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Marine Science

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Marine Science Major

228 yearly degrees
#325 in popularity
$84,000 median salary

Marine science is a major that typically falls into the Multi / Interdisciplinary Studies category.

There are 2 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in marine science, 5 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 15 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 7 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Marine Science Degree?

This is a less frequently chosen major. Only 100 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marine science in 2017. This major is dominated by women with about 67.8% of recent graduates being female.

Racial Distribution

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

  • Asian: 1.7%
  • Black or African American: 1.7%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 16.9%
  • White: 70.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 0.8%
  • Other Races: 8.5%
Marine Science Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in marine science. About 0.8% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending marine science majors to the U.S. are China, Canada and India.

What Will You Learn as a Marine Science Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to marine science to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Marine Science Majors

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

Important Knowledge Areas for Marine Science Majors

Skills for Marine Science Majors

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

Important Skills for Marine Science Majors

Abilities for Marine Science Majors

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

Important Abilities for marine science Majors

What Can You Do With a Marine Science Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with marine science:

Careers Related to Marine Science
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Remote Sensing Scientists and Technologists



Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health



Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists



Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers



Natural Sciences Managers



Clinical Research Coordinators



Water Resource Specialists



Climate Change Analysts






Environmental Restoration Planners



Marine Science Major Salary

Marine science majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $77,000 to $110,000. 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, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Marine Science Major  ( 77000 to 110000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Marine Science Major Jobs

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.

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Marine Science
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Marine Science Programs

There are 5 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in marine science, with 0 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Getting your degree online is not easy and includes watching and listening to hours of lectures, participating in group charts, submitting papers by the appropriate deadline and taking tests. Some online programs will also feature internships or in-person clinical hours.

Is a Marine Science Major Worth It?

The median salary for a marine science grad is $84,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 115% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $894,000 after 20 years!

marine science salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Daderot via License

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