hat work is involved?

  As an oceanographer, you would be a scientist concerned with the chemistry, biology, physics or geology of the marine world. This could include studying coastlines, waves and tidal flow, the structure of the seabed, estuaries and coastal waters or organisms that live in the sea. Your work could relate to the pollution of the seas or issues of climate change.
  If your main interest is biology, you might study sustainable methods of seafood production; as a marine chemist, you might focus on how pesticides or nuclear waste enter and move through the oceans; if you are interested in physics, you might prefer to study the interaction between the wind and ocean currents; as a geologist, you could study the deposition of sediments in the oceans.
  Whatever your principal science, the additional dimension of oceanography would give you a broad range of skills and knowledge relevant to understanding and managing the marine environment.

pportunities for training

  An ocean science degree would give you a broad overview of all the disciplines of oceanography, so that you can understand how they combine to explain the ways in which the oceans interact with the earth and the atmosphere. Most courses are modular, giving you a chance to specialise if you wish to as your awareness grows. There are also universities offering degrees focusing on a particular area of oceanography, such as marine biology or marine chemistry. For postgraduate study, it is more common to specialise in one of these specific areas of oceanography.
  Many degree courses in this area include fieldwork and take around four years to complete. If your course does not include work experience, you could try to arrange this yourself through a marine laboratory. At postgraduate level, there are taught Masters degrees, research degrees and PhD programmes. The Society for Underwater Technology has an educational support fund offering sponsorship awards for certain courses.

equirements for entry

  For entry to a degree course, you would need at least two A level/Advanced Higher, three Higher or equivalent qualifications, usually including passes in sciences related to your main interest. Some universities specify more than the minimum, so you should research admission requirements carefully. Employers of oceanographers often require postgraduate qualifications.

ind of person

  You would need a strong interest in science and the sea, with an enquiring mind and a keen attention to detail and accuracy. You would probably need to spend extended periods of time on a boat gathering data. You may need to go down to the seabed in a submarine vehicle or by diving. You would need IT skills to carry out detailed calculations.
  Some of your work is likely to be carried out on your own but you would also need to work as part of a team. You may need to write up reports and explain to people what you have found out or what you are aiming to explore. These may be other scientists but could also be people who do not share your technical knowledge, so you would need to be able to communicate clearly.

road outlook for the future

  Much oceanography work in the UK is created and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, often in association with such organisations as the National Oceanography Centre, the Sea Mammal Research Unit and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
  You may also find opportunities with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and in industries involved in offshore oil and gas extraction, offshore and coastal construction and marine instrumentation. You could go on to work in teaching and research with universities and other research bodies throughout the world who specialise in aspects of oceanography.
  Short-term contracts are common in this area of work. As environmental concerns become more important, there is an increasing number of consultancies being set up, creating more opportunities to work in private practice.

elated occupations

  You might also consider: hydrogeologist, hydrographic surveyor, marine biologist/marine scientist, geologist/geoscientist, meteorologist, research biologist/bioscientist, research chemist, physicist, microbiologist or biochemist.

mpact on lifestyle

  Oceanographers can expect to travel widely and, at the very least, to work alongside colleagues from many nations. You are likely to find yourself working away from home, sometimes abroad or living on ships. When you are working out in the field you would be out in all sorts of weathers, sometimes cold and wet, sometimes basking in bright sunshine! You would generally work normal office hours but when you are at sea you may be expected to work long hours on a rota to finish your project in the time available.

arnings potential

  Using government research and university rates as examples, you will find that typical starting salaries for recent graduates or MSc candidates range from £18,000 to £20,000 and from £23,000 to £30,000 for PhD candidates. Typical salaries for first time lecturers are £27,000 to £37,000, while experienced senior lecturers can earn £38,000 to £56,000 plus. Oceanographers who work in private industry would be on a similar scale or slightly higher. Consultancy pay can be higher still, although most consultants start on a rate ranging from around £33,000 to £35,000, with pay levels increasing with suitable experience.

urther information/valuable websites

  Natural Environment Research Council
  National Oceanography Centre
  Society for Underwater Technology
  British Oceanographic Data Centre
  Marine Technology Education Consortium
  Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
  Marine Institute