Though the oceans and seas are natural, there are physical, chemical, and biological properties that make up the sea. To study the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean, marine life, and the interaction of marine life with its aquatic environment. you have to undergo formal education. Therefore, to find out about the best oceanography schools in the world, carefully read through.
Approximately 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by water. About 97 percent of the water is the saltwater that is flowing in the seas of the planet. Considering the scale of the ocean and the rapid advancements in technology, there seems to be no limit to what can and will be discovered in the science of oceanography.
In this article put together by The World Scholarship Forum, you’ll find the best Oceanography schools in the world.
See the table of contents below for a quick overview.
- What is Oceanography?
- Why Should I Study Oceanography?
- How Can I Become An Oceanographer?
- What Skills Do I need To Become An Oceanographer?
- How Long Does It Take To Study Oceanography?
- What Does An Oceanographer Do?
- Where Does an Oceanographer Work?
- How Much Does An Oceanographer Make? Salary / Outlook
- Where Can I Study Oceanography?
- Best Oceanography Schools
- 1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- 2. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
- 3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- 4. University of California-San Diego
- 5. University of Washington-Seattle Campus
- 6. University of Miami
- 7. United States Naval Academy
- 8. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
- 9. University of Wisconsin-Madison
- 10. University of California-Santa Cruz
- FAQs On Best Oceanography Schools In The World
- We Also Recommend
What is Oceanography?
According to National Geographic, Oceanography is the study of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean, including the ocean’s ancient history, its current condition, and its future.
Furthermore, it is a scientific course that deals with all aspects of the world’s oceans and seas.
Oceanography has four distinct but related branches: Physical Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography, Marine Geology, and Marine Ecology.
Physical Oceanography focuses on the properties of seawater (temperature, density, pressure, and so on).
Chemical Oceanography has to do with the structure of seawater and the biogeochemical cycles that affect it.
Marine Geology focuses on the structure, features, and progression of the ocean basins.
Marine Ecology is the study of the plants and animals of the sea, including life cycles and food production.
Why Should I Study Oceanography?
A degree in Oceanography gives you a sturdy foundation in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. There’s lots of hands-on training, too. With such broad skills, Oceanographers understand and help manage the world’s oceans.
Furthermore, a degree in Oceanography is vital as it aids in understanding the effect of pollutants on ocean waters. It will also teach you how to preserve the quality of the oceans’ waters in the face of increasing human demands made on them.
To cap it all, as an Oceanographer, you’ll understand and predict how the world’s oceans and seas work, and how to make the most efficient and sustainable use of their resources.
How Can I Become An Oceanographer?
Oceanographers normally receive a background education in biology, physics, chemistry, and geology, but they generally go on to focus their research within one field or the other.
Oceanographers start with a bachelor’s degree and then look into pursuing internship programs or entry-level positions.
The exact major, minor, and specialization may differ from school to school. Ideally, an oceanographer acquires educational experience in hydrology, oceanography, environmental science, or geosciences. Furthermore, Oceanography schools may offer specializations like chemical, marine geology, physical and biological oceanography.
To get into top positions as an oceanographer, students usually go on to acquire a Master’s or PhD level education before becoming ocean scientists and high-level researchers. However, the undergraduate studies expose students to hydrology, oceanography, environmental science, or geosciences.
There are a few schools that offer undergraduate Bachelor’s degrees in marine biology, however, most oceanographers further their study before seeking work. Usually, there are internships and assistant-level positions available for those with only undergraduate degrees.
What Skills Do I need To Become An Oceanographer?
To succeed in the field as an Oceanographer, you need the following skills:
- Communication skills – Oceanographers write reports and research papers. Therefore, they must be able to present their findings clearly to other scientists and team members as well as clients or professionals who do not have a background in the field.
- Critical-thinking skills – Oceanographers base their findings on sound observation and careful analysis of data. That is to say, for you to be a success in the field, you have to possess smart critical thinking skills.
- Physical strength – Oceanographers are normally strong physically and mentally. Because in the cause of the job they’ll need to hike to remote locations while carrying testing and sampling equipment when they conduct fieldwork.
- Problem-solving skills – Oceanographers work on complex projects filled with challenges. Therefore, to properly evaluate statistical data and other forms of information in order to make judgments and inform the actions of other workers, an Oceanographer has to engage his problem-solving skills.
How Long Does It Take To Study Oceanography?
The duration of the Oceanography program varies according to the institution and program.
The minimum education required for a career in oceanography is a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography or basic sciences. A bachelor’s degree spans for three to five years in most cases. With a bachelor’s degree, you will be able to get an entry-level-type position. If you wish to specialize, an advanced degree is required.
Masters and PhD Study
A master’s degree in a specialized field of Oceanography spans for two-three years. A master’s degree will qualify you to work in the field and participate in full-time research.
On the other hand, a PhD in a specialized branch of oceanography will be needed if you plan to teach oceanography at the college level. However, it spans two to four years. Oceanographers with PhD will be able to conduct their own research and have access to the highest-level research positions. Some PhD Oceanographers merge research with teaching.
What Does An Oceanographer Do?
An Oceanographer is a unique kind of scientist who studies the ocean. The oceans are a large environment, and so the science of oceanography is no different. Oceanographers study every different aspect of the ocean, physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean or even the life that dwells in the ocean.
Healthy oceans are crucial to maintaining a healthy planet. Oceanographers are some of the most important climate researchers in the fight to mitigate the effects of climate change, overpopulation, and overfishing.
Regardless of which field an oceanographer selects as their primary studies, they will still need to understand the other aspects of oceanography. Nevertheless, Oceanographers performs the following functions;
- They study marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. This can involve researching animals or taking trips into the ocean to perform different experiments, collect data, or track the animals.
- An Oceanographer studies the movements of the oceans, tides, waves, and currents that move the water itself.
- Chemical Oceanographers observe the chemical composition of the ocean water and its impact on the planet. They may study pollution or help find naturally-occurring resources on the seafloor.
- Geological Oceanographers focus on studying the floor level of the ocean. They study undersea volcanic activity and its connection to the movement of tectonic plates or the deep oceanic trenches that plunge thousands of feet.
- They collect samples and data from the seafloor using specialized equipment and techniques.
- Analyze samples for natural and contaminant composition.
- Oceanographers perform simulations of ocean phenomena using a computer or mathematical models.
- They use statistical models of laboratory and field data to study hypotheses and make predictions.
Where Does an Oceanographer Work?
Oceanography jobs focus on the science of examining the oceans: their geographical and marine parameters, the motion and the components of their waters, biological elements, and the management of their resources.
The oceans cover almost 70% of the Earth, making up the majority of the planet’s biosphere. Therefore, fieldwork is vital to the line of work of an Oceanographer, meaning that oceanographers may frequently find themselves working on the ocean or in areas that contact the ocean.
Ocean scientists often have to travel widely, doing physical tasks, and encountering risky organisms or scenarios that test all of their skills.
The day to day duties of Oceanographers can differ widely, but every operation they conduct is linked to their primary task: study. This is done by reading many pages of studies, running experiments, collecting data, and then writing about their results and sharing their findings with the world. More so, lots of this work is done in a laboratory, but in order to study the ocean, a researcher must spend time in the water, on the water, or near the water.
Many Oceanographers work in institutions around the world where they spend plenty of time lecturing or teaching about the ocean.
How Much Does An Oceanographer Make? Salary / Outlook
According to Bureau of Labor, Statistics, the median pay for Oceanographers was $90,890 per year. The pay for Oceanographers varies according to the industry of employment, with employees in the oil and gas extraction industry earning higher than federal government employees and engineering service employees.
The job outlook for Oceanographers, is expected to grow by 16% between 2012 and 2022.
Where Can I Study Oceanography?
If you’re seeking the best Oceanography schools n the world where you can get the best of education, our compiled list of best Oceanographic schools is the perfect resource.
This list was compiled based on verifiable data from the school’s website and other top ranking websites.
The following ranking factors was put into consideration;
Reputation – This represents the ranking performance of a particular school.
Number of programs – This data represents the number of programs offered by a school.
The student to faculty ratio – With a good student to faculty ratio, it is assumed that a student will build an effective and close relationship with the teacher. This will in turn reflect in the performance of the student.
Best Oceanography Schools
Here’s a list of the best Oceanography schools…
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Through the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT offers 2 Oceanography, Chemical, And Physical Degree programs. It’s a large private university in a mid-sized city. In 2015, 6 students graduated in the study area of Oceanography, Chemical And Physical with students earning 6 Doctoral degrees.
With 3:1 student to faculty ratio, MIT ranks No.1 in QS top school rankings. Furthermore, MIT is dedicated to equipping its students with an education that blends accurate academic study and the excitement of learning with the support and intellectual stimulation of a diverse campus community
2. University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
UCB offers a bachelor’s and a graduate degree in marine biology. This field of marine biology thus requires an understanding of the interactions between the biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere.
This major is intended to provide students with a broad background in the earth sciences with an emphasis on marine life. Interrelationships between physical, biological, and chemical processes at Earth’s surface will be emphasized.
Faculty, students, and researchers in the department engage across disciplinary lines to understand atmospheres, oceans, terrestrial surfaces, deep interiors, the biosphere, and the coupling between them.
3. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers 2 Oceanography, Chemical, And Physical Degree programs. In 2015, 11 students graduated in the study area of Oceanography, Chemical And Physical with students receiving 9 Master’s degrees, and 2 Doctoral degrees.
The Department of Marine Sciences administers the University’s strong commitment to research, teaching, and public service. In practical terms, they strive to understand the proponents that regulate marine systems and connect these to the other components of the Earth System.
Furthermore, the Department of Marine Sciences grants instruction and research activities in biological, chemical, geological, and physical oceanography. The Department highlights graduate training and offers an academic minor to undergraduates with occasions for supervised practical experience. Basic courses are also administered to all undergraduates, regardless of major, who are interested in marine sciences.
4. University of California-San Diego
The University of California – San Diego is on our list of best oceanography schools in the world. Founded as San Diego Marine Biological Station, Scripps institution of oceanography seeks to, teach, and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, atmosphere, Earth, and other planets for the benefit of society and the environment. The university awards 3 programs in Oceanography.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography is a global leader in marine biology. With over 75 years of graduate and undergraduate education, Scripps offers marine and earth sciences programs internationally recognized for their excellence.
The institution houses world-class researchers and professors that use their distinct backgrounds and talents to improve our understanding of the earth system and train the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders.
5. University of Washington-Seattle Campus
The University of Washington-Seattle Campus offers 6 Oceanography, Chemical, and Physical Degree programs. In 2015, 41 students graduated in the study area of Oceanography, with students earning 24 Bachelor’s degrees, 13 Doctoral degrees, and 4 Master’s degrees.
The School of Oceanography fosters the advancement of the ocean sciences, solutions to problems of societal relevance, and public awareness of the marine environment. The School centers on learning and discovery, equipping students with knowledge and insights, scholarly methods, scientific tools, and communication skills.
They offer the degrees of Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Science (MS), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
6. University of Miami
Founded in the 1940s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the top academic oceanographic schools in the world. The School’s basic and applied research interests encompass virtually all marine-related sciences. RSMAS offers undergraduate and graduate programs Oceanography.
The RSMAS in Oceanography is intended to give students a broad overview of the ocean sciences (physical, chemical, biological and geological oceanography, and ocean-atmosphere interactions as they relate to weather and climate) and specialized knowledge in one or more subdisciplines.
7. United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy offers 1 Oceanography degree program. It’s a medium-sized public university in a large suburb. In 2015, 87 students graduated in the study area of Oceanography, Chemical And Physical with students earning 87 Bachelor’s degrees.
The oceanography major is intended for the “hands-on” student with a strong interest in the physical and dynamic properties of the ocean and atmosphere. Oceanography majors strengthen knowledge gained in the classroom with underway and computer laboratories and conduct current and scientifically relevant research.
The faculty houses six tenure-track civilian professors, five rotational military instructors with recent fleet experience, four permanent military professors, and two civilian instructors of practical applications. Oceanography majors take 13 courses in oceanography, meteorology, and applied mathematics; students in the honors program take 14 courses.
8. California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
Caltech is a renowned science and engineering institute that marshals some of the world’s brightest minds and most innovative tools to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges.
With a 3:1 student to faculty ratio, Caltech is on our list of best Oceanography schools in the world. The Oceanography program focuses on the physics of the ocean’s circulation and its impact on the global climate.
This course will provide a basic introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological properties of Earth’s ocean. Topics to be covered include oceanographic observational and numerical methods as well as the phenomenology and distribution of temperature, salinity, and tracers.
9. University of Wisconsin-Madison
Their Oceanography program investigates a wide range of fundamental physical and geochemical processes in global ocean circulation and the impacts these processes have on the global climate.
Students get to learn about the variability of the ocean from interannual to interdecadal time scales using state-of-art ocean models and observational data sets.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers nationally approved graduate and undergraduate programs.
10. University of California-Santa Cruz
The Ocean Sciences Department includes faculty, students and staff involved in oceanography and other marine sciences and offers undergraduate and graduate courses in these disciplines
The graduate programs in ocean sciences are meant to prepare students for careers in research and teaching. The fundamental requirement for admission to the program is substantial evidence of superior scholarship and aptitude for original research.
Preparation for admission to the graduate program in Ocean Sciences should comprise an undergraduate degree in the discipline of one of the program specialty areas (e.g., biology or marine biology, geology or earth sciences, chemistry, or physical science) or equivalent background.
FAQs On Best Oceanography Schools In The World
What is Oceanography?
Oceanography is the study of the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean, including the ocean’s ancient history, its current condition, and its future.
Why should I study Oceanography?
As an Oceanographer, you’ll understand and predict how the world’s oceans and seas work, and how to make the most efficient and sustainable use of their resources. A degree in Oceanography gives you a sturdy foundation in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics.
How can I become an Oceanographer?
Oceanographers start with a bachelor’s degree and then look into pursuing internship programs or entry-level positions.
What does an Oceanographer do?
An Oceanographer is a unique kind of scientist who studies the ocean. The oceans are a large environment, and so the science of oceanography are no different. Oceanographers study every different aspect of the ocean, physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean or even the life that dwells in the ocean.
With over 70% of Earth’s surface is covered by water and the recent advancements in technology, there seems to be no limit to what can and will be discovered in the science of oceanography. Therefore, our list of best schools for Oceanography is one to hold on to.