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Master of Science in Marine Biology

Master (ISCED 2011 level 7)


Duration 4 semesters
Cost $18,696 per semester (Nonresident)/$7,956 per semester (Resident)

The Academic Program

Marine biological studies at UH Manoa have a long history of excellent research and graduate training in the internationally recognized graduate programs in oceanography, zoology, botany, and microbiology. The School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology and the College of Natural Sciences together sponsor a new graduate program that offers PhD and MS degrees in marine biology. This program takes advantage of the 39 faculty members at the university whose research interests span the study of marine organisms, ecosystems, biogeochemical processes, reefs, oceanic fisheries, and human/ marine interactions. It also offers research and internship opportunities with partners at state and federal agencies such as NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism.

The faculty and students in this program have access to one of the largest coral reef habitats in the U.S., including the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the main Hawaiian Islands, and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands. The unique location of the Hawaiian Archipelago in the central North Pacific Ocean makes it one of the most remote locations in the world allowing the processes that govern the marine environment to be studied with minimal anthropogenic influence. The program emphasizes scientific training in marine biology as a high demand occupation for the future.

The goal of the program is to produce scientists who are experts in their research areas with a broad-based understanding of the biology, ecology, evolution, and life processes of marine organisms. This program also addresses the growing need, locally and globally, for technically trained scientists, managers, and policy makers who are needed to understand the many processes that govern tropical marine ecosystems. Sound management of marine resources is becoming critical as these resources come under mounting pressure for exploitation from human populations and increasing stress from global climate change.


Student Learning Objectives (SLO)

Students participating in the program are expected to achieve the following upon graduation:


A working, in-depth understanding of marine biological systems and processes in both offshore and near shore environments, with an emphasis on the important linkages between these habitats.

Research Skills

Demonstrated expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods for field and laboratory research with the ability to develop a comprehensive research plan.

Professional Advancement

Advanced competency in publishing, disseminating and communicating research findings in professional, public and practical application and in grant writing.


Application Requirements

Please see for program application requirements.



Students are admitted to the graduate program only in the fall semester; the application deadline is December Applicants must submit a completed graduate application form, the official record of performance on the GRE General Test, transcripts for all previous undergraduate and graduate studies; and letters of recommendation from three persons who can appraise the student’s aptitude for graduate study. It is strongly recommended that students take the GRE Biology subject test, and include an official record of performance in their applications. An applicant also must be sponsored by a member of the graduate faculty who has indicated his or her willingness to advise and support the student; the applicant should communicate with prospective faculty sponsors well in advance of the application deadline.

Incoming graduate students are expected to have demonstrated proficiency in the biological sciences, typically by having completed a bachelor’s degree in biology or other life sciences field similar to a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology at UH Manoa.

Structural components
Research Project

Application procedure

Application Deadlines

Fall- December 15

Spring- No spring admission

Individual graduate programs may have priority consideration deadlines. Applicants are advised to contact the graduate programs for such dates. Any available funding support is limited and often awarded well in advance of the application deadlines.

Applicants who apply after the application deadlines MUST consult with the graduate programs before submitting an application. Application fees are non-refundable and may not be used for an application submitted at a later date.

Admissions Requirements

Ways to Apply

Apply online or download PDF application forms.

Applicants need to meet:

  1. Graduate Division admissions standard and documentation requirements, and
  2. program specific admissions criteria and documentation requirements. Send all program specific documentation requirements directly to the graduate program.

Standardized Exams

Refer to program specific admissions criteria and document requirements to determine if the GRE or another standardized exam is required by the graduate program. Official GRE scores must be sent directly to Graduate Division Student Services. All other scores are to be sent to the graduate program.

TOEFL or IELTS is required of most applicants who are non-native speakers of English. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores must be sent directly to Graduate Division Student Services. Minimum scores vary for each graduate program.

Grant opportunities

Information on available grants, scholarships, and financial aid can be found here


Degree Requirements

All graduate students at UHM need to meet degree requirements set by the Graduate Division and their graduate programs. For general Graduate Division requirements, see Degree Requirements. Below is an overview of the degree requirements for this graduate program.

The information provided here is for reference only. Please refer to the department's website for the latest and most accurate information.

ISCED Categories

Project management
Personal skills and communication
Conservation and environmental management
Physical and chemical oceanography