Fieldwork is an essential part of any degree programme in the School of Environmental Sciences. For Ocean Sciences, our fieldwork programme involves spending time at sea on research vessels. At sea, students are directly involved in the collection of samples and data using research grade equipment and instruments, analysis of samples using chemical and biological techniques, application of data analysis tools to estimate physical parameters and interpretation of data.

This hands-on experience is a challenging but rewarding part of any ocean sciences degree programme and allows you to place theories and ideas gathered throughout your degree programme in context. You will be taught by scientists who regularly spend time at sea and will therefore be highly trained in up-to-date techniques vital for modern observational oceanography.‌ 

The fieldwork schedule starts within the first few weeks of year 1, when students attend a fieldwork weekend in North Wales. During this two-day training session, students are introduced to basic skills in data collection and techniques used for making oceanographic and meteorological observations. In year 3, students participate in a 7-day field course during which they spend at least 3 days at sea in Oban, Scotland on the RV Calanus. Students collect samples and data and make observations in order to understand the chemical, biological and physical characteristics of the coastal environment and how they interact.‌ 

For students who enjoy the fieldwork aspect of Ocean Sciences, there are opportunities to conduct fieldwork as part of the Year Three Research Project and to participate in research cruises during the summer months alongside academic staff or scientists from the National Oceanography Centre in Liverpool.

Spending time at sea will not only provide you with knowledge and hands-on experience in Ocean Sciences but will allow you develop your skills in self-organisation, teamwork and communication and improve your confidence in making observations, attributes attractive to employers both within and outside the field of Ocean Sciences. 

The School of Environmental Sciences will cover essential costs of all compulsory field courses - and you will have the option, via our ‘Go Abroad programme, to study abroad for part of your degree.