Degree Programs

Undergraduate Programs and Minors:

Combined Undergraduate/Graduate Programs: 

  • Bachelor of Science/Master of Oceanography (BS/MO). This 5-year program is designed for URI students (including Marine Biology majors) who want to enter the MO program at the Graduate School of Oceanography while still an undergraduate and complete the MO one year after completing the BS.  Minimum GPA and grades in key courses are required.  For Program Description, click HERE.

Graduate Programs:

BS Marine Biology

This degree program is appropriate for students who plan to pursue a career in marine biology at a professional level as well as for those who plan on using their expertise in a wide range of careers. In addition to providing an opportunity to take upper-level courses in various aspects of marine biology, the curriculum is designed to give students a firm foundation in modern biological sciences, thus keeping doors open for a broad range of career opportunities (see Alumni page for examples of how our alumni are using their expertise in marine biology).

For curriculum sheets (“Blue Sheets”) for:

  • Class of 2018, 2019, click HERE.
  • Class of 2020, 2021 (with New Gen Ed Requirements), click HERE.

NEWMarine Biology Courses – 2018-2019

NEW – GSO Undergraduate Courses

Note: As per the URI Catalog – “In order to transfer from University College to the College of Environment and Life Sciences as a Marine Biology major, a student must have earned a GPA of >2.0, 30 credits including BIO 101, 102, 103, 104 with grades of C or better, and CHM 101 with a grade of C- or better.”  See catalog:

The curriculum requires 36 credits of BIO (including Marine Biology) courses, and other sciences, as follows:

  1. Introductory Biology:
    BIO 101, 102, 103, 104 – These courses (lectures, labs) serve as a prerequisite for all other BIO courses. Credit for AP Biology (score of 3, 4 or 5) satisfies this requirement.
  2. Required Courses in Chemistry, Physics and Math:
    The same courses are required for the BS Marine Biology and BS Biological Sciences. They are: two semesters of General Chemistry w/ lab (AP credit will be given for score of 3 or better), two semesters of Organic Chemistry w/ lab [OR one semester of Organic Chemistry w/lab and one semester of Biochemistry], two semesters of Physics w/ lab (AP credit will be given for score of 4 or better), two semesters of Calculus (AP credit will be given for score of 3 or better) [OR one semester of Calculus and one semester of Statistics].
  3. Genetics (Bio 352)
  4. Required Core Courses in Biological Sciences [see curriculum sheet for details]:
    These three courses provide students with a firm foundation in subdisciplines of modern biological sciences such as: molecular and cell biology, physiology, organismal diversity, evolution and ecology.
  5. Required Course in Oceanography:
    OCG 301 or 451 – Taught on the Kingston Campus by faculty from the Graduate School of Oceanography.
  6. Marine Biology Electives:
    Course topics include, but are not limited to: Marine Ecology, Marine Environmental Physiology, Biology of Invertebrates, Biology of Algae, Ecology of Marine Plants, Deep Sea Biology, Evolution and Diversity of Fishes, as well as Tropical Marine Invertebrates and Coral Reef Ecology, which are offered in the URI in Bermuda program. A maximum of 3 credits of Research (e.g. BIO 491, 492, 495; OCG 493, 494) may be used towards this requirement. Qualified students also have the opportunity to take graduate-level courses in Biological Sciences and at the Graduate School of Oceanography (e.g., Biological Oceanography, Marine Microbiology, etc.).

Students are strongly encouraged to explore courses offered by other CELS departments such as FAVS, MAF, NRS, ENRE, etc. and the Graduate School of Oceanography.

Credit for courses taken through the URI in Bermuda program or the Sea Semester program (see Study Abroad page) will be assigned URI or transfer credit, respectively. Credit for courses taken as a part of other Study Abroad programs, those earned for completion of field courses at marine laboratories, or courses at other universities, may be evaluated for transfer credit. Students are encouraged to speak with their faculty advisor about these opportunities as soon as possible so a Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit form can be approved.

A total of 120 credits is required for the BS Marine Biology.

The requirements of the curriculum for the BS Marine Biology also allow students to satisfy the basic requirements for admission to medical school, dental school, and veterinary school.  However, additional courses in biological sciences are strongly recommended for application to these professional schools. Contact the Health Professions Advisory Committee for more information.

Double Major: BS Marine Biology and BS Ocean Engineering

This program provides the opportunity to combine these two exciting fields in a challenging 5-year program that will most likely include some summer study. If you are interested, please work closely with the Coordinator of the Marine Biology Program and your advisor in Ocean Engineering to determine how to arrange your schedule to accommodate the requirements for both majors. The requirements for the Marine Biology major can be found above and the requirements for the Ocean Engineering Major can be found here.

BS in Biological Sciences

This program, which is similar to the BS in Marine Biology with reference to the number of credits in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Math, provides students with the opportunity to take a broader range of courses in biology, including a required course in plant biology and one in microbiology. Marine-related courses count toward Bio electives required for this degree.

BA in Biology

This program requires less chemistry, math and physics than the curriculum for either BS Biological Sciences or the BS Marine Biology. It also requires that 42 credits of the total of 120 required for graduation be earned in courses at or above the 300-level.  Electives may be chosen from courses in marine biology in order to satisfy an interest in this field.  This program would be appropriate for those students who want to combine marine biology with career interests in business, law, K-12 education, etc.

View: BA in Biology core requirements and electives.

Minor in Marine Biology

Completion of this minor requires at least 20 credits including 8 credits of General Biology (BIO 101, 102, 103, 104 or equivalent, e.g., AP, Biology), Marine Biology (BIO 360) and at least 8 additional credits at the 200-level or above, chosen from among courses that are counted as marine biology electives for the BS Marine Biology degree. A maximum of 3 credits in research (e.g., BIO 491, 492) may be counted towards the minor. At least half of the credits for the minor must be earned at URI. A minimum GPA of 2.00 must be earned in the credits required for the minor (as per University policy for minors). Application for a Minor in Marine Biology must be filed with the coordinator of the Marine Biology Program prior to the completion of the first semester of the senior year.