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Marine Science Major

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Marine Science

73 Master's Degrees Annually
19 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#250 in Popularity (Master's)
$83,600 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Marine Science Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many marine science graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 73
Doctor’s Degree 19

What Marine Science Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to marine science were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

Knowledge Areas for Marine Science Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in marine science should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Skills for Marine Science Majors

When studying marine science, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Abilities for Marine Science Majors

Some of the most crucial abilities to master while a marine science student include the following:

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  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

What Can You Do With a Marine Science Major?

People with a marine science degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Climate Change Analysts 11.1% $71,130
Clinical Research Coordinators 9.9% $123,860
Environmental Restoration Planners 11.1% $71,130
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health 11.1% $71,130
Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers 14.1% $91,130
Molecular and Cellular Biologists 8.0% $79,590
Natural Sciences Managers 9.9% $123,860
Professors 9.4% $65,660
Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists 6.8% $107,230
Water Resource Specialists 9.9% $123,860
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists 7.7% $63,420

Who Is Getting a Master’s Degree in Marine Science?

73 Master's Degrees Annually
53% Percent Women
23% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 53% of the graduates are women, and 47% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of marine science majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Marine Science Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 6
Black or African American 1
Hispanic or Latino 4
White 45
International Students 2
Other Races/Ethnicities 15

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Marine Science, too. About 2.7% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • Canada
  • India
  • Germany
  • Colombia

How Much Do Marine Science Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $76,990 to $110,090 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to marine science. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Marine Science Major  ( 76990 to 110090 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
0K
250K

Some careers associated with marine science require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for marine science careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 0.3%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 1.1%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 1.2%
Some College Courses 0.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.0%
Bachelor’s Degree 42.4%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 3.7%
Master’s Degree 33.2%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 1.3%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.6%
Doctoral Degree 9.7%
Post-Doctoral Training 5.2%

Online Marine Science Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 21 schools offered some type of marine science program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 1 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 1 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 2 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 1 0
Master’s Degree 15 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 6 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Marine Science Worth It?

The median salary for a marine science grad is $83,600 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 110% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $874,000 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to marine science.

Major Number of Grads
Other Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies 2,661
Nutrition Science 1,439
Sustainability Science 1,184
International Studies 1,182
Computational Science 763
Behavioral Science 724
Museum Studies 710
Gerontology 645
Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution 630
Biological & Physical Science 611
Human Computer Interaction 562
Dispute Resolution 522
Systems Theory 460
Historic Preservation 292
Interdisciplinary Studies 213
Mathematics & Computer Science 189
Science, Technology & Society 187
Cognitive Science 152
Multicultural & Diversity Studies 131
Natural Sciences 94
Cultural Studies & Analysis 69
Medieval Studies 49
Classical & Ancient Studies 30
Holocaust Studies 30
Maritime Studies 20
Accounting & Computer Science 10
Human Biology 8
Biopsychology 1

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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