Marine Biology

Why Marine Biology?

Marine biology is the study of the world’s aquatic environments, which provides fascinating diversity of animals and plants for you to investigate.

Marine ecosystems cover more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, and the diversity of life that exists in these environments is astounding. As a Marine Biology major, you will explore the variety of life in the world’s oceans, estuaries, and coral reefs.

At Florida Southern College, you will gain the background necessary to pursue a career in Marine Biology, or to continue on to graduate work in your chosen field. No matter your goals, your passion and interests will be fostered in a community that wants to help you succeed.

Our central Florida location puts you in close proximity to both coasts along with a variety of top marine research facilities.

As a Marine Biology major you will take classes in areas such as:

  • Basic marine biology, which will provide you with an introduction to how we study marine life
  • Oceanography, where you will learn about the physical properties that influence life in the oceans
  • Marine vertebrates, where you will study the birds, fishes and mammals that inhabit the world’s marine ecosystems
  • Marine invertebrate zoology, where you will discover the unique and amazing creatures that make life in the ocean truly amazing
  • Marine microbial diversity, where you will learn about the other 90% of marine life.

Life after Florida Southern  

Learn More About  

  • Program Requirements
  • Course Descriptions

Top Reasons to Choose FSC for Marine Biology

  • You will design and carry out your own original research project by your senior year.
  • FSC is located within driving distance of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • You will travel to places such as Costa Rica, Jamaica, and the Bahamas to further your explorations.
  • You will interact and work with faculty as passionate as you are!
  • With small classes and engaged learning, you will dive deep into topics that will spark your curiosity.

Engaged Learning in the Classroom

Because there’s no substitute for learning by doing, we design courses that engage you through lab and field experiences where you’ll put science to work. By using equipment, collecting and analyzing data, and communicating the results yourself, you’ll learn the basics of science firsthand. Then you’ll apply what you’ve learned in research courses where you’ll plan and execute an original research project.

In the classroom, you’ll participate in discussions, group projects and case studies designed to help you apply theories to real-life situations, analyze data, critique others’ work, and hone your critical thinking skills—all of which give you confidence in your abilities as scientists.

Special Features

With our close proximity to Lake Hollingsworth, all your courses will have a strong outdoor component—you’ll be in the field observing and collecting data.

Along with being close to both coasts, our central Florida location provides great opportunities for internships and employment.

Study-abroad opportunities include travel to Costa Rica, Jamaica, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.

Beyond course work, students work with faculty on independent studies, research projects, off-campus expeditions, scientific conferences, and other activities.

Hands-on and real-world

FSC’s environmental studies majors have interned with the following:

  • City of Lakeland
  • Florida Aquarium
  • Florida Department of Forestry, Ecology Unit
  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • Lowry Park Zoo
  • Mote Marine Lab
  • Nature Conservancy of Florida

  • Matt Jimmerson

    Bimini Biological Field Station

    I worked tagging lemon and other shark species.

  • Hillary Lipham

    The Rhino Orphanage

    I worked as a caregiver for orphaned rhinos. My duties varied but included feeding, cleaning their rooms, taking them on walks, and providing them with love and attention.

  • Jeremy Jones

    Samspon Chiropractic and Sports Injuries

    I worked in a chiropractic office and assisted in the daily office operations. I also helped facilitate patient check in for the doctor.

Departmental Clubs & Organizations

FSC’s Biology Department sponsors chapters of Beta Beta Beta, a national society for students in the biological sciences, and AMSA/Pre-Professional Society, the national organization for pre-medical and medical students, interns, residents and practicing physicians.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Scholarships for biology, environmental studies, and marine biology majors are available. These include:

  • Helen and Charles McConville Scholarships
  • Herman and Theresa Teiser Baum Scholarships
  • Southern Bio Research Award/Sokoloff Scholarship
  • Charlene Poland Holt Scholarship

Get to know us

What will my degree lead to?
Life After FSC

Graduate & Professional Opportunities

Biology majors have been accepted to graduate programs in everything from environmental recreation to marine biology to ecology at top-tier institutions such as:

  • Columbia University
  • Duke University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • North Carolina State University
  • Northeastern University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • University of South Florida

Where are Mocs now?

Jennifer Bruno

For Jennifer Bruno ’11, a student at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine, the small size of the classes in Florida Southern’s Biology Department fostered personal relationships with her professors that both influenced and inspired her.

Ready to change your life?

Related Programs

Marine Biology Major Requirements

A. General Education Requirements 40 hours
B. Major Requirements 70 -73 hours
Marine Biology majors will be required to take the following core courses:
BIO 1500 Biological Essentials
BIO 1520 Intro Marine Biology
BIO 1820 Oceanography
BIO 2230 General Zoology
BIO 2320 Aquatic Microbial Zoology
BIO 3150 Ecology
MAT 2032 Biostatistics
Students will choose 3 of the following courses:
BIO 2120 Marine Mammal Biology & Conservation
BIO 2220 Biology of Fishes
BIO 3120 Biology of Amphibians & Reptiles
BIO 3720 Techniques of Nucleic Acid Research
BIO 3725 Techniques of Cloning
BIO 3920 Marine Invertebrate Zoology
 Students will choose 1 of the following Research options:
BIO  4461 or 4462 or 4561 or 4562
HON 4955 and 4956
Students will choose 1 of the following Chemistry sequences:
CHE 1011 and 1012 Foundations of Chemistry
CHE 1111 and 1112 Principles of Chemistry
Total credits: 56 hours
Students will choose 16 hours from the following courses:
BIO 2200 Environmental Issues
BIO 2201 Environmental Science
BIO 2235 General Botany
BIO 2750 Evolution
BIO 3362 Biochemistry: Molecular Biology
BIO 3700 Genetics
BIO 3850 Parasitology
BIO 3900 Animal Behavior
BIO 4150 Plant Physiology
BIO 4960 / 4961 Internship
BIO 4461 or 4462 or 4561 or 4562 Research (one semester) 
Total credits: 16 hours
C. Bachelor of Science Degree Requirements 12 hours
D. Electives 0-2 hours
E. Total 124 hours

For a complete listing of requirements, please refer to the Academic Catalog  

Four hours. The first in a three-course sequence required for biology majors. A rigorous introduction to the principles that the lay the foundations for the biological sciences. Examines the relationships between metabolism, genetics, cell biology, and evolution. Students learn the mechanics and style of scientific reporting on laboratory exercises in cell and molecular biology utilizing techniques such as spectrophotometry and electrophoresis. Gen Ed: NW

Four hours. Corequisite: BIO 1500. This foundational course provides an introduction to the interrelated physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes of the oceans, atmosphere, and coasts, with a focus on Florida waters.

Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1520. An overview of the sub disciplines of ocean sciences including the sea floor, waves, tides, currents, the physical and chemical properties of seawater and their distribution in the sea, and planktonic life and its relation to nutrient cycling. This course will focus on how we study and use the ocean as well as the impact of human activities on the oceans.

Four hours. Applied statistical tools for analysis and decision making with applications for biology, environmental and agricultural sciences. Statistical terminology, collection and presentation of data, probability distributions, sampling, experimental design, parametric and nonparametric procedures, regression, correlation and analysis of variance. Class demonstrations of analysis using statistical software. Credit cannot be earned for both MAT 2022 and MAT 2032. Gen Ed: Qn

Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1820. An introduction to the biology of marine mammals, including cetaceans, pinnipeds, sirenians and sea otters on topics including physiology, behavior, evolution, and ecology, with particular attention paid to the conservation of marine mammals.

Four hours. Same as ENV 2200. A study of public policy; environmental conservation and preservation; and current environmental issues, their origins, their consequences and possible solutions.

Four hours. Same as ENV 2201. Prerequisite: BIO 1500. An introduction to the methods, technology, and equipment used to collect, analyze, and interpret environmental data. Students will apply the techniques they learn to an investigation of an environmental problem.

Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1820. A comparative analysis of fish anatomy, taxonomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation and management, with a focus on the fishes found in Florida waters.

Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 or HRT 2100 or permission of the instructor. The flowering plant, major plant groups, metabolism, genetics, ecology, and economic botany.

Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 1820 or BIO 2201. Does not substitute for BIO 3400. An overview of aquatic microbial diversity, morphology, and physiology, particularly viruses, prokaryotes, and fungi, with a focus on marine systems.

Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2230 and BIO 2235. Theory, patterns, and processes in the biological evolution of organisms.

Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2230 and permission of instructor. This course provides a modern survey of the amphibians and reptiles, including life history, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and conservation with a focus on the amphibians and reptiles (especially sea turtles) of Florida.

Four hours. Same as ENV 3150. Prerequisites: BIO 2230 and BIO 2235, or permission of the instructor. Relationship of living organisms to their biological, physical, and chemical environments with emphasis on ecosystems.

Four hours. Same as CHE 3362. Prerequisites: BIO 1500 and CHE 2222. Students will consider important topics in molecular genetics, including structure, function and manipulation of DNA, and selected topics in metabolism and signaling.

Four hours. No credit will be awarded if student has completed BIO 1900. This course helps students explore the principles of heredity as applied to all living organisms, the use of genetics to investigate evolution, and the application of genetics to the topics of immunology, cancer, and development.

Two hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2320 or BIO 2280 or BIO 3400. Techniques in DNA isolation and analysis, including purification, quantitation, PCR, RFLP, agarose gel electrophoresis and Southern blotting. Appropriate database analysis of DNA sequences.

Two hours. Prerequisites: BIO 3720. Techniques in cloning DNA in prokaryotes, including use of plasmids, restriction digests, ligation, and transformation.

Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2230. This course focuses on the identification and understanding of parasitic organisms and their hosts, including most of the major groups of animals with parasitic members. The course focuses on human parasites, tropical medicine, and epidemiology, but includes veterinary diagnostics and the parasites of wildlife.

Four hours. Prerequisite: BIO 1500 or permission of the instructor. Analysis of behavior patterns and their importance in the natural environment.

Five hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2120 or BIO 2220. This course provides a modern survey of the major branches of marine invertebrates, focused on bauplans (body plans), ecology, and evolution (phylogenetics) of each fascinating phylum, with primary attention provided to organisms collected along Florida coastlines and the Caribbean.

Four hours. Prerequisites: BIO 2235 and either CHE 1011 or 1111, or permission of the instructor. Photosynthesis, respiration, and other metabolic processes, growth, and water relationships in vascular plants. Engaged learning activities include group work on demonstrations of concepts discussed in class as well as group work on multi-week experiments on which graded reports will be written.