Nova Southeastern University Marine Biology

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

Nova Southeastern University Halmos College of Natural Sciences and  Oceanography Insurance Requirements

Masters Of Science In Marine Science

Nova Southeastern University’s Master’s of Science (M.S.) in Marine Sciences provides you with an interdisciplinary approach to studying the earth’s oceans. This program offers opportunities for you to specialize your interests and conduct original research in areas such as biological and chemical oceanography, deep sea biology, sea level change, marine mammals, coastal dynamics, and more.

As a graduate student at NSU’s Halmos College of Arts and Sciences, you’ll have immersive learning experiences in laboratory and classroom settings, as well as on the field. Mangroves, coral reefs, tropical freshwater, beaches, and deep-water habitats are just a few miles away from campus, which means you’ll have plenty of opportunities to work hands-on in the environments that match your interests. Faculty provide specialized attention and teach using advanced tools, so you can be best prepared to dominate your educational and career goals.

You’ll find that your NSU marine science professors are passionate about what they do. Their excitement comes from not only teaching, but from being active researchers in the field—pursuing scholarly interests in coral reef biology, deep-sea ecosystems, and ichthyology, to name a few.     

NSU’s Marine Sciences master’s programs are 36-credits. Choose from three concentrations designed to give you a competitive advantage in your career: Master’s in Marine Biology, Master’s in Coastal Zone Management, and Master’s in Marine Environmental Science.    

Master’s in Marine Biology

You’re fascinated by the marine world. Your scholarly interests include the study of the animals and plants that live in the ocean (including sharks!). A Marine Science master’s degree with a concentration in Marine Biology broadens your knowledge of the physical and biological components of marine ecosystems, so you can pursue your advanced research goals, or advance your career as a specialist at an aquarium, museum, university, laboratory, environmental consulting firm, or government organization. 

In this master’s program, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of the taxonomy, natural history, and ecology of a wide variety of marine organisms. You’ll conduct hands-on research and have opportunities to focus your studies on a specific aspect of marine biology. As a graduate, you’ll not only walk away with a thorough comprehension of marine biota, but you’ll know how to communicate your research and your knowledge to interested parties.Marine Biology Curriculum

Master’s in Coastal Zone Management

According to NASA, there are approximately 372,000 miles of coastline on earth, and close to 2.4 billion people living within 60 miles of an oceanic coast. Coastlines are important ecosystems that are heavily impacted by environmental changes and human behaviors. Coastal zone management is a relatively new role that many government agencies and private industries, who conduct business in coastal zones, are looking to fill.

In this program, you’ll learn about contemporary problems and conflicts arising from increased use of coastal areas. You’ll study ways to develop and communicate effective solutions to protect, conserve, and restore coastal resources. These skills will help you advance your career, while making a real impact in coastal communities.Coastal Zone Management Curriculum

Master’s in Marine Environmental Science

Everything that humans do impacts marine ecosystems and in turn, marine ecosystems impact the lives of humans. That’s why it’s important to protect marine habitats and preserve our valuable marine resources. In the marine environmental science concentration, you’ll study climate change, biodiversity, genomics, toxicology, and other related topics, in order to develop strategies and solutions that positively affect the relationship between humans and marine environments. 

As a graduate of this program, you can begin a career in rewarding environmentally-oriented agencies (saving turtles!) or advance your current marine-related role in government, industry, or academia

Marine Environmental Science Curriculum


Students are required to complete a minimum of 36 credits for this degree.


  • MSMS 5010 Biostatistics – 3 credits
  • MSMS 5020 Marine Ecosystems – 3 credits
  • MSMS 5030 Marine Geology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 5040 Marine Chemistry – 3 credits
  • MSMS 5050 Physical Oceanography – 3 credits
  • MSMS 5060 Scientific Communication – 3 credits


Marine Biology Concentration

  • MSMS 6001 Marine Physiology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6002 Coral Reef Ecology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6003 Deep Sea Biology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6004 Marine Fisheries – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6005 Invertebrate Zoology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6006 Taxonomy of Marine Invertebrates – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6007 Marine Mammalogy – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6008 Biology of Sharks and Rays – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6010 Marine Apex Predators – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6011 Marine Avian Ecology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6012 Corals from the Inside Out – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6014 Marine Larval Ecology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6016 Ichthyology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6017 Tropical Fish Biology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6019 Marine Biodiversity and Speciation – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6021 Histology & Ultrastructure of Marine Organisms – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6022 Methods in Marine Community Ecology – 3 credits

Coastal Zone Management Concentration

  • MSMS 6101 Coastal Policy of U.S. Living Marine Resources – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6102 Ocean and Coastal Law – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6103 Invasive Species – 3 credits

Marine Environmental Science Concentration

  • MSMS 6201 GIS & Environmental Remote Sensing – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6203 Climate Change – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6204 Anthropogenic Impacts in Marine Environments – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6205 Toxicology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6208 Aquaculture – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6209 Biodiversity – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6210 Scientific Method and Experimental Design – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6211 Genomics – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6212 Stable Isotopes in Marine Ecology – 3 credits
  • MSMS 6213 Coral Reef Biogeochemistry – 3 credits

Students are allowed to take one elective outside their concentration and have them count towards their final credit count. 


If you wish to pursue a dual concentration, please select 3 additional electives from that concentration.

  • Dual concentration options
    • Marine Biology/Coastal Zone Management
    • Marine Biology/Marine Environmental Science
    • Marine Environmental Science/Coastal Zone Management

*Curriculum update effective Winter 2019. Curriculum may be subject to change, please refer to the 2019-2020 student catalog for more information. 

Capstone and Thesis

There are two tracks for completing the M.S. Marine Science degree


All entering M.S. students are accepted in the capstone. Students take a minimum of 6 core courses and 4 regular courses in their selected concentration for 30 credits. Students must take capstone courses totaling a minimum of 6 credits. This is typically done at or near the completion of formal coursework. The capstone is a scholarly review, based upon a comprehensive literature search, review, data analysis, and synthesis of the chosen topic. Carrying out a capstone takes place with guidance from a major professor. Typically, capstone students find a major professor by approaching faculty in the student’s area of interest. Students will be assigned a capstone advisor if they have difficulty in identifying a major professor. Prior to beginning a capstone and registering for capstone credits, the student must write a proposal which must be approved by the student’s major professor, committee (define how committee is formed), and chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences and be submitted to the Program Office.


The thesis track requires an extra step. A thesis is an original contribution to knowledge resulting from the systematic study of a significant problem or issue. A thesis track requires a minimum of 6 core courses and 4 regular courses for 30 credits.  In addition, a minimum of 6 thesis credits is required. To be allowed entry into the thesis track the student must secure agreement from a faculty member to be the student’s major professor. There must be adequate funding to carry out the proposed research. Students are not provided with a thesis advisor. Prior to beginning thesis research and registering for thesis credits, the student must write a proposal which must be approved by the student’s major professor, committee, and the chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences and be submitted to the Program Office. The Thesis option is typically a longer duration track and may require additional thesis credits to complete the research project. 

For further details, students are referred to section 3.8 of this catalog and to the online guidelines for the capstone or thesis track found on the Student Resources page under Master’s Student Guide to Thesis and Capstone. 

Once a student starts registering for capstone or thesis course credits, they cannot stop registering for credits until the project is completed and defended. The number of research credits above the minimum is dependent upon the length of time needed to complete the research, which may be more than the typical minimum of two terms. The completed research project is presented in an open defense that includes the student’s advisory committee.

Graduate Admission Open House

Nova Southeastern University’s Department of Marine and Environmental Sciences is hosting a Graduate Open House where prospective students can have the opportunity to hear about the M.S. Marine Science and Ph.D. in Marine Biology/Oceanography degree programs. The Open House will feature an opportunity to meet and interact with faculty members, learn about the three concentrations within the master’s programs (Marine Biology, Coastal Zone Management, Environmental Science) and tour the labs and campus facilities.


Friday, March 13 | 9:45 AM – 12:00 PM 


NSU’s Oceanographic Campus
8000 North Ocean Drive, Dania Beach, FL 33004-3078


9:45 – 10:00 AM | Check-in & Light Refreshments

10:00 – 11:00 AM | Presentations

  1. Introduction from Dr. Bernhard Riegl (Chair of the Department of Marine and Environmental Science)
  2. Student Panel Discussion
  3. Graduate Admissions & Academic Advising Presentation

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Tour of Oceanographic Campus


The price tag on a bachelor’s degree may make you wonder, “Is college even worth it?” The answer—especially when your degree is from Nova Southeastern University—is yes.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time workers with at least a bachelor’s degree earned about $600 more per week on average than those with just a high school diploma.

Plus, with a degree from NSU, you know you’re getting a competitive advantage in your career. Experiential learning opportunities and a dedicated career coach will give you an edge in today’s job market. We’ll also help you find scholarships and put together a financial aid package that works.


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