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Marine Science Major

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Marine Science

118 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
79 Master's Degrees Annually
#272 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 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 118
Master’s Degree 79
Doctor’s Degree 19
Associate’s Degree 12
Undergraduate Certificate 8
Basic Certificate 7

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

As a marine science major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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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?

118 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
68% Percent Women
25% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 118 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine science in 2018, making it rank #272 in popularity. This major is dominated by women with about 68% 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 2
Black or African American 2
Hispanic or Latino 20
White 83
International Students 1
Other Races/Ethnicities 10

Geographic Diversity

Marine Science appeals to people across the globe. About 0.8% 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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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in marine science, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Marine Science majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $76,990 to $110,090 (25th to 75th percentile). 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 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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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.

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 2017-2018 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) 7 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 34,540
Biological & Physical Science 27,751
International Studies 8,097
Interdisciplinary Studies 6,179
Nutrition Science 4,990
Behavioral Science 4,502
Natural Sciences 2,445
Cognitive Science 1,875
Sustainability Science 1,682
Gerontology 1,380
Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution 1,297
Human Computer Interaction 1,146
Human Biology 1,066
Science, Technology & Society 1,060
Mathematics & Computer Science 833
Museum Studies 778
Systems Theory 694
Computational Science 619
Dispute Resolution 583
Historic Preservation 446
Multicultural & Diversity Studies 416
Classical & Ancient Studies 315
Cultural Studies & Analysis 236
Biopsychology 158
Medieval Studies 119
Holocaust Studies 54
Accounting & Computer Science 45
Maritime Studies 15

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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