A remotely operated underwater vehicle is launched from a ship during a research trip to the South Texas banks on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014.
The University of Texas System Board of Regents and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board have given approval for a new science degree debuting early next year at The University of Texas at Brownsville.
Students will begin working on the new bachelor’s degree in marine biology during spring semester. The degree is offered by the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology. The undergraduate degree is the second of its kind being offered at Texas institutions.
Current UTB biology major Edna Araujo, 20, of McAllen is one of the students who is interested in pursuing the marine biology degree.
“I want to make a small difference in the world, no matter how small,” said Araujo, a graduate of Achieve Early College High School in McAllen. “Since I like animals and life, then I decided to do this career. As I grew I became more interested in it.”
Fall recruitment for the degree program is currently going on. The marine biology degree could eventually grow to 100 students, said Dr. David Hicks, Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Biological Sciences.
“We want to recruit statewide, nationwide and Valley wide,” said Hicks. “We want to have talented students serious about learning.”
The program will have a major emphasis on hands-on work. Students will be able to participate in the university’s research diving program and have opportunities to learn on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the banks of the Laguna Madre and on the sands of South Padre Island.
“This will allow students to gain knowledge in the south Texas region which is unique to the Texas coast,” said Dr. Heather Alexander, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Students will ultimately complete 120 hours of semester credit hours for the degree. Besides general curriculum and biology core classes, students will take Marine Processes and Ecosystems Dynamics, Marine Biochemistry, Field Methods and Analyses in Marine Biology and Marine Biology seminar for marine biology core courses. Marine biology electives include Marine Botany, Coastal Ecology and Ichthyology.
“The degree is an avenue for students to learn about coastal resources,” said Alexander. “Hopefully we will be training the next generation of coastal resources scientists.”
For more information, contact Academic Department Liaison Raquel Vasquez at 956-882-5040 or firstname.lastname@example.org