Marine Biology involves the study of life processes of organisms inhabiting saltwater environments – from genetics and evolution to physiological traits and ecosystem functioning. Our students study the marine aspects of biodiversity, organismal processes, and ecology and ecosystems, and explore the conservation and management responses to ocean change. Graduates are well prepared for careers and graduate programs related to marine biology, biology, ecology, resource management, environmental consulting or environmental education in a range of settings.

Marine Biology Major Summary

  • Students earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a Major in Marine Biology
  • Students take core subjects related to Marine Ecology, Marine Physiology, Marine Evolutionary Biology, and Conservation and Management
  • Advanced electives are selected from courses offered by the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, the School of Oceanography and Friday Harbor Laboratories
  • All students complete an integrative field experience (research or field course) at Friday Harbor Labs or at a similar site

Learning Goals

Requirements of the Marine Biology Major are structured around the following learning goals. They ensure our graduates develop critical content knowledge and skills for the field of marine biology.


Explore the full degree requirements, and explore the program’s list of approved electives.

Marine Biology Major Requirements Marine Biology Electives

Prepare and Apply

UW undergraduates

High School: Currently in high school or completed high school with no additional college coursework

Community College/Other College: Currently enrolled or completed some college coursework (Bachelor’s Degree not completed)

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