More than 70 percent of our planet is covered by water. Engineering for the marine environment covers the design and production of all types of systems to operate successfully in this often harsh and demanding environment. In addition to traditional naval architecture and marine engineering, instruction is offered in offshore engineering, coastal engineering and marine environmental engineering. Recent graduates are active in design and research related to offshore oil and gas exploration and production platforms. Others are involved in overcoming waterborne pollution transport in the Great Lakes and oceans, coastal erosion predictions, and design of traditional ships, submersibles, high-speed vessels and recreational craft.

Since the design of modern marine systems encompasses many engineering fields, graduates of this department are called upon to handle diverse professional responsibilities; therefore, the program includes study in the fundamentals of the physical sciences and mathematics as well as a broad range of engineering aspects that constitute design for the marine environment. To provide the appropriate educational breadth, students are required to complete at least 16 credits of “intellectual breadth” requirements from an approved list of courses. It is recognized that the undergraduate program cannot, in the time available, treat all important aspects of engineering for the marine environment that may be desired by the student; therefore, graduate work is encouraged.

Ship and offshore platform analysis and design require knowledge of hull geometry, vessel arrangements, hydrostatic stability, structures, resistance, propulsion, maneuvering and seakeeping. Other areas of concern are the economic aspects of design and operation, production, model testing, propeller and control theory, vibration problems and piping and electrical system analysis and design.

The undergraduate degree program is arranged to give the student a broad engineering mechanics education by requiring basic courses in the areas of structural mechanics, hydrodynamics, marine power systems and marine dynamics. These courses cover engineering fundamentals and their application to the design and construction of marine vehicles and systems. Courses in marine structures deal with the design and analysis of marine vehicles and platforms including static strength, fatigue, dynamic response, safety and production. Resistance, maneuvering and seakeeping characteristics of bodies in the marine environment are the subject matter for courses in marine hydrodynamics. Marine power systems involve all the mechanical systems on a marine vehicle with particular emphasis on the selection and arrangement of the main propulsion system. In marine dynamics, the student studies the vibrations of marine structures and engines and the rigid body responses of the vessel to wind and waves. Through the use of technical and free electives, students may decide to focus their education in areas such as:

  • Marine Structures
  • Ship Production and Management
  • Sailing Yachts
  • High Speed Craft
  • Marine Power Systems

An integration of the material covered in earlier courses takes place in the two-semester, final design sequence. In the first course of this sequence, the student works on a class design project using state-of-the-art, computer-aided design tools. In the second semester the students form design teams and work on projects of their choosing. Recent final design projects included a mega yacht, an offshore wind farm repair vessel, a cruise ship rescue vessel, an offshore well intervention vessel, a neo-Panamax containership, a naval vessel for high-energy weapons and an offshore racing trimaran.

The department works closely with the marine industry and is able to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the field. The department is in constant touch with the country’s marine design offices, shipyards, ship operators, government agencies and other organizations concerned with naval architecture and marine engineering. A summer internship program allows students to work in the industry.

Students who meet the academic requirements of both departments may earn an additional B.S.E. degree in another engineering program, or in combined programs with other engineering departments. The combined programs allow substantial substitution of courses required in one regular program for those required in the other, and typically can be completed in two extra terms.

Department Administration

Department Chair
David Dowling, Professor of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering
212 Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering Building

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