Science, Technology & Environment

Marine Scientist

Marine scientists study oceans, shorelines and marine life and analyse interactions between the sea, the land, and the atmosphere.

  • Entry-level education

    Bachelor’s degree

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Marine Scientist do?

Marine scientists study oceans, shorelines and marine life and analyse interactions between the sea, the land, and the atmosphere.


Work activities

As a marine scientist, you would:

  • develop and conduct field and laboratory research
  • analyse the influence that human activity has on marine ecosystems
  • collect ecological data and specimens for analysis and interpretation
  • conducting sea-based sampling, involving periods on sea-going vessels
  • analyse and interpret data using statistical and other software
  • build and test scientific hypotheses and theories
  • identify, record and monitor marine animal or plant species
  • prepare environmental impact assessments for governments, research bodies or private companies
  • advise on matters such as climate change, energy from water, or extracting oil from the sea-bed
  • write detailed reports and publish information in journals and books
  • give lectures and presentations.

Key skills and interests

To become a marine scientist, you would need:

  • an interest in marine environments and ecosystems
  • an aptitude for science
  • an accurate and methodical approach to your work
  • the ability to plan, research, analyse and interpret data
  • good written communication skills
  • practical skills for fieldwork
  • problem-solving skills.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In research and higher education, you would usually work regular hours, Monday to Friday. As a field researcher you would work variable or irregular hours, involving periods at sea or on location at a fieldwork station.


As a marine scientist you would split your time between working in a laboratory, fieldwork on sea-going vessels, and time in an office. You may also need to monitor experiments for long periods in a laboratory. You would need to spend time writing up and recording your research. You may travel internationally to sites of scientific interest.

A diving certification may be required.


How to become an Marine Scientist?

Entry Level Education

Marine scientist are often biologists, but marine scientists may also have degrees in other scientific areas such as chemistry, geology, physics or ecology. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.

In order to work in research or academic roles, you would need a bachelor's degree at minimum, a master's degree for advancement, and a PhD for individual research or teaching.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of marine scientists is projected to grow slower than the average for all occupations.

More marine will be needed to study the impacts of human population, climate change and other factors on marine environments, coastlines and the sea bed. However, because much of the funding for this research comes from government agencies, demand for marine scientists is likely to be limited by budgetary constraints.


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