Marine Biology

The marine biology degree program at Central Methodist University is a dynamic, engaging major for those interested in marine biology, oceanography and the aquatic world. The program is unique in that all major courses are offered on campus, three coastal field trips are taken during a student’s academic career, and SCUBA certification is taught to all majors at CMU.

Although CMU is located in Missouri, students are emerged in the marine realm as they learn from experts in the field. Classes offered include; marine biology, biodiversity of marine life, toxicology, tropical marine biology, marine research, and many more! Field trips are utilized as labs to give students a hands-on experience at learning and practicing good conservation and research methods discussed in the classroom. Coursework before and/or after the field trips allow students to prepare for the trips and analyze specimens and data collected during the trips.

Students go to Dauphin Island, Alabama every spring break to study the residual effects of the BP oil spill and the biodiversity of the island’s habitats. In the early summer, a trip to Panama City, FL is taken to practice SCUBA diving skills, collect reef organisms, and study the ever-changing costal environment. In the late summer, students travel to Roatan, Honduras to participate in an ongoing project with Bay Islands Reef Restoration to tackle relevant problems that affect the reef ecosystem worldwide. Coral reef restoration and disease mitigation work is completed by out-planting juvenile coral polyps on the reef and utilizing leading-edge medicines to treat diseased corals. Not only do students have something tangible to add to their resume, but they get the opportunity to take an active stance on issues negatively impacting the marine environment.

During trips to Panama City and Roatan, students will practice various scientific diving techniques and skills; all of which are acquired at CMU. Each spring SCUBA certification is taught on campus by certified NASE (National Academy of Scuba Educators) instructors. Students learn the proper skills and techniques for safe diving during the course and demonstrate thorough knowledge before diving in the ocean. Diving skills are then practiced on trips allowing students to gain a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the marine community. Upon graduation, many students earn their Advanced Open Water Diver certification.

The CMU marine biology program ensures that all majors and minors graduate with an understanding of the marine ecosystem while gaining hands-on experience to help guide students in their future with marine biology.

CMU has a student organization related to this major:  the Marine Biology Club (advisor: Professor Greg Thurmon).  This club is open to all students. 

Program Mission Statement:

This major prepares students for graduate school in marine biology or to work as a marine biologist. Opportunities include research in aquaculture, biodiversity, ecology, education, fisheries, pathology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy, and toxicology. Combined with a basic back ground in general biology, marine biology is essential for continued monitoring of marine organisms and environment for recreation, biodiversity, and food production.

Marine Biology Program Outcomes:

Marine Biology Knowledge Base

  • Students should have the ability to demonstrate a fundamental level of academic competence in core biological content and issue knowledge.

Marine Biology Concepts

  • Students will use the principles of biological classification to examine the diversity of life and identify the phylogenetic relationships of the major groups of organisms.

Communication of Marine Biology Knowledge and Ability

  • The well-trained Marine Biology major should be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, about biology or marine biology concepts.
Majors and Minors

Major Minor

BA or BS in Marine Biology Marine Biology Minor
Last updated: 08/07/2023