Marine Biology


The marine biology major is designed to introduce students to marine ecosystems, including the great diversity of marine organisms and their coastal and oceanic environments. The emphasis is on basic principles that help us to understand the processes that shape life in marine environments. The marine biology major is a demanding program that offers a B.S. degree and requires several more courses than the general biology B.A. major. Students with bachelor’s degrees in marine biology find employment opportunities in a variety of fields. In conjunction with a teaching credential or graduate degree in teaching, students often use their marine biology background to teach science at the K–12 level.

Degrees Offered

  • B.S.

Study and Research Opportunities

  • The hallmark of this major: the large number of lab and field courses that provide students with opportunities to study and conduct research in a diversity of marine ecosystems
  • A wide variety of courses focused on marine topics
  • Numerous field and laboratory marine courses in which students conduct directed and independent research projects
  • An array of opportunities to work with marine-oriented federal agencies, state agencies, research institutions, and non-profit organizations in the Monterey Bay area for directed faculty- and/or department-sponsored independent study in marine biology

Information for First-Year Students (Freshmen)

In addition to the courses required for UC admission, high school students who intend to major in marine biology should take high school courses in biology, chemistry, advanced mathematics (precalculus and/or calculus), and physics.

Information for Transfers

UCSC offers a Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) for admission to the EEB majors.

If you are planning on transferring to UCSC to pursue an EEB major, our Transfer Preparation information covers the coursework you are required to complete to be admitted as one of the EEB majors.

If you have already been admitted to UCSC as a transfer student in one of the EEB majors, our Transfer Orientation covers the information you will need to get off to a good start.

Department Website

More Information

Ecology and Evolution Undergraduate Advising Office:
Thimann Labs 381

University of California, Santa Cruz
1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, California 95064