Marine biology

Departments: BiologyOcean Sciences Faculty: Science Campus: St. John's
Honours available: Yes Length: Four years
University Calendar: Marine biology
Prospective students: Fill out our student inquiry form to receive updates from Memorial. 

Marine biology is the study of marine organisms, their behaviours and interactions with the environment. The marine biology major provides a wealth of experiential learning opportunities for students with a combination of wet labs, field trips and project-based courses. Get out of the classroom and into the sea at our Bonne Bay Marine Station or conduct your own marine project at the Ocean Sciences Centre.

Marine biology at Memorial

The joint major in Marine Biology is jointly administered by the Department of Ocean Sciences and the Department of Biology. It consists of core courses in oceanography and biology, and additional courses in various science subjects.

Each year we offer a number of exciting field courses at the Bonne Bay Aquarium and Research Station, located in Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of the province. This world-class research and teaching facility is dedicated to marine ecology studies and has laboratories, boats, a resource centre, aquarium, multimedia theatre and residence accommodations.

Closer to St. John’s, with a dramatic view over Logy Bay, the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC) is a state-of-the-art research and education facility located just 10 minutes from the main campus. The OSC has wet and analytical labs that support research on cold-ocean and deep-sea processes, aquaculture, biological oceanography, as well as marine ecology, physiology and biotechnology.

Admission requirements

New Memorial students

Intake: Fall, winter or spring semesters
Application deadline: Applications are considered on a rolling basis. Students are encouraged to apply by: March 1 for fall admission, Oct. 1 for winter admission and Feb. 1 for spring admission

You may apply for admission into the Faculty of Science by indicating bachelor of science as your program choice on the undergraduate application for admission.

Direct entry into the Faculty of Science from high school is subject to meeting the general admission requirements for Memorial University, including appropriate courses in mathematics and a laboratory science.

Sample first year

Admission into the marine biology major requires the completion of university level courses. Wondering what courses you should take in your first year? Check out a sample program of suggested courses you need to complete before applying for the marine biology major.

Admission to the major for current students

Intake: Fall, winter or spring semesters
Application deadline: Dates vary depending on semester of application. Details available below.

Entry into the joint major in marine biology is competitive and based on academic standing. To be considered for admission to the joint major in marine biology, you must complete the following 30 credit hours (10 courses), or their equivalents with an overall average of at least 60%:

  • Biology 1001 and 1002 
  • Chemistry 1050 and 1051 (or 1200 and 1001)
  • six credit hours in critical reading and writing (CRW) courses, including at least three credit hours in English
  • Mathematics 1000
  • Ocean Sciences 1000 
  • Physics 1020 (or 1050)
  • Physics 1021 (or 1051) or one Ocean Sciences course at the 2000 level

Students must complete Biology 1001 and 1002 with a minimum average grade of 65%, Ocean Sciences 1000 with a minimum grade of 65%.

Students intending to major in marine biology must submit a departmental application form to either the Department of Biology or the Department of Ocean Sciences. Because of scheduling and course offerings, it will realistically take three semesters to complete all of these courses. You should contact the advisor for the Department of Biology or the Department of Ocean Sciences at your earliest opportunity for academic advice. Further admission details, including application submission dates, are available from either the Biology or Ocean Sciences departments.

Sample courses beyond first year

BIOL 3711 - Principles of Marine Biology
OCSC 3000 - Aquaculture Principles and Practices
BIOL 4750 - Fisheries Ecology
OCSC 4122 - Advanced Studies in Marine Animal Diversity

Career opportunities

A bachelor of science degree, with a major in marine biology, prepares students for a variety of careers including:

  • marine biologist
  • biological oceanographer
  • marine science educator
  • fisheries officer
  • research/field technician
  • aquaculture scientist
  • nature interpreter
  • aquarium curator
  • scuba diver

Note: some of these careers may call for supplementary education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential learning or professional courses and exams.