Graduate Program in Marine Biology

Cutting-edge marine research is at the core of our mission

We recruit highly motivated students with strong research experience, advanced skill-sets and diverse backgrounds. We offer a nurturing environment that will launch your scientific career into limitless possibilities.

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GPMB admissions process

All complete applications are evaluated by the GPMB Admissions Committee. Successful applications show us the qualities of committed scientists. A diamond in the rough. Our cohorts are small, 13-17 students are admitted in the Fall each year.
  • Science Background

    If you are a junior, take that Calculus class, as well as two Physics courses and Organic Chemistry. If you are serious about your scientific pursuits, plan accordingly. Every Biology Department in the world has wonderful upper division courses (300 and 400 level) and we expect all our students to have a strong background in Molecular Biology and Ecology from the get go. Make sure you have this experience under your belt as an undergraduate student. If you don't have all the required courses but otherwise have laboratory or field research experience, that may satisfy the course requirement. Otherwise, you may get admitted with the condition of taking a course before joining the program. We don't want you to struggle or fail on your first year with us.

  • Personal Statement

    Captivate your audience with your first paragraph. The Admissions Committee wants to know about your experiences with lab and/or field-based research projects, your current interests in Marine Biology, and your professional goals in pursuing a M.S. degree.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Allow your professors to know the amazing person you are. Then, ask them for a great letter of recommendation. If they hesitate, ask another professor. You want your cheerleaders to share their enthusiasm about you going into a scientific career with us.

Assistantships and Scholarships

All our students are offered a Teaching Assistantship for their first year in the program. Our program scholarships are awarded to students based on the GPMB Admissions Committee recommendation. There is no application process as all Fall applicants are considered for these awards.
  • Teaching Assistantships

    You gain valuable academic experience by teaching three laboratory sections of Intro Biology during the Fall and the Spring semesters. This Assistanship pays $16,250 per academic year. Prep sessions are conducted on Fridays.

  • Summer Research Award

    This award, in the amount of $3,750, is offered to highly qualified students during the Fall admissions process. It is renewable for a second year if you meet the requirements.

  • Marine Genomics Fellowship

    This award, in the amount of $25,000, is offered to applicants with a strong genetics background and eagerness to conduct research that involves genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, or bioinformatics as a major component of their thesis project. It is renewable for a second year if you meet the requirements. 

    You cannot hold a Teaching Assistantship in addition to this fellowship.

  • Research Assistantships

    Awarded to second-year students by the major advisor. These assistantships pay $6,300 to $8,000 depending on the institution that offers the asssistantship (College of Charleston, SC-DNR, NOAA). You can hold an assistantship as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

  • Graduate Assistantships

    Generally awarded to second-year students by application. These assistantships pay $6,300 per semester. Offered by many College of Charleston departments. You gain valuable administrative experience by working 20 hours per week during the academic year. You can hold an assistantship as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

Incoming students

Enrolled students take 18 credit hours of coursework during their first year in the program (9 credit hours during their first semester and 9 credit hours during their second semester). An Oral Exam tests their scientific knowledge, presentation skills, and overall progress at the end of this year.
  • Academic Regulations

    Students are ruled by the Academic Catalog of the academic year the student is admited.

  • Faculty

    More than 100 faculty allow you to explore multiple research possibilities. Our faculty members are associated to the College of Charleston, The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, NOAA, The Citadel, and the Medical University of South Carolina. You will find an advisor during your first year in the program.

  • Courses

    More than 30 marine biology courses at the graduate level are offered each year. Most program courses include a laboratory component.

  • Cost of Attendance

    Tuition and Fees are applied to 18 credit hours during the first year, which are greatly reduced on the second year, as students take 6 credit hours or less on their third and fourth semesters.

Make it Happen

This is a highly competitive program. Our students thrive in a community of extremely motivated scientists doing field and laboratory research. They ask timely questions and test hypotheses towards discussing their results and new ideas at professional meetings. Are you ready to challenge yourself? 

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