Career opportunities after Marine Science

A Marine Science degree can open doors to lots of exciting opportunities.


From further study at the university of Iceland to field trips on research vessels in Antarctica, working as marine biologists on the Great Barrier Reef and surveying whales a Marine Science degree can open doors to lots of exciting opportunities.

The majority of our marine science graduates are well travelled typically working in coastal and water resource management, environmental impact assessment, coastal and offshore engineering, hydrography, remote sensing, sea bed exploration and survey, government laboratories, oil and gas industries, aquaculture industries, marine conservation, fisheries, ecotourism, oceangraphic institutes, marine environmental consultancy, policy making, and regulatory authorities.

Where are they now?

Sarah Bond: Marine Mammal Scientist

I graduated in 2016 after studying in Sydney at UNSW for my study abroad year. After completing my degree in marine science at Ulster, I worked for the summer at Blue Ocean Monitoring Ltd., which gave me valuable insight to the commercial sector of marine science. In September 2016, I began my MSc Marine Mammal Science at the University of St Andrews which included a fieldtrip aboard a research vessel to Antarctica. I was extremely fortunate to be given the chance to study this competitive masters programme, which has only been possible due to the opportunities available at Ulster University.

Niall McGinty: Fisheries Scientist

I graduated in 2006 and then completed an MSc in Marine Science at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University. There I worked on the role of mussel beds as a refuge for algae from limpet grazing. In 2008 I began my doctorate research at NUI Galway, exploring the variability of zooplankton populations in Irish waters. I completed my PhD research in 2011 and since then I have had the opportunity to work in some of the most amazing locations. I now work on all aspects of marine spatial ecology. This included a 12 month post-doc position in the Azores investigating tuna and whale shark interactions and I am currently employed as a MARICE Postdoc at the University of Iceland working on species distribution modelling of commercially important fish species.

Charles Ford: Sustainable Aquaculture Industry

Upon graduation in 2015, I returned to South Australia to work at Kangabbie Aquaculture Farm, where I had spent my study abroad placement year in 2013. My work there consisted primarily of trying to develop a more sustainable, and productive feeding programme in crayfish aquaculture. The research I conducted formed the basis of my bachelors degree Dissertation. Fundamentally, we were trying to reduce the reliance upon fishmeal in the production of aquaculture feed. In September 2016, I travelled to Scotland to begin a MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture at Stirling University. I intend to pursue a career in this subject area, and hopefully contribute to improving the sustainability of the ever-growing UK aquaculture industry.

Alistair Archibald: PhD Researcher

After graduating in 2014, I secured an internship at Carntogher Community Association, where I was responsible for GIS, mapping and fieldwork. After the internship ended, I was kept on as a consultant for GIS and mapping related work.  In 2015 I started an EPA-funded PhD in Trinity College Dublin, investigating the causes of diatom algal blooms in the Vartry Reservoir system. The project really appeals to me, as if successful, it will bring direct benefit to the wider public and may act as a template for further studies of algal bloom problems in similar lakes in Ireland and further afield.

Ryan McKenna: Marine Assessment Support Officer

I graduated in 2012 having completed a year long international exchange program at Flinders University (South Australia). Then in 2013, I completed an internship with Ireland’s National Advanced Marine Technology Programme of the Marine Institute in Galway where I gained significant insight into the marine Information Communication Technology sector. After this I was fortunate to find myself coordinating a GIS team for the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation in Greece as a volunteer funded by a Leonardo Di Vinci scholarship. My team and I later went on to win the €5,000 2014 Copernicus Masters Energy & Environment Challenge prize. After a short spell as an aerial surveyor for the UK Environment Agency I am now working in the research and development of environmental indicators for national and regional policy concerning offshore marine protected areas at the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) in England. My journey is far from over.

Becky Creed: Coastal Resource Manager

I graduated in 2012 after spending my placement year as a project coordinator at the Atlantic Whale Foundation, based in Tenerife. During this placement, I was given some amazing opportunities including regular boat trips to carry out surveys on the resident and migratory cetacean populations as well as underwater video recording of Pilot Whales, a truly unforgettable experience!

I was also fortunate to be sent independently to Argentina for two months to set up a new environmental awareness project. The responsibility and opportunities that I was given during my placement boosted my confidence and ultimately helped me in achieving the final grade in my BSc. If you like to travel like me, it opens many doors to working and travelling further afield! Upon leaving Ulster, I decided to travel and spent two years living and working in Australia as well as exploring Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. During my first year in Australia, I worked as a Marine Biologist on the Great Barrier Reef.

I developed a keen interest in coastal and marine management returning to the UK in 2015 to complete a MSc in Coastal and Marine Resource Management at the University of Portsmouth. I received a Distinction and have become focused on pursing a career in flood risk management, starting my position at Canterbury City Council as a Coastal Process Technician.

Connor McCarron: PhD Researcher in Sediment Dynamics

In 2012 I graduated after completing a placement year at the Loughs Agency. During my final year I continued to work for the Loughs Agency as an assistant scientific officer and was offered a role as a research support technician providing technical support for MPhil and PhD students studying under the IBIS project. I recently completed a masters in Applied Marine Geoscience at Bangor University after being awarded a Petroleum Exploration Society scholarship and started a PhD in October 2014, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In my PhD I am attempting to improve understanding of shelf seabed dynamics in mixed sediments, through the analysis of offshore geophysical data, flume experiments and numerical modelling.

Kieranna McCormick: Marine Biologist

In 2012 I graduated after undertaking an incredible placement during my third year with a volunteer NGO based in Tenerife which focused on cetacean research; this led to further opportunities in West Africa and Budapest. Thanks to this opportunity I was able to finally decide which of the many marine science paths to go down and subsequently enrolled on an MSc in Marine Biology with University College Cork. I am currently spending three months in north east Iceland conducting pioneering research on humpback whales for my thesis, with the potential to publish when I’m finished. I look forward to starting a PhD within the field of marine mammal sciences. The academic foundations, opportunities and connections I’ve gained from Ulster continue to help me as I progress through my career in science.

Ross McComish: Oceanographer

I graduated from Ulster in 2012 after becoming very interested in both the bathymetric mapping and hydro-dynamic forcing when undertaking modules in seafloor mapping and coastal processes. I then embarked on an MSc in Oceanography in the National Oceanography Centre (Southampton), where I am currently doing my thesis. During my time as a BSc marine science undergrad, I learned a number of transferable skills and software packages that have contributed massively while undertaking my MSc. I also undertook a placement in Tenerife with a diving company and gained certification to dive-master level. I believe that my time as an undergraduate both in university and on placement has benefited and matured me as person and given me focus for where I want to take my career.

Aaron Kirkpatrick: Marine Mammal Scientist

I graduated in 2011, after spending 12 months at Flinders University in Australia on the study-abroad scheme (DIAS). I subsequently completed an internship with; Cetacea Lab Canada in 2012, researching whales off the coast of British Columbia in Canada. In 2013, I was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a Masters in Marine Mammal Science at the University of Miami in Florida. In 2015, I started a PhD in the Laboratory of Ecological and Adaptational Physiology (LEAP) at Balyor University Texas, investigating the physiological adaptations and mechanism of animals in extreme and changing environmental conditions.

Craig Dyer: Hydrographic Surveyor

I graduated in 2011 and started working straight away with Fugro EMU in Southampton. I am now a Senior Hydrographic Surveyor, responsible for the collection and consolidation of high-resolution bathymetric data. One of the many surveys we are completing is the UK Civil Hydrography Programme, helping the UKHO and MCA update nautical charts for safe navigation. The material covered in lectures and the practical experience gained from Ulster helped me gain employment in this sector.