Graduate Degree Programs (Masters and Ph.D)

Marine Biology & Ecology

The Marine Biology and Ecology academic program focuses on a wide range of field, laboratory, and theoretical coursework in a range of research areas, such as coral reef studies, biological oceanography and marine biology, fisheries biology, and the biology and behavior of marine animals.

MBE faculty, students, and their many international collaborators participate in multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary research programs. The UM Rosenstiel School hosts many research centers and groups, such as the experimental hatchery, The National Center for Coral Reef Research, the Rescue-a-Reef citizen science initiative, and the world-renowned NIH/University of Miami National Resource for Aplysia.

Graduate students can choose from a diversity of research areas and coursework taught by internationally recognized scientists studying corals and climate change, fisheries biology, and conducting biomedical research.

Degrees Offered

The Program in Marine Biology and Ecology offers primarily the PhD degree, since more funding opportunities in faculty laboratories are specifically for PhD students. MBE does not require a prior MS degree for the PhD program. It is highly recommended that prospective PhD students make contact with specific faculty to inquire about opportunities in their laboratories as well as undergraduate preparations necessary before they apply.

Funding opportunities for the MS program are very limited, and very few MS students are accepted. Prospective MS students must contact faculty before they apply to inquire about opportunities.

Academic requirements for the MS and PhD degrees can be found here. Both degrees require independent research, but the scope of the research is greater for the PhD degree. Your success in matching your scientific interest with the research area of one of our faculty is one of the most important criteria used in evaluating prospective students for graduate studies in MBE at RSMAS. Most applicants are interested in coral reef ecology, thus competition for admission is highest in that subject. Completed applications are due December 1 for the next academic year.

Master of Professional Science (MPS) degrees are also available with tracks in Marine Mammal Science and Tropical Marine Ecosystem Management. More information about the MPS degree, tracks, and requirements can be found here


Photo Credit: Mike Schmale


Most successful applicants have a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences including a strong foundation in physical sciences (chemistry, physics, calculus) and basic biological sciences. However, applicants with a diversity of other degrees also are successful. Applicants should contact specific faculty to discuss mutual research interests. Applicants must take the GRE, and those whose first language is not English must pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of at least 550. The advanced biology test is not required. Courses in marine biology and oceanography are not necessary for entrance into the program and are not recommended if taken in place of basic biology courses.

Funding Opportunities

The overwhelming majority of MBE students are supported as research assistants. These assistantships, which are awarded competitively, provide a monthly stipend and cover tuition costs. Students not supported as research assistants are generally supported on special fellowships provided by their employer or, for some non-U.S. students, their home country.


Broad Key Research Station: A research and education field station located on Broad Key, Fla. The facility provides faculty and students with expanded opportunities to conduct research throughout the Florida Keys. Located in the North Keys, just two miles away from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the 63-acre island provides scientists with direct access to Florida’s sub-tropical marine ecosystem. Broad Key features a five-bedroom Great House built in 1952 by Arthur Vining Davis and a caretaker's cottage that will be used by the University. The island also boasts a large boathouse and 33-foot dock that can accommodate watercraft with up to a 6-foot draft, as well as its own water storage, solar generator power system, state-of-the-art satellite communications.

In addition, faculty and students have ready access to the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratories (AOML), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC), the relatively nearby Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, and various other associated research disciplines within the University of Miami.

Marine and Atmospheric Chemistry You can find details about opportunities for PhD research for the upcoming academic year here.