Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 28 Issue 03

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Volume 28, No. 3
Pages 228 - 229



By Simon Boxall  
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Within my faculty, at present, we have a bit of a dilemma. Some of my colleagues feel that students should focus much more on a specific area of oceanography at the undergraduate level. If, for example, marine biologists don’t do much more animal physiology and genetics, they might be excluding themselves from potential careers in other walks of biology. Physical oceanographers should do far more mathematical theory and equation derivation, and be fluent in a number of programming languages, to ensure that they are ready for a research career in modeling. Chemists—well, the list would entail a set of courses the length of which would make a degree in medicine look simple. The balancing argument to this narrowing of focus is that oceanographers (including marine biologists) are scientists of the sea and as such should have an appreciation of the wider picture before narrowing down to a specialization at either the master’s or the PhD level. From talking to other educators, it is dilemma that is under discussion at many universities around the world.


Boxall, S. 2015. How broad is your course? Oceanography 28(3):228–229, https://doi.org/​10.5670/oceanog.2015.74.

UK Office for National Statistics. 2013. Graduates in the UK Labour Market 2013. Office for National Statistics report dated November 19, 2013, 31 pp., http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/graduates-in-the-labour-market/2013/rpt---graduates-in-the-uk-labour-market-2013.html.
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