Frequently Asked Questions

We receive many questions about what kinds of job opportunities there are in marine biology and how to prepare for a career in the field of marine science. Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions from Aquarium Senior Biologist Steve Webster and links to other great marine career websites where you can get lots more information.

Q: What should I do now to prepare for a career in marine biology?

A: Take all the math and science courses offered at your school. Of course good grades will help, too. Also, try to volunteer at a local aquarium or zoo that has aquatic exhibits. You could also attend or work at summer aquatic camps or marine science programs.

Q: Where can I find a good college for marine biology?

A: Any good school that has a strong science department will fill your requirements for an undergraduate education. You can use the Peterson's guide to colleges or our career resource links to search for a college that suits your interests.

Q: What should be my college major?

A: Strange as it may sound, do not major in marine biology. Instead, major in biology, chemistry, or even engineering, depending on your area of interest. You will also need courses in computer science, math, statistics and writing in order to round out your basic skill set.

Q: How do I pick a graduate school?

A: Since the field of marine biology is so diverse, it helps to have an idea of your special area of interest as you approach your graduate studies. It's best to select a school with a faculty member who is doing work in your chosen field. Again, use the Petersons guide to colleges or the career resource links below to search for a graduate school that suits your interests. Look also in science libraries to see who is publishing in your desired field.

Q: I'm not sure of my area of interest. What should I do?
A: If you are not yet sure of your specific interest, go to a school with a marine station (for example, Stanford, which operates the Hopkins Marine Station next to the Aquarium) that offers coursework in general marine biology. You can identify your field of concentration while you work toward your master's degree.

Marine Science Career Resources

Marine Advanced Technology Education

  • Careers in marine technology (the use of engineering tools and techniques in a marine environment)
  • Profiles of people working in various areas of marine technology
  • Current listings for jobs and internships (paid and unpaid)
  • Marine science employers and available industry contracts

Marine Mammal Center, California

  • Frequently asked questions about education, scholarships, internships and jobs in marine mammal science
  • Job shadow, volunteer and intern programs at Marine Mammal Center for youth age 14-18
  • Links to lists of schools, reference materials and online courses
  • Description of areas of concentration in oceanography
  • Lists of resources and guides to a career with marine mammals

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California

  • Where to get information on undergraduate schools with strong programs in marine biology

Scripps Library

  • Long list of online guides for careers in oceanography, marine science, marine biology, marine mammals, zoos and aquariums
  • Link to Peterson's (an educational site offering college and graduate school searches and information on test preparation and financial aid)

Sea Grant

  • Career fields in marine science and profiles of people working in those fields
  • Salaries listed by occupational group, employment sector or geographical location
  • Answers to frequently asked questions about marine science careers
  • Links to schools, job information, internships, fellowships and volunteer programs
  • List of career-related publications, videos and pamphlets

Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station

  • Links to educational institutions regarding careers in marine science, with profiles and interviews of people working in the field
  • Postings for jobs, post-doctoral programs, traineeships and internships specific to marine and aquatic sciences

State University of New York at Stony Brook

  • A list of programs throughout the United States focusing on marine science
  • Practical, realistic advice from a marine biologist to young students interested in a career in the field