Job type


£14k - £60k

Typical salary

37 – 41

Hours per week

Oceanographers study the seas and oceans.

More info

  • Spend your time researching the science of seas and oceans
  • Combine practical outdoor work on the water with lab and research work
  • Opportunities to travel, become a senior researcher or move into university lecturing roles

As an oceanographer, you'll specialise in one of the 4 branches of oceanography: biological, physical, geological, or chemical.


  • 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 present your findings 


You could work in an office or a laboratory.

You'll need

To be an oceanographer, you'll need knowledge of geography, maths, and teaching, of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture, excellent written and verbal communication skills, analytical thinking skills, and to be thorough and pay attention to detail.

You'll then need a degree in oceanography or a related subject like ocean science, geology, biology, chemistry, or environmental science.

Employers are increasingly looking for postgraduate qualifications, like a master's or PhD, as well as highly valuing experience of working in marine science or oceanography research. Experience can be gained through studying for a degree that includes a year in industry with a research organisation, or a placement or internship in a laboratory or marine research centre.

The Society for Underwater Technology and the National Oceanography Centre have information about becoming an oceanographer.


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).