The Difference


The MS Marine Biology program is targeted for beginning graduate students eager to either broaden their knowledge of marine biology, or to further refine their interests in an intense, 15-month experience that will subsequently enable them to pursue this career path at the highest levels. This program is intended for students who not only wish to learn marine biology, but how to conduct marine biology research, and become a marine scientist.

This program is unique: No other graduate marine biology program offers the opportunity to be immersed in three different ecosystems, explore the field of marine biology in greater depth, or enroll in a greater variety of marine biology courses. Undergraduate students lacking the field or research experience needed to gain admission to fellowship-based graduate programs have successfully used the MS Marine Biology and Three Seas program as a springboard into the most competitive PhD programs in the nation.

How does Northeastern’s MS Marine Biology program differ from more traditional MS programs?

Northeastern University prides itself on being a leader in experiential education and the composition of the MS Marine Biology program is a great example of this educational philosophy in action. In addition to providing students with the opportunity to research and engage in three (if not more!) distinct marine ecosystems, our program stands out for a few other reasons:

1)     Fixed-length. Students complete the MS Marine Biology program in 15-months. Unlike other MS programs, students are not enrolled for an indeterminate length of time. Despite popular belief that Master’s programs are completed in 2 years, the typical field-based Marine Biology Masters program takes 3-4 years to complete.

2)     Self-funded. Due to the intense nature and accelerated timeline of the program, students are unable to commit the time required for teaching or research assistantships. Therefore, by necessity, research and teaching fellowships are not available and students must pay their own tuition.

3)     Internship & Research Project. Our students conduct a 6-month research project during the internship portion of the program. Despite this relatively short length of time, our inquiry-based curriculum allows students to subsequently engage in a meaningful research experience comparable to the traditional Masters’ thesis. Over a dozen papers in peer-reviewed journals authored or co-authored by our students in the past 8 years are a testament to the effectiveness of the research project component of our degree program.