Studies & Degrees in Naval Engineering
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Marine engineers and naval architects are the people who design sophisticated oceangoing vessels. This could include anything from a state-of-the-art nuclear submarine for use in warfare to a sleek, fast hull for high-end racing boats. Marine engineers have to be familiar with all the many forces and factors that operate on a boat at sea, and must know the techniques that can be used to overcome those forces. For example, a marine engineer might specialize in the design of research submersibles that scientists use to explore the depths of the ocean; in this case, the engineer would have to know how to build a vehicle that could withstand massive pressures and keep the scientist safe in one of the most hostile environments on Earth.
- Love of boats, ships, and the sea
- Technical mind, good grasp of the workings of complex machinery – if you love to take things apart and then put them back together, then engineering may be the right field for you.
- Patience and diligence
- Strong mathematical and quantitative reasoning skills
Because of the urgent need for marine engineers in various sectors of the economy, the vast majority of marine engineering and naval architecture programs are career-focused and broad. Thus, you are unlikely to have to choose a concentration until very late, if at all.
For those who do choose to specialize, there are countless possibilities within the discipline of marine engineering and name architecture. Nuclear propulsion, for example, is a complex and challenging field of study that has immediate applications in the world of marine engineering. In some of the Navy's most sophisticated vessels use small nuclear reactors to generate their forward thrust, and design, manufacture, and maintenance of these systems makes up an exciting branch of marine engineering. Other examples include control systems, robotics, energy conversion, and of course hydrodynamics–the study of what materials and hull shapes will enable a watercraft to cut more quickly through the water.
Shipbuilders have been around for thousands of years, and the demand for individuals with an advanced knowledge of designing and building ships shows no signs of abating. People with degrees in marine engineering and naval architecture may go on to work for the military, private businesses in such sectors as oil and import/export, or in some cases for colleges and universities. It is important to have an eye on the global market, however; the shipbuilding industry in your home country may be small or nonexistent (i.e. landlocked countries such as Switzerland), or it may be flooded by competition with not enough jobs to go around (e.g. the United States). Be prepared to go abroad and work in foreign countries if you intend to pursue a career as a marine engineer.