The Best Marine Engineering Schools in the USA

Considering an education in marine engineering? Have a look at the top marine engineering schools in the United States.
Nader Mowlaee
Marine engineer on the jobnikom1234/iStock

A career in marine engineering offers a promising future for aspiring marine engineers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for marine engineers and naval architects is growing faster than average compared to all occupations in the United States at a pace of 12% between 2016 and 2026. That means you can look forward to a growing job market and stable income as a marine engineer.


Gaining access to these opportunities requires developing the right skills. As a result, it's important to find an engineering program to help you get a head start in your career. While several schools offer a quality marine engineering degree program, some schools rise to the top. Discover some of the United States' best schools for future marine engineers.


What should you look for in a marine engineering degree program?

If you want to start a career as a marine engineer, then it's important to look for a marine engineering school that has the program you need. Marine engineers usually need at least a bachelor's degree in marine engineering. However, you may also become a marine engineer if you have a related degree, such as a bachelor's in ocean engineering, electrical engineering, or mechanical engineering. It's important to look for a marine engineering school that offers the degree-level you want to achieve.

Moreover, accreditation is another important factor to consider when you're searching for the best marine engineering school. ABET is the accrediting body of most engineering schools in the United States. When you attend an ABET-accredited school, you know you are participating in a program that provides you with a solid foundation in your engineering degree program. That's because schools with ABET-accredited programs meet the critical standards of this long-standing organization.

Seeking out an accredited degree program also adds value by making you more of an attractive candidate for a marine engineer role since a wide variety of companies and organizations hire marine engineers who hold degrees from accredited institutions, such as the ABET.

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It's also worth exploring if the school you're considering has the support services you need. Some of the best schools for aspiring marine engineers offer academic support services, such as tutoring, academic coaching, and writing services. You may also find it worthwhile to consider schools that offer career services, including internship opportunities, networking events, or career fairs.

What colleges offer undergraduate degree programs for future marine engineers?

Several schools offer great degree programs for aspiring marine engineers at the undergraduate level. For instance, College Raptor highlights the United States Naval Academy, Florida Atlantic University, and the University of Rhode Island as some of the top schools that offer undergraduate degrees in ocean engineering.

Some of the most popular engineering schools for future marine engineers pursuing an undergraduate degree in the United States include:

  • California Institute of Technology (CalTech) -As one of the top 10 best engineering schools in the USA, CalTech has plenty to offer aspiring marine engineers. CalTech's undergraduate degree program prepares students to work on military vessels and commercial ships.
  • Maine Maritime Academy The Maine Maritime Academy is a top choice for future marine engineers as students gain hands-on experience aboard a training ship and experience specialized laboratories with state-of-the-art simulators. Here, you'll get to choose among a variety of specialized degree programs, including marine systems engineering with the option to earn a professional license.
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy - With over 117 students graduating in its 2017 class, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy is a popular choice for students pursuing a marine engineering degree program. The school prepares you to earn a professional license, and you'll also gain shipboard training experience.
  • SUNY Maritime College SUNY Maritime College offers aspiring marine engineers the chance to get their bachelor's degree while taking advantage of its academic support services, such as the writing and learning centers. The school also offers careers services, where you can participate in career fairs and gain real-world experience via internships. Students who attend this ABET-accredited marine engineering school also have the opportunity to pursue a U.S. Coast Guard engine license.


What are some of the top schools offering a graduate-level marine engineering degree program in the U.S.?

If you want to continue your education and advance your career as a naval architect or marine engineer, then it’s worth considering top engineering schools offering graduate degrees.

Some of the best U.S.-based engineering schools that offer graduate degrees for future marine engineers include Texas A & M University-College Station and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). Other top schools include:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - As a top U.S.-based engineering school in the United States, MIT offers several options for continuing your graduate studies and advancing your career as a marine engineer. MIT's Department of Mechanical Engineering offers unique graduate programs, including majors in naval architecture & marine engineering and applied ocean science and engineering. MIT's Center for Ocean Engineering also provides additional support during your graduate studies by giving you the opportunity to gain insight from seminars and visiting engineers and scientists. You'll also learn about a variety of topics, including ocean acoustics, naval construction and engineering, and marine robotics.
  • University of Michigan-Ann Arbor This ABET-accredited engineering school is a top choice for pursuing a marine engineering degree thanks to the variety of options you can choose from to further your education at the graduate level. Students can pursue a joint master of science in engineering (MSE) and master of business administration (MBA) degree program. You can also pursue your doctoral degree or simultaneously achieve dual degrees in mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering or industrial and operations engineering.
  • The University of New Orleans (UNO) Graduate students at UNO can pursue their master of science degree or Ph.D. in engineering and applied science to learn the disciplines that support marine system operations, ship design, and other activities of the marine industry. You'll learn a variety of topics, including high-speed hydrodynamics, systems engineering, and small craft design.


Final thoughts

Starting a career as a marine engineer requires getting the education you need. Consider the top U.S.-based schools laid out here that are offering a marine engineering degree or a related program, so you can narrow down your search for the ideal engineering school that fits your needs.

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