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Naval Architecture & Ocean Engineering

Ocean Engineering Major

Why Choose Ocean Engineering?

Ocean engineering is a relatively young, extremely varied and remarkably exciting field of engineering. Oceans truly are the last frontiers remaining on earth, and it is up to us as engineers to find ways to identify, investigate and utilize ocean and coastal resources while at the same time protecting them from the destructive effects of human activities. 

While engineering has been around for hundreds of years, the term "ocean engineering" has been in existence for only about 50 years.  However, there are certainly a myriad of engineering problems related to our oceans that have existed for quite some time -- most of which still need attention!  And since more than two-thirds of the earth is covered by water, and more than 98% of the biological living space exists in the oceans, wouldn't it make sense if at least two-thirds of engineers were ocean engineers?  We all know that this is not the case, and those who choose ocean engineering have quite a collection of problems to solve ... Ocean engineering is a field of engineering that has many opportunities within it to make an impact!

What is Ocean Engineering?

Ocean engineering is one of the most varied engineering disciplines.  The ocean engineering education here at USNA includes the standard fundamental engineering courses such as statics, dynamics, strength of materials, materials science, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, along with other applied engineering courses.  Since ocean engineering encompasses so many different areas and types of problems, there are many different types of elective courses offered.  Each of these elective courses strives to utilize and reinforce the fundamental tools learned, while expanding the problem-solving capability of each student.  In addition, each ocean engineering student must complete a comprehensive capstone design project pertaining to a "real-world" problem.

Here at USNA, our ocean engineering program includes coverage of the following disciplines within ocean engineering through elective courses and subject matter with core and design courses:

Coastal Engineering

Learn the dynamic interaction of the ocean and its shore.  An ocean engineer:

  • Develops shore protection systems
  • Designs harbors and ports
  • Deals with Civil Engineering issues in the coastal environment

Offshore Engineering

Learn to design structures capable of withstanding the severe ocean environment. Offshore structures include:

  • Steel jacket structures
  • Concrete gravity platforms
  • Tension-leg platforms

Underwater Engineering

Learn the special requirements of living and working underwater. Underwater concerns include:

  • Life support
  • Work systems
  • Cables, pipelines, shipwrecks, etc.

Environmental Engineering

Learn to protect the oceans from the harmful effects of mankind's activities.  Also learn to harvest and/or utilize oceanic resources such as minerals, wave energy, thermal energy and tidal power. Environmental concerns include:

  • Pollution abatement
  • Environmental remediation
  • Ocean resource utilization
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