Naval Engineering Undergraduate Degree Programs and Majors

Naval engineering undergraduate degrees teach students about water vehicles and equipment functions, as well as how to make them. Learn about degree fields, courses, careers, and continuing education available.

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Essential Information

Naval engineering programs are offered through the Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines, state maritime schools, and general colleges and universities. Two common undergraduate degree programs are the Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and the Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. For both of these degrees, students must have a high school-level education with a strong foundation in math and science coursework.

Bachelor of Science Degree Programs in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs in naval architecture and marine engineering teach students to apply principles of science and mechanics to the design and construction of water vehicles and other offshore structures. Most programs require students to work on a design project where they learn to apply engineering and architectural principles to marine structures. Course topics might include:

  • Marine design
  • Marine engineering
  • Ship resistance and propulsion
  • Offshore structures
  • Hydrodynamics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
  • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
  • Biomedical and Medical Engineering
  • Ceramic Sciences
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Drafting and Design Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering and Electronics
  • Engineering - Architectural
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Forest Engineering
  • Geological Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Math
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Mining Engineering
  • Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Plastics Engineering
  • Surveying
  • Systems Engineering
  • Textile Technologies

Bachelor of Science Degree Programs in Ocean Engineering

Bachelor's degree programs in ocean engineering also teach students to apply scientific principles to maritime environments. The field of ocean engineering places more emphasis on the study of ocean movements and their effect on watercraft or marine structures. Educational prerequisites for ocean engineering programs are similar to those of the naval architecture and marine engineering programs.

Students take laboratory classes, participate in design studios and may have the opportunity for hands-on experience aboard maritime vessels. Course topics include:

  • Ocean instrumentation
  • Ocean mechanics
  • Ocean engineering design
  • Fluid mechanics
  • Oceanography

Popular Career Options

According to the American Society of Naval Engineers, beginning engineers often start by working on a specific field of interest, such as propulsion engines, and gradually take on broader and more complex responsibilities. Junior engineers may be promoted to senior engineers and then become supervisors and project managers. Common fields within naval engineering include combat systems, shipbuilding or research and development.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Average employment growth of 9% is expected during the period from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Due to the need to update ships for pollution and emissions guidelines, job opportunities should remain good. According to the BLS, the median salary for marine engineers and naval architects was $93,110 annually in May 2015.

Licensure and Continuing Education

According to the American Society of Naval Engineers (ASNE), naval engineers do not need to become licensed professional engineers. However, licensed engineers may see enhanced employment prospects. Recent graduates can take the initial Fundamentals of Engineering examination. After gaining work experience, they can take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam and obtain a license. Continuing education is needed to maintain licensure. Professional organizations, such as the ASNE and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, provide opportunities for continuing education.

Students might consider pursuing graduate degrees in order to increase their knowledge or to pursue a specialty within naval engineering. Additionally, those hoping to work in senior corporate management might benefit from a business degree.

Naval engineering bachelor's degrees prepare students for work designing and building watercrafts for a variety industries, including the United States Navy. Licensure is available to enhance employment opportunities along with continuing education to maintain it, in addition to graduate education.

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