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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degrees in Marine Engineering

Majors Overview August 19, 2014

Receive information about bachelor’s degree programs in marine engineering and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Marine Engineering

Students enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program in marine engineering are taught concepts within the general areas of ship construction, structural mechanics, and hydrodynamics, in addition to topic areas such as vessel maneuvering, sea keeping, hull geometry and vessel configuration. They may also learn about engineering electrical and mechanical shipboard systems, managing ship construction, and designing propulsion systems, in addition to concepts and skills relating to marine engineering, such as the physical sciences and mathematics. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Maritime academies and universities offer bachelor’s degree programs devised to teach students about interrelated areas that are integral to engineering marine technology. The focus of coursework is on designing and constructing aquatic systems and structures. Students enrolled in the program may also take more generalized courses in the humanities and the sciences.

Coursework in bachelor’s degree programs at maritime academies offer practical training experiences aboard naval or commercial vessels, and require some shipboard experience. Enrolled students can hope to become Third Assistant Engineers through passage of an examination issued by the U.S. Coast Guard. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Marine electrical systems
•Ship systems
•Plant operation
•Ship design
•Marine engineering
•Marine turbines
•Marine dynamics
•Fluid mechanics

Career Choices

Those who complete the bachelor’s degree program may seek entry-level careers in the development, design and evaluation of equipment, machinery, marine vessels and boats. Employers of these professionals may include various organizations involved with marine engineering, apart from marine design offices and shipyards. They can choose from popular career options such as (mainly available in coastal areas):

•Marine engineer
•Stationary engineer
•Naval architect
•Marine plant operator

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2010 – 2020 decade, job growth rates of 10% have been predicted for marine engineers and naval architects (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, these professionals brought home an average annual wage of $88,100 (BLS).

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates from the bachelor’s degree program can seek continued education by pursuing graduate degree programs in marine design and marine engineering, and enhance their career prospects or pursue careers in academia or research. Licensure is compulsory for engineers who wish to offer public services, who would be known as professional engineers after obtaining such licensure. Through passage of the Fundamentals of Engineering examination, licensure can be obtained. These professionals may also attempt to pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam, once they have four years of work experience in the field.

Some states may require periodic license renewal. Professional organizations also offer numerous certification programs to graduates who want to showcase their knowledge and skills in specific engineering fields to potential employers.

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