Best Online Marine Biology Degrees

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Reviewed by Linda Weems I got started researching colleges and universities about 10 years ago while exploring a second career. While my second career ended up being exactly what I’m doing now, and I didn’t end up going to college, I try to put myself in your shoes every step of the way as I build out College Cliffs as a user-friendly resource for prospective students.

Updated: April 8, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

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Passionate about exploring the mysteries of the ocean depths or conserving fragile underwater ecosystems? As climate change and pollution threaten marine life around the globe, the need for experts trained in marine biology has never been greater. 

We’ve rounded up the best online marine biology degrees that allow you to prepare for careers in this growing field from anywhere and on your own schedule.

College Cliffs is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Best Online Marine Biology Degrees

Marine biology is renowned for its intensive in-person curriculum. However, there are online alternatives to help students bag their degrees. If you’re interested in a virtual degree, here are the best online options for remote students.

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University of Alaska Southeast (UAS) – Online Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

Enroll at the University of Alaska Southeast to enjoy a unique experience while studying the rich South Alaskan Ocean. This rural campus has a high acceptance rate of 56%. The UAS online marine biology program teaches residents and non-residents alike the unique marine ecosystems of Alaska. Its main features include: 

University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) – Marine Biology Bachelor’s Degree

The University of Maryland Global Campus is a public university in Maryland and is renowned as the largest in the region. This higher institution is one of the recipients of the federal G.I Bill benefits. UMGC’s marine biology online degree emphasizes ecological principles, aquatic organisms, and environmental challenges. Its main features include: 

University of Florida – Online Marine Sciences Program

The University of Florida is renowned as one of the top five public land-grant research institutions. They foster a collaborative environment for online students that creates innovative solutions. Its main features include:

Oregon State University – Ecampus

This program is a good option if you want high-quality marine biology education. Oregon State University’s Ecampus provides a well-structured online marine biology program. All the online classes on this platform are designed to meet the highest standards in teaching. These are the university’s noteworthy features: 

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James Cook University (JCU) – Online Marine Science Programs

Based in Australia, James Cook University is renowned for delivering undergraduate and master’s degrees to native and international students. It offers an online science program that focuses on tropical marine biology, drawing on the university’s expertise in the diverse marine ecosystems of the Asia-Pacific region. Its main features include: 

How to Pick a Higher Institution that Offers an Online Marine Biology Degree

By now, it’s clear that several institutions are offering online marine biology degree programs. So, how do you decide which of them is best? Consider the following factors to make your decision-making easier. 

History and Reputation

If you’re interested in a higher institution that offers an online degree, the first thing to consider is its history and reputation. Your best bet is to pick an institution with a track record of providing reliable learning programs to on-site and long-distance students. 

An institution’s reputation indicates how long they have spent perfecting their learning programs. Schools with a longer history are typically renowned for well-grounded curriculums with a comprehensive course overview. 

Cost of Tuition

Another important factor to consider is the cost of tuition. It makes sense to choose a school that does not break the bank. However, keep in mind that high-quality education will not come cheap. We’ve compiled a list of the most affordable alternatives by reviewing the tuition costs of different higher institutions in this category. 

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Scholarship or Grant Opportunities

There’s no doubt that tertiary education is expensive. So, it makes sense to look for every means to reduce the impact of the cost of your finances. That’s why you may be interested in institutions that offer grant and scholarship opportunities

Field Experiences

Before enrolling at a school that offers an online marine biology degree, it’s essential to determine whether your learning will heavily depend on field experiences. If your area of interest relies heavily on field experiences, you’d do well to choose an institution that makes room for this requirement. 

While this may offer a somewhat hybrid experience, it may be the most effective approach to cover the curriculum. Avoid any institution that tries to shorten or cut out the field experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Online Degrees as Reputable as Traditional On-Campus Programs?

Yes, many online programs offered by reputable institutions maintain the same academic standards as their on-campus counterparts. Institutions invest in quality online education, ensuring students receive a rigorous and comprehensive education, often backed by distinguished faculty and resources.

These online programs are designed to ensure students can study intensive curriculums from remote locations. 

How Do Marine Biology Online Degrees Incorporate Practical Experience and Lab Work?

Online degrees often integrate practical components through virtual labs, simulations, and fieldwork assignments. Institutions leverage technology to provide hands-on experiences, enabling students to explore marine science concepts remotely.

Specific lab work and field experiences may also be localized to reduce travel costs. Some programs also facilitate internships to ensure students gain valuable practical skills.

Can I Pursue an Online Degree Part-Time While Working or Managing Other Commitments?

Yes, many online programs offer flexible schedules, allowing students to balance academic pursuits with other responsibilities. Part-time options, asynchronous classes, and recorded lectures make it feasible for individuals with diverse schedules to pursue a degree at their own pace. So, you can pursue an online degree while working a job


Choosing the right online marine biology program requires carefully weighing several factors to find the best fit for your goals, interests, schedule, and budget. The programs highlighted here offer affordable and rigorous curriculums backed by experienced faculty and innovative technology for remote learning. 

Whether you hope to research pressing issues like climate change or pursue a career managing precious marine resources, these online degrees provide the knowledge and skills to make an impact.