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.

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Essential Information

Marine engineering courses and programs most often culminate in a bachelor's, master's degree 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 for seeking management, research or teaching positions. In addition to completing a degree program, mariner licensure is often sought. The U.S. Coast Guard offers licensure in various stages, with the 3rd Assistant License being the first earned.

Programs in marine engineering commonly include courses in fluid dynamics, ocean engineering, coastal engineering, offshore structure dynamics and naval architecture principles. Students learn about conservation laws, navigation, ocean structures, naval architecture, movement variables and the effects of waves. Other course topics include ship geometry, towing and mooring, project planning and technical information sources.

Students often participate in a lab course that focuses on doing measurements and reporting data. Students in marine engineering programs at the undergraduate level often also take basic courses in chemistry, physics, electronics and electrical machinery.

List of Marine Engineering Courses

Marine engineering coursework that may be taken during a degree program in the field is described below.

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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    • Virginia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
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    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Michigan include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Wisconsin include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Engineering
      • Biological and Agricultural Engineering
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    Areas of study you may find at Stanford University include:
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    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Harvard University include:
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    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Brown University include:
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    • North Carolina (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Duke University include:
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      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
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