Updated at: 19-03-2023 - By: Eden Wise


Perhaps you’ve always been fascinated by the ocean and its inhabitants, or maybe you’ve only recently decided to pursue a career in marine biology.

Over the past few years, marine biology has become increasingly popular at many universities around the world. The prestige and clout of some California universities among the international community of marine biologists is evidence that they have done more to advance marine biology within their own institutions than others.

Best Marine Biology Colleges In California

Best marine biology colleges in california

University of Southern California

University of Southern California

To learn more about marine biology, any prospective student should investigate the University of Southern California. The University of Southern California (USC) is a large, private, non-profit institution in the heart of bustling Los Angeles. USC is a fantastic institution, as evidenced by its Best Colleges ranking of #18 out of 2,241 universities in the country.

In the most recent year for which data is available, there were about 2 marine biology majors who graduated from USC.

University of California – Santa Cruz

If marine biology is your passion, you won’t find a better place to study than the University of California, Santa Cruz. In the heart of Santa Cruz sits the sprawling campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). On a list of 170 universities and colleges in California, this one comes in at number 17.

In the most recent year for which data is available, UC Santa Cruz awarded marine biology degrees to around 72 students.

San Jose State University

Located in the bustling metropolis that is San Jose, California, is the large public university known as San Jose State. Overall, this is one of the best universities in California, placing 26th out of 170.

In the most recent year for which data is available, San Jose State University had about six marine biology majors earn their degrees.

University of California- Los Angeles

The University of California, Los Angeles is a highly regarded public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Approximately 30,969 undergraduates are enrolled at this university, making it quite sizable. The acceptance rate at UCLA is only 12%, so getting in is incredibly difficult.

The average salary for a UCLA grad is $44,500.

University of California- San Diego

University of California- San Diego

The University of California, San Diego, is a prestigious public institution in the city of San Diego, California. There are a lot of students there; in fact, there are 29,966 undergraduates enrolled.

When it comes to marine biology programs, it is among the best in California.

The acceptance rate at UC San Diego is 31%, so getting in is difficult.

Eighty-seven percent of UC San Diego students graduate, and those who do have a starting salary of $43,400. In order to enroll at UC San Diego, your SAT score should fall somewhere between 1250 and 1490. This university has a $70 application fee.

California State University- Fullerton

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) was established in 1957 and is the largest university in the California State University (CSU) system in terms of student enrollment.

Located in Orange County, a highly technological and culturally diverse region of Greater Los Angeles, CSUF is a comprehensive regional university with an international perspective.

As of the September 2010 issue, CSUF was ranked No. 10 in the West among Top Public Universities offering Master’s degrees by US News & World Report.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has granted CSUF accreditation.

Undergraduate and graduate programs at CSUF integrate professional studies with preparation in the arts and sciences and offer students the best of current practice, theory, and research at an affordable price.

California Maritime Academy at Vallejo

Cal Maritime is the only maritime academy on the West Coast and one of only seven in the United States to award degrees in maritime studies.

The U.S. News and World Report placed Cal Maritime University in 2008 as the region’s No. 6 best Baccalaureate College.

Engineers, business leaders, port managers, deck officers, environmental activists, maritime security consultants, etc., are all needed to keep this worldwide operation running smoothly.

Professionals in these and other fields that utilize the ocean as a resource and driver of the global economy are graduates of Cal Maritime.

California State University at Fresno

California State University at Fresno

This school is routinely lauded as among the best marine universities in California, and it consistently ranks high in national rankings. More than half of all Bachelor of Arts degrees awarded in California are granted by this system, of which this campus is just one of 23. The campus has a long and illustrious history within the California State University system, and it also ranks among the most prestigious campuses in the state.

Accreditation from the California State Board of Education has been granted at the university’s highest level.

Internships and other work-related experiences are highly recommended for students to gain practical knowledge beyond what can be gained in the classroom.

University of California Riverside (UCR)

The University of California, Riverside comes in at number two on our list of top California institutions for marine biology. This institution is located in Riverside, Southern California, close to the city’s mountains, desert, and coastline.

The county seat of Riverside County is located in Riverside, which is also recognized as an All-American City. It sits in between San Diego and Los Angeles, to the north.

The area has a mild climate all year round and an exceptional quality of life thanks to its beautiful architecture, cultural art museums, affordable housing, and abundance of recreational opportunities.

The University of California, Riverside is a member of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in order to keep its accreditation in good standing. AACSB International, which stands for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, has granted accreditation to the School of Business.

University of California, Santa Barbara

California State University, Santa Barbara comes in at number two on our list of top institutions for marine biology in the Golden State. This school takes great pride in being one of the few in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree program in aquatic biology.

Freshwater and marine ecosystems are studied, and students also gain practical experience in the field and in laboratories. As a result of its location, the university provides its students with easy access to a wealth of natural resources, such as the Pacific Ocean, UC-managed parks and reserves, and numerous other protected natural areas.

Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara is an internationally recognized pioneer in marine and environmental study. Graduate students and faculty at the Institute explore cutting-edge topics like biological oceanography and climate change. And it was widely considered one of the best marine biology schools in the country.

California State University at Long Beach

California State University at Long Beach

Also among the top marine biology schools in California is California State University, Long Beach.

This top public comprehensive university in California is widely recognized as one of the best marine biology schools in the country. The Princeton Review called it the best in the West in 2011.

This comprehensive training program was created by the Marine Terminal Operators and the Center for International Trade and Transportation at California State University, Long Beach.

The Best Marine Biology Colleges in California offer comprehensive programs that prepare students for entry or advancement in the highly competitive marine biology industry.

Students will learn the foundational knowledge and skills that will help them succeed as marine terminal operators in today’s dynamic and challenging market.

Irvine, California, University (UCI)

These top-tier California marine biology universities are home to state-of-the-art marine labs. It differs from other fields of study in that it takes a broad view of the world’s water systems.

The program focuses on marine life planning, design, operation, and management.

California State University- San Bernardino

California State University- San Bernardino

Due in large part to the expansion of its service area, which now encompasses 27,000 square miles and includes the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside, California State University, San Bernardino is one of the fastest-growing institutions in California.

For being the “most creative business school” in the West, one of the Best marine biology colleges in California received the Global Business Education Award. Each of the 18 world regions were represented by a single winner in the book.


Is there a lot of Math in Marine Biology?

Do you need to be good at math to get into the top California schools for marine biology? Well, instead of fretting, we urge you to be confident in your ability to pick up the fundamentals quickly.

It’s important to note that the field of biology includes both specialists who focus on minute details and those who prefer to see the bigger picture.

Although fields like marine biology have traditionally relied less on mathematical analysis than others, such as molecular biology or quantitative genetics, the modern research landscape requires the application of mathematical concepts across all disciplines.

If, on the other hand, you have a strong desire to learn about marine life and plan on enrolling in one of the best marine biology programs in the world, you shouldn’t let a fear of math hold you back. It would be ideal to lay a solid groundwork in mathematics beginning in the middle school years.

Statistics are the backbone of marine biology, and they are used to study everything from the density of pores on a shark’s snout to the survival rates of seal pups to the distribution of worms in sea-floor sediments. However, not all successful marine biologists have strong quantitative skills.

There will always be room for improvement in the scientific community until the “perfect scientist” is developed.

What does a marine biologist actually do then?

Is there a standard mode of operation for a marine biologist once they have graduated from, say, one of the top marine biology colleges in California? It is difficult to summarize a marine biologist’s work in just a few sentences, as it encompasses such a wide variety of tasks, from observing sea turtle nesting sites on beaches to identifying species of plankton under a microscope in the lab.

Many people who study marine biology do so because they want to work with large, charismatic animals like whales, sharks, and turtles. However, they often find themselves working on something equally fascinating but much smaller than they had anticipated. The study of marine life is extremely broad.

There is a lot of paperwork involved in managing and planning marine environmental initiatives, and marine biologists often find themselves involved in this kind of work as their careers progress.

What GPA do you need to be a marine biologist?

The prerequisites for entering an undergraduate marine biology program may differ from one institution to the next, but there are some standards that all institutions must meet. These include passing grades in biology and math classes and maintaining a 2.5 or higher GPA.

Is marine biology a hard major to get into?

In conclusion, there is no magic formula to ‘get into’ marine biology; like many other fields, it is highly competitive and offers few opportunities. But don’t let that discourage you. If you have the drive and dedication to succeed, you will succeed.


Animals that live in or near water are the focus of marine biologists, who investigate their biology, ecology, and evolutionary history. Since marine biology science is so broad that it incorporates numerous subfields, most academics focus their attention on a single area of study.

The growing significance of oceans in human society has heightened the significance of marine biology study.

It takes a lot of time and effort to get the credentials you need to work in marine biology. To be competitive in the field of marine biology, an undergraduate degree in mathematics, physics, chemistry, or biology is highly recommended.

A degree in marine biology seems like the best bet for a promising career. This is due to marine biology’s focus on marine life and habitats. A state as sunny as California is the perfect place to follow this high and admirable “aquatic” calling.