Marine Biology

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

Marine biology encompasses the study of living organisms in the ocean. Marine life is a vast resource, providing food, medicine, and raw materials. At a fundamental level, marine life helps determine the very nature of our planet. Marine organisms contribute significantly to the oxygen cycle and the regulation of the earth's climate. The habitats studied by marine biology are diverse and include coral reefs, kelp forests, salt marshes, mangroves, muddy, sandy and rocky bottoms, and the open ocean. The biology of marine and other organisms (including humans) are linked very fundamentally to every sphere of ecology and evolution.

In this program, students take a broad range of courses germane to understanding marine systems, and are encouraged to obtain hands-on research experience at Brown or a marine field stations elsewhere. The field experience is a key feature of this program and provides scholarly interaction with leaders in the field so that students are mentored at the cutting edge.

The Marine Biology concentration prepares students for careers in marine and coastal ecology, environmental science, conservation research and education.


1. CHEM 0330; PHYS 0030, 0040; MATH 0090, 0100 (or equivalents).

2. Two additional courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, applied mathematics, computer science, engineering, or geological sciences, as approved by advisor.

3. Seven courses in biology: i) Four from the following: BIOL 0410, 0420, 0510, 0800, 1180, 1440, 1880; ii) and three additional biology courses: highly recommended are BIOL 0200, 0470, 0480, 0500, 1180, 1310, 1410, 1420, 1460, 1470; ENVS 0490.

4. Two out of the following group of related science courses (or substitutions as approved by the concentration advisor); CSCI 0040; GEOL 0070, 0310, 1100, 1110, 1120, 1130, 1240, 1330, 1580; CHEM 0350, 0360; an approved course in statistics.

5. Directed Research: BIOL 1950/1960, conducted at Brown or an approved marine lab or field station. A summer or semester at a field station is recommended. Please note that some recommended courses are offered every other year; others have limited enrollment and require early sign-up.

Page last updated in February, 2012.

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