The 3 Top Marine Biology Colleges in North Carolina|Tuition Details

The marine biology colleges in North Carolina is where marine biologists study the fascinating animal, plant and microscopic life in oceans. An estimated 80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface.

Studying the sea and its ecosystem is not just a popular and rewarding career, but it is also vital for the continued challenges facing marine environments that are under threat from human activities.

Therefore Marine biology can be defined as the study of organisms and ecosystems in the oceans and other saltwater environments.

This includes marine plants, animals and other organisms, both vertebrate and invertebrate, in deep oceans, shallow seas and the laboratory.

The main aim of marine biology or attending any of the marine biology schools in North Carolina is to improve the understanding of the marine world and to understand and predict changes in ecosystems affected by human and natural disturbances.

In this article, we will talk about marine biology colleges in North Carolina and other essential things to take note of about marine biology.

Types of Marine Biology

There are different job titles for marine biologists and some of them are:

  • postdoctoral fellow
  • oil spill response specialist
  • consultant in marine ecology
  • marine biotechnologist
  • marine policy expert.
  • reef restoration project manager
  • marine biology technician
  • research assistant
  • fishery data manager
  • environmental engineer
  • professor in marine ecology
  • marine ecologist and dive operations manager

The roles listed above requires strong technical, research and scientific skills, specializing in a particular area and is usually required for career progression. It could be in coastal management, reef ecology, invertebrate biodiversity, fisheries biology or marine pollution.


To become a marine biologist, you will need a marine-focused degree such as:

  • oceanography
  • marine science
  • marine biology
  • ocean and earth science
  • marine biology and coastal ecology/oceanography

If your undergraduate degree is a broader-based science degree, you will probably need a postgraduate degree in the marine-related study.

But it is important to have in mind that careers in marine biology are often research-based, and while it is possible to study a marine biology undergraduate degree and go straight into volunteering or semi-employed position on a conservation science project, postgraduate study is common.

Whatever postgraduate degree in marine biology you decide to go for, it will range from masters in tropical marine biology to tropical coastal management and aquatic ecology and conservation.

Therefore if you are an undergraduate who wants to keep your career options open, you may prefer to study more general science-based undergraduate degrees and masters later on so you are specializing too early.

Going for a PhD can also be advantageous, especially if you are following an academic path in ocean and earth science, marine geochemistry or chemistry oceanography and behavioural ecology.

Most PhD opportunities are available through marine research organizations and universities, and you may be able to undertake your studies on a part-time basis while working.

It is very important to identify a supervisor working in the specialist area that interests you.

The List of Marine Biology Colleges in North Carolina

  1. Duke University [Biology with Marine Biology concentration] BA/BS, [Biology] MS, PhD
  2. University of North Carolina Chapel Hill [Biology with minor in Marine Sciences] BS, [Marine Sciences with specialization in Marine Biology/Ecology] MS, PhD
  3. University of North Carolina Wilmington [Marine Biology] BS, [Marine Biology] MS, PhD

Now let us review some of the marine biology colleges in North Carolina:

Duke University 

[Biology with Marine Biology concentration] BA/BS, [Biology] MS, PhD

Duke University, just like other marine biology colleges in North Carolina believes that marine biology is not a separate discipline in biology.

It is simply the application of different specialties in biology to the study of the particular organisms which live in the marine environment.

This program in this university requires an understanding of the unique characteristics of the sea and its inhabitants and the particular adaptations and special relationships of those organisms to that aquatic environment.

Biology 157, Dynamic Oceans, is suggested as an entry-level course at this institution, but is not required and won’t count towards a Biology major.

Students concentrating in marine biology are required to take four (4) course credits at the Duke University Marine Laboratory (not including Physics).

Selection of the courses depends upon student interests and one of the courses may be an independent study.

Students fulfilling the requirements of the Concentration in Marine Biology will receive a note on their official transcript.

See full details about tuition fees and costs at Duke University.

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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

[Biology with minor in Marine Sciences] BS, [Marine Sciences with specialization in Marine Biology/Ecology] MS, PhD

Since the year 1894 UNCC-CH has been one of the marine biology colleges in North Carolina bringing students to Carteret county to take advantage of the unique nature of the North Carolina coastal environment.

The Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) is off-campus research, education, and service unit of UNC-CH that, together with the on-campus Department of Marine Sciences, forms the Marine Sciences Program.

Tuition fee details

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University of North Carolina Wilmington

[Marine Biology] BS, [Marine Biology] MS, PhD

This is one of the accredited marine biology colleges in North Carolina because they offer Marine Biology.

To be admitted for the undergraduate Biology and Maine Biology Program, you must have completed 24 semester hours of credit with at least a 2.0 overall grade point average from an accredited four-year university or college; or an associate’s degree from an accredited two-year college.

You must also have completed BIO 201 (Principles of Biology: Cells) and 202 (Principles of Biology: Biodiversity), or equivalent courses with a grade of “C” (2.0) or better in both courses.

At the end of your course, students must have the ability to demonstrate a fundamental level of academic competence in core biological content and issue knowledge.

Students will be able to present biological information orally.(Foundational Knowledge, Thoughtful Expression).

 UGradOn/Off-Campus On/Off-Campus
Full-Time EnrollmentResidentNon-Resident
Loan Origination Fee$64$64
Health Insurance$2617$2617

See the tuition details for other levels and programs.

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Marine biology is a popular career choice and there are more people trying to work in the area than there are jobs available.

Therefore, for you to put yourself ahead of other candidates, you need to stand out. How can you stand out?

You can achieve this by working on improving both transferable soft skills and more niche technical skills that are specific to the marine biology sector beyond that which you may have learnt in a higher education course.

Key skills to develop while in marine biology colleges in North Carolina

  • Leadership qualities
  • Project management
  • Presentation & public speaking skills
  • Knowledge of policy and legislation in the marine sector
  • Applied maths skills – many marine biologists utilize advanced statistics
  • Wider socio-economic contexts and how they impact the marine sector
  • Scientific writing skills – including both journalistic writing and science communications


What do you think about these marine biology colleges in North Carolina? Please leave a comment below.

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