UAS Marine Biology a top performing program

Mike Flunker, Staff Writer

The University of Alaska Southeast’s Marine Biology program has been ranked fifth in the nation. 

“It’s hard not to be a little bit proud, we’ve worked really hard,” said David Tallmon, Professor of Biology at UAS.

The ranking by College Values Online places the university higher than the 2018 ranking by College Magazine, which placed the university at eighth.

Student Chloe Bee peers over the dock with Professor Tamone during the Invertebrate Zoology class. 

College Values Online considered program accreditation, affordability, and other rankings from publications like U.S. News and World Report. Small class sizes and the natural laboratory of Southeast Alaska were also said to attract students to UAS. 

How will these rankings help enrollment in Marine Biology? UAS Student Ambassador Jonathan Calleja, 19, gives tours to prospective students and answers their questions over the phone. 

“About four of every ten students I talk to are interested in Marine Biology,” Calleja said, “many of them are coming from WUE states.” 

The Western Undergraduate Exchange, or WUE, gives non-resident students from 15 states and the U.S. Pacific Territories (Northern Mariana Islands and Guam) a break in tuition.  WUE students pay about 50% more in tuition than in-state students. This is less than full out of state tuition, which can be upwards of 150% more than in state tuition, according to the WUE website. 

“WUE tuition and the environment are very attractive to people coming here for Marine Biology,” Calleja said.

The ranking also comes from undergraduate research opportunities at UAS, but it won’t necessarily bring in additional research funding on campus, Tallmon said.

Wide hand hermit crab at Anderson Beach.

“The funding is more concerned with research output than rankings,” he said.

Tallmon said program recognition could bring in more students and increase program funding. 

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