WLC students scuba diving near coral reef

Marine Biology Major

Want to make the world a better place for people and animals? Turn your compassion for marine life and its ecosystems, and passion for science, into your career.

Our marine biology major offers you experiential learning opportunities in marine science and its related ecosystems. Such opportunities include diving and snorkeling in different marine contexts, hiking and study in intertidal environments, collection and identification of marine organisms, and lab work.



Hands-on experiences in Wisconsin and beyond

Our close proximity to the Milwaukee County Zoo, Discovery World, biologically significant waterways, and Lake Michigan, offer local opportunities for research, education, and graduate employment.

Through study abroad and faculty-led study programs, you may have the opportunity to take part in experiential learning at a variety of marine environments outside of our area, including: Grenada, Jamaica, Florida, and Australia.

Small classes with faculty dedicated to your success

Our Marine Biology program is designed to be small enough to give you individualized attention from professors who are committed to your success.

Gain real-world skills that translate to a career

Whether you pursue a career as a marine zoologist, oceanographer, wildlife biologist, hydrographer, ecologist, marine biologist or biochemist, educator, or choose another path, you’ll graduate with a solid skill set that will help you succeed.

Our students participate in research in several diverse marine environments

Research on Grenada’s coral reef engages students in a long-term biological monitoring project in a marine protected area off its southwest shore. Students have also traveled to Florida, Australia, and Jamaica to explore coral reefs, turtle grass beds, rocky shores, and mangrove swamps.

Our students regularly participate in projects that study the aquatic ecology of Milwaukee area waterways, including: monitoring fish and invertebrate species diversity in local streams; assessing wetland habitat health via turtle surveys; and evaluating the effectiveness of a porous rock barrier in Lake Michigan that is designed to keep fish away from an electrical generating station.

As you conduct research in various environments, you’ll be encouraged to consider the social, cultural, and historical factors affecting — and being affected by — the local marine ecosystem.

Dive into marine conservation in Grenada, West Indies

Our marine biology students are actively engaged in an on-going research partnership with the island’s minister of fisheries and an alliance with St. George’s University. During each trip, students record and track the health of the island’s coral reef and fish populations. Students analyze the data during the academic year and present reports to the island’s government. This information is used by local authorities to guide marine conservation policy.

Discover deeper connections through undergraduate research

Faculty-guided undergraduate research projects at WLC are always growing. Marine biology majors participate in a number of well-funded projects in aquatic ecology in both local and tropical watersheds. They may also conduct independent research in areas of personal interest and career aspirations. Students may attend and present at national conferences, contribute to academic journals, and take part in academic competitions. On campus, students are responsible for coral propagation and maintaining a community of reef creatures within WLC’s 500-gallon marine reef tank.

Learning shouldn't be a spectator sport. 

Our students learn science by doing science.

You will develop close, personal relationships with your classmates and faculty. They want you to succeed academically as well as grow spiritually in a supportive, nurturing environment. They'll engage you in experiential learning that extends far beyond a lecture hall.


Marine Biology Advising Resources