Students in class

The Marine Science Department at UH Hilo has the resources to prepare the next generation of marine scientists. Located just 10 minutes from the shoreline and our research vessel, our students have access to Hawaiʻi Island’s unique variety of tropical marine environments all year long. Our Bachelor’s degrees in Marine Science have been carefully designed to provide students the opportunity to study the unique variety of marine environments found around the Island of Hawaiʻi. We believe the best way to study the ocean is to be immersed in it. We prepare students to be innovative, successful life-long learners, and engaged stewards of the marine environment.

We inspire and enlighten all learners about the ocean. All our tenure-track faculty have PhDs in marine science and teach lab courses. All labs include field trips, such as shoreline biological inventory surveys, snorkeling-based ecological surveys, or oceanographic data collection aboard our research vessel. Field labs are integrated with classroom labs, where students practice fundamental marine biology and chemical analysis skills. Lecture courses provide the theoretical background that prepares students for marine science careers. With a broad range of expertise, faculty are able to mentor and advise students on a wide range of career paths available to the Marine Science graduate.

Opportunities to study marine science outside the classroom abound. The Marine Option Program (MOP) provides numerous field trips and experiences throughout the year. All faculty have active research programs, and we rely on undergraduates to participate as volunteers, employees, and project leaders on research projects. Students are encouraged to conduct their own research projects and can earn academic credit working on a MOP Project or a Senior Thesis. Opportunities exists to intern with our Boating Safety Program, Dive Safety Program, Analytical Lab, the Hawaiʻi Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, as well as with local NGOs and federal and state agencies.

Our Degrees and Campus

The University

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is characterized as a comprehensive, diverse, regional university. Scholarship and research are an important part of faculty work and student engagement, but the primary focus is on providing high-quality baccalaureate and postgraduate education.

One Learns from Many Sources

We provide hands-on learning centered around the natural and cultural environment of Hawaiʻi. Check out Mia Lamirand's amazing video highlighting Marine Science at UH Hilo.


The mission of the undergraduate degree program in marine science is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the world’s oceans and an appreciation of the importance of marine ecosystems to the global environment and human life. The mission is accomplished through a combination of hands-on laboratory and field experience, inquiry-based instruction, and direct interactive learning and is supported by a broad background in the marine sciences, including basic knowledge of the natural science disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and mathematics.