Naval Architecture Major  

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Naval Architecture combines imagination, artistic instincts, and proven scientific principles, tempered by basic engineering considerations, in designing the means of ocean transportation of the future.

Students looking at a poster The many types of ships, boats and vehicles needed to operate on, under, or above the ocean's surface provide the broad field in which the designer is to work. The challenge to the naval architect is to convert the functional requirements into an effective, workable, and cost-efficient design. Primary considerations include hull shape, stability, structure, arrangement, survivability, maneuverability, and seaworthiness. Building on a foundation of basic engineering topics such as fluid mechanics and material science, the naval architecture student learns modern techniques of marine vehicle performance and design analysis. The naval architect's technical horizon is bounded only by their energy and creativity.

Students working in the labNaval architecture is that field of engineering which addresses how we can apply our acquired wealth of knowledge to conceive of, design, test, build, and operate ships. All types of ships and boats - recreational to naval, small to big, operating on or under the sea, sails to nuclear, etc. Think of some of the features that a ship must have - for instance:

  • A ship is a self-contained entity - it must operate for extended periods in a very hostile environment (storm tossed seas, submerged, corrosion). 
  • A ship has a human crew, it is self-propelled, and carries those systems {electrical generation and distribution, water and sewage, HVAC, habitability (staterooms, galley, heads, etc.), cargo handling, weapons, propulsion, maneuvering, and many others} which are essential to economically and effectively accomplish its mission or missions.
  • A ship can have a very long service life.
  • A ship has to be able to protect itself (navigational aids, mobility, maneuverability, weapons systems) and, if necessary, to absorb punishment (watertight subdivision, double hulls, pumps, and fire fighting).
  • A ship is very complex . To design a ship is an extremely challenging but immensely interesting task. An undergraduate education in naval architecture will provide you the tools to begin to pursue this engineering challenge.

You will be an engineer, a naval architect, and an individual who is capable of finding viable economical and technical solutions to a variety of complex and open-ended engineering problems. Such as:

  • How to safely and efficiently move a variety of cargoes across the world’s oceans (cruise liners, tankers, containerships, heavy lift ships, tug-barge units, etc.).
  • How to effectively project your nation’s economic, political, and military objectives across the seas (aircraft carriers, frigates, submarines, cargo ships, etc.).
  • How to best protect your nation’s coastline, resources, and waterborne trade (patrol craft, buoy tenders, oil spill response ships, escort tugs, etc.).
  • How to safely explore and wisely exploit the abundant resources found in the ocean’s depths and in its ice covered areas (drill ships, fishing boats, oceanographic ships, icebreakers, etc.).
  • How to provide better boats and ships for entertainment, sport, and recreational boating (excursion boats, casino boats, sailing yachts, motor yachts, etc.).

As an engineer and as a naval architect you can contribute in so many ways to so many problems that you truly stand at a threshold of opportunity.

Step over it - become an engineer... Become a naval architect!

For more information on the naval architecture major at the Naval Academy, go here: http://www.usna.edu/Users/naome/phmiller/ENA_major.html

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