Study marine biology at WWU!

Studying marine biology is great preparation for careers in conservation, research, or education. Students will spend two summers at our premiere marine laboratory on the Salish Sea, and get direct access to hands-on opportunities and custom research equipment.

Marine biology students will follow a different schedule during their junior and senior years to allow for more time at Rosario without it being cost-prohibitive. Junior and senior students will study at Rosario during the summer and take spring quarters off instead of a traditional summer break. This will allow financial aid—which is normally limited to three quarters per year—to be applied toward summer courses.

Marine biology may be a great fit if you…

Are passionate about environmental issues and marine conservation.

Enjoy learning about animals and their habitats. Most marine biologists complete graduate studies.

Desire a career that will make a real impact, whether working in nature, a lab, or a classroom.

Program highlights

One of the only marine biology programs at a private school on the West Coast. 

Gain collaboration skills and do high-caliber research.

Our satellite campus at Rosario offers a highly equipped, unique lab location for waterfront education.

Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory

Walla Walla University offers the perfect place to dive into marine biology at its own world-class marine laboratory located on 40 acres of beachfront land that borders the famous Deception Pass State Park in the northwest corner of Washington State. Students will have the opportunity for hands-on study with direct access to tide pools, saltwater tanks, and labs right at the oceans.

Walla Walla University may be the best place to study marine biology at a Christian university on the West Coast.

  • WWU is one of only seven private colleges in the United States where you can study marine biology at a marine lab
  • WWU has a strong school of engineering, offering custom equipment and interdepartmental collaboration for cutting-edge marine research.
  • WWU prepares students unusually well for doctoral work in STEM, ranking 18th nationwide among other colleges with marine biology programs.
  • WWU is a small, Christian school. You’ll have direct access to caring professors and more opportunities to do research—even published, peer-reviewed research.

Marine biologists may work in:

  • Natural resource management
  • Environmental consulting
  • Research
  • Aquarium care
  • Bioinformatics
  • Education


Courses include an introduction to marine sciences, engineering for the life sciences, and motorboat operation. The biology department also has four faculty members with specific expertise in areas of marine biology who will teach within the program.

Start date

Fall 2024

Marine biology questions?

Kirt Onthank
Professor of Biology; Rosario Beach Marine Biology Laboratory Director
(509) 527-2642