Requirements for the Major in Marine Vertebrate Biology (MVB)

The major in Marine Vertebrate Biology leads to a Bachelor of Science degree. Completion of the major requires between 69 and 74 credits. Of these no more than one course (4 credits) with a grade lower than C can be credited to the major.

1. Foundation Courses (43-46 credits)

2. Zoology and Marine Vertebrate Core (13 credits)

  • BIO 344 Chordate Zoology
  • BIO 354 Evolution or BIO 320 Genetics
  • Two of the following:
  • MAR 370 Marine Mammals
  • MAR 376 Biology and Conservation of Sea Turtles
  • MAR 377 Biology and Conservation of Seabirds  
  • MAR 380 Ichthyology

3. Marine Biology (12-14 credits)
MAR 349 Biological Oceanography or BIO 353 Marine Ecology
Three electives from below:

Other classes may be substituted with permission of undergraduate director

4. Upper-Division Writing Requirement
All students in the major must submit two papers from any upper division course in the major to the director of undergraduate programs for evaluation by the end of the junior year.

Students should consult with the department advisor to ensure that their plan for completing the Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent with university graduation requirements for General Education.  Students completing the Stony Brook Curriculum (SBC) must complete a course that satisfies the "Write Effectively within One's Discipline" (WRTD) learning objective to graduate.  The Upper Division Writing Requirement is consistent in most cases with the SBC learning outcomes for WRTD.

1. MAT 131, MAT 132 or MAT 141, MAT 142 or MAT 171 may be substituted for MAT 125, MAT 126
2. PHY 125, PHY 126, PHY 127 or PHY 131/PHY 133, PHY 132/PHY 134 or PHY 141, PHY 142 may be substituted for the two-semester physics sequences listed above
3. BIO 207 may be substituted for BIO 205

Honors Program in Marine Vertebrate Biology

Graduation with departmental honors in Marine Vertebrate Biology requires the following:
1. Students are eligible to participate in the Honors Program if they have a 3.50 GPA in all courses for the major by the end of the junior year. Students should apply to the SoMAS undergraduate director for permission to participate.
2. Students must prepare an honors thesis based on a research project written in the form of a paper for a scientific journal. A student interested in becoming a candidate for honors should submit an outline of the proposed thesis research project to the SoMAS undergraduate director as early as possible, but no later than the second week of classes in the last semester. The student will be given an oral examination in May on his or her research by his or her research supervisor and the undergraduate research committee. The awarding of honors requires the recommendation of this committee and recognizes superior performance in research and scholarly endeavors. The written thesis must be submitted before the end of the semester in which the student is graduating.
3. If the student maintains a GPA of 3.5 in all courses in their major through senior year and receives a recommendation by the undergraduate research committee, he or she will receive departmental honors.