Distance Learning Naval Architecture Degree Programs and Courses

Dec 02, 2019

Research online naval architecture courses and programs. Find out what you can learn in these courses and what you'll need in order to participate in online learning to determine if it's right for you.

Essential Information

Online degrees in naval architecture are rare, and those that exist are primarily at the master's degree level. These programs may require some time on campus for comprehensive examinations at the end of the program, and during the course of study, may require students to participate in teleconferences at set times. Prior to enrollment students are required to have a bachelor's degree. Online students may be required to have specialized design software to complete assignments. The related field of yacht and boating design yields options for students to pursue certificates and diplomas rather than degrees.

Yacht and Boating Design Diploma

Online yacht and boating design diploma programs include lessons to prepare students for careers as small craft designers in boat building companies, or to strike out on their own as self-employed designers. Students communicate with instructors via e-mail, phone or fax, and some assignments take a week or two to complete, while others may take months.

Program Information and Requirements

An online design program focusing on yacht and boat design includes an introduction to design principles, sail boat and power boat design, boat construction and the various systems on board a vessel. While students receive some course materials online, some yacht and boat design-related courses require textbooks.

Course Topics

From sailboats to motor boats, students in these programs learn not only about interior and exterior boat design, but also how construction changes with the materials used. Ocean acoustics and structures, propulsion systems and hydrodynamics are also topics that may be covered in online courses.

Yacht and Boat Design

Students learn basic sketching techniques and discuss flotation and propulsion in this introductory course.

Sailboat Design and Practicum

This course covers yacht lines and design ratios, location of ballast and various riggings. Students learn to create plans for sailboats of multiple sizes. Problem-solving is emphasized.

Construction Methods

Courses on construction include building fiberglass and wood boats and design of aluminum yachts. These classes emphasize the construction components of each type of boat and the impact of computer design programs.

Master of Science in Marine Engineering

A student who holds a bachelor's degree, whether in marine or ocean engineering or another subject, may complete an online Master of Science in Marine Engineering degree by completing 30-36 credit hours of work in marine or ocean engineering.

Students learn about marine nuclear power, propulsion, structural analysis of ships and hydrodynamics. These programs can be found online, but are most often offered in a traditional face-to-face format, with requirement to complete either a thesis or another major project.

Program Information and Requirements

Courses are available entirely online, although in some programs, students are required to complete oral examinations at the end of their studies. Students must attend a live-chat session with professors on a weekly basis.

Students are required to use a microphone in addition to a computer with internet connection and speakers. Some programs require use of special software. These requirements will be spelled out at the beginning of this program. Some courses have prerequisites.

Course Topics

From school to school, required courses may vary, but naval architecture and marine engineering programs generally include courses on computational methods, ship dynamics and management techniques for the marine engineering field. These courses may require group work or online meetings with professors.

Ship Dynamics

This course focuses on boat and vehicle movement in the water and the forces that affect that movement. Students explore the concepts of hydroelasticity, the effects of waves on structures and ship response. They also derive equations of ship motion in these courses.

Marine Engineering Management

In courses on marine engineering management, students focus on project management, economic theory and business concepts of cost analysis and estimation. Students analyze case studies to explore decision-making situations, and learn about shipboard maintenance and shipyard operations. These courses provide an overview of shipyards around the world, and introduce students to production methods and quality management.

Computational Methods

In computational methods classes, students focus on theories and methods to solve fluid dynamics problems. These courses may require group work, as students learn to solve computational fluid dynamics problems.

Career Information

This certificate program prepares students to take jobs as boat designers, examining and evaluating marine boats and equipment. Marine engineers and naval architects earn a median wage of $47.58 per hour according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (

This degree program prepares students for work as naval engineers in shipyards. According to a May 2018 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 11,350 professionals were employed as naval architects and marine engineers. Those individuals earned a median wage of $92,560 per year. (

Continuing Education Information

Master's level degrees in marine engineering or ocean engineering are not commonly available online, although some schools do offer online degrees. A doctorate is another option, although these are not available online.

Students looking for an entry level online program in naval architecture may pursue a Yacht and Boating Design Diploma. Those looking for better career opportunities may wish to pursue a M.S. in Marine Engineering, which may be done online with the exception of end of program comprehensive examinations.

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