best marine science phd programs

Last Updated on September 5, 2022 by Smile Ese

If you are in need of the best marine science phd programs, then you came to the right place. The marine science PhD programs listed here first involve a predetermined preparation or foundation in a natural science field as well as postgraduate training. They are accredited and worth every bit of effort.

Collegelearners affords a plethora of information on best marine science graduate programs in the world, marine biology grad school requirements, marine conservation graduate programs and so much more. Ensure you peruse through our catalogue for relevant information on similar topics.

best marine science phd programs

A PhD is the abbreviated form for Doctor of Philosophy, but the title can indicate that its recipient has completed advanced study in any field, from business to botany. This type of degree is typically pursued after a bachelor’s and master’s degree. The program may include a variety of high-level courses as well as independent research and a doctoral thesis.

What is a PhD in Marine Biology? This course of study focuses on the biology, physiology, neurology, habits and behaviors of marine organisms. It may also investigate their interaction with their ocean environment. Students may investigate oceanography and its related subjects as they seek to learn about the animals that inhabit the sea. At the doctoral level most students will already have begun to pursue a specialty and may continue to distinguish themselves in a particular subfield of marine biology as they complete their studies and research.

Completing a PhD program can have many benefits. Few students achieve this advanced level of study, and graduates may outshine their competition for coveted jobs and career distinctions. This type of program can also foster critical thinking, problem solving and research skills.

A PhD program may be completed in a few short years of full-time study, but a student may take much longer if he or she continues to work while studying part-time. This is not necessarily detrimental, as professional experience is also valuable. The cost of a program will vary from one institution to another, but may increase the longer a student takes to graduate.

Many graduates of a PhD program are seeking a role in academics. They hope to become full-time professors, passing their knowledge and passion along to graduate and undergraduate students. They may also join a private or government research institution where they can continue to work and conduct research in their specialty, or in the ecology, physiology or biochemical characteristics of a particular species. Some graduates work primarily indoors while others spend a good deal of time in or near the water. Most spent time in a variety of environments. 

Marine biology is a fascinating field with many career possibilities. Search for your program below and contact directly the admission office of the school of your choice by filling in the lead form.

PhD in Aquatic Health

University of Johannesburg Johannesburg, South Africa The purpose of the Ph.D. in Aquatic Health is to provide qualifying students with an in-depth understanding and integrated knowledge of advanced applicable theory in the field of specialization. PhD Full-time 3 years English Campus  

* Marine marine science, technology and management’s official doctoral program

Universidade da Coruña A Coruña, Spain The objective of the Doctorate program is to train the best professionals and researchers in the field of Science, Technology and Sea Management in their different economic and social applications, to generate research of quality and international impact and to provide industry with the best Tools to improve their competitiveness on a global scale. PhD Full-time Part-time 3 – 6 semesters Spanish Oct 2021 01 Aug 2021 Campus  

PhD and MS in Marine, Atmospheric, and Geosciences (GRE Waived)

University of Miami Rosenstiel School Miami, USA We offer Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in 6 programs: Atmospheric Sciences, Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Ecosystems and Society, Marine Geosciences, Meteorology, and Physical Oceanography, and Ocean Sciences. We offer highly competitive stipend rates, tuition, and health insurance coverage for our incoming Ph.D. students as part of a fully-funded 5-year Graduate Assistantship. Finally, as part of our revitalized connections across colleges and to take advantage of our unique research facilities, we offer an M.S. degree in both Ocean Engineering and Sustainable Business. Our graduate students also take advantage of nearby NOAA facilities including the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, and the National Hurricane Center. PhD Assistantships can be found here: GRE Waived for Spring and Fall! PhD MSc Full-time 2 – 5 years English Aug 2021 Campus  

Ph.D. in Marine Science (MarS)

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Thuwal, Saudi Arabia The Marine Science (MarS) Program takes advantage of KAUST’s location on the Red Sea, a living laboratory with great potential for exciting science. The program addresses the biology and ecology of the multitude of marine life forms. There is an intentional focus on the local Red Sea system, both as a primary study system and as a system with which general concepts from other marine systems can be compared. PhD Full-time 30 – 42 months English Campus  

PhD in Hydrological and Oceanic Sciences

National Central University Hsinchu, Taiwan Founded in 2001, the Institute of Hydrological Sciences (IHS) provides opportunities in research and education in three major areas: global hydrological cycles, hydrosphere environmental sciences, and information-technology based hydro-hazard mitigation. PhD Full-time Part-time English Campus  

Marine Science Graduate Degree Program

University of California Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, USA

Marine Science is a field which encompasses many traditional disciplines including biology, geology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. PhD English Sep 2021  


University of Southern California South Los Angeles, USA In Marine Environmental Biology, Ph.D program studies marine organisms, their interactions in complex marine ecosystems, and the emergent properties of the communities that result from these interactions. By design and necessity, this work includes studies at all levels of biological organization, as well as investigations of the intersection between the activities of organisms and the abiotic world. PhD English Sep 2021  

best marine science graduate programs 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.

marine biology grad school requirements

Candidates for admission should have a bachelor’s (BS) degree in one of the physical, biological, or earth sciences; in some cases a degree in mathematics or engineering science is accepted.

A scholastic average of B or better (3.0) in upper-division courses, or prior graduate study, is required.

The student’s preparation should include:

  • Mathematics through differential and integral calculus.
  • Physics, one year with laboratory (the course should stress the fundamentals of mechanics, electricity, magnetism, optics, and thermodynamics, and should use calculus in its exposition).
  • Chemistry, one year with laboratory.
  • An additional year of physics, chemistry, or mathematics.

All international applicants whose native language is not English and whose undergraduate education was conducted in a language other than English must take the TOEFL and submit their test scores to the UC San Diego Office of Graduate Admissions.

  • UC San Diego minimum score requirements and additional information

To apply, please visit our How To Apply page or go directly to the UCSD Graduate Application.

Please note that UC San Diego does not duplicate degrees.  Applicants with prior Master of Science degrees will not be admitted.


Applied Ocean Science (AOS)Students are admissible with a strong background in physical science, engineering science, or mathematics. Three years of physics or applicable engineering and three years of mathematics at college level are expected.
Biological Oceanography (BO)Two years of chemistry, including general and organic chemistry, and a year of general biology are required. Physical chemistry requiring calculus may be substituted for physics requiring calculus where a more elementary physics course was taken. Zoology or botany may be substituted for general biology.Preparation should also include a course in general geology and at least one course in each of the following categories: systematics (e.g., invertebrate zoology), population biology (e.g., ecology), functional biology (e.g., physiology).In special cases, other advanced courses in mathematics or natural sciences may be substituted. Biological oceanography applicants are encouraged, but not required, to submit scores of the biology subject test of the GRE
Climate Sciences (CS)Students are admissible if they satisfy the requirements of the physical oceanography, geophysics, or marine chemistry and geochemistry curricular programs. Biology and geology majors may also be admissible if the Scripps faculty feel that they have a sufficiently strong background in mathematics and physical science.
Geosciences (GS)A major in one of the earth sciences and undergraduate physical chemistry and calculus are required. Preparation beyond the minimum requirements in mathematics, physics, and chemistry is strongly recommended.
Geophysics (GP)A major in physics, mathematics, earth sciences, or equivalent training, is required.
Marine Biology (MB)A major in one of the biological sciences (or equivalent), with basic course work in botany, microbiology, or zoology; two years of chemistry, including organic chemistry, is required. Training in one or more of the following areas is strongly recommended: cellular biology, molecular biology, comparative physiology, genetics, developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, microbiology, and/or botany.Biochemistry and physical chemistry will be expected of students in experimental biology, although the student may, if necessary, enroll in these courses at UCSD after admission.
Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry (MCG)A major in chemistry, geology, biochemistry, or related field, is required.
Physical Oceanography (PO)A major in a physical science, including three years of physics and mathematics, is required.

Special consideration occasionally can be given to candidates with outstanding records who do not meet all required preadmission criteria.

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