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Marine Science Undergraduate Programs

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 The distinguishing resource available to marine science students is the University's location on the banks of the St. Johns River and its close proximity to numerous marine estuaries and the Atlantic Ocean, giving students access to a variety of marine habitats for campus research projects. The Reid Medical Sciences and Nelms Science buildings house the marine science and biology programs. The R/V Dolphin, a 25-foot Boston Whaler with a LORAN navigation system, enables student to participate in off-campus field work assignments. Specialized equipment includes several electronic means of sampling water quality, including a MPM4000 data logger with the capability of recording data continuously for up to one month. The Department of Biology and Marine Science has a working wet lab with an aeration system, numerous aquaria and facilities to maintain various marine and freshwater organisms. A walk-in environmental chamber and an aquaculture compound support freshwater fish aquaculture. The department also provides a variety of spectrophotometers, centrifuges, incubators and microscopes for the use of students and faculty in laboratory and research settings.

For more than 50 years, Jacksonville University has claimed the dolphin as its mascot. Now can you imagine living with real dolphins – plus manatee, sharks, stingrays and more – in your own backyard? Our marine science students have direct campus access to the St. Johns River and are only minutes from the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, within two hours, you can be in an estuary, spring-fed river, sea grass marsh, mangrove, coral reef or cypress swamp. There’s no better place to experience a range of marine environments. 

When you come, be prepared to get your feet wet! In classes and labs, for research projects and internships, for field trips and student clubs, you’ll be wading through diverse marine environments with your professors and classmates. Our faculty have active, grant-funded research projects that provide ample opportunities for students to get involved.  Please take a moment to visit the Manatee Research Center Online (MARCO) at

You can take day trips on our own Boston Whaler and group field trips to the Florida Keys, the southeast Georgia islands and marine research facilities. You’ll also find opportunities to design your own research projects, plan activities for the Student Oceanic Society, and pursue internships in jobs in marine science and environmentally related fields. 

Program Requirements

​​Marine science majors are required to take the introductory sequence of:  

  • Introduction to Marine Science, 
  • Introduction to Cellular, Genetic & Molecular Biology,
  • Botany,
  • Zoology, and
  • Oral Communication in the Biological Sciences.

After completing the courses listed above, stu​dents must also take: 

  • Marine Ecology,
  • and an additional minimum of 16 credit hours of upper division marine science courses, 6 hours of which must be chosen from:
    • Marine Geology,
    • Physical Oceanography, and
    • Biological Oceanography.
Required allied courses include chemistry (a full year of Introductory Chemistry, as well as Organic Chemistry), a full year of physics, and Senior Seminar.

Marine science majors also must complete the University's core, or general education, curriculum appropriate to the degree they seek.

Students who plan to pursue a marine science major should be well prepared in the sciences.
High school courses should include mathematics through trigonometry, biology, chemistry, and physics.
Secondary school courses in marine biology or oceanography may provide additional background, but are not required.

Freshman year:
MSC 101. Introduction to Marine Science (4 credits)
Generally taken 1st semester (Fall). 3 hours lecture and 2 hours laboratory each week. This course will introduce students to the broad interdisciplinary field of marine science. Physical, chemical, and biological oceanography will be presented in interactive classes and laboratory exercises. Relevant topics, such as local coastal systems, tropical-temperature transitions, and environmental issues will be discussed. Field trips will explore local ecosystems.
BLY 204. Botany (4 credits) or BLY 207. Zoology (4 credits)
Generally taken 2nd semester (Spring). 4 credit hours with lab, includes both laboratory and some field work. These are survey courses of the plant and animal kingdoms. Both are required, but need not be taken in a specific order.
CY 103 & CY 104. Introduction to Chemistry 1 & 2 (4 credits each).
8 credit hours (taken 4 credits each semester).
Students will also usually take math (Calculus 1 & Science Statistics are required for the major) and/or some other core curriculum courses during their Freshman year.
Sophomore year:
BLY 204. Botany (4 credits) or BLY 207. Zoology (4 credits)
Generally taken 2nd semester (Spring). 4 credit hours with lab, includes both laboratory and some field work. These are survey courses of the plant and animal kingdom. Both are required, but need not be taken in a specific order.
CY 301 & CY 302. Organic Chemistry 1 & 2 (4 credits each).
Generally taken during the Fall and Spring of Sophomore year. 4 credit hours with lab.
BLY 223. Oral Communications in the Biological Sciences (3 credits).
This is our required speech course within the major. Students do several presentations in styles used by professionals in the biological sciences. This is a very hands-on course.
Students will also usually take math (see above), some other core curriculum courses, and perhaps some upper division Biology or Marine Science courses during the 2nd semester of their Sophomore year.
Junior and Senior years:
MSC 306. Physical Oceanography (3 credits)
MSC 307. Marine Geology (3 credits)
MSC 406. Biological Oceanography (3 credits)
These three courses consists of lectures that focus on the processes occurring in the ocean. Students must take two of them. They are mostly lecture-based with some groups and individual projects, but no labs.
MSC 310. Marine Ecology (4 credits)
4 credit hours with lab. Required course, includes field and lab experiences, long-term experiments, fieldtrips, and boat time aboard the JU's 25-ft R/V Dolphin.
BLY 499 Senior Seminar (1 credit)
This is a discussion based class required of all majors during their Senior year.
Remaining courses are chosen from upper division Biology and Marine Science classes as offered and fitting the interest of the student. See the Courses page for details on elective courses applicable to marine science majors.

For additional or specific information, you can write, call or e-mail us:

Dr. Daniel A. McCarthy




Dr. Lee Ann Clements


Office of Admission
(904) 256-7000 or (800) 225-2027 (toll-free)