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Students interested in designing yachts and marine watercraft can major in ocean engineering, which combines engineering and structural principles with marine science. Educational programs offered in Florida lead to the award of associate's, bachelor's, master's, and even doctoral degrees. Students will learn the properties of materials that are consistently immersed in water and are faced with oceanic conditions. Hands-on training is incorporated into all programs and some may require the completion of a capstone or senior project. Doctorate students should expect to do research in the field and present a dissertation.
Below are short overviews of the schools in Florida that offer training in oceanic or marine engineering.
Florida Atlantic University
At its campus in Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in ocean engineering, including a BS/MS program. During their senior year, bachelor's degree students are required to complete a capstone project lasting for two semesters. They will work in teams to design, construct and troubleshoot a working vessel.
Master's degree and PhD students may specialize in materials and corrosion, marine structures or marine hydrodynamics, among other areas. Graduate students participate in research at SeaTech, a 50,000 square foot research center located near Dania Beach. On site are two research boats, where students get practical experience working with watercraft.
Florida Institute of Technology
Also known as Florida Tech, the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne has bachelor's, master's and PhD degree programs in ocean engineering, including a fast-track program where students can earn a bachelor's and a master's degree in five years. Students will have access to facilities on the Indian River Lagoon as well as Vero Beach. They receive hands-on training working with small watercraft at the Ralph S. Evinrude Marine Operations Center. In addition, they can learn underwater naval craft design at the Underwater Technologies Laboratory.
Bachelor's degree students take many general engineering, physics and math courses in the first half of the program. More specialized courses, including naval architecture, wave theory and marine materials, are included in the junior and senior years. Students in the master's degree program can specialize in naval architecture, taking courses like marine vehicle structure, marine propulsion systems, marine hydrodynamics, corrosion engineering and ship design. The PhD program offers freedom in course selection and research project focus; students may concentrate on naval architecture.
Florida Keys Community College
Located in Key West, Florida Keys Community College provides an associate's degree program in marine engineering, management and seamanship. Students will learn how to build and power a vessel as well as operate the vehicle. While the associate's degree may prepare graduates to work as captain or crew member of a water vessel and provide a foundation for further studies, those wanting to design and build boats will need a bachelor's degree.
University of Florida
The University of Florida, in Gainesville administers only graduate degrees in coastal and oceanographic engineering. The Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment is home to eight research centers as well as a Category 5 Hurricane Wind Simulator and a stormwater testing facility. Both Master of Science (MS) and Master of Engineering (ME) degrees are offered. Master's degree students take 30 credits, including classes in ocean waves linear theory and fluid dynamics.
Students seeking a Ph.D. take a total of 90 credits, including 27 required research credits. In addition to the classes listed above for the master's degree program, doctoral students take engineering analysis, physical oceanography and littoral processes courses. Ph.D. candidates will be required to take a qualifying exam by the third year of their program, and a dissertation is necessary to graduate.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Degree Programs Offered||Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Florida Atlantic University||4-year; public; small city|| BS in Ocean Engineering,
MS in Ocean Engineering,
PhD in Ocean Engineering
|$4,831 for undergraduates (in-state); $17,276 for undergraduates (out-of-state)*|
|Florida Institute of Technology||4-year; private not-for-profit; small city|| BS in Ocean Engineering,
MS in Ocean Engineering,
PhD in Ocean Engineering
|$39,290 for undergraduates*|
|Florida Keys Community College||2-year; public; remote town||AAS in Marine Engineering, Management and Seamanship||$3,276 for undergraduates (in-state); $10,726 for undergraduates (out-of-state)*|
|University of Florida||4-year; public; midsize city|| MS in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering,
ME in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering,
PhD in Coastal and Oceanographic Engineering
|$12,737 for graduate students (in-state); $29,302 for graduate students (out-of-state)*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator