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Boat Engineering School and College Degree Program Information

Individuals interested in boat engineering may consider pursuing programs in marine engineering and naval architecture. Learn about degree levels and courses, along with common careers for the field.

Essential Information

Individuals who want to study boat engineering can enroll in a marine engineering and naval architecture degree program. These programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate degree levels, and they cover the math, science, and engineering principles behind watercraft design, construction and repair. Graduates of an associate's program can find work as technicians and engineering assistants, while graduates of bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degree programs can become boat engineers.

Associate's and bachelor's degrees in this field typically require that applicants have satisfactory ACT or SAT scores and a math and science background. Two year master's programs require students to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, and two to three year doctoral programs need a master's degree and GRE test scores. Master's degree programs may offer concentrations in marine system design, offshore engineering, or hydrodynamics.


Associate's Degree in Marine Engineering

Boat engineering programs at the associate's degree level are often referred to as marine engineering technology degree programs. These programs are designed to prepare individuals for various technical jobs, such as repairing and maintaining the electrical and mechanical systems of watercraft. Degree candidates study ship design and propulsion, power and auxiliary systems and navigation equipment and procedures.

The curriculum of an associate's degree program in marine engineering technology generally focuses on math and science. Sample core curriculum course titles are included below.

  • Engineering mechanics
  • Statistics
  • Hydraulics
  • Marine power systems
  • Ship design
  • Boat navigation

Bachelor's Degree in Marine Engineering

At the bachelor's and graduate degree levels, boat engineering programs are generally referred to as marine engineering and naval architecture programs. Marine engineering and naval architecture bachelor's degree programs are designed to teach the fundamental skills needed to design and maintain boats, ships, and other watercraft. In addition to a core-engineering curriculum, degree applicants participate in a series of lab courses in which they design a ship of their choice.

The curriculum of a bachelor's degree program in marine engineering and naval architecture is centered on a math and science foundation, which is necessary for future engineers. Degree candidates also enroll in a set number of liberal arts electives. Sample core curriculum course titles may include:

  • Chemistry for engineers
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Calculus
  • Marine design
  • Differential equations
  • Thermodynamics

Master's Degree in Marine Engineering

The marine engineering and naval architectures degree is offered as both a Master of Science (M.S.) and a Master of Science in Engineering (M.S.E.). These programs are designed to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to design, build, operate, and maintain boats, ships, and other watercraft.

Nearly all master's degree programs in marine engineering and naval architecture feature a graduate thesis or research project as a diploma requirement. The following are sample course titles typically encountered in a master's degree program:

  • Advanced hydrodynamics
  • Small craft design
  • Shell and plate theory
  • Environmental dynamics
  • Solid and structural mechanics
  • Marine system management

Doctoral Degree in Marine Engineering

A doctoral degree in marine engineering can be obtained as either a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or a Doctor of Engineering (Eng.D.). This graduate degree program is designed to prepare individuals for senior research and teaching positions in the maritime community. Doctoral degree candidates design a course of study and develop a thesis or research project around one sub-set of the marine engineering field. Students work closely with a thesis advisory committee in choosing the appropriate classes and course of action.

The curriculum of a doctoral degree program in marine engineering and naval architecture depends wholly on the academic concentration chosen by the student and his or her advisory committee. Some sample course titles include:

  • Wave motion in fluids
  • Boat structure analysis
  • CAD for marine engineers
  • Advanced ship design
  • Ocean dynamics
  • Engineering analysis of marine environments

Popular Career Options

Degree candidates from an associate's degree program in marine engineering technology are eligible for entry-level technician jobs, working with boats and other watercraft. Examples of possible job titles are included below.

  • Navigation technician
  • Engineering assistant
  • Electrical wiring technician

While a bachelor's degree satisfies the educational requirements of most hands-on engineering positions, a master's degree in marine engineering paves the way for executive or managerial roles. Some popular job titles are included below.

  • Engineering manager
  • Maritime sales executive
  • Marine resource consultant

Graduates of a doctoral degree program in marine engineering are qualified for a range of teaching, research and executive positions. Sample job titles may include:

  • Marine engineering professor
  • Naval researcher
  • Maritime consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

After completing a bachelor's degree program in marine engineering, individuals are eligible to sit for the required engineering licensing exam, administered at the state level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), licensed marine engineers and naval architects can expect a 9% increase in employment opportunities between 2014 and 2024. As of 2015, the BLS also shows that the median salary for marine engineers and naval architects was $93,110.

With degrees at every level of undergraduate and graduate education, students interested in learning about boat engineering have many options for schooling. With the skills to work on a variety of water vehicles, graduates can find work in a number of fields.


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