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Oceanographers study the seas and oceans.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Future employment

There will be 2.4% more Oceanographer jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day tasks you may:

  • plan and carry out research expeditions
  • manage a research project or 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
  • in education you may give lectures and lead students on field trips

Working environment

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

You could work in an office or in a laboratory.

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

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
  • 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
For 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.

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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).

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of geography
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
  • excellent written communication skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to read English
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications
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