Marine Biology

Marine biology encompasses the study of living organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Because marine organisms play an important role in sustaining life on earth, and because of the diverse habitats studied by marine biologists, concentrators must study broadly in the basic sciences and become familiar with the varied research techniques in the field. Consequently, students begin their learning with foundational courses in biology, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Subsequent coursework in the concentration exposes students to a range of topics in biology (e.g., Invertebrate Zoology, Ecology, Physiology, Conservation) and courses in other sciences, including geological sciences, computer science, and engineering. Students are encouraged to spend a summer or semester conducting research at a field station. The field experience is a key feature of this program and provides scholarly interaction with leaders in the field so that students are mentored at the cutting edge. 

Note: This concentration program is being phased out for Class of 2017 students and greater in favor of a track program within the Sc.B. in Biology.

Standard program for the Sc.B. degree

CHEM 0330Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure (or equivalent)1
PHYS 0030Basic Physics (or equivalent)1
PHYS 0040Basic Physics (or equivalent)1
MATH 0090Introductory Calculus, Part I (or equivalent)1
MATH 0100Introductory Calculus, Part II (or equivalent)1
Two additional courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, applied mathematics, computer science, engineering, or geological sciences, as approved by advisor.2
Select four of the following biology courses:4
Invertebrate Zoology
Principles of Ecology
Introductory Microbiology
Principles of Physiology
Comparative Animal Physiology
Marine Biology
Comparative Biology of the Vertebrates
Select three additional biology courses, highly recommended are:3
The Foundation of Living Systems
Evolutionary Biology
Cell and Molecular Biology
Comparative Animal Physiology
Developmental Biology
Evolutionary Genetics
Experimental Design in Ecology
Conservation Biology
Environmental Science in a Changing World
Select two of the following group of related science courses: 12
Introduction to Scientific Computing and Problem Solving
Introduction to Oceanography
Fossil Record
Estuarine Oceanography
Ocean Biogeochemical Cycles
Stratigraphy and Sedimentation
Global Environmental Remote Sensing
Quantitative Elements of Physical Hydrology
Organic Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
An approved course in statistics
BIOL 1950/1960Directed Research/Independent Study (conducted at Brown or an approved marine lab or field station.) 21
Total Credits17

Or substitutions as approved by the concentration advisor.


A summer or semester at a field station is recommended.  Please note that some recommended courses are offered every other year; others have limited enrollment and require early sign-up.