8 Free Online Marine Biology Courses

Do you want to pursue a career in marine biology or just want to gain knowledge of life in the marine kingdom? Then you have come to the right place! Curated here are free online marine biology courses you can get started with to help you develop a fundamental knowledge of marine biology.

Marine biology is the scientific study of water bodies and every organism that lives, moves, and filters through them. A marine biologist is someone who does this study of marine life and the organisms that habit it.

To become a marine biologist you’ll have to earn a bachelor’s degree in marine biology, zoology, ecology, aquatic biology, botany, animal science, or a related field of study which will get you into an entry-level position as a marine biologist. Volunteer experience often counts for entry-level positions. Marine biologist requirements vary by position but may include scuba diving certification, ability to use GIS technology, and coding skills.

However, before you dive into a marine biology degree, why don’t you indulge yourself in some free online marine biology courses? This way, you get to be certain that this is a discipline you want to build a career in. You could also take the courses if you’ve always been curious about life underwater and haven’t been getting satisfying answers. Life underwater is a curious subject and studies regarding it are on the surface, so this is your chance to acquire some new, uncommon knowledge.

You may also enroll in some free online marine biology courses if you are looking to switch careers. If you complete the marine biology courses online and wish to earn a college degree in the field, we have a list of the best universities in the world for marine biology that will guide you in choosing a suitable school.

Can I Learn Marine Biology Online?

Yes, you can learn marine biology online offered by some of the top universities in the world via online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Alison, and many others. You can enroll in any online marine biology class from the comfort of your home and study at your own pace while connecting with other learners from different parts of the world.

free online marine biology courses

6 Free Online Marine Biology Courses

The following are the free online marine biology courses featured on our list;

  • Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles
  • Marine Biology
  • Fundamentals of Biology
  • Ecology Studies – Conversation Biology and Biodiversity
  • Biology – Cell Theory, Metabolism, and Plant Biology
  • Biology – Cell Division
  • The Oceans
  • Understanding Marine Biology

1. Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles

This makes it on our top list of free online marine biology courses, and it is offered by the University of Alberta, a top university in Canada, via Coursera.

Paleontology is the scientific study of life that existed much earlier before humans came and it also includes the study of fossils to classify organisms and study interactions with each other and their environments.

Now, in this course which is divided into four lessons, you will be studying paleontology concerning marine life. It teaches a comprehensive overview of the evolutionary changes that occurred to ancient marine reptiles.

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2. Marine Biology

This is one of the free online marine biology courses from Saylor Academy, an online learning platform recognized for offering university-taught courses online. Fortunately, this one is free and you should jump right into it to know how marine biology is being taught in universities.

The course dives deeper into the study of ocean life, especially salt water since it is different from life in a terrestrial or freshwater environment. You get to learn the factors that made them different, the adaptive features of saltwater organisms, and how the environmental factors in marine communities affect biodiversity.

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3. Basics of Biology

This is one of the free online marine biology courses offered by Alison, another popular online platform, and it agrees that students need to have an understanding of the fundamentals of biology before going on to read marine biology.

So, with that in mind, this course was born and if you never had an idea about biology but want to do marine biology, you will need to go through this course first.

It teaches a comprehensive overview of the study of living things, their structure, growth, origin, evolution, and distribution which are pre-requisite knowledge to have before going on to read marine biology.

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4. Ecology Studies – Conversation Biology and Biodiversity

This free online marine biology course from Alison is a study on ecology as it relates to marine biology focusing on conservation biology and biodiversity. As an aspiring marine biologist, you need to have expertise in conservation biology for marine life.

With that knowledge, you will be able to detect core threats, causes of extinction, how the loss of biodiversity threatens the ecosystem, and what kind of actions can be undertaken to preserve it.

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5. Biology – Cell Theory, Metabolism, and Plant Biology

All living things have different biology, structure, and growth and this is what this course teaches. It is another of the free online marine biology courses from Alison that gives you a deeper understanding of characterizing living organisms.

Students will also go on to study cell theory, plant biology, and photosynthesis, and establish their understanding of the living world around them

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6. Biology – Cell Division

Mitosis, meiosis, embryonic stem cells, and cell replication – these are what this free online course brings to you, giving you a comprehensive understanding of each of these terms and how they relate to the life around you.

This is the knowledge you need to possess in your pursuit of becoming an established marine biologist.

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7. The Oceans

This a free online course on OpenLearn that will improve your knowledge about the ocean. You will learn about the depths of the oceans and the properties of the water that fills them. You will also learn other amazing things about the ocean that are not very common.

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8. Understanding Marine Biology

This course will introduce students to the concepts of marine biology and it is especially recommended for those who want to pursue careers in marine biology as this course will prepare them for college studies. The course consists of three modules, some of the topics in the course include marine life and microbes, marine biology and the ocean, marine ecology, marine ecology and conservation, etc.

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Top Schools for Marine Biology

A variety of schools offer marine biology programs both at undergraduate and graduate levels of study. Some of the best marine biology programs can be found in the following schools;

  • Boston University
  • The University of North Carolina
  • Eckerd College
  • The University of California
  • Oregon State University
  • The University of Maine
  • The University of New Hampshire
  • Stony Brook University
  • The University of Oregon
  • California State University

So, these are the top 10 best schools that offer marine biology check in with each of the institutions to learn about the academic requirements and application deadline.

Career Opportunities for Marine Biologists

With a marine biology degree, you can build a career as;

  • Marine scientist
  • Research biologist
  • Botanist
  • Horticulturist
  • Microbiologist
  • Biological technician
  • Biologist


This brings an end to the free online marine biology courses you could find on the internet, yes these are all of the other ones that have to be paid for. You can enroll anytime for these courses and they are self-paced which means you get to study at your own time.

The free online marine biology courses will help you test the waters before going on to become a degree holder in marine biology.




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