Marine Biology


Marine biology encompasses the study of living organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Because marine organisms play an important role in sustaining life on earth, and because of the diverse habitats studied by marine biologists, concentrators must study broadly in the basic sciences and become familiar with the varied research techniques in the field. Consequently, students begin their learning with foundational courses in biology, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Subsequent coursework in the concentration exposes students to a range of topics in biology (e.g., Invertebrate Zoology, Ecology, Physiology, Conservation) and courses in other sciences, including geological sciences, computer science, and engineering. Students are encouraged to spend a summer or semester conducting research at a field station. 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. 

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Student Goals

Students in this concentration will:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in basic physics, chemistry, and mathematics, and geology
  • Understand diverse marine life habitats including coral reefs, kelp forests, and the open ocean
  • Engage in hands-on research at Brown or an approved marine lab or field station
  • Produce a senior research project


Click here for a list of the Marine Biology concentration requirements for concentrators graduating in 2014 and 2015. Note: Beginning with the class of 2016, this concentration will be replaced with a Marine track in the Bachelor of Science program in Biology. Class of 2016 students may be grandfathered if they have already declared the Marine Biology concentration. See the Biology website for information about the new Marine track.

Honors and Capstones

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Students aspiring to receive Honors in Marine Biology must complete a thesis project representing the culmination of substantial research activity spanning two or more semesters. An oral presentation is also required. Upon completion of the research, the faculty advisor and a second reader provide an evaluation in which the student’s work must be assessed as satisfactory or better in order for Honors to be awarded. Quality grades (A, B, and/or S with distinction; Cs should be balanced by As. Honors in the Marine BIology program is handled via the Biology Honors process, with application and details described here:

Liberal Learning

This concentration allows you to address the following Liberal Learning goals:

  • Collaborate fully
  • Engage with your community
  • Develop a facility with symbolic languages
  • Experience scientific inquiry

Download the full statement on Liberal Learning at Brown

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Affiliated Departments

Graduating Class

Year Total Capstone Honors

Alumni Pathways

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

See more details on the CareerLAB website.

If you are an advisor and would like to make changes to the information on this page, contact, or email Dean Besenia Rodriguez.