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Alternative titles for this job include Marine scientist

Oceanographers study seas and currents, marine plants and animals, and the rocks and minerals that lie beneath the sea bed.

Average salary (a year)

£23,000 Starter


£45,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 42 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Oceanographer

You can get into this job through a university course.


You can study for a degree in oceanography or a related subject, like:

  • ocean science
  • geology
  • physics
  • marine science
  • biology or chemistry
  • environmental science

Employers often look for students with postgraduate qualifications, like a master's degree or PhD. They also value experience of working in marine science, engineering or oceanographic research.

You can get experience by choosing a course that includes work placements or internships with a marine company or research centre.

You can find marine companies and research organisations through the Society for Underwater Technology.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and science
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including at least 1 science
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

More Information

Career tips

You could contact marine companies to see if you could work with them on a project as part of your university dissertation or postgraduate research. This would allow you to build up contacts in the industry, who may be able to help you find work once you complete your studies.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an oceanographer from the:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • maths knowledge
  • excellent written communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As an oceanographer, you might:

  • plan and carry out research expeditions around the UK and overseas
  • collect water, sediment and rock samples and analyse data
  • build computer models of ocean currents and circulation patterns
  • create maps of the sea floor and underlying geology
  • monitor changes in seawater properties and marine life
  • write and present reports of your research findings
  • give lectures and lead oceanography students on field trips

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory, at a research facility or at sea.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you'll travel often.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

As your career develops you could become a project leader or manager. You might also wish to specialise in a particular field of oceanography, such as:

  • coastal modelling
  • sealife research and conservation
  • the impact of a changing climate on ocean currents

There are opportunities to work on research projects while studying for higher qualifications, for example, with the:

There are also openings in higher education, working as a researcher or lecturer, and scientific journalism.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an Oceanographer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Marine Biology - BSc Hons Degree - Topup

  • Start date: 09 September 2024
  • Location: Blackpool

Applied Science

  • Start date: 01 September 2024
  • Location: London

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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Skills assessment

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