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.
Applicants can be admitted with or without having completed a master’s degree. In addition to Graduate Division’s requirements for doctoral candidates, students in the PhD track will need to complete the core courses with a grade of B or above, and complete additional relevant course work as indicated by the dissertation committee. Students entering without a MS degree will be required to take a minimum of 30 graduate course credits, including at least 18 credits of formal course work and Dissertation (800). All PhD candidates will be required to demonstrate teaching experience (e.g. Teaching Assistantship) during at least one semester of graduate study.
Students are admitted to the graduate program only in the fall semester; the application deadline is December 15, manoa.hawaii.edu/graduate/admissions. 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.
Please see mbiograd.manoa.hawaii.edu/apply for additional program application requirements.
All applicants must complete materials for admission for both UH Mānoa through the Graduate Division AND the Marine Biology Graduate Program. Follow all steps below to ensure that a complete application packet is submitted by the deadline.
Annually, the application deadline for admission the following fall semester is December 15
- Applications are no longer being accepted for Fall 2020 (starting in September 2020, updated information on the Fall 2021 admissions process will be posted).
- Applications are only accepted for fall semesters.
- Be sure you have read through our admissions requirements.
- Although we do not have a "priority application deadline," we strongly encourage applicants to submit the following by the end of November:
- Transcripts (see below)
- TOEFL score (for international students) (see below)
- the Graduate Application (see below)
- The items listed above are processed by a separate office, so submitting them at/close to the deadline (and the end of the academic semester) results in delays in the Program receiving these materials.
Detailed steps for applying can be found here
Information on available grants, scholarships, and financial aid can be found here
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.
Demonstrated expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods for field and laboratory research with the ability to develop a comprehensive research plan.
Advanced competency in publishing, disseminating and communicating research findings in professional, public and practical application and in grant writing.
Detailed information about admission requirements can be found here