Education FAQs

Click one of the questions below to learn more.

How can I become a student member of MTS?

If you are enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college, university or institution of higher learning, you can join as a student member.

  • Student membership is only $25 a year.
  • You receive all the benefits of membership.
  • Membership includes six online MTS Journals each year and the bi-monthly newsletter Currents.

To join, follow the step-by-step instructions on this site’s Membership Page.

I’m a student member. Should I join a student section?

There are many advantages to belonging to a student section, as well as advantages for a university or academic institution to have an MTS student section. Student sections are a focal point for the exchange of information related to marine science, technology and issues. Usually, meetings are held at the school, and you will have the opportunity to learn and network with your peers, professors and, most importantly, professionals working in the field. Having a student chapter gives you and your professors a forum to urge for the improvement and expansion of marine-related curricula and facilities.

To join, look for a section in your academic institution. If there is no section, please read the next question about starting one.

Can I start a student section?

Absolutely. Starting a student section is easy. There are two basic requirements. Each student section must have:

  • At least 10 MTS student members
  • Two MTS professional members who have agreed to serve as counselors to the student section. One of these MTS members must be on the faculty where you want to establish the section.

Anyone interested in creating a student section must complete a petition with signatures for the minimum 10 students and 2 MTS professional members. Each student who signs the petition will receive their first year of membership for free. There is no limit to the number of students who may sign the petition. MTS can help you through the recruitment/petition process by supplying you with recruitment literature and information, as well as identifying local members who may be willing to serve as counselors.

Note that MTS will provide funding of up to $500 per year to each student section, which can be used to help launch your new section’s activities, social events and programs.

Please contact Jake Sobin, (202) 717-8705, to find out more about starting a student section.

Does MTS have scholarships for high school and college students?

MTS is proud of its student scholarship programs. Money for these scholarships comes MTS member donations, and demonstrates our Society’s dedication to education. Visit the Student Scholarships page to apply for the scholarships listed below.

Is scholarship money available elsewhere?

The American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE) and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) offer naval engineering scholarships. For information visit

The University of Hawaii, Marine Option Program (MOP) has an extensive list of scholarships and internship opportunities nationwide. See

Are there college internships?

Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution offers summer internships to qualified undergraduate and graduate students interested in marine-related fields. Areas of study are:

  • Aquaculture
  • Marine biology
  • Marine mammal research
  • Ocean engineering and oceanography

For applications and information, visit

The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center’s Technical Internship Program provides community college and university students from across the country with hands-on, real-world experiences that complement their academic learning and promote the development of the technical, scientific, critical thinking, and teamwork skills they will need to become a successful part of the marine workforce. The MATE Center works with marine-related employers to provide both at-sea and shore-based internship opportunities. Visit

I am in high school. How can I gain experience in an ocean-related job?

The San Diego Section of the Marine Technology Society has a summer intern program for high school students interested in the ocean professions. Click here to see a brief movie about the program. (You need QuickTime.)

The San Diego MTS Program is a six-week summer experience for motivated high school students hosted by one of MTS’s corporate sponsors. Past sponsors have included Lockheed-Martin, SAIC, InterOcean systems, inc., Diving Unlimited Intl., RD Instruments, Tecnadyne, BAE Systems, Biospherical Instruments, SeaCon Brantner, Falmat, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, DeepSea Power and Light, SonTek, Racal-Pelagos and Oceaneering.

Students get hands-on science and technology experiences, building important scientific, technical and employment skills under the direction of a workplace mentor. Students also receive a $1,500 stipend upon successful completion of the program.

For more information, visit the San Diego Section’s Internship page at

Tell me about Ocean Careers. introduces a wide range of careers, as well as advice from professionals in the field, predictions for future directions and much more. The MATE Center Web site provides information about ocean-related careers, including career profiles, job openings, internships, information about employers, industry contacts and more.

The Marine Technology Society’s 1995 publication Education and Training Programs in Oceanography and Related Fields is available for $6 (including shipping and handling). To order, send $6 made out to the Marine Technology Center to:


Marine Technology Society
Educational Publications
1100 H Street NW, Suite LL-100
Washington, DC 20005
Ph: 202.717.8705
Fax: 202.347.4302

The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook, 2004-2005 Edition, is a good resource if you want to know what oceanographers do, what kind of education they need, and how much money they make. The site is

Middle school students should check out the JASON Project at After discovering the wreck of the RMS Titanic, Dr. Robert Ballard world-famous explorer, oceanographer and MTS member received letters from students around the world who wanted to go with him on his next expedition. Dr. Ballard founded the JASON Project to bring the thrill of discovery to millions of students worldwide.

I am in grade school or middle school. Tell me more!

Scientist near submersible

We are happy to be able to help you understand more about the oceans.

People who study the seafloor and coasts, ocean climate and seawater are oceanographers. There are many kinds of oceanographers:

  • Oceanographers who study the land under the oceans and on the coasts are called Marine engineers may travel all over the world. geoscientists. Some geoscientists are seismologists. Seismologists try to learn as much as they can about how the land under the oceans moves. In 2004, an undersea earthquake in Asia created a huge wave (called a tsunami) that rushed over the land and killed 180,000 people. One thing seismologists want to learn is how to predict earthquakes so people can be warned to flee inland and away from tsunamis.
  • Physical oceanographers want to know how the oceans themselves work. They study how the sea affects the global climate. For example, did you know that if the ocean water is too hot or too cold, it can affect the weather over your house?
  • Chemical oceanographers study the chemicals in the ocean, and there are many! They also want to know how pollution coming from the land and the air affects the water.

Marine biologists study the plants and animals in the ocean. They research everything from tiny bacteria to seaweed to whales. Marine biologists want to know how our pollution affects sea creatures, how the ocean’s plants and animals affect the oceans and how we can make better use of them. For example, aquaculture is the farming of sea animals for human use. The next time you eat fish, you may be eating a fish that was raised on a farm near the ocean rather than a fish that was caught in the wild.

Oceanographers and marine biologists want to study the world in and around the oceans, but how do they do that?

To study the oceans, these scientists need instruments and equipment.

Here are some of the things they might need:

  • Cameras that can see through murky water
  • Satellites that can look down from the sky to map the ocean floor
  • Devices that can hear sounds under water
  • Devices that can tell when an earthquake is about to happen
  • Submarines that can go into water too deep for a person to survive in
  • Giant ocean platforms that hold oil or gas drilling machines

The members of the Marine Technology Society are the ocean engineers who invent, design and make the equipment that oceanographers and marine biologists use in their research. Other members are marine technicians. They make sure that the equipment works as it should and gives the scientists the answers they need.

Diver cutting rock

Equipment must be specially designed when it is used underwater. Thanks to ocean engineers, thousands of instruments and devices have been invented that have changed the way oceanographers study the ocean. Scientists can travel farther and deeper into the ocean and learn more than they every could before.

Ocean engineers help in other ways, too. Recently a small pirate boat off the coast of Africa tried to capture the Seabourn Spirit, a big cruise ship. The pirates threatened the cruise ship with military weapons, but the sailors had a device that made a high, unpleasant noise, like a smoke alarm makes, only louder. A sailor aimed the sonic device at the pirates, giving the ship’s captain time to turn the ship and flee.

Here are some ways ocean engineers help you:

  • They make devices that find oil and gas so your family can drive your car and heat your home.
  • They make instruments that help ships navigate across the ocean, bringing you food and other goods, like bananas from South America and video games from Japan.
  • They make devices (called acoustic devices) that allow submarines to “hear” objects in the ocean, just the way a bat bounces sound waves off of inspects to find them. The Navy uses submarines to protect you from people who might want to attack the United States.
  • Ocean engineers and technicians are good at math and science. They like to understand how things work, they like to find things out, and they love the ocean.
  • Do you think you would like to be an ocean engineer or marine technician? You have a while to decide, so you might want to find out more. Here are some places you can look:

    The study of oceans and their wonders is exciting and fulfilling. I wish you good luck in learning all you can, and I hope someday you will have a career that involves the ocean.

    I am in middle school or high school. Tell me more about ocean careers.

    As you may know, there are many possible choices for an ocean career: oceanographer, marine biologist, marine engineer and marine technician.


    Oceanographers study the land under the oceans and on the coasts in a variety of disciplines: geology, geophysics, physical oceanography and chemical oceanography. Marine biologists explore the plants, animals and organisms that populate the ocean to understand their behaviors and interactions with the environment.

    To study the oceans, these scientists need instruments and equipment.

    They rely on ocean engineers and marine technicians.

    Ocean engineers invent, design and make the instruments and equipment that oceanographers and marine biologists use in their research. Marine technicians ensure that the equipment both works and provides the information the scientists need. The Marine Technology Society is a professional association of ocean engineers and technicians.

    Whether it’s the cables that anchor an oil-drilling platform to the ocean floor or the platform itself, ocean engineers and technicians are involved in every aspect of marine instrumentation and devices.

    Here are just a few examples:

    ROV competition competitors
    • Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) (unoccupied, highly maneuverable underwater robots operated by a person aboard a surface vessel)High school students compete nationally to build the best remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
    • A tall, portable light system (for illuminating the deep ocean) that can be moved around the seafloor by an ROV.
    • Fluorescence-imaging cameras for photo-graphing fluorescent coral and sea creatures
    • Buoys with sensing devices for determining a wave’s size by gauging the weight of the water column passing over it (useful in detecting tsunamis)
    • Technology that allows scientists to measure the depth of a column of water (called bathymetry) from the air in order to map the ocean floor
    • Instrumentation that communicates with satellites to determine the amount of melting of polar ice
    • Materials for submersibles that can withstand extreme pressure

    As you can see, ocean engineering can involve mechanical, electrical, civil, acoustical, and chemical engineering. To become an ocean engineer or technician, you should study math, science and physics.

    The study of oceans and their wonders is exciting and fulfilling. Good luck in your future career.


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