Marine Engineering Course and Class Descriptions

Marine engineering courses involve instruction in the maintenance and design of steering and propulsion systems of sailboats, tankers, submarines and other marine vessels. These courses are normally completed as part of a full degree program in this field. Read on for some course details.

Essential Information

Marine engineering courses and programs most often culminate in a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in marine engineering; the field is sometimes also referred to as ocean or coastal engineering. Most entry-level jobs in marine engineering only require a bachelor's degree, although a graduate degree can be useful in seeking management, research or teaching positions.

In addition to completing a degree program, mariner licensure is often sought and recommended for professionals in the field. The U.S. Coast Guard offers licensure in various stages, with the 3rd Assistant License being the first earned. Some common topics in courses can include the following:

  • Conservation laws
  • Navigation
  • Ocean structures
  • Naval architecture
  • Movement variables
  • Effects of waves
  • Ship geometry
  • Towing and mooring
  • Project planning
  • Technical information sources.

List of Marine Engineering Courses

Fluid Dynamics for Marine Engineering

Conservation laws pertaining to marine engineering are explored in this course, along with the equations of Euler and Bernoulli. Students also learn about vortex distributions, non-linear and linear waves, amplitude oscillations and flow theories in relation to shapes and sources. There are generally prerequisites for enrolling in this class, such as courses in hydromechanics or statistics, but students may bypass these requirements with permission from the instructor.

Marine Engineering Lab

In the marine engineering lab, students learn to measure temperature, force, currents, temperature, wave heights and sound velocities. Students are also introduced to methods for collecting, preparing and presenting data through written reports that involve the planning, analysis and evaluation of each marine engineering experiment. This is generally a senior-level course and is often offered in the spring to coincide with the marine reproductive cycle.

Ocean Engineering

Students in this course study movement variables in relation to ships and waves. Marine engineering students also learn navigation skills and gain an understanding of technical information sources, such as depth finders and CB radios. In addition, classes cover ocean and coastal structures, current underwater systems and the fundamentals of naval architecture.

Coastal Engineering

Students in coastal engineering courses learn about the effects of waves on onshore structures and how to effectively design seawalls and breakwaters. Students also learn to design jetties, pipelines, ship channels, harbors and oil spill containment areas. The planning of marine and coastal engineering projects, controlling of oil spills, dredging and designing of offshore pipelines are also examined in the coastal engineering course.

Dynamics of Offshore Structures

Students in this class study wave behavior fundamentals and learn to predict loads due to wind, waves and currents. Linear structural dynamics are examined, and the course also covers vibration monitoring of submerged structures and vehicles. Marine engineering students are presented with towing and mooring applications and learn to design ocean structures.

Principles of Naval Architecture

Marine engineering students in the naval architecture course learn principles of ship geometry, load lines, classification regulations, hydrostatics and marine vessel stability. Propulsion systems of marine vehicles, semi-submersible design and drilling rigs are also examined. Students usually take this course in their junior or senior year.

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