How Do I Become a Marine Scientist?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Marine science, or marine biology, is the branch of science that studies animals and plants living in the ocean or along the shoreline, as well as their relationships to each other and the environment. A scientist who works in the filed of marine science is referred to as marine scientist. Within the broad category of marine scientist can be found many sub-specialties, such as oceanographer, marine biologist, oceanographic engineer, and environmental scientist, among others. In order to become a marine scientist, a student must usually complete a bachelor's degree in biology or a related field, as well as a master's or doctoral degree.

The path to become a marine scientist actually starts in high school for most people. Any science degree requires a rigorous program of study in mathematics and science at the college level, making preparation in high school important. A high school student should take as much math and science as possible while in high school, including advance placement or college level classes, if offered.


A careful study of prospective colleges is also important for anyone who plans to become a marine scientist. Although employment as a marine scientist almost always requires a master's degree or higher, some universities do offer undergraduate degrees specifically in marine biology. Most marine scientist hopefuls obtain a degree in biology or zoology if a degree in marine biology is not offered. In addition to researching the possible majors that an undergraduate school offers, internship opportunities and study abroad programs should also be explored at prospective schools.

After completion of an undergraduate education, the next step to become a marine scientist is to complete a master's degree. Almost all jobs in the field of marine science require a minimum of the completion of a master's degree. At the master's degree level, a student should be able to obtain a degree in marine biology specifically. While employment in the field of marine science is possible with a master's degree, employment opportunities may be limited without further education.

In most cases, anyone who desires to become a marine scientist will continue his or her education by completing a doctorate program in a specialized area of marine science. The filed of marine science encompasses many sub-specialties which focus on animals, plants or the environment as a whole. As a rule, in order to become a distinguished researcher or to gain employment as a faculty member at a university, completion of a Ph.D. program within an area of specialty is necessary.


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