Less than five percent of the earth's oceans have been explored, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Students pursuing a degree in Marine Biology can look forward to helping uncover the mysteries of the other 95 percent. Both salt and freshwater ecosystems are easily accessible in many areas of Florida. Whether exploring the coral reefs of the Keys or the tropical wetlands of the everglades, marine biology students in Florida can look forward to relevant hands-on opportunities in their field of study.
Florida Institute of Technology
Located in on the east coast of the state in Melbourne, the Florida Institute of Technology offers one of the oldest marine biology programs in the U.S. The school has a four-year degree program culminating in the Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences-Marine degree. Students are introduced to marine science from their very first semester and coursework in the major including labs, chemistry, anatomy and biology. A campus with quick access to both estuaries and the Atlantic ocean offers students the hands-on experience needed to show real-life skills after graduation. FIT also offers relevant internships and student organizations that can provide additional enrichment for marine biology students.
University of Florida
Offering both majors and minors in marine science, the University of Florida's Fisheries and Aquatic Science program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of aquatics. With a heavy conservation emphasis and a home base in centrally-located Gainesville, students focus their study on ecosystems and preservation. A wide variety of elective options include oceanography, business, ecology and biology, leading to a B.S. in Marine Sciences degree. UF is also one of the few schools offering an online master's degree option, so students can pursue a graduate degree while beginning their career.
University of North Florida
With one of the newer marine science programs in the state, the University of North Florida in Jacksonville has made great strides in establishing its Coastal Biology program since 2006. This flagship program offers a B.S. in Coastal Biology or Coastal Environmental Science and has a heavy focus on coastal ecosystems and preservation. In additional to traditional classes in labs and classrooms, UNF has a summer option that provides students a study abroad in Florida, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with teachers and peers from the University of West Florida, University of South Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida Atlantic University. During the school year, visits to the St. Johns River, Atlantic ocean and Intracoastal Waterway are a regular part of coursework.
Nova Southeastern University
For students who know they plan to pursue graduate study, Nova Southeastern University's Marine Biology major is focused on a foundational undergraduate education that can lead to further study. Students at this Fort Lauderdale based school can obtain a B.S. in Marine Biology or a minor in the subject. The school also offers a dual-admission option, giving students the opportunity to be accepted to their major of choice and the corresponding Nova graduate level program at the same time. While the school is located in southeast Florida, optional coursework is available exploring the ecosystems of Alaska and the Galapagos Islands.