Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology

ugrad1The Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology encompasses a rigorous curriculum stressing a strong foundation in biological sciences as well as chemistry, math, physics and oceanography as preparation for further study in graduate school, and for a broad range of careers. All majors start their freshman year with a seminar on Topics in Marine Biology (=URI 101). After a year of Introductory Biology (which may be satisfied by AP credit), students choose four core biology courses, and then Marine Biology elective courses can be taken as soon as prerequisites are met. Students may choose from undergraduate courses and some graduate courses offered by URI’s many marine-related programs such as Fisheries, Aquaculture, Marine Affairs and Oceanography.

For more information about the URI Marine Biology program, including the BS Marine Biology, please see our URI Marine Biology website.

ugrad2Majors must complete 36 credits in biological sciences including 2 semesters of Principles of Biology (BIO 101, 102), Topics in Marine Biology (BIO 130), and Marine Biology (BIO 360). Of the remaining 23 credits, one course must be chosen from 4 of the 6 core areas (Cell and Development, BIO 302, 311, 341, 453; Ecology and Evolution, BIO 262, 272; Genetics, BIO 352; Molecular Biology, BIO 437; Organismal Diversity, BIO 304, 321, 323, 354, 366, 412, 365; and Physiology BIO 201, 346). Students choose the balance of 36 credits in the major from among the marine biology elective courses (BIO 345, 355, 365, 412, 418, 441, 455, 457, 469, 475, 563, AVS 440, and OCG 420, 576). A maximum of 3 credits of special problems, independent study or research (491, 492, 493, 494, 495 from one of the following programs: AFS, AVS, BCH, BIO, MIC, NRS, PLS, OCG) may be used to fulfill major credit requirements. A minimum GPA of 2.0 is required in BIO courses used to satisfy the major. Students must also complete 2 semesters of mathematics (MTH 131, 132 or MTH 141, 142) or 1 semester each of calculus and statistics (MTH 131 or 141 and STA 308), 2 semesters of general chemistry with lab (CHM 101, 102, 112, 114), 2 semesters of organic chemistry with lab (CHM 227, 228, 226) or 1 semester each of organic chemistry with lab and biochemistry (CHM 124, 126, BCH 311), 2 semesters of physics with lab (PHY 111, 112, 185, 186), and 1 semester of oceanography (OCG 301 or 451). General Education courses in English Communication, Fine Arts and Literature, Foreign Language and Culture, Letters, and Social Science follow the requirements of the College of the Environment and Life Sciences.

Official URI course information may be found in the printed Bulletin of the University of Rhode Island. An on-line version of the Bulletin and an HTML list of courses taught by the Department of Biological Sciences is available. Undergraduate programs typically incorporate courses at the 100-, 200-, 300-, and 400-levels. The courses for Biology students are listed below. You can access the URI catalogue at

Students are encouraged to participate in research directed by faculty in Biological Sciences, in other departments in the College of the Environment and Life Sciences, and in the Graduate School of Oceanography (e.g., via the Coastal Fellows Program, the EPSCoR Fellows Program, or the Graduate School of Oceanography’s REU-SURFO Program), or to become involved in off-campus research opportunities. Internships in research, outreach and education may take place at various sites, such as the RI Department of Environmental Management, the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration, the Roger Williams Zoo, Save the Bay, and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. URI offers credit for work at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (, Fall semester program) and the SEA Semester program at Woods Hole ( through the URI Study Abroad Program, where students can spend a semester taking courses and doing research in the field and/or aboard ship.

After transferring from UC into CELS (having earned 30 credits and a GPA >2.00), each student is assigned to a faculty advisor from the Marine Biology faculty. The Marine Biology Program Coordinator maintains a marine biology listserv and sends out a weekly e-newsletter to all majors and other interested students with information about courses, jobs, internships, and special lectures or seminars and other activities of interest. In addition, Marine Biology Peer Mentors are enthusiastic and knowledgeable about curriculum and other matters and hold walk-in office hours.

Visit admissions to learn more about URI and how to apply.