A post-graduate degree is recommended to become a marine biologist. A Ph.D. qualifies a marine biologist to teach at the university level and be hired for research positions. Marine biologists with bachelor's degrees are qualified for entry-level positions.
Those interested in marine biology should major in marine biology if it is available at their university. If marine biology is not an option, then students should major in biology, ecology, molecular biology or zoology. Students should choose elective courses that deal with marine mammal zoology, vertebrate zoology, tropical ecosystems and fish biology.
A bachelor's degree with an emphasis in marine biology qualifies an individual to work as a biological technician. A master's degree or Ph.D. is recommended for those seriously pursuing a career as a marine biologist. Graduate schools allow students to specialize within marine biology to better prepare them for the field. After completing a master's program, students should consider completing a doctoral degree.
A doctoral degree trains students to teach, study and research all aspects of marine biology. The research completed at the doctoral level can launch a marine biologist's professional career. Doctoral students can study phycology, marine microbiology, reefs, shark biology and plankton ecology. Students should join professional associations to network with others in the industry.