There’s literally an ocean of opportunities out there if you have ever considered working as a marine scientist. There’s more to it than being a well-tanned biologist who swims with dolphins. Universities, international organisations, commercial companies, government agencies, not-for-profit organisations and marine research institutes all provide employment for marine scientists.
Since the ocean has been described as Earth’s last frontier, let’s take a quick look at some of the options for further study in the marine sciences.
The School of Marine Science and Technology at the University of Newcastle runs both MPhil and PhD programmes in Marine Science, focusing broadly on either marine organisms and ecosystem research, or coastal processes and management. They also run two MSc programmes about marine consultancy and coastal management, and have several Marine Technology programmes to choose from.
The University of East Anglia is the top research institution in the UK and sixth in the world for Oceanography, according to Times Higher Education. Research into marine and atmospheric sciences with UEA is based at their School of Environmental Sciences.
Closely following in worldwide eighth place is the Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML). PML are currently offering eight PhD studentships via three doctoral training partnerships, relating to their principal research areas of plankton ecology, modelling, trace gases and remote sensing. In collaboration with PML, the University of Plymouth offers both an MSc and an MRes course in Applied Marine Science.
The Graduate School at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton takes around 40 new PhD students and 50 Masters students each year. They have several postgraduate courses to choose from, including seven MSc courses. The University of Liverpool is also home to a National Oceanography Centre site and offer three interdisciplinary MSc courses that concentrate on the ocean.
The School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University in Wales runs a multitude of undergraduate courses in the marine sciences area, and four MSc courses. They also offer an MPhil and PhD in Ocean Sciences. One can also directly contact the Centre for Applied Marine Sciences (CAMS) to arrange research projects that concern linking academic research with real-world applications. The Centre has multiple specialist research divisions such as analytical chemistry, applied oceanography and geotechnical surveying.
The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) host around 25 PhD students and have three MSc courses available, including a new-for-2014 Algal Biotechnology Masters Programme.
Most of the aforementioned institutions offer MSc courses and PhD studentships in marine biology. Other institutions with postgraduate opportunities include the University of St Andrews, the Centre for Marine Biodiversity and Biotechnology at Heriot-Watt University, and the British Antarctic Survey.
There’s no need to stay at home to study: the oceans are everywhere and so are chances for further marine biology study. Marinebio.org is a US website featuring a list of marine biology undergraduate and postgraduate programs throughout the world, with links to the relevant websites.
The Marine Physics and Ocean Climate (MPOC) research group based at the National Oceanography Centre “studies fundamental physical processes in the marine environment and their connection with, and influence on, the rest of the Earth system”. The University of Plymouth Marine Physics Research Group also researches marine physical processes. Both occasionally offer postgraduate and post-doctoral positions. Interested students can also contact both institutions directly to inquire after such vacancies.
Possible destinations for students interested in the marine physics area include the University of Otago in New Zealand, the Division of Applied Marine Physics in Miami, and an MSc course in Marine Physics at Université de Bretagne Occidentale in France.
When researching this article I was unable to find any UK institutions that explicitly offered marine chemistry courses, though many PhD studentships are of course interdisciplinary.
Institutions abroad engaged in postgraduate research include the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, the Freshwater and Marine Chemistry lab at Clark University in the USA and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.