Q: I love marine biology, but I’m not sure I want to concentrate on northern regions like Alaska. Is APU’s marine biology program right for me?
At Alaska Pacific University, we prepare undergraduate and graduate students to be effective, productive marine scientists and stewards capable of contributing to our field virtually anywhere in the world.
Graduates of APU’s marine biology program are applying their degrees at professions as diverse as shark curator at a Texas aquarium; hazardous waste management in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands; SCUBA instructor in Anchorage; and environmental scientists in California and Alaska.
Our graduates pursue higher education at schools around the world – from Fairbanks to England to Australia. Marine biology students come to APU with varied interests; you’ll graduate with knowledge and skills to help you reach your goals, wherever they may lead. We’re just as proud of APU’s research commitment to Alaska fisheries, marine mammals and aquatic life. As Alaskans, we treasure our state’s pristine waters, abundant marine resources and diverse perspectives. As scientists helping train the next generation of leaders, we’re inspired by Alaska perspectives on global issues of natural resources and evidence-based management.
Q: APU’s marine biology program investigates the giant Pacific octopus? Seriously?! How long would a first-year student like me have to wait to be part of that project?
A: If you qualify based on training, skill and interest, you’d be welcome to join APU’s octopus studies within a few months of arriving at campus. The same is true for APU studies involving fisheries and marine mammals. In fact, our marine biology program is distinct because we’re committed to giving you lots of hands-on chances – early in your academic career – to explore where your interests and skills form a good fit.
Q: I’m interested in fisheries management and APU has what I’m looking for. But I’m not sure my family and I can swing the tuition. Help?
A: First, keep in mind that APU keeps its tuition competitive, based on surveys of private liberal arts schools of our size and caliber. To confirm value added by an APU education, we voluntarily take part in independent evaluations like the annual Collegiate Learning Assessment. But we know our students need more than assurances. That’s why marine biology at APU offers program-specific scholarships. And your professors double as mentors whose funded research often recruits students for paying, skill-building work like data analysis and species monitoring. On-campus jobs, such as in aquarium husbandry, help add to your marine biology skills while defraying tuition costs. At other schools, competitive, paid assistantships like these might be reserved for graduate students. But they’re available to you as a marine biology undergraduate – another distinctive feature of your APU degree.
Q: Alaska seems really remote. What do APU marine biology students do for fun?
A: Once you get here, you’ll see that we admit small groups of students each year. Chances are good that your marine biology peers will become your ready-made social group too. For fun with a purpose, consider joining the APU Dive Club or Culinary Club (hey, all that cold-water diving makes a person hungry!) You’ll find that Anchorage – Alaska’s largest city – is easy to explore by bike, bus, car and extensive foot trails, including some that start on the APU campus.
You’ll soon come to treasure Alaska’s clean air and awesome scenery. Skiing, snowboarding and ice-climbing are within easy reach from your APU dorm.
Anchorage offers all the amenities of any mid-size U.S. city, from art galleries and theater pubs, to shopping malls, restaurants and retail store chains. Alaska’s really big. There’s plenty to do and see!
Q: Lots of programs seem to overlook undergraduates like me who want to be out in the field after graduation, not sitting in more classrooms in a graduate program. How do you prepare someone like me for a marine biology profession?
A: David Scheel, APU marine biology program director, loves this question: “I deliberately designed our program to help students discover what you actually enjoy doing in marine biology while learning skills that employers can use. “We offer courses in aquarium husbandry, scientific diving, geographic information systems and research expeditions for marine field work. Starting in your freshman or sophomore year, you’ll be working alongside professionals in your field, in structured settings. By taking advantages of our program’s many hands-on opportunities, you’ll be ready to pursue your life’s work. “In our program, your first on-the-job experiences will happen while you’re still completing your APU degree.”
Q: For me, “save the oceans” isn’t just a slogan. I want to use my degree to advocate for conservation based on good science. Could APU help train me do that?
A: Yes. Look for marine biology courses that focus on topics like human impacts in marine systems. You could study conservation problems involving coastal ecosystems, seabirds and mammals. Learn about the world’s oceans from multiple viewpoints by taking advantage of destination field courses inside and outside Alaska. And keep your eye on your undergraduate senior project. It can involve field work virtually anywhere in the world. The senior project is your chance to focus on an area of marine biology that you care about most.