Marine Biology - BS, License Option

The Marine Biology License Option program allows the marine biology student to prepare for a career as an officer aboard a sea going vessel by participating in the Texas A&M Maritime Academy Corps of Midshipmen. The curriculum provides the basics of marine biology as well as courses leading toward licensing as a Third Mate of any gross tonnage upon oceans, steam, or motor vessels, in the U.S. Merchant Marine.

The Marine Biology License Option curriculum is an abbreviated version of the Marine Biology curriculum and is oriented toward field activities consistent with service aboard research vessels. Students who wish to attend a biologically-oriented graduate program, or are interested in the medical professions, are advised to take additional coursework in developmental biology, genetics, biochemistry, and physiology.

Midshipmen who enroll in and apply to graduate in this curriculum must pass the license examination for Third Mate in order to graduate from Texas A&M University. Certain USCG courses require a minimum grade of C (70%).

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallSemester Credit Hours
BIOL 111 Introductory Biology I 1,2 4
CHEM 101 Fundamentals of Chemistry I 3
CHEM 111 Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory I 1
MART 103 Basic Safety and Lifeboatman Training 3 3
MART 201 Vessel Structure and Ship Knowledge 3 3
Select one from: 4 3
Finite Mathematics  
Functions, Trigonometry and Linear Systems  
Engineering Mathematics II  
Topics in Contemporary Mathematics II  
Introduction to Logic  
 Semester Credit Hours17
BIOL 112 Introductory Biology II 1,2 4
CHEM 102 Fundamentals of Chemistry II 3
CHEM 112 Fundamentals of Chemistry Laboratory II 1
MART 115 Seamanship I 3 3
MART 204 Terrestrial Navigation 3 3
Select one from: 3
Business Calculus  
Engineering Mathematics I  
Any calculus course
 Semester Credit Hours17
MART 200 Deck Sea Training I: Basic Communications, Navigation and Seamanship 3 4
 Semester Credit Hours4
Second Year
CHEM 227 Organic Chemistry I 3
CHEM 237 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
MARB 300 Scientific Methods in Marine Biology 2 2
NVSC 200 Naval Science for the Merchant Marine Officer 3 3
PHYS 201 College Physics 4
American history 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
CHEM 228 Organic Chemistry II 3
CHEM 238 Organic Chemistry Laboratory 1
ENGL 104 Composition and Rhetoric 3
MART 215 Seamanship II 3,5 3
MART 303 Celestial Navigation 3 3
PHYS 202 College Physics 4
 Semester Credit Hours17
ECON 203 Principles of Economics 3
ENGL 210 Technical and Business Writing 3
Language, philosophy and culture 3
 Semester Credit Hours9
Third Year
MARB 303 Biostatistics 2 3
MARB 315 Natural History of Vertebrates 2 4
MART 210 Integrated Navigation I: RADAR/ARPA/ECDIS 3 4
MART 212 Marine Dry Cargo Operations 3 3
MART 321 Navigation Rules, International and Inland 3 2
 Semester Credit Hours16
MART 202 Ship Stability and Trim 3 3
MART 307 Global Maritime Distress Safety System 3 3
MART 310 Integrated Navigation II: Electronic Navigation 3 2
MART 313 Marine Liquid Cargo Operations 3 3
POLS 206 American National Government 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Select one from: 3 4
Deck Sea Training II: Intermediate Communications, Navigation and Seamanship  
Deck Sea Training II – Commercial Internship  
 Semester Credit Hours4
Fourth Year
MARB 310 Introduction to Cell Biology 2 4
MARB 425 Marine Ecology 2 4
MART 410 Integrated Navigation III: Bridge Watchstanding 3,5 2
POLS 207 State and Local Government 3
Creative arts 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
MARB 311 Ichthyology 2 4
MARB 435 Marine Invertebrate Zoology 2,5 4
MART 208 Maritime Meteorology 3 3
MART 498 Maritime Medical Care 3,6 2
American history 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
MART 400 Deck Sea Training III: Advanced Communications, Navigation and Seamanship 3 4
 Semester Credit Hours4
 Total Semester Credit Hours150

All electives must be chosen in consultation with, and approved by, the student's academic advisor. Unless courses are specifically listed, see University Core Curriculum at for a listing of course options for Communication; Mathematics; Life and Physical Sciences; Language, Philosophy and Culture; Creative Arts; American History; Government and Political Sciences; and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The 6-hour University Core Curriculum requirement for International and Cultural Diversity may be met with courses used to satisfy other degree requirements.

The total hours may be increased if the student is required to take remedial math, remedial English, foreign language or International and Cultural Diversity courses, or any of the six hour cruise options. The six hour cruise options (NAUT 200, NAUT 300 and NAUT 400 or MARR 200, MARR 300 and MARR 400) do not add any required hours to the degree plan.

This degree requires full participation in the Texas A&M University Maritime Academy Corps of Cadets as a qualified License Option cadet. Refer to the University catalog section on the Texas A&M Maritime Academy for additional information. In addition to the academic requirements outlined here, the cadet must also complete the following requirements to receive the degree:

  • Successfully complete required sea service and minimum training cruise requirements

  • Pass a comprehensive professional examination (either the Third Mate Unlimited-Oceans or Third Assistant Engineering Unlimited) administered by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG).

  • Successfully complete all competencies required by the International Convention on Standards for Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW).

Note: STCW competency certifications expire 5 years after completion. If the cadet does not complete the degree within that time period, the cadet will be required to revalidate the expired competency prior to graduation.