Imagine a 15-credit intensive course where you eat, breath, and sleep marine biology for 10-weeks, Monday through Friday, sometimes on the weekend, 8 am to 5 pm, sometimes earlier and sometimes later depending on the tide cycle and LOVING IT! Each spring, marine biology students take up residence at the center for Oregon State University's 15-credit course in marine biology and ecology (BI 450), dividing their time between lectures in the classroom, field study along the coast, and wet laboratories with seawater tables. Students learn to observe, identify, and collect seaweed and invertebrates, trawl for fish aboard the R/V Elakha, and muck through the mudflats and estuaries. Follow our students in the class journal blog or check out Teaching Marine Biology Writing in the Field: An Interview with Sally Hacker.

Students who are seeking a degree in Biology, with the Marine Biology option or Zoology option from the Integrative Biology Department, can train in the area of life sciences. Students have an opportunity to conduct research in the field and the laboratory. The Integrative Biology Department at OSU has more Honors College and international students than any other department at the university, with over 1,200 students working on completing the major.

Within the Biology major, you may choose the Marine Biology Option, which emphasizes research and includes experiential courses completed at HMSC (typically in spring term junior year). Students must apply in the preceding fall term for the spring marine biology and ecology course offering. The marine biology option provides excellent preparation for graduate programs in marine biology.


BI 450 - Marine Biology and Ecology  15 Spring
BI 111 - Intro to Marine Life in the Sea: Marine Habitats 1 Winter
BI 353 - Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystems 4 Summer
Z 461/561 - Marine and Estuarine Invertebrate Zoology 4 Summer

CUSTOMIZE COURSES by adding or substituting these additional courses:

  • Research Credit (1-6 credits)*
  • Seminar (1 credit)
  • Internship Credit (3 credits)*
  • OSU Class Search

* In discussion with Department Internship Coordinator, Brock McLeod, 541-737-2245

Lead Academic Advisor for Marine Biology and Ecology: Brock McLeod, 541-737-2245

Academic Advisor for Zoology: Jen Olarra, 541-737-2993