Investigating the evolution and behavior of animals is intriguing work that can take you from the deepest oceans to the highest mountains. Many colleges offer course work in marine biology or zoology, but fewer schools have majors in both disciplines. A bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some entry-level jobs, but a master’s degree or doctorate often is required for independent research and teaching. Your interests, priorities and mobility are important factors in selecting the best program for you.

Intensive Research

Rutgers University in New Jersey delivers rigorous training in zoology and marine biology. The school offers a zoology major and a marine sciences major with a marine biology option that prepares students for graduate education or employment in the environmental field. Research is an integral part of the curriculum. Students also can participate in applied research activities, such as the Scientific Diving Program, that monitors changes in the undersea environment. Other examples of real-world research opportunities at Rutgers include studying at the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory or the New Jersey Aquaculture Innovation Center.

Fascinating Costal Studies

Coastal schools like the University of California, Santa Barbara provide exceptional learning opportunities for marine biology and zoology majors alike. For example, students study such things as bioluminescent organisms, coral reef fishes, sea urchins, deep-sea creatures and hydrothermal vent animals. On nearby inland habitats, UCSB students can find dozens of bird varieties and unusual wildlife, such as a miniature fox species. Students with a GPA of 3.0 or better may apply for research fellowships at UCSB.

Biodiverse Midwestern Opportunities

Michigan State University is an example of a Midwestern school that offers a bachelor’s in zoology with an optional concentration in marine biology. In addition to zoology courses in genetics, evolution and ecology, students completing the marine biology concentration take aquatic biology classes such as oceanography and marine ecosystem management. Zoology majors may conduct field studies at Michigan State’s renowned W.K. Kellogg Biological Station that includes 3,200 acres of wetlands, streams, experimental research ponds, fields and forests with diverse ecological systems.

Adventures Overseas

Degrees in marine biology and zoology also can be earned through study abroad travel. For example, Bangor University offers a combined marine biology and zoology degree that involves three years of study. Admission is selective, and previous college coursework in science, math and English is required. Students learn how animals, plants and microbes on the planet interact with their environment. Bangor’s proximity to the sea and mountainous regions in Wales enables students to study sea life and terrestrial animals in a naturalistic setting.