Marine Biology

The UO Baccalaureate Degree in Marine Biology is one of only a handful of such degrees offered in the Pacific Northwest. Undergraduate students accepted into this major receive the same solid background as UO Biology majors, but their key educational experience is three terms of hands-on, field-based learning at the UO's marine laboratory, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology. Marine biology majors are prepared for graduate studies in marine science or education, medical, dental or veterinary school. As broadly trained biologists they are eligible for careers in marine research, education, and conservation, or in government agencies, academic institutions, or private industry.
Top Five
Reasons to Study
This Major
  1. Explore up-close and in person the marine environment and organisms of the NE Pacific.

  2. Acquire understanding of fundamental questions and challenges in modern biology.

  3. Prepare for graduate programs in marine or freshwater science.

  4. Address pressing global issues such as climate change and environmental sustainability.

  5. Prepare for careers in research, education, outreach, fisheries management, and aquaculture.

College of Arts and Sciences
541-346-7277 (OIMB advising)
Where Can I Go?

Students in Marine Biology may choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Arts (BA), a Master of Science (MS) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. Marine Biology major offers a path to employment at:

Colleges and universities

Private industry and laboratories

Non-profit organizations

Private research institutions

State and federal agencies

Zoos and aquariums

Aquaculture facilities
Alumni Jobs

Marine Scientist

Fisheries Biologist

Biology Professor or Teacher (K-12, 2YC and 4YC colleges)

Field biologist

Research technician or assistant


Non-profit director

Biomanufacturing Scientist

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Fish and Shellfish Culturist

Environmental Educator
Courses You
May Need

1st Year
MATH 112; MATH 246/251; MATH 247/252; CH 221; CH 222; CH 223; CH 227; CH 228; CH 229

2nd Year
General Biology BI 211, 212, 213; OR Honors Biology BI 281H, 282H, BI 283H; CH 331

3rd Year
BI 214 (If Gen Bio seq), PHYS 201-2; 1-2 terms at OIMB; three BI 3xx; MAPS course at OIMB

4th Year
BI 214; 1-3 terms at OIMB or BI 3xx; BI 3xx; BI 401/409 at OIMB

Major Credits
Required 61-62
Electives 44

Total 105-106

Core Education Requirements

BS or BA Degree Minimum = 180 credits with ~ 71—83 credits of core University courses with total credits depending upon an individual's Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and/or university or college transfer credits and ALEKS Math and Language placement scores. UO Core consists of:


Math and/or CS (BS) or Language (BA) US: Difference, Inequality, Agency and Global Perspectives Areas of Inquiry in:

Arts and Letters

Social Science

Science (coverage well beyond University requirements in Science Area of Inquiry with Marine Biology major).
What Will I Learn?

Organismal Biology



Marine Ecology

Life processes from cellular to ecosystem levels


Laboratory research

Field research

Data analysis

Scientific Writing
Experiential learning opportunities

BI 401 Research Lab/Fieldwork

BI 402 Lab Assistant, Teaching, Tutoring

BI 409 Internship (South Slough NERR, OR Dept. Fish and Wildlife, Coos Watershed)

Students of Color Opportunities in Research Enrichment (SCORE)

Many hands-on field and laboratory courses at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB)

Oregon Undergraduate Research Symposium (OURS)
Specialized Courses

Animal behavior

Biological Oceanography

Biology of Fishes

Cell Biology

Deep-Sea Biology

Embryology and Larval Ecology

Estuarine Biology

Invertebrate Zoology

Developmental neurobiology

Marine Birds and Mammals

Marine Ecology

Marine Environmental Issues

Molecular Marine Biology

Marine Bioinvasions

Seaweed Biology

Ocean Acidification
Add A Minor Or Certificate


Environmental Studies



Business Administration

Contact Us

Tykeson College and Career Advising

An equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This publication will be made available in accessible formats upon request. © 2020 University of Oregon. Revised: 7/14/2020