The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Marine Biology, Bachelor of Science

The School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences offers a B.S. in Marine Biology, which is designed to prepare students who are seeking a career or graduate studies in marine biology and related marine science disciplines. Undergraduates in this major will develop an understanding of the biology of marine organisms and the biological and physical processes that affect these organisms, their populations, and their coastal and oceanic ecosystems. The curriculum takes full advantage of the Rio Grande Valley’s unique physical location at the intersection of temperate and tropical climatic divides, and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. Unifying laboratory/field courses with the unique environments of South Texas directly engage students in the discovery process and in analyzing and interpreting data. The Marine Biology program requires 120 hours of coursework including a major-specific marine biology core and supporting courses aimed at interrelating the principles of physics, geology and geophysics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology to the marine environment. Upper-level electives include Coral Reef Ecology, Marine Zoology, Ichthyology, Marine Animal Field Studies, as well as supervised independent research courses.

Core Curriculum - 42 Hours

The Core Curriculum serves as a broad foundation for the undergraduate degree. All candidates for a bachelor’s degree must achieve core student learning outcomes, including communication, critical thinking, empirical and quantitative skills, teamwork, personal responsibility and social responsibility, by completing courses within each category or component area of the Core Curriculum as outlined below.

The University has approved specific courses that satisfy Core Curriculum Requirements. Approved courses can be found on the Core Curriculum Page. Students seeking the most efficient way to complete the core curriculum and major or minor requirements are advised to take approved courses that can fulfill both requirements. Although core curriculum courses can also be used to fulfill major or minor requirements, earned credits hours are only applied once. The courses listed below fulfill core curriculum and major requirements. Students who have completed a core curriculum category with courses other than those listed below will still be required to take the listed course(s) to meet major requirements.

020 Mathematics – 3 hours

MATH 1343Introduction to Biostatistics

3

Life and Physical Sciences – 6 hours

CHEM 1311General Chemistry I

3

CHEM 1312General Chemistry II

3

090 Integrative and Experiential Learning – 6 hours

CHEM 1111General Chemistry I Lab

1

CHEM 1112General Chemistry II Lab

1

BIOL 1406General Biology I

4

One credit hour from BIOL 1406 applies.

Major Requirements – 76-77 Hours

Required Courses - 32 hours

Marine Biology Core:
BIOL 1406General Biology I

4

BIOL 1407General Biology II

4

MARS 2101Principles of Marine Sciences

1

MARS 2310/BIOL 2310Marine Processes and Ecosystems Dynamics

3

MARS 3320/BIOL 3320Marine Biogeochemistry

3

MARS 3430/BIOL 3430Field Methods and Analysis in Marine Biology

4

BIOL 3413Genetics

4

BIOL 3301Biological Evolution

3

BIOL 3409Ecology

4

MARS 4301Marine Science Communication

3

Three credit hours from BIOL 1406 apply. 

Prescribed Electives - 25 to 26 hours:

17 hours if a 4-hour Math course is completed in the Support Courses or 18 hours if a 3-hour Math course is completed

Marine Biology Prescribed Electives - 21 to 22 hours

Students must complete 21 hours if a 4-hour Math course is completed in the Support Courses requirement or 22 hours if a 3-hour Math course is completed.

Choose from:

BIOL 3414Invertebrate Zoology

4

BIOL 4388Global Change Ecology

3

BIOL 4403Introduction to Remote Sensing Technology

4

BIOL 4404Ichthyology

4

GEOL 4411Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

4

MARS 3416/BIOL 3416Coral Reef Ecology

4

MARS 4402/BIOL 4402Marine Zoology

4

MARS 4410/BIOL 4410Marine Botany

4

MARS 4426/BIOL 4426Marine Ecology

4

MARS 4427/BIOL 4427Marine Animal Field Studies

4

MARS 4430/BIOL 4430Coastal Ecology

4

MARS 4390Marine Biology Internship

3

MARS 3350General Aquaculture

3

MARS 4170Topics in Marine Biology

1

MARS 4370Topics in Marine Biology

3

MARS 4333Marine Conservation, Policy and Management

3

Choose one from:
MARS 4199/BIOL 4199Research Problems in Marine Biology

1

MARS 4399/BIOL 4399Research Problems in Marine Biology

3

Any other advanced COS course accepted and approved by the department chair of the School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences

.

Biology Prescribed Electives - 4 hours

Choose from additional Biology (BIOL) and Marine Biology (MARS) courses.

Support Courses - 19 to 20 hours

Required:
CHEM 2323Organic Chemistry I

3

CHEM 2123Organic Chemistry I Lab

1

CHEM 2325Organic Chemistry II

3

CHEM 2125Organic Chemistry II Lab

1

PHYS 1401General Physics I

4

GEOL 3405Oceanography

4

Choose one:

MATH 1314College Algebra

3

MATH 1414College Algebra

4

MATH 2412Precalculus

4

MATH 2413Calculus I

4

Free Electives - hours will vary

Free electives credit hours required may vary to achieve the institutional minimum of 120 hours for a degree. 

Free elective credit hours at the advanced level may be needed to achieve the institutional minimum of 42 advanced hours. 

Total Credit Hours: 42

Total Credit Hours: 120

Major Progression Requirements

Specific progression requirements required for this program.

Students interested in pursuing a B.S. in Marine Biology are advised that several required courses are offered only at UTRGV’s Brownsville, Port Isabel, or South Padre Island campuses.

Major Graduation Requirements 

Specific graduation requirements required for this program beyond university bachelor’s degree requirements. 

In addition to the graduation requirements listed in the UTRGV 2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog, submission of a completed Marine Biology Student Portfolio must be received before submission of an Application for Graduation form.