Your degree in Oceanography

While studying oceanography, you’re learning to solve practical problems that impact oceans, from shallow coastal areas to the deep sea, taking into consideration human activities like pollution, fisheries, and climate change. You’ll develop important skills to better understand the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of the ocean.

These skills may include:

  • Application of environmental awareness and conservation knowledge to climate issues impacting oceans and marine ecosystems
  • Experimental project design and implementation, including developing research proposals, technical data reports, and presentations
  • Data processing and statistical analysis
  • Computer modeling and cartography
  • Focused field work that may include CTD casts, zooplankton and phytoplankton net tow sampling, and nutrient and element sampling 
  • Laboratory experience with processing nutrient samples, using microscopy and analytical methods with exposure to spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, electroanalysis, and chemical separations
  • Usage of MATLAB, Python, R and speciation software

Explore career possibilities

Career opportunities vary widely across a range of fields including research, environmental consulting, education, commerce, legal and regulatory practice, government or politics, the armed forces, marine renewable energy, and others.

There are many career paths that can combine your academics, skills, and experience with your different interests. See the job titles below for ideas, but note that some career options may require further education or training.

Visit the National Occupational Classification website to research basic requirements and responsibilities of jobs in your field.

Aquaculture manager


Conservation officer

Data analyst



Environmental biologist

Fisheries inspector

Fisheries technician





Laboratory technologist


Marine biologist

Marine geologist

Marine hydrobiologist




Physical oceanographer

Research assistant

Water and wastewater technician

Wildlife biologist


Make the most of your specialization

Your experiences will open doors to new opportunities and help clarify understanding of your values and interests.

Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science clubs
Meet other UBC students with similar interests through events and programs.

UBC Sustainability programs and clubs
Browse on-campus paid and volunteer opportunities related to sustainability.

UBC Science Co-op
Gain work experience in oceanography between study terms.

Departmental research opportunities
Reach out directly to faculty members to ask about potential research positions.

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre
Take selected field courses in coastal and marine sciences for university credit.

Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions internships
Apply your classroom knowledge to real-world settings through climate change mitigation or adaptation projects.

Make connections

Employers often hire people they know, so help them get to know you! You can build your network through clubs, classes, informational interviews, and more. There are so many ways to make connections and find mentors. 

The professional associations below are also great resources for meeting people, learning about specific industries, and exploring job and volunteer opportunities. Most have reduced membership rates for students and new grads.

Connect with alumni on LinkedIn

More information

From your Science degree, you’ll develop skills and experiences that can translate into many career paths. Check out other things you can do with your Science degree.