Bachelor’s in oceanography students may study biological, physical, chemical, and geological oceanography, or they may specialize in one of these fields. Oceanography is a hands-on course of study and includes many opportunities for students to conduct research and field studies. Although a bachelor’s degree in oceanography can prepare students for a few entry-level positions in the field, most graduates will need to follow up with a master’s program to qualify for jobs in oceanography. In this ranking, we explore the 10 top value schools for a bachelor’s in oceanography degree.
Ranking Methodology for Top Oceanographer Schools
• Under $30,000—1 point
• Under $25,000—2 points
• Under $20,000—3 points
• Under $15,000—4 points
• Under $10,000—5 points
Students Receiving Financial Aid:
• 60%–1 point
• 70%–2 points
• 80%–3 points
• 90%–4 points
• Content Customizations (e.g. Concentrations and Specializations)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
• 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us
Rating Best Value Colleges for a Bachelor’s in Oceanography
To determine the best value schools for a bachelor’s in oceanography, our editors used College Navigator to identify the initial pool of 22 colleges and universities that offer this undergraduate degree. From there, we considered each school’s tuition and financial aid numbers (as reported by College Navigator) as well as program information from each school’s website using the ranking methodology above to identify the following 10 top value bachelor’s in oceanography degree programs.
Reviewing the Best Oceanographer Colleges
#10 – University of Washington—Seattle
Bachelor’s in Oceanography
The University of Washington—Seattle’s School of Oceanography offers an interdisciplinary bachelor’s in oceanography degree programs with both BA and BS tracks. In addition, students can further customize their curriculum by choosing from orientations in either life sciences or physical sciences. Some sample course titles include Methods of Oceanographic Data Analysis, Foundations of Ocean Sensors, Marine Biogeochemical Cycles, and Coastal Oceanography. Oceanography degree students have access to several state-of-the-art facilities and resources including the RV Thompson and the Friday Harbor Laboratories.
#9 – University of North Carolina—Wilmington
Bachelor’s in Physical Oceanography
Wilmington, North Carolina
The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a unique bachelor’s in oceanography that combines the disciplines of physics and physical oceanography. In order to fulfill the requirements for the major, students must complete the general education requirements, the physics core, and additional courses with an oceanography emphasis. Specific course titles include Computational Physics and Complexity, Coastal and Estuarine Systems, and Observational Methods and Data Analysis in Physical Oceanography. Bachelor’s degree in oceanography students will also participate in an undergraduate cruise experience prior to graduation.
#8 – Stockton University
Bachelor’s in Marine Science: Oceanography
Galloway, New Jersey
Stockton University’s bachelor’s in oceanography offering is a major in marine science with both BS and BA tracks in oceanography. This oceanography concentration features specialty course titles such as Global Ocean Basins, Coastal Sedimentary Processes, Marine Geology, and Data Methods in Marine Science. In addition to traditional coursework, oceanography degree students regularly participate in lab experiments and undergraduate research projects at the nearby Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve as well as at the Stockton Marine Field Station.
#7 – Coastal Carolina University
BS in Marine Science: Atmosphere/Ocean Dynamics
Conway, South Carolina
Coastal Carolina University’s bachelor’s in oceanography is technically a marine science major with an emphasis in Atmosphere/Ocean Dynamics. The program is primarily designed for students planning to study physical oceanography or atmospheric science at the graduate level. Students will enroll in courses such as Hydrographic Techniques, Coastal Processes, Marine Environmental Issues, and Geographic Information Systems. Bachelor’s degree in oceanography students may choose to double major in any other bachelor of science program.
#6 – North Carolina State University
BS in Marine Science: Biological Oceanography
Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University offers a bachelor’s in oceanography option that is technically a BS in Marine Science with a concentration in Biological Oceanography. The program features a mostly prescribed curriculum comprised of courses such as Introduction to Coastal Environments, Physical Oceanography, and Coastal Processes. Bachelor’s degree in oceanography students enjoy access to the 51,000 square-foot state-of-the art Center for Marine Sciences and Technology (CMAST) located on the shore of Bogue Sound where they participate in undergraduate research projects and field studies.
#5 – Humboldt University
BS in Oceanography
Humboldt University offers a flexible bachelor’s in oceanography degree program that can be customized according to students’ individual interests and career goals. The core curriculum for the major includes course titles such as Chemical Oceanography, Oceans & Climate, and Sampling Techniques & Field Studies. Oceanography degree students participate in field cruises and research projects near campus and at the university’s marine laboratory in Trinidad. Graduates are well-prepared for entry-level careers as aquaculture technicians, chemical oceanographers, hydrographic surveyors, and marine research assistants, among other related positions.
#4 – Florida Institute of Technology
Bachelor’s in Oceanography
Florida Institute of Technology’s bachelor’s in oceanography degree program is interdisciplinary in nature, combining courses from disciplines such as math, physics, meteorology, biology, chemistry, and more. The program is also highly versatile, allowing students to choose from one of five available concentrations: Biological Oceanography, Chemical Oceanography, Coastal Zone Management, Marine Environmental Science, and Physical Oceanography. Florida Tech’s bachelor’s degree in oceanography graduates routinely go on to pursue graduate degrees at prestigious universities such as the University of Alaska, MIT, and Princeton.
#3 – Hawaii Pacific University
BS in Oceanography
Hawaii Pacific University offers a highly customizable bachelor’s in oceanography degree program with concentrations in Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, and Fisheries Science. Specific course titles include Hawaiian Natural History, Evolutionary Genetics, Natural Resource Management, and Geological Oceanography. Oceanography degree students graduate well-prepared to enter careers in marine and aquatic sciences in both the public and private sectors as well as advanced study in the field of oceanography. HPU’s oceanography students enjoy small class sizes and routinely participate in field cruises aboard the university’s 42-foot research vessel.
#2 – Millersville University of Pennsylvania
BS in Ocean Studies and Coastal Sciences
Millersville University of Pennsylvania’s bachelor’s in oceanography offering is actually a BS in Ocean Sciences & Coastal Studies with an option in Physical Oceanography. In addition to required earth sciences courses such as Field Methods in Oceanography, Climate Dynamics, and Ocean Data Analysis & Presentation, oceanography degree students will take classes in related disciplines such as chemistry, calculus, and physics. Millersville University’s oceanography students also routinely participate in experiential learning activities and field experiences at the Wallops Island Science Center.
#1 – Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor’s in Marine Science: Oceanography
The bachelor’s in oceanography degree offering from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania is a BS in Marine Science with a concentration in Oceanography. Students pursuing this oceanography track will enroll in courses such as Marine Biology, Physical Oceanography, Remote Sensing, and Physical Geology. Kutztown University’s bachelor’s degree in oceanography students routinely participate in field-intensive experiences at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station located at nearby Wallops Island, Virginia. Students graduate from the program well-prepared for entry-level careers in oceanography and marine science as well as for graduate study.
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This concludes our ranking of the top 10 best oceanographer colleges.