Principal Scientist in Marine Science

Undertake scientific research on marine topics

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Average Income


per year


  • Usually requires a post-graduate degree (Masters or PhD)
  • Requires independent working, creative thinking, and an analytical mind
  • Roles range from entry level (“post-doctoral researcher”) to senior level (“principal scientist”)

Research scientists undertake original scientific work investigating various aspects of the world’s oceans.  Marine scientists may study the ocean’s physics, chemistry, biology or geology (or any combination of these!)  Marine scientists may investigate fundamental processes occurring in the ocean, study how the oceans are responding to human impacts (such as pollution or fishing), or improving models of how the oceans will look in the future with continuing climate change. These are just examples – research scientists usually specialize in one or two aspects of marine science.

A marine scientist’s work starts with collecting data, which might involve going to sea on a research vessel, or using data from underwater robots, or from satellites orbiting the Earth.  We then analyse the data to answer a particular question or hypothesis we might have about how the ocean works.  This often involves computer programming and/or statistical analysis.  Finally, we write up our results for publication in scientific journals.  We might also write grant proposals to raise money for our research, attend conferences to present our work, supervise students and technical staff, teach undergraduate or graduate students, participate in international committees to promote marine science, and more – it can be a really varied role!

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Prospects: Marine Scientist: Marine scientist job profile |

University of Southampton: 

MSc Oceanography Oceanography Master’s Degree | MSc | University of Southampton

MSc Marine Environment and Resources Marine Environment & Resources | MSc | University of Southampton

MRes Ocean Science Ocean Science | MRes | University of Southampton

University of Plymouth: Schools of Biological and Marine Sciences: Marine science – University of Plymouth

  • BSc (Hons) Ocean Exploration and Surveying
  • BSc (Hons) Ocean Science and Marine Conservation
  • BSc (Hons) Oceanography and Coastal Processes
  • BSc (Hons) Ocean Sciences with Foundation Year

Information about the employer

The National Oceanography Centre is one of the world’s top oceanographic institutions.  We undertake world leading research in large scale oceanography and ocean measurement technology. Our goal is to undertake internationally excellent research and technology development to advance the frontiers of knowledge about the ocean.  We also manage several national marine facilities, including the National Marine Equipment Pool (Europe’s largest fleet of autonomous and robotic vehicles), and two state of the art research ships RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook. 

Principal Scientist in Marine Science

Research scientists undertake original scientific work investigating various aspects of the world’s oceans.  Marine scientists may study the ocean’s physics,...

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