Marine Biology and Biological Oceanography
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OverviewSalary and DebtIs a Bachelor's EnoughCareersSchoolsRelated ProgramsGenderRace/Origin
Marine biology and biological oceanography is a program that focuses on the scientific study of the ecology and behavior of microbes, plants, and animals inhabiting oceans, coastal waters, and saltwater wetlands and their interactions with the physical environment. includes instruction in chemical, physical, and geological oceanography; molecular, cellular, and biochemical studies; marine microbiology; marine botany; ichthyology; mammalogy; marine population dynamics and biodiversity; reproductive biology; studies of specific species, phyla, habitats, and ecosystems; marine paleocology and palentology; and applications to fields such as fisheries science and biotechnology.
School with the highest reported median starting salary ($38K) with a Bachelor's Degree: University of California - Los Angeles
Career with the highest median salary ($138K) where most workers have a Bachelor's Degree: Loan Officers
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Careers for program graduates
Marine biology and biological oceanography majors work in these careers, which are sized by percentage of majors in the career (at least 1%) and colored by the predominant level of education.
Biological ScientistsPostsecondary TeachersElementary and Middle School S...Specialized ManagersSpecialized Physical Scientist...PhysiciansSecondary School TeachersFarmers, Ranchers, and Other A...Retail SalespersonsWholesale and Manufacturing Sa...First-Line Supervisors of Reta...Lawyers, and judges, magistrat...Education and childcare admini...Specialized Life, Physical, an...Accountants and AuditorsSecretaries and Administrative...Chief executives and legislato...Labor Relations SpecialistsVeterinariansAnimal CaretakersFirst-Line Supervisors of Offi...
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Current completions
What level of degree do most graduates achieve, and do they match what your goals?
05001K2K2K1-2 Year CertificateAssociate's DegreeBachelor's DegreeMaster's DegreeResearch Doctorate
Completions over time
Have completions for ecology changed over time? Increasing completions may mean you'll likely have an easier time finding a school that offers this degree, with the opposite being true as well.
Show percentages
Number of graduates
Research Doctorate
Post-master's Cert
Master's Degree
Postbaccalaureate Cert
Bachelor's Degree
Associate's Degree
1-2 Year Certificate
0-1 Year Certificate
Salary and Debt
How are students who recently completed a degree in marine biology and biological oceanography doing?
Below is the distribution of starting salaries along with accumulated federal and private education loans across schools that offer a degree in the field ecology, evolution, systematics, and population biology, which includes marine biology and biological oceanography.
Median starting salaries
Median cumulative loan amount
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Context: median salaries
How does the median (middle) salary for ecology majors compare to the median salaries for other college majors?
Distribution: ecology majors' salaries by education level
What is the salary distribution for graduates with a bachelor's inecology by the level of their highest degree (Graduate degrees may not be in the same field as the bachelor’s)
We only include salary data when the survey error is less than 20%, so you may see only partial information for some categories.
Is a bachelor's degree all you need?
Education level of workers with a bachelor's in ecology
Is a bachelor's degree going to be sufficient to make you competative in the job market? We can look at the education level of workers with a bachelors in this degree to see if there is a likely need for a graduate degree. You'll also want to check out the careers section on this page to where they are employed.
This chart shows the level of education of workers with a bachelor's degree in ecology. The worker's graduate degree may have been completed in a different field.
Education level of workers
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Degree
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Context: Graduate degrees in any field by undergraduate ACS degree
About 38% of ecology majors chose to also earn a graduate degree (possibly of a different major). The percentage of ecology majors who also earned a graduate degree is higher than about 67% of other fields.
Context: Percentage salary boost obtained with a graduate degree
How important is a graduate degree for earning a higher salary? We can see the difference in salary of workers with a bachelors in this degree to workers with a bachelor’s AND a graduate degree.
30%77%56%0%20%40%60%80%Bachelor's to Master'sBachelor's to DoctorateBachelor's to Professional
Top careers for those with a degree in ecology
Following are the most frequent jobs held by people who earned a bachelor's degree in Ecology (which combines 9 programs), though may not be limited to just those with a bachelor’s.
  1. Biological Scientists
  2. Postsecondary Teachers
  3. Elementary and Middle School School Teachers
  4. Specialized Managers
  5. Specialized Physical Scientists
  6. Physicians
  7. Secondary School Teachers
  8. Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers
  9. Retail Salespersons
  10. Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives
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Careers for ecology majors
Where do ecology majors work, and how well do those jobs pay? A ** in the job title indicates that the Department of Education recommends this job for this program.
Not so much?
The top ten careers for workers with a bachelor's in ecology
Take a minute to interact with this sankey diagram. Follow the top ten jobs held by ecology graduates through to their most hired majors. Learn where it may easiest to find work. Expand the careers to explore other majors that might lead to the job that excites you the most. *For many majors, the top ten jobs don't even include half of graduates!*
Expand careers
Biological Scientist...Postsecondary Teache...Elementary and Middl...Specialized ManagersSpecialized Physical...PhysiciansSecondary School Tea...Farmers, Ranchers, a...Retail SalespersonsWholesale and Manufa...All othersThis degreeTop 10 Careers
What careers hire ecology majors as one of their top 10?
To the left of this diagram, see all careers that hire ecology majors as one of their top 10 majors, and on the right, see what proportion of openings for the jobs on the left are filled by ecology majors.
EcologyAll other degreesBiological ScientistsBiological TechniciansAll other careersDegreeDegree in top 10 employed
Where can I complete this degree
Explore schools that offer marine biology and biological oceanography degrees and certificates
You can use this table to find schools that offer this program based on location and program level offered. Each entry goes to a school page similar to this one with all our information about that school.
Understanding the columns

The school list includes a few facts about each school that give you an idea of the educational quality each school might offer:

  • Student-Faculty Ratio: A small number of students per full-time instructor suggests individual attention for each student and an up-to-date curriculum.

  • Satisfaction Rate: A high percentage of returning first-year students should correlate with satisfaction (schools call this their retention rate).

  • Repayment Rate: A high repayment rate means most alumni earn enough to make progress repaying loans within 7 years of leaving.

We also show the total enrollment for the school as measured by full-time-equivalent (FTE) students enrolled annually.

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Related Programs
Top 10 similar programs
Following are related programs, ordered by those with the highest number of completions. You can explore a full list by pressing the more details button.
  1. Biology
  2. Biological and Physical Sciences
  3. Biochemistry
  4. Biomedical Sciences
  5. Neuroscience
  6. Exercise Physiology
  7. Cellular and Molecular Biology
  8. Specialized Study in Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  9. Biotechnology
  10. Microbiology
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Careers for ecology majors
ecology is part of a larger collection of programs: Biology. Is there a different program that's close to ecology that might be a better match for your interests? You can use this table to see a little about the programs that fall under this umbrella. If you click on any of the table headers, that will sort the table by that column, or click on a row and see Ididio's profile for that program.
Gender of recent graduates
Of all people with any degree in marine biology and biological oceanography earned in the last academic year, 70% were women.
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Completions over time
Have completions by gender changed over time, or at specific levels of education?
Award level
All levels
05001K2K2KNumber of graduates200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Context: Gender representation
How does the gender distribution in this major compare to all other majors?
Context: Percentage women
This major has a higher percentage of women than 70% other programs.
Distribution: salaries by gender
Does gender greatly influence your salary with this degree? The closer the bar are, the less discrepancy there is.
Context: Salary inequity
For ecology graduates, men have a 21% higher median salary than women, This is high: 62% of programs have graduates with lower salary inequities.
Race/Origin of recent graduates
Here is an overview of race/origin for all marine biology and biological oceanography graduates from this last academic year. We found a higher percentage of international graduates in this program than in 52% of other programs.
Pacific Islander
American Indian
Not Reported
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Completions over time
Have completions by race/origin changed over time, or at specific levels of education?
Award level
All levels
05001K2K2KNumber of graduates200520062007200820092010201120122013201420152016201720182019
Not Reported
American Indian
Pacific Islander
Context: Percentage of Minority Graduates
Minority students comprise a lower percentage of graduates than in 80% of other programs.