Nearly three quarters of the Earth is covered by an ocean that harbors most of life’s diversity, feeds and powers coastal economies, regulates global climate, and is a rich source of biomedical models, natural products, and new drugs. The Marine Biology program offers excellent opportunities to pursue graduate research in areas such as the evolution, development, and sensory biology of marine organisms, microbiology, ichthyology, and marine conservation science. Prospective students are encouraged to explore the research interests of our faculty and then directly contact those professors with whom they might like to work, in addition to submitting an application to the graduate school.

Marine Biology students begin their curriculum with a fall semester consisting of four back-to-back, one-monthlong intensive research courses. The graduate curriculum for Marine Biology students is highly flexible and is customized to the needs and interests of the individual student. By the end of their second year, PhD students complete a written preliminary examination that tests general knowledge in marine biology, and an oral qualifying exam that focuses on areas critical to the student’s dissertation research.

Marine Biology graduate students benefit from a strongly interdisciplinary marine science program, involving the Departments of Biology and Earth & Environment, as well as close partnerships with the New England Aquarium, National Marine Sanctuary Program, and Sea Education Association.

Check the list of recent dissertations and publications to see the range of topics addressed by Marine Biology students.

Interested in applying to our graduate program? 

All applicants should review the application procedures listed on our apply page. MS applicants please note that we anticipate limited space available in the Fall 2024 Marine Semester; those applying for the MS with coursework or scholarly paper tracks in Marine Biology should plan alternate fall courses or delay application to a future year. 

MB applicants interested in applying to our MS (Coursework Track or Scholarly Paper Track) do not need to contact faculty before applying. 

MB applicants interested in applying for our PhD or MS (Research Track) require that you have a professor who is willing to accept you into his/her/their lab. We strongly recommend that you contact professors with whom you are interested in working before you apply to the MB graduate program. Below are guidelines on how to contact professors via e-mail. 

  1. Locate current research projects and contact information for professors in MB who are currently accepting students (see below).
  2. Compose an e-mail to the faculty member/s you are interested in working with that includes the following: 
    • Your research interests and how they align with the research of the faculty member (1-2 sentences).
    • Your previous research experience (2-3 sentences). 
    • A new idea you might like to pursue while working with the lab you are contacting. This research idea should be consistent with the lab’s current research capabilities and demonstrate some degree of familiarity with the field (2-3 sentences).
    • Responses should be as text in e-mail, not as an attachment. However, please attach your resume/curriculum vitae to your e-mail.

List of MB faculty currently accepting PhD students for Fall 2024:

List of MB faculty currently accepting MS students for Fall 2024:

Visit our MB Research page for a list of all of the EBE faculty.