Oceanography, B.S.

Oceanography, B.S.

What is an Oceanography Degree?

Oceanography BSOceanography is a broad, multidisciplinary science that attempts to unlock the mysteries of the oceans that cover 70 percent of the planet. Students in Florida Tech's oceanography degree program study and apply biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, physics and math toward a better understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, sea floor geology and more.

Whether you want to develop a new way of restoring wetlands and shorelines, design and manage parks and sanctuaries or solve the mystery of red tides, an oceanography degree from Florida Tech develops a strong background in oceanography, engineering and technology.

Gain Practical Experience

Students working towards an oceanography degree at Florida Tech may choose to concentrate in one of five unique subfields: biological oceanography, chemical oceanography, coastal zone management, marine environmental science and physical oceanography.

A unique and memorable component of each student's first-year experience in the oceanography degree program at Florida Tech is The Whole Earth Course. This class leads students to experience and understand our planet as a system of interacting processes. As seniors, students refine their practical skills in technical electives and specialized labs, and complete a research project in a topic of their choosing.

As a result, you get practical experience, an enhanced job search portfolio and the perfect preparation for graduate school and employment.

Build Professional Relationships

Beyond the classroom, oceanography majors build leadership and professional experience through exciting internships and participation in academic organizations like Sigma Xi (scientific research society), the Marine Technology Society, student government and over 100 other campus-side student organizations.

Get Recruited Upon Graduation

Employers seek out graduates with an oceanography degree from Florida Tech. Organizations that have recruited our students for internships and careers include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency, EPCOT, National Science Foundation and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Earn an Advanced Degree

After receiving their oceanography degree, many of our students go on to graduate school at universities such as Florida Tech, University of Alaska, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Princeton and MIT.

Why Pursue an Oceanography Degree at Florida Tech?

The Florida Tech oceanography program is the only oceanography program in the country that is integrated with ocean engineering, environmental science and meteorology programs, making it unique to all other oceanography colleges. Students in the oceanography program study and apply biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, physics and math toward a better understanding of marine ecosystem dynamics, geophysical fluid dynamics, sea floor geology and more.

Small Classes – Collaborative Learning Environment

Oceanography students can expect small classes and the opportunity to work with faculty addressing a variety of environmental challenges (such as beach erosion, air pollution and the preservation of endangered species). The program's reputation as one of the leading oceanography colleges and its proximity to a variety of scientific agencies and marine ecosystems means you can also expect to build valuable field experience off campus.
Unlike other oceanography colleges, Florida Tech students enjoy small classes. They also benefit from working closely with multi-disciplinary faculty, students and staff from these disciplines. The department also has an outstanding reputation among employers, many of whom are alumni.
Students Learn From Those Preserving, Protecting and Enhancing Natural Resources

The Department of Ocean Engineering and Sciences has an integrated collaboration of faculty members from environmental science, oceanography, meteorology and ocean engineering – another way we're different from other oceanography colleges. Florida Tech's professors have a keen interest in preserving, protecting and enhancing natural resources, staying active in research and sharing their current knowledge and experiences in their classrooms.

Their research areas include:

  • Offshore oil spills
  • Antarctic oil drilling
  • Water and air quality
  • Sea-level rise
  • Drinking water resources in Florida
  • Managing environmental resources

High-Tech Research Laboratories

If research facilities are what you're looking for, Florida Tech boasts some of the finest facilities you'll find in oceanography colleges! Many students build experience by volunteering in faculty research labs or conducting experiments, field sample studies and computer simulations with faculty guidance.

  • Florida Tech has marine laboratories and field research sites on the Indian River Lagoon and Atlantic Ocean.
  • The Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center houses a fleet of small watercraft, which is available for class work and research and provides direct access to the Indian River Lagoon.
  • The Marine Geology and Geophysics Laboratory provide facilities for core boring and sediment analysis, beach and hydrographic surveying, and oceanographic instrumentation for coastal research activities.
  • The Underwater Technologies Laboratory has a 500-square-foot electronic workshop with all of the systems necessary to design and maintain autonomous underwater vehicles.
  • In the Surf Mechanics Laboratory, students have access to two wave tanks for theoretical and experimental water wave measurement.

When looking at oceanography colleges, consider that Florida Tech maintains close working relationships with organizations like Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, HUBBS Sea World Research Institute, Caribbean Marine Research Center and more.

Miles of Atlantic Ocean Beaches for Research and Play!

In terms of location, other oceanography colleges can't beat Florida Tech's coastal position in central Florida. Oceanography students benefit greatly from a campus on the Space Coast that provides 72 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and proximity to the Indian River Lagoon -- the most diverse estuary in North America. The area's subtropical climate provides ideal conditions for field study and non-academic outdoor activities, such as swimming, surfing and fishing. Florida Tech is a short drive from Sebastian Inlet, Kennedy Space Center, Orlando attractions and many entertainment activities right in Melbourne. As oceanography colleges go, Florida Tech is a great choice.

How Will an Oceanography Degree Prepare me for the Future?

From the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, our students can participate in a plethora of oceanography internships and research opportunities outside the classroom.

Local companies and non-profit organizations provide many of the oceanography internships available to Florida Tech students including:

  • SeaWorld
  • The Audubon Society
  • Save the Manatee
  • The Marine Resources Council of East Central Florida

These oceanography internships offer experience in the field that students can apply to future careers or graduate school. Florida Tech alumni also get involved in designing oceanography internships for students.

Be Face-to-Face with Wildlife

Beyond their oceanography internships, students can take part in several different travel excursions to bring them face-to-face with wildlife from around the state or internationally to gather valuable research in a topic of their choosing. These adventures include such activities as an ocean cruise, trips to the Indian River Lagoon and its tributaries, and more.

Florida Tech students can also work side-by-side with faculty in state-of-the-art laboratories to conduct research and become familiar with many tools of the trade that they will use in oceanography internships and future careers. Florida Tech is also the only, or one of very few universities that have an oceanography program integrated with ocean engineering, meteorology and environmental science programs.

Specialized Labs

High-tech ocean engineering and sciences laboratories provide facilities and instrumentation used for core boring and sediment analysis, beach surveying, the measurement and analysis of water waves, the processes of fouling by marine organisms and saltwater corrosion, and more.

Prepare for the Real World with Student Field Projects

Florida Tech students culminate their research in marine field projects, which cover a wide array of topics and interests, including:

  • Human impact on water quality
  • Loss of seagrass beds
  • Algae blooms
  • Beach erosion
  • Beach waves
  • Ecological surveys

At the end of the summer, students present their work at the Field Projects Symposium where many local agencies and news representatives gather to hear about and report on student findings.

Join Clubs and Organizations to Enhance Your Degree

The newly formed Florida Tech Environmental Club helps promote "green" living and encourage environmentally friendly practices through educational events and campus cleanups. Networking, clubs, internships and research are all valuable ways students at Florida Tech enhance their degree and make connections for future careers.

What Can You Do With an Oceanography Degree?

Graduates of the oceanography program traditionally get their first jobs at organizations that deal directly with the management of ocean resources: studying the motion and circulation of ocean waters; the physical and chemical properties of the oceans; and how these properties affect coastal areas, climate, and weather. With a degree in oceanography, future oceanography careers may include work on fishery restoration, ocean mining, pollution prevention, toxic algae blooms or beach erosion.

Career Outlook

Oceanography jobs are organized among five areas of concentration:

  • Biological Oceanography
  • Chemical Oceanography
  • Physical Oceanography
  • Marine Environmental Science
  • Coastal Zone Management

The Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.

According to the bureau, oceanography careers (as part of Geoscientists) are projected to grow by 21 percent through 2020. The need for energy, environmental protection and responsible resource management will continue the demand for geoscience and oceanography careers.

While many openings will come in oil and gas consulting firms, less are expected from state and federal government agencies. Most new jobs will be in management, scientific, and technical consulting services.

Check the handbook on about oceanography careers and other related jobs.

Career Options

Oceanography careers include such opportunities as:

  • Geoscientist
  • Agricultural and Food Scientist
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Geological Technician
  • Petroleum Technician
  • Postsecondary Teacher

Potential Employers

Oceanography degree graduates are employed all over the world, in a variety of exciting positions. Most are employed as research scientists and coastal and oceanographic engineers for government and private companies. Organizations that have provided internships and employment to Florida Tech students and alumni include:

  • Rockwell Aviation
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Science Foundation
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Brevard County Natural Resource Center
  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University
  • National Weather Service, Melbourne Forecast Office
  • St. John's River Water Management District

Be Prepared for Graduate School

20 percent of oceanography students in the department of ocean engineering and sciences graduates go to graduate school, many of them continuing their studies at Florida Tech. Recent graduates have also pursued graduate studies at such prestigious academic institutions as:

  • MIT
  • University of North Carolina
  • Cambridge University (UK)
  • University of Florida
  • University of Miami
  • University of South Florida
  • Columbia
  • Johns Hopkins
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