For those interested in the ocean and related marine life, a marine biology and oceanography dual degree may be a great fit. The combination of the two allows students to combine an interest in marine life (from small organisms to larger mammals) with an additional focus on the ocean itself. Combining the two areas cannot only help to fulfill a desire to learn about both passions but can also help create more job opportunities after college.
What Are the Requirements of a Dual Degree?
A dual degree can mean different things to different schools. For some schools, a dual degree is the equivilent of a double major. For other schools, a dual degree is a hybrid type of degree program that merges two separate programs into one. Keep a school's individual classification systems in mind while you are looking for dual degree programs that combine marine biology and oceanography.
Some of the requirements for a degree in marine biology include basic biology, basic chemistry, an introductory course reviewing ocean life, marine vertabrae, at least one course on tides and sendiment, and much more. Requirements vary by institution. For a degree in oceanography, expect to take courses in biological coastography, coral reefs, sea water chemistry, weather and climate, geology, and more. Combining the two disciplines may allow certain requirements to overlap.
Marine Biology and Oceanography Dual Degree
You're likely to encounter some difficulty in finding a dual degree program. While there are several degree tracks that incorporate the two subject areas on the undergraduate level, there are more programs for graduate students. However, to gain entry to a graduate dual degree program, you need only an undergraduate degree in one of the two areas. Some programs available include:
- School of Marine Sciences: This program offers a dual degree in marine policy and sciences for graduate students. Much of the coursework falls into the area of marine biology and oceanography but with a degree focus on research control and practically protecting the seas.
- University of Rhode Island: While the school does not offer a formal dual degree in the two subject areas, it does offer separate degrees for both marine biology and oceanography, which allows students to combine courses to create their ideal undergraduate education. URI's graduate school of oceanography also offers focus areas in marine chemistry, marine geology, and biological oceanography. Finally, the school lets double majors in marine biology and oceanography create their own degree path.
- The University of Hawaii at Hilo: Different from other schools, the University of Hawaii at Hilo offers a degree for undergraduates in marine science. This unique discipline combines oceanography and marine biology into a unique courseload. There are also opportunities to earn an additional certificate in recreational marine areas.
- University of Southampton in the United Kingdom: This unique three-year program includes the best elements of both programs for students. The courses includes a week of research during spring break in the first year so that students can get hands-on experience with marine biology in a boating environment.
Finding the Right Major for You
If a dual degree in marine biology and oceanography feels like the right fit for you, you may want to evaluate a single-subject degree in either path. For example, marine biology majors may find themselves more interested in a certain type of marine life, and oceanography majors may like to examine ocean chemistry. If animals are your passion, you may even feel a degree in zoology is the right choice for you. If you find a personal area of interest within one of the two main subjects, you may want to narrow down your scope and explore that before trying to land a dual degree.