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Master of Science in Marine Biology

Craig J. Plante, Program Director


Shelly Brew, Program Coordinator


Grice Marine Laboratory


Located at Ft. Johnson on James Island, about 10 miles from the main campus, the Grice Marine Laboratory houses the Graduate Program in Marine Biology, as well as classrooms, research laboratories, faculty offices, an aquarium room and a research collection of marine invertebrates and fishes. Adjacent to the College of Charleston facilities at Fort Johnson, the following facilities are all available to graduate students, staff and visiting scientists for research and training purposes: the Charleston Laboratory of the National Ocean Service (NOS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Marine Resources Research Institute (MRRI) of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the 78,000-square-foot, jointly administered Hollings Marine Laboratory.

Program Description

The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, South Carolina offers a graduate program leading to a Master of Science in marine biology. Several participating institutions contribute faculty and support to the program, including the Marine Resources Research Institute of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Charleston Laboratory of the National Ocean Services (NOAA), the Medical University of South Carolina, the Hollings Marine Laboratory, and The Citadel. The M.S. degree is awarded by the College of Charleston, and students use facilities and resources of all the participating institutions. The program is research-oriented, and a thesis is required of all students. Because of the broad scope of faculty interests and facilities, an extremely wide variety of research and training opportunities are available in such areas as marine genomics, ecology, fisheries biology, marine biodiversity (systematics, phylogeny, biogeography), evolutionary biology, cell and molecular biology, physiology, microbiology, marine conservation, oceanography, aquatic toxicology, mariculture, marine mammal biology, and biomedicine/biotechnology.

Student offices and research spaces are provided in the Marine Resources Research Institute, Hollings Marine Laboratory, and Grice Marine Laboratory of the College of Charleston. In addition, an excellent Marine Resources Library, staffed by College of Charleston librarians, is located at the Ft. Johnson complex.


A number of research and teaching assistantships as well as six summer fellowships are awarded annually in the graduate program. In addition, two full two-year fellowships in marine genomics are awarded annually to two new students. For information on additional financial assistance, please refer to the financial information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

  • A completed online application with a nonrefundable application fee of $50.
  • A statement of goals.
  • Résumé
  • One official transcript from each institution of higher learning attended.
  • An official copy of scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons closely associated with previous work related to the discipline.
  • A bachelor’s degree.
  • Evidence of a command of spoken and written English (TOEFL score).
  • Evidence of background in the sciences:
    • Twenty semester hours of upper division biological courses, including a course in cellular or molecular biology (or the equivalent) and a course in ecology (or the equivalent).
    • Chemistry – two courses in organic chemistry or one course in analytical chemistry (beyond first-year chemistry).
    • General physics – two courses
    • Calculus – one course
  • Students with otherwise outstanding academic preparation who may lack one of the required courses may be admitted but could be required to complete the missing courses.

Note: Application for the fall with all supporting documents must be submitted no later than February 1. Notification of acceptance is normally made within six weeks. Spring admissions are occasionally made; the deadline for spring applications is November 1.