large public university in Los Angeles, California, UCLA offers a program specializing in the study of Marine biology. 

A feature about this program that stands out is the university’s Marine Biology Quarter (MBQ), where students actively participate in Marine biology expeditions and experiments over the course of a term. This is a requirement for all prospective Marine biology students at UCLA. Students will also have to work hard in this major, with at least 134 credit hours required for graduation.

Some courses in UCLA’s Marine Biology program include:

  • Marine Biology Quarter
  • Oceanography
  • Marine Organismic Biology
  • Marine Laboratory

In addition to the MBQ, UCLA is also home to some of the top research facilities in the state of California. The university will also be cheaper for in-state students due to its public status.

Oregon State University – B.S in Biology with Marine Biology Option

OSU

Also located on the West Coast, Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon does not have a major dedicated to Marine biology like UCLA, but students may select it as a concentration within the Biology department.

A notable feature of OSU’s Marine biology option is its Hatfield Marine Science Center residency in Newport, Oregon, where students live for a term and complete courses on-site, giving them essential exposure and experience to practices within the Marine biology field. 

Some of OSU’s course offerings in Marine biology include:

  • Estuarine Ecology
  • Biological Oceanography
  • Aquatic Microbiology
  • Aquatic Biological Invasions

With a location near Portland, Oregon and the Pacific Ocean, OSU is an affordable, public university with some of the best Marine biology resources available. It’s even been named a Most Innovative School by US News and World Report.

University of New Hampshire – B.S in Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology

Now, that’s a title! University of New Hampshire’s Bachelor of Science program in Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology at its main Durham, NH campus offers students a thorough Marine science education.

UNH doesn’t have a residency program or a quarter out to sea like OSU or UCLA, respectively, but it does offer a multitude of quality Marine biology courses and adds freshwater biology courses to the mix due to New Hampshire’s ample freshwater reserves. This makes UNH’s Marine sciences program unique in its own way.

Some of UNH’s course offerings in Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Biology include:

  • Aquatic Plants in Restoration/Management
  • Aquatic Animal Diversity
  • Introduction to Aquatic Botany
  • Ecology and Marine Environment

If you’re looking for freshwater Marine biology, University of New Hampshire presents an affordable option as a public university. 

University of Maine – B.S in Marine Sciences

university of maine

The University of Maine’s Marine Sciences program has a more mundane name, but it’s 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 university’s 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.

best marine biology undergraduate programs

Marine biology focuses on studying life in the sea and other water environments. The health of animals in a marine environment and the state of the water itself can have a lasting impact on life on land, which is why studying marine biology is so important.

View all Master Programs in Marine Biology in Europe 2022

MSc in Biology, Aquatic Ecology
Lund University
Lund University
Lund, Sweden
This Master’s programme provides knowledge on current theories and models of aquatic ecosystems, the relation between watershed, atmosphere, lakes and streams, interactions between humankind and aquatic ecosystems, and water management. Practical training in laboratory and field methodology is also emphasised. Some of the courses contain week-long excursions where practical field studies are conducted; from hypotheses and preparations, via sampling, analysing samples and data, and finally writing a report and performing an oral presentation. –
MSc
Full-time
2 years
English
Campus

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Master in Marine Biology
University of Padova
University of Padova
Padua, Italy
The Master’s degree aims to train marine biologists with the skills needed for understanding key processes and patterns in marine and coastal ecosystems, for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, and for the development of methods and technologies for the breeding of economically relevant commercial species. –
Master
Full-time
2 years
English
01 Oct 2022
Campus

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Master in Coastal and Marine Management
University Centre of the Westfjords
University Centre of the Westfjords
Ísafjörður, Iceland
Master in Coastal and Marine Management is a cross-disciplinary resource management program that focuses on coastal and marine issues and mainly draws…

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Master
Full-time
Part-time
18 – 24 months
English
25 Aug 2022
Campus

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Master of Science in Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management (Oceans and Lakes)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Brussels, Belgium
This joint programme combines the expertise of three Belgian universities on aquatic systems. It not only offers you an insight into the complexity of life and processes in marine environments and lakes. But it also comprises management, policy, commercial aspects of aquatic ecosystems and law. This combination of disciplines makes it a unique programme in Europe. –
MSc
Full-time
2 years
English
19 Sep 2022
Campus

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Master of Science in Marine Sciences
Utrecht University
Utrecht University
Utrecht, Netherlands
As part of your two-year Master’s program in Marine Sciences, you will learn how marine systems and processes operate naturally – and how they change through human intervention. The program offers multidisciplinary cutting-edge information in this rapidly developing field. –
MSc
Full-time
2 years
English
Sep 2022
Campus

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Master in Marine Biotechnology
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Tromsø, Norway
The Marine Biotechnology program at UiT’s the Norwegian College of Fishery Science aims to educate candidates in the broad field of biotechnology with emphasis on application to marine systems or “Blue Biotechnology”. Students become well prepared for careers in industry and/or research because of our joint focus on innovation and fundamental scientific principles placed between biology and engineering. Students receive one-on-one mentorship and supervision from a professional UiT researcher and typically join an established research group to complete their final project. –


MSc
Full-time
2 years
English
Campus

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Master in Marine Biology
Stockholm University
Stockholm University
Stockholm, Sweden
On our Master’s program in Marine Biology, you will learn about the rich marine ecosystems in the Baltic sea and oceans beyond. The program aims to provide an in-depth theoretical background in marine ecology along with applied practical training, to give you a range of skills and a competitive edge. –
MSc
Full-time
2 years
English, Swedish
29 Aug 2022
Campus

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MSc in Biology – Marine Biology
University College Cork
University College Cork
Cork, Ireland
Our MSc Marine Biology programme aims to train graduates in multiple areas of marine biology and includes the acquisition of necessary field skills in sea survival, powerboat handling and marine radio. –
MSc
Full-time
English
12 Sep 2022
Campus

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Master of Science in Aquatic Ecology
Linnaeus University
Linnaeus University
Växjö, Sweden +1 More
The Master of Science in aquatic ecology is a program at the advanced level, equivalent to 120 higher education credits. The program is international, multidisciplinary, and oriented towards current topics in aquatic microbiology, marine ecology, and environmental policies –
MSc
Full-time
2 years
English
29 Aug 2022
Campus

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Master in Marine Biology
University of Algarve
University of Algarve
Faro, Portugal
The Marine Biology Master aims to promote multidisciplinary advanced training in Marine Biology, providing skills for the analysis and understanding of marine biodiversity, from genes to ecosystems, their functioning, and diversity. –
Master
Full-time
2 years
English, Portuguese (Portugal)
Campus

best universities for masters in marine biology

university of algarve marine biology

Overview

The Master’s course in Marine Biology presents unique conditions at the University of Algarve, as it has a fixed teaching staff with a doctorate in full time with international training in the areas of Biological Sciences and in the area of ​​Marine Sciences.


In addition, it has facilities and human and material resources which increase the value for the student, such as a scientific diving center, an experimental marine oIrganism laboratory (LEOA) and field station (Ramalhete Station), as well as nearby natural resources: Ria Formosa, Guadiana Estuary, sandy and rocky coasts, namely on the Vicentine Coast.

This MSc programme also benefits from its sharing of course units and interaction with other international master’s programs and scientific research in the area of ​​biology and marine sciences associated with research centers with excellent indicators of scientific production and projects in the area of Marine Biology, namely the Center for Marine Sciences (CCMAR), which has been rated as EXCELLENT in the latest assessment by the Foundation for Science and Technology, a major Portuguese funding body. There is also a second research center, Center for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA), which has complementary resources of excellence, particularly in terms of Ecotoxicology and Coastal Dynamics.

Objectives

  • Promote multidisciplinary advanced training in Marine Biology
  • Providing skills for the analysis and understanding of marine biodiversity, from genes to ecosystems, their functioning and diversity
  • To develop innovative applications for the management, conservation and exploitation of marine ecosystems

Tuition and Fees 2022/2023

National Students: 1100 Euros

International Students*: 4000 Euros

Application Fee: 50 Euros

Registration Fee and School Insurance: 175 Euros

Note: The tuition of this course can be paid in 10 installments, being the first at the time of registration and the remaining in the months of October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May and June.

* in accordance with Decree-Law No. 36/2014, changed by Decree-Law No.62/2018, of 6th August, international students are nationals of a country which is not a Member State of the European Union and are not a legally resident in Portugal for more than 2 uninterrupted years by 1st of January of the enrolment year.

best marine biology universities in the world

Marine Biology is the study of marine organisms and creatures depending on bodies of water, including their behaviors and interactions with the environment. Marine biology science is a vast discipline with various specializations; hence, university researchers focus on a particular aspect of the study. The reliance and adherence of world societies to our world’s oceans emphasize the importance of marine biology study.

Many universities worldwide have focused on the science of marine biology throughout the years. Some have developed the discipline in their institutions above other schools, seen from their impact on the global marine biology community and received recognitions. Here are some of the best marine biology schools in the world.

Top Marine Biology Schools in the World

1. James Cook University

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

The University College of Townsville, James Cook University’s former name, was proposed in 1957 and officially opened in 1961. The university got its new name through a Queensland Parliament bill in 1969. Since its conception in the 1950s, JCU has continued the pursuit of scientific excellence, particularly in marine biology.

James Cook University’s College of Science and Engineering houses the marine biology program for undergraduate and graduate tracks. CSE focuses on the education and application of areas, including marine biology, as part of the Division for Tropical Environments and Societies. The college utilizes a hands-on learning and research approach to ensure quality outputs.

Since the CSE and JCU focused on advancing the disciplines within and around marine biology, it is no surprise that its prestige went above par. It has received multiple awards and honors for the excellence of its research and graduates. It’s no surprise that JCU is among the best marine biology schools and is currently at the top spot among international institutions offering marine biology.

2. Ocean University of China

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

The Ocean University of China established itself as the Private Qingdao University in 1924. Qingdao was later nationalized in 1930 and renamed the National Shandong University. A merger and several names change later, the Ministry of Education changed its name to the Ocean University of China in 2002. The institution prides itself in attaining excellence in the fisheries and marine sciences field.

The Ocean University of China’s College of Marine Sciences started with the foundation of the OUC itself. The CMS embodies the OUC’s focus on studying and researching the ocean sciences. The Ocean University of China is one of the top institutes for marine biology, with full support from the Chinese government.

3. University of Queensland

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

A 1909 State Parliament Act established the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The university was founded officially in 1910, and teaching started the following year. UQ rapidly expanded after World War I, developing its fields and disciplines decades forward.

The University of Queensland’s Centre for Marine Science is the leading research and training institution for the marine science discipline. The center is one of the largest and most diverse collaborations of marine experts in Australia.

Through the efforts of its faculty, researchers, and students, the Centre for Marine Science’s record in developing and promoting knowledge, approaches, and technologies is unparalleled. The University of Queensland consistently ranks as one of the best among marine science universities worldwide.

4. University of Tasmania

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

The University of Tasmania started in 1890 and is Australia’s fourth oldest university. The university promotes a philosophy of symbiosis between the environment and the academic and research community. The relationship revolves around environmental study and preservation for the benefit of both sides.

The Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies is the University of Tasmania’s premier institution for promoting the discipline. The institute prides itself as a world-class center of excellence for research and education. Various global ranking organizations have already cited the University of Tasmania for its high quality of trained scientists and researchers, placing it in the upper bracket of marine science universities globally.

5. Aarhus University

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

Aarhus University in Denmark started in 1928 upon the inauguration of the University Studies in Jutland. The university eventually gained recognition as Aarhus University in 1933 through the help and support of the government and the Aarhus community.

Aarhus University’s Department of Ecoscience started in 1989 as the National Environmental Research Institute. NERI became part of Aarhus University then became the Department of Ecoscience. The series of name changes characterize the ever-changing strategies of the department to adapt to the challenges and demands of marine science.

The Department of Ecoscience in this esteemed marine biology institution is recognized in Denmark and around the world as today’s leading institution for the study and research of marine science. Its produced experts and researchers are well-recognized in the field. Aarhus University occupies the top ranks of international marine science institutions worldwide.

6. Sorbonne University

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

Sorbonne University is yet another one of the best marine biology schools in the world. It started in 2018 as a public university created by the merger of Paris-Sorbonne University and Pierre and Marie Curie University. The Sorbonne University’s structure focuses on the three faculties of arts and humanities, science and engineering, and medicine.

The Sorbonne University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering houses the institution’s marine science program. On its own, Pierre and Marie Curie University already rank among the best marine science universities in the world. The merger made significant leaps forward in marine science for the resulting institution.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering relies on its research teams and experts to formulate its policies. This approach ensures consistent innovation and relevant excellence within the community. The faculty’s success is visible through the number of well-trained marine scientists from Sorbonne University, excelling in the discipline internationally.

7. University of Porto

  • Degrees Offered: Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD

The newly implanted Portuguese republican system created the University of Porto in 1911. Despite the challenge brought about by political unrest in Portugal, the university continues to thrive up to this day. Various disciplines gained ground and developed their research and teaching techniques in their respective departments.

The Faculty of Sciences or the Faculdade de Ciencias Universidade do Porto, traces its history to 1762 when the Nautical Class began. The university’s administration introduced developments and changes to the faculty. The improvements molded the Faculty of Sciences into the world-class department it is today.

The Faculty of Sciences provides various research and training facilities to improve the study of marine sciences. The quality of research and experts produced by the FCUP is comparable to larger schools worldwide. The University of Porto is among the upper brackets of international marine science universities.

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