Prospective Students

Undergraduate Preparation

Undergraduate Preparation at USF Marine Science

Students who have earned an undergraduate degree in biology, geology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, or engineering are likely to have a good foundation for our graduate program, although there are several other undergraduate majors that are also suitable. For further assistance, please contact an
In summary, our preferred undergraduate coursework includes

  • Two semesters each of the following subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • At least one semester each of Geology and Calculus
  • 15-18 credit hours of upper level coursework in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, or Physics
  • 2 semesters of Statistics preferred for the MRA concentration

In addition to coursework, consider taking advantage of opportunities like the ones listed below and integrate them into your undergraduate preparation.

  • Engage in undergraduate or post-bachelor’s Research Experience (e.g. REU, Undergraduate Research Capstone, post-degree employment)
  • Gain a working knowledge of at least one coding language (e.g. Python, R, C++)
  • Take courses to build your writing and communications skills, (e.g. scientific writing, public speaking)
  • Gain a working knowledge of graphic design or imaging software

Recommended Undergraduate Curriculum

All students considering applying to a graduate program in Marine Science/Oceanography should include as many of the following general courses as possible in their undergraduate degree.
General Education Example List

Courses Examples (+Semester Credits)
2 Semesters of Biology Fundamentals of Biology I
  Fundamentals of Biology II
  Fundamentals of Zoology
  Fundamentals of Botany
2 Semesters of Chemistry General Chemistry I + Lab
  General Chemistry II + Lab
2 Semesters of Physics General Physics I + Lab
  General Physics II + Lab
2 Semesters of Geology if available Physical Geology
  Earth History
2 Semesters of Calculus Elementary Calculus I
  Elementary Calculus II

Specialization Courses

In addition to the general courses, students should take 15-18 credit hours of specialization courses in one of the basic sciences, examples listed below. A bachelor’s degree in a core science discipline will likely include some of the courses below in it’s upper-level requirements. 

Biology Chemistry Geology Physics
Genetics Cell Biology Intro Inorg Chem Elem Invert Paleontol Modern Physics
Principle of Ecology Animal Anal Chem Struc Geol Intermediate Physics Lab
Physiology Organic Chemistry Organ Chem I Depos Syst Advanced Physics Lab
Fund. of Botany Org Chem ILab Marine Geol Mechanics I and II
Mycology Marine Org Chem II Lab Mineralogy Electricity and Magnetism I and II
Botany Intro to Micro Elem Phys Chem I Sedimentol Quantum Mechanics
App & Envir Micro Elem Phys Chem II Geochemistry Physics Seminar
Comp Vert Anatomy Intro Biochem Strat/Pet Geol Undergraduate Research
Invert Zoology Intro Biochem Lab Surficial Geol Calculus III
Mar Animal Ecol Meth Chem Inves Economic Geol Differential Equations
Icthyology Biomolecules Petrology  
Biol of the Echin Adv. Inorg Chem Anal Tech Geol  
  Radiochem Geomorphology  
  Instrum Ana Geophysics