Jun 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Marine Biology, M.S.

Craig J. Plante, Program Director

Grice Marine Laboratory

Located at Fort 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.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Graduate Program in Marine Biology is to offer students a well-rounded, Master’s degree level of education in marine biology that will allow graduates to pursue further study or professional employment in marine science.  The curriculum is designed to provide students with breadth in their education, while focused research projects develop depth.

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 Fort Johnson complex.


A number of research and teaching assistantships as well as six summer fellowships are awarded annually in the graduate program. In addition, 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 and Application Deadlines

Institutional Admissions Requirements

  • A completed application form with a nonrefundable application fee of $60.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate coursework. An earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university is required.
  • International applicants should refer to the International Students area within the “Admissions Information”  section of the catalog for information on providing appropriate documentation with the application.

Program Admissions Requirements

  • A statement of goals.
  • Résumé
  • An official copy of scores from the general test of the GRE.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons closely associated with previous work related to the discipline.
  • Undergraduate coursework 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 - at least one upper-level course (beyond general chemistry)
    • General physics - two courses
    • Calculus - one course
  • Evidence of a command of spoken and written English (TOEFL score).
  • Students with otherwise outstanding academic preparation who lack required coursework may be admitted but could be required to complete the missing course(s).
  • Note: Notification of acceptance is normally made within six weeks.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall: January 15, priority*; July 1, final
  • Spring: November 1, priority; December 1, final
  • Summer: No summer admission

*Candidates who submit a completed application by the priority deadline will automatically be considered for Graduate School and/or graduate program funding.


Transfer Credit Policy

Acceptance of transfer credit(s) for fulfillment of the Marine Biology program requirements will be determined by the Marine Biology Graduate Council.  A maximum of 12 credit hours may be transferred into the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, SC. 

Credits to be applied toward the degree remain valid for five years from the date of enrollment.  In unusual circumstances, exceptions may be made by the Marine Biology Graduate Council and with the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.  Courses with grades of “S” or “P” are not transferable unless the student or department provides written documentation from the instructor(s) of the course, a department administrator, or the registrar at the transfer institution that the “S” or “P” graded course was equivalent to at least a “B” grade.

Program Requirements
Program Learning Outcomes