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Marine Science Major

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Marine Science

142 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
73 Master's Degrees Annually
#264 in Popularity
$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
Bachelor’s Degree 142
Master’s Degree 73
Associate’s Degree 27
Doctor’s Degree 19
Basic Certificate 13
Undergraduate Certificate 1

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

This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:

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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

A major in marine science prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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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

Marine Science majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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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 Bachelor’s Degree in Marine Science?

142 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
66% Percent Women
36% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 142 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine science in 2019, making it rank #264 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 66% of recent graduates being female.

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 Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 12
Black or African American 1
Hispanic or Latino 26
White 83
International Students 2
Other Races/Ethnicities 18

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Marine Science, too. About 1.4% 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?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that marine science students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree made a median starting salary of $28,200 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $28,200 (25th percentile) and $28,200 (75th percentile).

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One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to marine science.

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 the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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

Some degrees associated with marine science may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. 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.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to marine science have obtained the following education levels.

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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 37,392
Biological & Physical Science 29,278
International Studies 7,967
Interdisciplinary Studies 6,609
Nutrition Science 4,794
Behavioral Science 3,731
Natural Sciences 2,571
Cognitive Science 2,275
Sustainability Science 2,194
Human Biology 1,460
Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution 1,310
Gerontology 1,281
Human Computer Interaction 1,272
Science, Technology & Society 1,171
Mathematics & Computer Science 1,105
Computational Science 927
Systems Theory 917
Museum Studies 801
Dispute Resolution 668
Historic Preservation 433
Multicultural & Diversity Studies 424
Classical & Ancient Studies 303
Cultural Studies & Analysis 227
Biopsychology 165
Medieval Studies 108
Accounting & Computer Science 71
Maritime Studies 45
Holocaust Studies 40

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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