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Master's Degrees in Naval Architecture

Naval architecture is a branch of ocean engineering that deals with the design, construction and maintenance of marine vehicles and structures. Read on to learn about master's degree programs and careers in this field.

What Will I Study in a Naval Architecture Master's Degree Program?

In a naval architecture graduate program you may find yourself studying how hull design affects a craft's hydrodynamics. Or, you may perform structural analyses to configure how a ship's structure is affected by wave dynamics. You may also have a hand in designing marine control systems or instrumentation. The curriculum is heavily focused on engineering and mathematical principles but may also include courses on operations management, business strategy and safety issues. Some common naval architecture courses include the following:

  • Marine power and propulsion
  • Marine structural mechanics
  • Marine hydrodynamics
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Naval ship design
  • Ocean wave mechanics
  • Ocean systems analysis
  • Submarine design
  • Robotic ocean instrumentation design

Common Courses Structural mechanics, instrumentation design, propulsion, operations management, fluid dynamics
Available Degrees Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) or Master of Science (M.S.)
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required; some institutions may require their applicants to have a minimum GPA and/or standardized test scores
Work Environments Environmental engineering, water transportation, coastal engineering, ship building, offshore structure design

What Kinds of Programs Are Available to Me?

You can earn a Master of Science (M.S.) or Master of Science in Engineering (MSE) in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME). An M.S. program requires a master's thesis, while an MSE is earned by completing additional elective coursework. Most programs can be completed in 1-2 years of full-time study.

There are few graduate NAME programs available. You can broaden your school options by considering master's degree programs in ocean engineering, which are more plentiful and include electives in naval architecture. Unlike naval architecture programs, some ocean engineering programs are available online.

What Will I Need to Apply?

You must have completed a bachelor's degree in NAME or another area of mechanical engineering. Your undergraduate coursework should include advanced mathematics, computation and engineering courses such as applied mechanics, fluid mechanics and thermodynamics. Otherwise, you may have to take extra courses to fill in foundational knowledge and skills. A minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 is preferred, and you must submit graduate record examination (GRE) scores.

What Can I Do with My Degree?

Naval architects and marine engineers can find employment in a broad range of maritime industries and organizations, including the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard. Possible career fields are listed below.

  • Ship building and design
  • Water transportation
  • Offshore structure design
  • Marine environmental engineering
  • Coastal engineering

According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for marine engineers and naval architects as of May 2018 is $92,560. The bureau projects a 12% growth in job opportunities over the next decade, from 2016 to 2026.

On the other hand, for environmental engineers, the BLS expects an 8% growth in employment between 2016 and 2026, about as fast as the average. As of May 2018, environmental engineers have a mean wage of $87,620.