Oceanographers study the seas and oceans.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • planning and carrying out research expeditions
  • managing a research project and leading a team
  • preparing scientific equipment
  • designing experiments to test your ideas
  • using equipment to collect samples and data
  • tracking changes in the environment
  • using computers to produce models like maps of the ocean floor
  • writing reports of your research findings
  • publishing and presenting your findings
Entry Requirements

You’ll usually need:

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

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.

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
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

The following salaries are a guide only:

  • Starter: £14,000 
  • Experienced: £60,000 

Working Conditions


  • You’ll usually work between 39 and 41 hours per week but this will be variable.  You may work evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
  • You could work in an office or in a laboratory.
  • You may need to wear safety clothing.
Additional Information

For further information please click on the links below:

Society for Underwater Technology

National Oceanography Centre

Next Steps