Marine Biology Option – B.S.

About The Program

Marine Biologists are scientists who study the biology, behavior, natural history, and ecology of animals and plants that live in or in close association with the oceans. Marine biologists are curious about how nature works, enjoy solving problems, and are deeply committed to solving pressing environmental problems and helping society. Marine biologists study a wide variety of organisms, including fishes, sharks, mammals, birds, invertebrates, algae and other plants, and utilize an assortment of approaches ranging from the tools of molecular biology to those of ecology. Marine Biologists work in the public and private sectors, for aquaria, commercial fisheries, the pet industry, zoological gardens, state and federal agencies, as ecological consultants, and as natural resource managers.



Our curriculum in Marine Biology is designed to be rigorous and challenging and to provide both depth of knowledge in these specialized areas of biology and a solid, broad background in the breadth of biology. Our philosophy is that our students should first be biologists and then specialists within biological science. Because marine biology is a science that is built on our understanding of the physical world as revealed by the physical sciences, this program requires extensive coursework in Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics.

In their work, marine biologists often are faced with ethical and societal issues as well as more purely scientific considerations. Certainly environmental problems associated with the oceans and marine life abound. Thus, our program combines rigorous training in science with a strong background and perspective in the liberal arts. Our goal is to prepare our students to meet the challenges of today’s world and to be ready for the unknown challenges of the future. We strongly believe that the best training for the future is to become a lifelong learner. The Biology faculty at Millersville is a group of such learners who attempt to teach students how to be critical thinkers. We help our students learn to write and speak well and to become proficient in analyzing and solving problems, as well as to become technical experts.

We strongly believe that scientific research is an extremely valuable experience for students; therefore, the members of the Biology Faculty maintain active research programs specifically geared for the participation and training of undergraduates. Not only do these activities provide valuable training and experience for our marine biology students, but it helps our faculty stay abreast of and participating in the advancement of biological knowledge.

The program of study in marine biology is a challenging mix of field and lab-oriented courses in basic biology, marine biology, and oceanography and includes a broad array of course in chemistry, physics, and mathematics. In addition, our marine biology students have the opportunity to collaborate with scientists at the top research institutions in marine biology, including the Marine Biological Lab at Woods Hole and the Academy of Natural Sciences Estuarine Research Center. Our membership in the Marine Science Consortium allows our students to interact with the faculty from a number of other institutions.

Our marine biology students also benefit greatly from a campus with rich resources and expertise in a wide range of environmental subspecialities. Rigorous programs and outstanding faculties in meteorology, geology, chemistry, oceanography, environmental biology, and geography enhance the strength of our program in marine biology. The Millersville University Environmental Institute (MUEI) serves as an organizational framework for all these programs and involves faculty, students and off-campus organizations in partnerships dedicated to research and education on matters relating to the understanding, management, and protection of the natural resources of the lower Susquehanna region.

Cooperative education can be an extremely valuable part of an undergraduate education. We strongly encourage students in the marine biology option to take advantage of this opportunity. Co-ops allow students to apply knowledge gained from regular courses to “real life” situations. Often, co-ops can be extremely useful in making contacts and entry into the job market! In recent years, MU marine biology majors have completed a wide variety of placements, including those at the Wetlands Institute, ZooAmerica, Lancaster Labs, the National Aquarium at Baltimore, several Pennsylvania government agencies, the Florida State Parks, Sea World and others. The fact that these organizations continue to actively request more of our majors testifies to the quality of our students.