Subject Guide

Ocean Studies Degree

By Uni Compare  · Dec 2nd 2020

Ocean Sciences is considered a niche subject for a lot of universities, but it is still one of the most important sciences out there today.


Studying the natural world is important in every way, whether that be through trying to combat global warming, climate change, the lack of the world’s natural resources or trying to find new, sustainable ways to sustain and manage our species, an Ocean Sciences degree holds the key to a lot of the world’s biggest questions.

Ocean Sciences Planning Degree

What is Ocean Sciences?

Ocean Sciences is the study of the oceans and seas that fill our planet. An Ocean Sciences degree looks at marine biology, biogeochemical sciences, water mass formation, ocean circulation and energy dissipation.

An Ocean Sciences degree also looks at marine life, the different kinds of aquatic life that inhabit the many seas and how the ocean can possibly be used to create Wave Energy or Kinetic Energy.

Though the name of the degree is “Ocean Sciences”, it is also a degree that looks at rivers, dams, lakes and ponds as well.

What can you do with an Ocean Sciences degree?

There are plenty of science-related jobs available for students with an Ocean Sciences degree, so you don't have to stick, regimentally to being something in this sector.

Communication is very important as well and you will have to do a lot of it in this degree.

The most common job role for an Ocean Sciences degree graduate however, is a Marine Scientist. A Marine Scientist looks at the way the sea interacts with the land, how it affects the atmosphere, marine life, animals, plants and food. Marine Scientists are commonly used for help when studying coastal erosion as well.

It is possible as well to become an Oceanographer. This is a career where you would be studying the sea and working out how to use it to farm natural resources and to study it’s various properties and wildlife.

Some even go on to become an Environmental Consultant. An Ocean Sciences degree will help you to better understand the world as well, so you would be ideally placed to help with study of the natural world and how the environment can be helped, saved, maintained and grown.

It is also possible to become an Ecologist as well. An Ecologist is someone who studies the natural environment, natural ecosystems, however, the main designation for an Ecologist is to work in water-based ecosystems. Ecologists are required to identify, monitor, record, study and otherwise sustain the wildlife and species that they discover and conduct surveys and biological information.

It is also possible to work in a lab of some kind. Though there are many different jobs that entail lab work, an Ocean Sciences degree being such a niche degree, it’s likely that you'd be able to effectively aid any scientific experiments and discoveries and would be able to help with experiments and research as well.

Ocean Sciences Planning Degree

How will I be assessed?

Ocean Studies are primarily theoretical degrees. There will be a practical element to the course as well, but most of your coursework, dissertation and examinations will be theory-based, rather than you carrying out field experimentation.

Universities will occasionally carry out field experiments, which will require going to coastal regions or even venturing out (not too far) into the ocean itself. This is an exciting way to carry out any research that you may need.

You will have to present your findings and data on any practical and field exams that you end up doing, so you will be assessed on your ability to present as well.

What skills will I learn?

As a result of studying an Ocean Sciences degree, you will pick up a variety of different skills. Students will need to have an excellent knowledge of mathematics and good communication skills and these are thankfully built-upon in this degree.

Sir Charles Wyville Thomson, the famous marine zoologist, was someone who built a very successful career in Ocean Studies.

Your Mathematical skills are important in any science job, even a Sports Science degree, a degree you wouldn’t think would require much use for Mathematics. Mathematics are vital in Ocean Studies and your skills will see a massive boost as a result of studying an Ocean Studies degree, even more so, if you study it as part of a Masters degree or any other kind of postgraduate degree.

Communication is very important as well and you will have to do a lot of it in this degree. It won't just be in terms of presenting, it’s also in terms of effective communication with your peers (pun unintended). Ocean studies can be tough, even at the best of times, and the subjects and situations you find yourself in are quite complex and tough, so communication between yourself and your peers is crucial.

Your Geographical skills will need to be pretty top-notch even before you begin an Ocean Sciences degree anyway, but now they really are. You need to be able to read maps, interpret coordinates, read a compass and also understand general Earth Sciences and Geology, as these directly come into close contact with your own degree.

Ocean Sciences Planning Degree

Will an Ocean Sciences degree get me a job?

There are no guarantees that any degree will necessarily get you a job all on it’s own, but given it’s somewhat niche designation and specialised nature, it’s unlikely that you would not be able to find a job with an Ocean Sciences degree.

Many degrees come with work placements or at least some form of industry contact, so you will likely have contacts and places to check out before you graduate.

Ocean Sciences is the study of the oceans and seas that fill our planet.

Famous Alumni

Sir Charles Wyville Thomson, the famous marine zoologist, was someone who built a very successful career in Ocean Studies. Though he didn’t graduate with a degree, many of his teachings and work are still prevalent today in a modern Ocean Sciences degree.

Sylvia Earle, the American marine biologist, is renowned for her pioneering work in this sector. She was the first female chief scientist of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She has received numerous qualifications throughout her career, such as an associate degree from St. Petersburg Jr College in 1952, a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University in 1955 and then went on to receive a Master of Science (in 1956) and a Doctorate of Phycology (the study of algae) (in 1966) from Duke University.

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