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Thread: Marine Biology Majors?

  1. #1

    Marine Biology Majors?

    Good morning my fellow merfolk,

    I recently left college during my sophomore year due to health problems, and I've been really wanting to go back...except I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was a psychology major and a social work major before that, but ever since I've been getting involved in mer-culture, I've been thinking that maybe I want to work for the sea.

    There's a university within an hour from me, where I could stay on campus if I want....but probably won't, and they offer one of the very few Marine and Freshwater Biology majors in my state! It's supposedly a good program that requires study abroad in the Melbourne Australia area, which is sooooo cool. I want to do it so bad, but I don't know if I'm smart enough for it.

    Does anybody here have experience with Marine Biology? I'm not very good at chemistry and math beyond algebra (trig really killed me), but I love biology and I have a passion for helping all creatures big and small. What kind of classes would I be looking at? What skills would I need if I want to pursue this path? I need as much advice as I can get.

    Thank you!

    Selkie Luna

  2. #2
    Hey SelkieLuna,

    I have some experience with courses in oceanography & marine biology, even though I decided to go into biotech.

    Others may chime in with their experiences, but here's mine.

    Oceanography is very chemistry/maths/analysis intensive. You also have to organize your life so that you can go out to sea on trips lasting weeks or even months at a time.

    Marine biology less so, more biology, less chemistry/physics/math.

    In a conversation with one of my oceanography profs, he mentioned that there was shortage of oceanographers willing to do the hardcore maths & chemistry, and that graduates with majors in ocenography were getting jobs relatively easily, while there was a lot of competition for marine biology jobs.

    Since you love helping animals, have you thought about trying for one of the marine veterinarian programs?

    It wouldn't change your immediate decisions, since most vet schools require applicants to get an undergrad dgree befor entering their programs anyways.

    Does the Marine Biology program at UW have a counsellor you could talk to about career paths?

    Take my thoughts with a grain of salt. Maybe some of the MerNetwork members who've gone on to work in Marine Biology will have better advice.

  3. #3
    I did marine biology at UNCW. Yes it's a lot of math and its hard at times but it's great! Most professors want you to succeed and have great office hours.
    Definitely recommend getting an internship or volunteer somewhere with animals too. Most places are less interested in a degree and more interested in experience. Also SCUBA certification is a must. Do you mind if I ask where you are?

    Sent from my Z970 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    I'm in Wisconsin, Milwaukee area!
    There's a marine life place up in Milwaukee that has seals and sea lions, but the one thing I'm worried about is the fact that the job field isn't really growing.

    Selkie Luna

  5. #5
    Member Pod of The South Ayesha's Avatar
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    Aloha! I have my degree in marine biology with a minor in psychology. I dreamed of working with dolphins and being part of a rescue program and thought that marine biology would be the best way to help animals. I loved the journey. I am not very good at chemistry or math either, but if you challenge yourself, use your resources, and work hard it isn't impossible. I believe my school required a year of chemistry and organic chemistry (though I petitioned to take one semester of the latter), one semester of physics, and maths up to calculus II. I also took biological and physical oceanography courses. I was fortunate that we had our own research vessel so we could get hands on experience out at sea, but scheduling classes was very difficult as I had to schedule around these 5-6 hour labs. My best advice is to figure out what you really want to do. Do you want to work for a highly accredited facility that rescues and rehabilitates animals, work with educating others on conservation efforts, work on a boat doing research or observations, work with the laws and regulations protecting animals? There are a lot of things that you can do that do not necessarily require a marine biology degree. The animal field is highly competitive, and I agree, it doesn't appear to be growing. If it's something that you really want to do though, don't let that deter you! If you know you want to do some sort of work revolving around the ocean, certainly a SCUBA certification is a great place to start. If you want to work hands on with animals, even in a rehabilitation setting you're going to have to be a strong swimmer. Work on swimming for distance, speed, treading water, diving, and even just holding awkward and heavy objects in water for long periods of time. Try to get experience both through volunteer opportunities and internships. Unfortunately there are very few paid internships in the field, but everyone knows everyone so any quality, accredited facility where you can get your foot in the door will still be a great resource in the future.
    Mai ke kai mai ke ola, e malama I ke kai.

  6. #6
    Hello! I'm a current Marine Biology "Major" (I look back and see this was actually posted a while ago... Hopefully what I say is still somewhat relevant) The school I attend doesn't allow Marine Biology to be it's own major- so my Major is technically generic Biology with an Option (which is sort of like other school's "Focus") in Marine Biology. My major being generic Biology I do have to take Up to Biochemistry (I just struggled through my first term of O-chem and have a feeling I'll be retaking that...) and I have to go past Calculus in math, however one of the math classes I'm required to take is statistics and the other "Upper-level math" is specially designed for Biology majors which is pretty exciting (at least to me.) I will then do a term at our Marine Science Center in the next couple of years- which is a mix of Marine Biology specific classes. I'm currently out of shape, so I've been hitting the pool and weight rooms because in order to go out on some of the Marine Biology trips you have to have taken the school's diving classes (something I'm looking into doing this coming spring when the weather allows). They have listed in the degree requirements Marine Ecology, Aquatic Botany, Oceanography, ect. I think it's a wonderful direction to look into! I'm currently going between two advisers though, (if you have an opportunity to speak to an adviser I'd take it because it could be really helpful in the decision!) because I want to actually end up in Vet School. AptaMer 's post actually provided me with some awesome information (so thank you AptaMer for that!) The end goal has always been to be a Veterinarian and recently I've decided perhaps I want to be a Marine Life Veterinarian.

    My Advisers really like to emphasize getting experience while attending school. They really like to push things like volunteering for shelter's or helping out in Research Labs. Actually, getting a volunteer job in a research lab was where I decided I wanted to pursue a degree focus in Marine Biology instead of Pre-Veterinary.

    I wish you the best of luck in deciding where to swim from here! Hugs and Fishes!

  7. #7
    Makeupmermaid22 I beleive is studying marine biology - my fabourite little nerd ^-^
    Faithonthebass Out

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