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Bachelor Degrees
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Marine Engineering Major

Obtaining a bachelor's degree in marine engineering can prepare you to design or repair the mechanical systems of ships and other marine vessels. Read on to learn about the curriculum for a marine engineering major. You can also explore licensure requirements and options for graduate study.

What Types of Marine Engineering Majors Will I Find?

You can earn a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering, a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Marine Engineering Technology or a B.S. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The coursework for each degree program is often similar. Some programs focus more on concepts of engineering construction and design; others may focus on systems operation and maintenance. Because these degrees require hands-on training, programs are primarily campus-based. A typical bachelor's degree takes four years to complete.

Degree Programs Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering, B.S. in Marine Engineering Technology or B.S. in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering
Curriculum Marine systems design and maintenance coursework, general education classes in math and science, internship
Licensure U.S. Coast Guard licensure for ship engineers, Professional Engineer (PE) licensure for marine engineers
Further Education Master's degree in marine engineering; Ph.D. in marine engineering
Median Salary (2018)$92,560 (for marine engineers and naval architects)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026)12% growth (for marine engineers and naval architects)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Study?

A marine engineering bachelor's degree program will teach you how to design, maintain and repair systems that regulate propulsion and electrical power generation in a marine vessel. You'll take general education courses in mathematics and physics. Your engineering courses may cover thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, steam propulsion and statics. Design-focused courses in marine engineering may explore topics like design drawing, structural modeling and hull strength.

Your coursework will be both classroom and field-based. Many programs will require you to complete an internship; this might include spending a semester aboard a commercial vessel at sea. Some programs include coursework on basic ocean living and survival skills.

What Licensure Will I Need?

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) regulates licensure for ship engineers; these engineers maintain a ship's machinery, including engines and generators. USCG licensure is required for engineering graduates who intend to work aboard a merchant vessel. Some bachelor's degree programs incorporate preparatory coursework for the USCG third assistant engineer licensure exam into their curriculum.

All states, as well as the District of Columbia, will require you to earn an engineering license if you intend to work as a marine engineer. These engineers help design and maintain a ship's electrical and propulsion systems. Some marine engineers with a background in naval architecture are responsible for supervising the construction of a vessel.

In order to earn a license, you'll need to graduate from a program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). After graduation, you'll take an initial exam; if you pass, you'll be granted engineer-in-training (EIT) or engineer intern (EI) status. You'll then need to accumulate four years of work experience prior to taking the state-administered licensing exam to become a professional engineer (PE).

What Graduate Options Can I Pursue?

Many colleges and universities offer master's degree programs in marine engineering; a master's degree may help you advance into a leadership or research position. You can also pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Marine Engineering. Earning a Ph.D. may prepare you for an educational role at the post-secondary level or for work in a research-based position.

What Is the Job Outlook and Pay?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of marine engineers and naval architects is expected to grow by 12% from 2016 to 2026. The increase is due to the need for naval architects and marine engineers to design environmental-friendly ships and systems to transport energy products like liquefied natural gas. As of May 2018, the median annual salary of naval architects and marine engineers is $92,560.