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Marine & Conservation Biology, BS

Earn a Marine Biology degree with a focus on conservation—explore biodiversity, ecosystems, and environmental issues through hands-on learning experiences.

About this Program

Explore Biodiversity and Ecosystems

The specialized BS degree in marine and conservation biology provides students with field experiences to engage with relevant local and global environmental issues.

The major is designed for students who want to focus on exploring biodiversity, the web of relationships among organisms, the changing dynamics of ecosystems and more.

Seattle's proximity to mountain ranges, old growth forests, lakes, and rivers, as well as the marine habitats of Puget Sound and the open coast serve as living laboratories for our courses and research endeavors. 

Academic Excellence, Focused on Sustainability

  • Our program helps you develop the skills in critical thinking, quantitative problem-solving and scientific research that provides the foundation for success in your career. 
  • Our commitment to undergraduate education means you get high-quality faculty-led instruction in every course.
  • With the help of your biology faculty adviser, you can tailor your coursework to meet your educational and post-graduation goals.
  • Based on our Jesuit and Catholic values, your academically challenging education will focus on global justice with a commitment to sustainability.

Marine and Conservation Biology At a Glance

Learn how this degree from the Department of Biology will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

The bachelor of science in marine and conservation biology (MCON) helps you develop an appreciation for the marine environments, ecology, and conservation efforts. As you pursue the degree, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about biodiversity, organismal biology, physiology and ecosystems and to participate in research projects where you will get hands-on experience in the areas you’re studying. The major is designed for you to focus on exploring biodiversity, the changing dynamics of ecosystems, global environments and more.

This degree also has an education abroad component, where you will encounter different habitats, take coursework, and gain research experience at one of the many available sites across the globe. Plus, Seattle's proximity to mountain ranges, old growth forests, lakes, and rivers, as well as the marine habitats of Puget Sound and the open coast serve as living laboratories for our courses and research endeavors. 

MCON Curriculum One Page 

MCON students are encouraged to incorporate an education abroad experience into their degree. Take courses at Blakely Island Field Station north of Seattle (during summer quarter for Seattle University) or another more distant site for an extended time (for example, during summer+fall or winter+spring quarters). Approval of programs and courses for transfer credit at Seattle University should be requested from the Biology Department before application to other programs.


Upon completing their degree programs in biology, students will:

  • Have a broad and solid foundation of biological knowledge.
  • Communicate scientific information effectively through writing and speaking. 
  • Use analytical thinking to solve problems. 
  • Be able to design experiments and interpret observations. 
  • Be able to read, understand, and critique scientific publications. 
  • Be able to conduct independent studies in biology. 
  • Translate experiential learning into professional formation.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

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Top 25% in Science & Engineering

Seattle University ranks #40 in the nation —U.S. News & World Report, 2023


Students in Intro Biology Courses

To build your foundation of success, we offer small class size from day one.



Our average of women STEM students nearly doubles the national average of only 23%.

Hands-On, Research-Focused Learning

Four Students in Front of Poster

Senior Synthesis and Research Projects

In your senior year, you will complete a senior synthesis project that demonstrates a thorough understanding of the field on a topic of your choice. Some students base their senior synthesis projects on SU research experiences.

Teacher and student examine insect

Hands-On Lab Experiences

Starting with your first course in our department, our curriculum provides a wide variety of biology experiences in the field and lab. Over 90% of biology courses have a lab component that is led by a faculty member.

Students stand at the edge of body of water

Research Internships, Fellowships and Field Opportunities

Biology faculty collaborate with students on research projects on a range of issues. Located in the bustling research hub that is Seattle, our program gives you many internship and field opportunities to learn science and make discoveries.

From Our Alumni

Olivia Roberts, ‘24

“The faculty and advisors for the marine and conservation major are unmatched. They provide considerate and constructive feedback as well as countless opportunities to advance your experience and career readiness. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to do my own Seattle U-funded research, which is something that would be much more challenging and inaccessible at other institutions.”

BS in Marine and Conservation Biology

Featured Faculty


We’re here to help. For information about Marine & Conservation Biology at Seattle University, contact:

Biology Department

Get in Touch