Monday, September 3, 2012

Careers in Oceanography

Oceanography is a career option for those who have a desire to learn about the sea in detail and who want to explore the sea. Oceanography involves studying all aspects of the ocean, their boundaries and their continents. To understand it better we can say oceanography is the study of the seas, its coastline, coastal waters, estuaries, shelves and the ocean bed. It is an interdisciplinary science that integrates principles of Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Meteorology and Physics.

The functions of a oceanography scientist involves collecting samples, conducting surveys, analyzing data using sophisticated equipment in the sea for long hours. This job requires lot of patience as a person has to work for long hours in the sea.

The study oceanography is the study of world’s oceans, coastal waters, the motion and circulation of the ocean waters and their physical and chemical properties, and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather. This is a research oriented profession and people from diverse field work in it. Mainly chemists, physicists, biologists, or geologists work together and brings their special skills to ocean studies.



Minimum graduation in science stream with mathematics is required for admission in oceanography course.  A doctorate, a master’s degree in any basic science is essential to start marine research. Most of the courses in oceanography are of three years duration.
This work is highly specialised that’s why professional training is mandatory for a career in this field. In oceanography’s specialised branches are chemical, geological, physical and marine biology.


Job Prospects and Career Options

Many career opportunities for oceanographers are available. A trained professional can get employment in public sector, private sector and various governmental establishments as a scientist, engineer or a technician. In public sector, one can find opportunities in Geological Survey of India, Meteorological Survey of India, Department of Oceanography etc. Private sector companies with interests in the marine industries, products or research also provide job options. Candidates with right skill and ability can also choose teaching.

Career Options

Chemical Oceanography: This deals with the chemical composition of sea water and quality of water. Chemical oceanographer’s works to know the distribution of chemical compounds and the many chemical interactions that occur in the ocean and the seafloor. The aim is to research and develop such technology that will be able to recover valuable elements from the sea.

Geological Oceanography: Geological and geophysical oceanography involves the study of the surface and sub-surface, and geological and geophysical characteristics of coastal margins, for the selection of suitable locations of marine structures as well as the exploitation of the oceans mineral resources.

Physical Oceanography: Physical oceanographers investigate ocean properties such as temperature, density, wave motions, tides, and currents. Remote sensing is one of the important areas in this field. This field of work looks at the relationship between the sea, the weather and the climate.

Marine Biology: Marine biologists study the ocean processes that control the productivity and distribution of marine life.

Marine archaeologists: These people are involved in the systematic recovery and study of material evidence, such as shipwrecks, buildings, tools, graves, and pottery remaining from past human life and culture that is now covered by the sea. They require a background in archaeology or anthropology.

Marine and ocean engineers apply scientific and technical knowledge to practical uses.

Marine policy experts: These people use their knowledge of oceanography and social sciences such as law, economics, political science or business to develop guidelines and policies for the wise use of the ocean and coastal resources.


The starting salary for fresh graduate can be in the range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month in the government sector and higher in the private sector. With a Ph.D., you can earn about Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 per month.

Top institute offering Oceanography courses are:
  • IIT Madras,
  • Mumbai Institute of Technology,
  • Cochin University of Science and Technology,
  • Annamalai University
  • Karnataka Engineering College.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! An excellent bog with so much valuable information. Please keep on updating. Bye.
    Dr.Sanjib Kumar Acharya
    Career Counselor/Founder Director
    New Delhi