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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Majors Overview February 24, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in naval architecture and marine engineering and their educational requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and professional certification and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in naval architecture and marine engineering learn how to design, build, and maintain every type of vessel, ranging from sailboats to aircraft carriers. Students learn the rudimentary principles of design and ways of utilizing them in a marine context.

Degree programs in naval architecture are offered by some schools involving the design of ships for appearance, seaworthiness, and speed. Degree programs in marine engineering are offered at other schools, with a primary focus on the mechanical systems of the ship. The two disciplines are combined into one degree by other schools.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. Students are expected to complete high school courses in calculus, trigonometry, geometry, and algebra, in addition to chemistry and physics.


Students enrolled in marine engineering courses are taught about electrical systems, applied mechanics, control, and power systems. Coursework includes ship propulsion, resistance, and stability. Students enrolled in some programs are required to gain hands-on experience through time spent at sea. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Ship hull strength
•Curved surface design
•Coastal and ocean engineering
•Structural analysis
•Marine propulsion
•Ship dynamics
•Marine engines

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth of 10% has been predicted for naval architects and marine engineers over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The demand for changes needed in existing ships and the need for vessels to ensure the transportation of energy products drives this growth. In May 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $88,100 (BLS).

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Options

Earning master’s degrees and doctorates can help those seeking employment in academia or research fields. These professionals would benefit if they pursued continuing education throughout their career spans.

Continuing education is essential throughout an engineer’s career. The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers the Professional Engineer (PE) licensure examination, which is mandatory for engineers that offer their services to the public. The exam for naval architecture and marine engineering, a multiple choice test that covers a broad range of information, lasts eight hours.

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