Career Pathways of VIMS Graduates

Numerous employment opportunities are open to those who pursue graduate education and training in marine science.  In addition to coursework, School of Marine Science students obtain research training that helps them develop in areas such as problem-solving, project management, and science communication.  Many of our graduates go on to research-focused careers, while others successfully pursue different pathways in marine science and allied professional careers.  As a graduate student in our program, you will have opportunities for professional development in areas such as communication for non-technical audiences, leadership, proposal writing, and teaching that will help you develop the transferrable and "soft" skills many of today's employers seek in STEM graduates.

Career Snapshot: 2011-2020 M.S. & Ph.D. alumni

Graduate program alumni are employed in diverse marine science careers.  More than a third work at colleges and universities, usually as faculty or research scientists. Alumni employed in government agencies are in research, management, and policy tracks. Business and industry careers are in environmental consulting, industry development, or research. Graduates with an interest in public education and outreach have attained positions as university-based marine educators, education and outreach staff at museums, and K-12 teachers.

M.S. Alumni Placement
School of Marine Science M.S. alumni placement from 2011-2020


Ph.D. Alumni Placement
School of Marine Science Ph.D. alumni placement from 2011-2020


Graduates of the School of Marine Science M.S. program have sought and achieved career paths in government agencies (29%), colleges and universities (25%), consulting or industry (12%), and education and outreach (9%). Most graduates of the doctoral program (48%) have sought and achieved faculty or research positions at colleges and universities.  We have alumni in faculty positions at Texas A&M, NC State, U Florida, Yale, U Hawaii, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Vanderbilt University, U Texas-Austin, U Maryland, LSU, Hampton University, U Delaware, American University, and many other state and private institutions in the U.S. and abroad.  A significant percentage of doctoral program graduates (23%) seek and attain research, management, and policy positions in federal agencies such as NOAA, NMFS, EPA, and USGS, with most of the remainder in careers with state agencies, business, and industry, or the nonprofit sector.  Nearly all students graduating from our program have a job in the field of marine science at the time of graduation.