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Oceanography prepares people to study the ocean and how it interacts with the atmosphere and land.

Oceanography programs include topics such as:


Community colleges and other two-year schools offer associate degree programs in oceanography. An associate degree usually takes two years to complete. After earning an associate degree students can transfer to a college or university for further study.

A few colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in oceanography. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study. A bachelor's degree prepares students for entry-level positions as an oceanographic technician.

Several universities offer graduate degrees in oceanography. A master's degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor's degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master's degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Careers Directly Related to this Program of Study

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor’s degree in oceanography, geology, engineering, or a related field, good grades, and good test scores.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

No matter where you go to school, you're likely to take a set of "core" courses similar to the list above. Some undergraduate schools offer programs with separate tracks for biological oceanography, physical oceanography, or coastal zone management.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate students usually focus on one area of study. Typical courses vary by specialty. A list of common graduate requirements is below:

Things to Know

Many science jobs require a lot of writing and clear communication. Taking writing and speech courses will develop your communication skills.

Internships are a good way to gain experience.

Most researchers spend at least some time each year in fieldwork. This may involve time on a research ship.


East Side Area

Walla Walla Community College

Whitman College

King-Snohomish Area

Bellevue College

Everett Community College

Highline College

North Seattle College

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Seattle

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Tacoma Area

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom

Pierce College Puyallup

Tacoma Community College

University of Washington - Tacoma

West Side Area

Skagit Valley College