Marine Biology involves the study of life processes of organisms inhabiting saltwater environments – from genetics and evolution to physiological traits and ecosystem functioning. The Major is focused on the intersection of marine science subjects taught in Oceanography and Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, and takes advantage of the unique marine field experiences offered by Friday Harbor Laboratories. Our students study the marine aspects of biodiversity, organismal processes, and ecology and ecosystems, and explore the conservation and management responses to ocean change.

Features of the Marine Biology Major

  • Students take core subjects related to Marine Ecology, Marine Physiology, Marine Evolutionary Biology, and Conservation and Management
  • Electives are selected across 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


Students earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree with a Major in Marine Biology.

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

Marine Biology Major Requirements Marine Biology Electives

Why Major in Marine Biology?

  • The University of Washington is globally recognized for research and educational programs related to marine and aquatic science, with over 50 faculty conducting cutting edge research and teaching a wide range of subjects in marine biology
  • Our major provides an exciting learning environment focused on advanced learning of subjects in marine sciences
  • Our major develops essential job-ready skills in writing, oral presentation, and teamwork
  • Our students engage in unique opportunities for conducting inquiry-driven research at our unique field laboratories at Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands
  • Our classes incorporate labs, field trips and key analytical skills that prepare you for a rapidly evolving workplace
  • Graduates from the program 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

Declare the Marine Biology Major

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