Schools for Aspiring Naval Architects: How to Choose

Students of naval architecture specialize in designing civilian and military ocean craft, including ships and submarines. Naval architecture undergraduate and graduate programs teach students all the basics of engineering in addition to marine vehicle design and performance analysis.

According to the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics, there are about a dozen universities, naval colleges and academies that have undergraduate degree programs in naval architecture and marine engineering ( Although a degree in mechanical or civil engineering may cover similar topics, only programs in naval architecture and marine engineering prepare the student for designing and managing marine structures.

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10 Schools with Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering Programs

These institutions offer programs for aspiring naval architects.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition* (2015-2016)
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,856 In-state Undergraduate; $20,638 In-state Graduate
University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,004 In-state Undergraduate; $21,821 Out-of-state Undergraduate
United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's Free for U.S. Citizens With U.S. Navy or Marine Corps Contract
Webb Institute Glen Cove, NY 4-year, Private Bachelor's $46,000 Undergraduate
United States Coast Guard Academy New London, CT 4-year, Public Bachelor's $942 Undergraduate
SUNY Maritime College Throggs Neck, NY 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,809 In-state Undergraduate; $17,659 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Texas A&M University College Station, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's $10,176 In-state Undergraduate; $28,768 Out-of-state Undergraduate
California Maritime Academy Vallejo, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $6,558 In-state Undergraduate; $17,718 Out-of-state Undergraduate
Stevens Institute of Technology Hoboken, NJ 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's, Graduate Certificate $47,190 Undergraduate; $32,200 Graduate
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University Blacksburg, VA 4-year, Public Master's, Graduate Certificate $12,127 In-state Graduate; $24,388 Out-of-state Graduate

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

When looking for naval architecture programs, there are several things to consider.

  • Consider your career goals; some programs are geared towards civilians, while others focus on military careers with U.S. Navy or Coast Guard vessels.
  • Naval architecture curriculum should include broad topics such as materials science, drafting, and advanced math in addition to specialized curriculum.
  • Some programs may offer internships or senior projects to allow for professional experience before graduation.

Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs in naval architecture and marine or ocean engineering take four years of study to complete.

Master of Science in Engineering

A master's degree in engineering with a concentration in naval engineering or marine systems can take 1-3 years to complete, often including time spent on a master's research or design thesis. These programs are designed for advanced study in naval engineering, including advanced ship design and engineering analysis, as well as professional career development.

Aspiring naval architects can opt to pursue studies in naval architecture or marine engineering, and some schools offer a combined naval architecture and marine engineering. Not all schools offer undergraduate and graduate programs, and school choice may depend on cost, location and the program levels offered by the school.

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