5 Best Master’s in Marine Engineering in 2024

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Updated: April 15, 2024, Reading time: 8 minutes

Marine engineer looking at structure

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One of the most rewarding career paths in engineering is Marine Engineering. The field deals with vessels such as boats, submarines, ships, and offshore oil rigs.

Designing stable and efficient marine structures requires an in-depth understanding of fluid dynamics, materials science, and mechanical engineering principles. While a bachelor’s degree will provide foundational knowledge, a Master’s degree in Marine Engineering will help you stay at the forefront of the field.

Master’s in Marine Engineering degree programs equip students with a strong foundation in mechanical engineering and advanced math and science. These programs will also delve into specialized topics such as ship design, marine propulsion systems, offshore structures, and naval architecture. Some programs will also include coursework in renewable energy systems and marine environmental protection.

Reputable graduate programs in Marine Engineering are rare. As a result, we’ve included ocean engineering on the list to broaden your options. Ocean engineering is often placed under the umbrella of marine engineering.

Marine engineer on board
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Program Overview

SchoolProgramTuitionAcceptance RateStandout Program Feature/sAvailable Online?
University of MichiganMSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering– $2,033 per credit (resident)
– $3,473 per credit (non-resident)
26%Offers student learning, research, and professional development opportunitiesNO
US Merchant Marine AcademyMasters in Marine Engineering$1,200 per credit hour29%Houses some of the leading engineering laboratories and simulators.NO
Texas A&M UniversityMS in Ocean Engineering– $717.89 per credit hour (resident)
– $1,247.40 per credit hour (non-resident)
10-15%Allows students to choose between research-based and course-based curriculumNO
University of New OrleansMSE in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering– $9,108 per semester (resident)
– $13,678 per semester (non-resident)
47%Offered as a concentration, allowing students to study marine engineering while also delving into broader engineering principlesNO
Virginia TechMS in Ocean Engineering– 16,863 per semester (resident)
– 32,863 per semester (non-resident)
71%Students build an entire ship as part of the culminating projectYES

5 Best Master’s in Marine Engineering

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI

MS in Engineering – Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering

Tuition$2,033 per credit (resident)
$3,473 per credit (non-resident)
Credit Hour30

The University of Michigan is very popular when it comes to marine engineering degrees and opportunities. Qualified students have a lot of experiential learning opportunities to choose from in UMich’s MSc in Engineering in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering degree program. 

Because this is a highly research-intensive master’s degree, students have various research opportunities. Some of the active research opportunities in this program include:

In addition to research opportunities, students will also have professional development opportunities through the university’s Engineering Career Resource Center (ECRC) and The Quarterdeck Honor Society. Students can also get involved in various activities like the UM Autonomous Boat Team, Human Powered Submarine, and UM Sailing Team.

Michigan NAME graduates excel in various water-related fields, including offshore energy, watercraft design, Great Lakes shipping, coastal erosion prediction, racing teams, policy, automotive, transportation, and robotics.

United States Merchant Marine Academy

Kings Point, NY

Masters in Marine Engineering

Tuition$1,200 per credit hour
Credit Hour36

The United States Merchant Marine Academy is a comprehensive Federal Academy that trains future officers for careers in the merchant marine, maritime industry, transportation, and defense sectors. The academy offers a rigorous curriculum combining academic coursework with hands-on training aboard various vessels.

One of the university’s comprehensive programs is the Masters in Marine Engineering. The program’s curriculum is mostly geared toward students with undergraduate degrees dedicated to marine engineering who want to pursue a practice-based master’s degree with a thesis/independent study component. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in other fields may be accepted but with conditions. 

Students will explore various topics that will advance their knowledge in core marine engineering. These include computational tools, specialized marine technologies, and an understanding of technical, political, and social dynamics.

Additionally, students can take advantage of the Engineering Department’s 25 tenure track faculty, adjunct faculty, and over 20 laboratories specializing in marine engineering. Among the most popular laboratories and simulators include:

Texas A&M University 

College Station, TX

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering

Tuition$717.89 per credit hour (resident)
$1,247.40 per credit hour (non-resident)
Credit Hour30

The MS in Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M University is a great alternative for students with varied engineering backgrounds who want to pursue marine engineering roles. The program aims to prepare graduate students for marine and ocean engineering research. Degree topics include hydromechanics, offshore structures, estuary engineering, dredging, mining processes, and marine hydrodynamics. 

Students can choose between an MS Thesis and an MS Non-Thesis. The Thesis option requires 30 credit hours, a thesis, and coursework, with completion on either College Station or Galveston campus. The Non-Thesis option requires the same 30 credit hours but with a focus on course-based learning and is offered exclusively at the Galveston campus. 

Regardless of whether you pursue the Thesis or Non-Thesis option, you can expect to encounter the following courses: 

University of New Orleans

New Orleans, LA

MS in Engineering – Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering

Tuition$9,108 per semester (resident)
$13,678 per semester (non-resident)
Credit Hour30

The University of New Orleans offers a rigorous and competitive MSc in Engineering degree designed for working engineers, offering flexible courses and completion times. It builds upon a bachelor’s degree, enhancing project management, engineering management, and leadership skills and preparing students for specialized fields such as Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.

This degree program is best suited for students who want to learn the intricacies of naval architecture and marine engineering while studying broader engineering topics. Students can select a Thesis and Non-Thesis Option and their NAME courses. 

Some of the most popular NAME courses offered by The University of New Orleans include:

Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, VA 

Master of Science in Ocean Engineering

Tuition16,863 per semester (resident)
32,863 per semester (non-resident)
Credit Hour30

Virginia Tech offers one of the few reputable distance learning MSc in Ocean Engineering programs concentrating on naval ship design and related topics. This program mixes online and on-campus courses, ensuring students a rich educational experience. 

For a master’s in ocean engineering, students will focus on studying fluid mechanics, propulsion, structures, vehicle dynamics, and marine engineering. This program is closely related to the university’s aerospace engineering program, allowing students to take online courses like Advanced Aero and Hydrodynamics.

One of the program’s highlights is its highly recognized design sequence, in which students work in groups to design a complete ship to culminate their degree. In addition to improving their technical proficiency, this practical experience helps them develop the creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork necessary for success in the industry.

Master's in Marine Engineering - featured image

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Pursue a Master’s in Marine Engineering?

Although a bachelor’s degree in other engineering fields like civil engineering and mechanical engineering allows you to service vessels, earning a master’s in marine engineering will help you become more competitive in this area of study.

While the curriculum may vary from program to program, master’s in marine engineering degrees also boost students’ abilities to manage research projects

With specialist knowledge in certain applied areas, you can pursue other job opportunities like:

Why Are Marine Engineers with Advanced Knowledge Important? 

The global impact of marine pollution on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health is increasingly becoming more alarming and pressing. Advanced degrees in marine engineering strongly emphasize awareness of maritime safety regulations.

They gain training in risk assessment and management and emergency response preparedness, helping them make informed decisions on the design, operation, or maintenance of maritime systems.

With your advanced knowledge, you can pursue careers in government and academia. Unlike private sectors, government and academia require applicants with master’s or doctorate to contribute to research, policy development, education, and regulatory enforcement. 

How Much Can I Make with a Master’s Degree in Marine Engineering?

The amount you can make varies on various factors like sector and experience. However, it is proven that master’s degree holders are capable of earning more in salary than those with only a bachelor’s degree due to the advanced competencies they gained.

Payscale reports that the annual base pay for a marine engineer with a master’s degree is about $117,000. In comparison, marine engineers with a bachelor’s degree have an average base salary of $99,000.

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