How to become an oceanographer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

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

  • ocean science
  • geology
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • environmental science

Employers are increasingly looking for postgraduate qualifications, like a master's or PhD. They also value experience of working in marine science or oceanography research.

You can get experience through:

  • studying for a degree that includes a year in industry with a research organisation
  • a placement or internship in a laboratory or marine 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

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an oceanographer from the Society for Underwater Technology and the National Oceanography Centre.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
  • excellent written communication skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • plan and carry out research expeditions
  • manage a research project and lead a team
  • prepare scientific equipment
  • design experiments to test your ideas
  • use equipment to collect samples and data
  • track changes in the environment
  • use computers to produce models like maps of the ocean floor
  • write reports of your research findings
  • publish and presenting your findings

Working environment

You could work in an office or in a laboratory.

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

Career path and progression

You could further your career by taking courses through the Marine Technology Education Consortium, or by networking at events run by the Society for Underwater Technology or the Challenger Society for Marine Science.

You could take a PhD through an initiative like the Southampton Partnership for Innovative Training of Future Investigators Researching the Environment (SPITFIRE).

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

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

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Courses In England

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Jobs In the United Kingdom

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