Ship Engineering Degree and Training Program Overviews

Oct 09, 2019

While a bachelor's degree in naval architecture and marine engineering may help graduates gain entry-level employment in the ship production industry, graduates with master's degrees may qualify for senior-level positions.

Essential Information

Classroom lessons and field work experiences in a naval architecture and marine engineering bachelor's program are science- and math-intensive and take four years to complete. Some programs are designed to prepare students for licensure. Applicants must have a high school diploma.

Marine engineering master's program enrollees might gain advanced knowledge of construction and manufacturing strategies as they develop the leadership skills necessary to oversee projects. Some portions of the two-year program could take place in oceanographic laboratories.

Bachelor's Degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

In the field of naval architecture and ship engineering, marine engineers help to create, build and maintain boats, ships and other marine equipment. Students in a naval architecture and marine engineering bachelor's degree program gain practical skills in mechanics and ship design. These programs are generally heavy in thermal and fluid sciences and focus on areas such as thermal power systems, applied mechanics, and electrical machinery, power electronics and control.

A naval architecture and marine engineering baccalaureate program consists of classes and field work that emphasize fundamental principles of mathematics, science and engineering in order to design applicable products and processes. Some programs are designed for students to acquire U.S. Coast Guard licensure. The following are some possible subjects in the naval architecture and marine engineering curriculum:

  • Introduction to ship systems
  • Ship dynamics
  • Materials science
  • Steam turbines
  • Marine structures

Master's Degree in Marine Engineering

Master's degree candidates study advanced concepts in marine mechanics and marine systems design. They also develop skills in team leadership, project development and collaborative design. Students gain exposure to state-of-the-art technologies in areas including hydrodynamics, coastal processes and design analysis. Some schools' graduate departments may be involved in research in marine subjects such as remote sensing and scientific visualization.

Applicants typically must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Prospective candidates who have completed a bachelor's program in engineering, mathematics or a related discipline may be considered for admission. Some programs are designed for students who already have professional work experience in naval architecture or marine engineering.

A graduate degree program in marine engineering features classes that combine theoretical and practical knowledge into development of leadership and management skills in settings such as shipyards and oceanographic laboratories. A capstone project mixing individual and group effort to manage the simulated construction of a seafaring vessel is generally required to satisfy the degree curriculum. Possible subjects typically included in a marine engineering program include the following:

  • Ship life-cycle management
  • Manufacturing strategies
  • Engineering statistics
  • High-speed hydrodynamics
  • Marine propulsion systems

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a master's degree program are generally equipped to seek managerial and senior-level positions in ship engineering. Some career options include:

  • Project manager
  • Facility manager
  • Senior design engineer

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that job growth in the marine engineering and naval architecture industry is expected to increase by 9% from 2018 through 2028. The average annual salary for ship engineers as of May 2018 was $75,710, according to the BLS.

A bachelor's degree program in naval architecture and marine engineering is heavily-focused in math and science, while a master's degree program teaches leadership and management skills. Some bachelor's programs allow students to receive licensure from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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