Dec 10, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Marine Biology B.S.

Total Major Hours - 120
Plans of Study

The undergraduate Marine Biology program explores the ecology of marine environments and the nature of organisms inhabiting the oceans. The objective of this program is to augment the students’ foundation in basic biology with specialized knowledge and skills in marine biology that address contemporary issues such as coastal resilience, coastal pollution, diseases of marine organisms and restoring damaged habitats. An emphasis on data collection and research methods in the field and laboratory will ready students for employment in places such as consulting firms, environmental agencies, aquaria, and parks, while also preparing them for graduate school.   Internships, undergraduate research experiences, upper-level seminars, and reading from the primary literature will develop critical thinking skills and prepare students to address the many complex issues in marine biology, thereby practicing critical thinking and the application of science to grand societal/economic challenges.

University Admissions - College of Arts and Sciences

Admission to the University is based on the University’s Undergraduate Admission Requirements that may be found by clicking on the following urls:

For Admission information specific to the College of Arts and Sciences, see the information at College of Arts and Sciences .

Progression Requirements - College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)

All students in the below listed programs must successfully complete the below science and math coursework without earning three (3) D and/or F grades. Students unable to successfully complete these courses within these prescribed parameters will be required to select a different major and will not be permitted to take any additional courses offered by the below Departments/Divisions. In addition, registration for all courses offered by these departments will be dependent on students meeting the prescribed parameters regardless of their major. Grade Forgiveness will NOT apply to the mandated requirement of changing majors.

Included Departments/Divisions:

  • Effective Fall 2022: Department of Physics* and all other Departments/Divisions continued from Fall 2018.
  • Effective Fall 2018: Division of Health Professions Advising; Department of Chemistry; Department of Molecular Biosciences; and Department of Integrative Biology.

Furthermore, any student who requests a change of major to one offered in the above identified departments will be required to meet these prescribed parameters as well as those criteria outlined in the Degree Progression Policy 10-505. Students who are able to complete a major in one of the above Departments/Divisions by earning fewer credit hours than required to complete any other major offered at USF may petition to request an exception to the CAS Sciences D/F Policy and should contact the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Advising Office ( for instructions.

*Students who are redirected from one of the above Departments/Divisions as a result of the CAS Sciences D/F Policy may pursue the following degrees offered by the Department of Physics: B.S. Physical Sciences and B.A. Physical Sciences.

Included courses:

Graduation Requirements - College of Arts and Sciences

Satisfactory completion of the following requirements:

  • Students must complete all State and University level graduation requirements.
  •  Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in USF coursework. Note: Some Departments/program/major require a higher GPA. Students should refer to Department/program/major specific catalog requirements.
    • The College may approve an exception when a student has successfully earned the minimum grade required for all courses applied in the major but does not have a major GPA of 2.0.
  • Physical Education coursework is limited to two (2) semester hours.
  • ROTC courses that are primarily physical training and field experiences will not be applied to College of Arts and Sciences degree programs. All other military Science coursework will apply, in particular, coursework utilized toward completing an established ROTC minor will be applied to the total hours toward degree. 
  • When earning a second degree, double major or concurrent degree, the Major Core and Major Elective/Concentration areas of the degree audit must not overlap for both degrees.  All other areas of the degree audit may have overlapping credit hours applied.
  • Maximum of 20 hours of S/U option. S/U contracts must be negotiated in writing within the first three (3) weeks of the term. None of the 20 credits may be taken in the student’s major unless S/U is the only grading option. Coursework fulfilling the General Education Core Curriculum Requirements and the State Communication Requirement (formerly known as Gordon Rule Writing) and State Computation Requirement (formerly known as Gordon Rule Math) may not be taken S/U.
  • The Audit option is available only during the first 5 days of classes.
  • Complete all major course requirements.
  • College of Arts and Sciences students are expected to complete a minimum of 50% of their major and/or minor coursework in residence at USF. Some College of Arts and Sciences Departments/programs/majors have established additional major course hours to be taken in residency at USF. See the major or program section of the catalog for these credit-hour requirements.

State Mandated Program Prerequisites - Marine Biology B.S.

Following Florida BOG Regulation 8.010, state mandated common course prerequisites are lower-division courses that are required for progression into the upper division of a particular baccalaureate degree program. 

Transfer students should complete the State Mandated Common Course Prerequisites at the lower level prior to entering the university. If these courses are not taken at a Florida College System institution, they must be completed before the degree is granted. Successful completion of the common prerequisites alone does not guarantee a student admission into the degree program. 

Unless stated otherwise, a grade of C- is the minimum acceptable grade in prerequisite courses.

  • (BSC X010 and BSC X010L) or BSC X010C or BSC X040C - 4 credit hours
  • (BSC X011 and BSC X011L) or BSC X011C - 4 credit hours
  • (CHM X045 and CHM X045L) or CHM X045C or (CHM X040 and CHM X041) - 4 credit hours
  • (CHM X046 and CHM X046L) or CHM X046C - 4 credit hours
  • (CHM X210 and CHM X210L) or CHM X210C or (PHY X048 and PHY X048L) or PHY X048C or PHY X053C or (PHY X053 & PHY X053L) - 4 credit hours
  • (CHM X211 and CHM X211L) or CHM X211C or (PHY X054 and PHY X054L) or PHY X054C or PHY X049C or (PHY X049 and PHY X049L) - 4 credit hours
  • MAC X311 or MAC X233 or MAC X281 or MAC X253 - 3-4 credit hours
  • STA X014 or STA X023 or MAC X234 or MAC X312 or STA X024 or MAC X282 - 4 credit hours

FOR ALL MAJORS: Students are strongly encouraged to select required lower division electives that will enhance their general education coursework and that will support their intended baccalaureate degree program. Students should consult with an academic advisor in their major degree area.

Supporting Required Courses: 4 courses; 8-10 credit hours

The following courses are supporting courses for this major. The degree will not be awarded if these courses have not been taken by the end of the student’s final semester.  A minimum grade of “C” is required in each required supporting course.

Students choose one of two supporting course sequence options, based on the completed common course prerequisites. The two course sequence options are as follows.

Note: The course sequence that will count toward the Supporting Courses requirement is based on which sequence (Organic Chemistry or Physics) the student took to meet the Common Prerequisite requirement. If the Organic Chemistry sequence was taken to fulfill the Common Prerequisite requirement, the Physics sequence will meet the Supporting Courses requirement. The opposite is true if the Physics requirement was used to meet the Common Prerequisite requirement.

1. Organic Chemistry I and II, with Laboratories (10 credit hours)

2. Physics I and II (Calculus-based or General), with Laboratories (8 Credit Hours)

Required Courses: (32 credit hours)

Major (Restricted) Elective Courses: 6 courses; 18 credit hours

Students are required to take 18 credit hours of major elective courses from the list below, including at least one course (3 credit hour minimum) in each of the three categories (Marine Biology Capstone and Field Studies, Marine Biology Structures, and Marine Ecology and Ecosystems). The remaining 9 credit hours can be taken across any of the areas listed below.

Note: Courses that are listed in more than one category may not be used to fill more than one major requirement (category).

Additional Information - Marine Biology B.S.

Other Requirements

GPA Requirements

Major GPA (All USF courses which are applied to major requirements): 2.0
General Education GPA (All USF courses which are applied to General Education requirements): 2.0
USF GPA: 2.0
Overall GPA: 2.0

Grading Requirement

A grade of C- or better to meet major course requirements unless specified elsewhere. Will vary by area.

Note: Some USF courses have higher grade criteria to meet prerequisite knowledge necessary for progression into higher level courses.

Residency Requirements - College of Arts and Sciences

Department and College of Arts and Sciences Major Academic Residency Requirement - 50% of major must be completed at USF.
USF Academic Residency Requirement - 30 of the last 60 hours earned must be from USF.

Internship Opportunities - Marine Biology B.S.

A maximum of four credit hours of BSC 4910 - Undergraduate Research  and BSC 4940 - Biology Internship  may be applied to the major.

Research Opportunities - College of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate students in any degree program are able to participate in undergraduate research. Several options exist to show mentored undergraduate research activity on a student’s official transcript. Those who wish to enroll in an undergraduate research course should consult with their academic advisor to understand how the credit will apply towards the degree requirements. If no credit is needed, students may be eligible to enroll in the 0-credit IDS 4914  course. This course will not impact degree credits or GPA but will show on an official transcript and document the experience. The Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research is able to assist with further inquiries.

Advising Information - College of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate Advising Information

The College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Advising Team provides students with support to create timely graduation plans that will integrate both their academic and professional goals.  Each of our undergraduate programs has dedicated professional advisors with specialized knowledge and understanding of the major requirements, course offerings, undergraduate research, and career opportunities in their field.  Additionally, we have dedicated pre-health and prelaw advisors to help students prepare for admission to professional graduate programs.


CAS Academic Advisor Contact information can be found here: CAS Advisors

To schedule an advising appointment: Advising Appointments