Marine Engineering

2022 Marine Engineering Degree Guide

A degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering will allow you to design, build, and maintain many different types of ships. You have the opportunity to work with everything from very large aircraft carriers to submarines to sailboats. If you are interested in working with ships that help maintain our navel defense system, a degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering is for you.

Marine Engineering is math and science oriented. You will take classes in civil engineering, architectural engineering, drafting, physics, computer aided design and more to develop the skills to choose proper materials, calculate ship strength, and oversee building and maintenance.

While a degree in marine engineering can lead to working on any type of oceanic vessel, a degree in Naval Architecture most often leads to a career working on ships in the U.S. Navy. Those who study Naval Architecture at the U.S. Naval Academy with not only earn a degree, but also be commissioned into the U.S. Navy as an officer.

Marine Engineering Degrees Decreasing

#285 Most Popular Major
445 Degrees Awarded
-6.5% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, marine engineering was the 285th most popular major nationwide with 445 degrees awarded. This 29 less than the prior year, a decrease of 6.5%.

This year's Best Marine Engineering Schools ranking compares 7 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of marine engineering programs later in this article.

Best Marine Engineering Schools by Degree

Marine Engineering Degree Requirements

Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering are careers that rely heavily on mathematics and science. Strong backgrounds in both fields are required for this profession. Problem-solving and teamwork skills are also required especially when drafting blueprints and working with others to design and test ships. Since a degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering will lead to a position of management, communication and interpersonal skills are mandatory when meeting with clients or leading a team of builders.

Professional Marine Engineers often work in office settings with access to computer design equipment and other engineering tools, but sometimes they must go out on ships for testing or to oversee maintenance. Experience is important in this field. While earning your degree, it is recommended to also work at an internship. This will allow you to gain valuable hands-on experience. Relevant experience will make graduates more attractive to potential employers.

Along with earning a degree in Naval Architecture or Marine Engineering, graduates must also obtain a mariner's license from the U.S. Coast Guard. After completing the test, graduates with receive a 3rd Assistant License. Additional testing will allow graduates to work towards a 2nd, 1st, and ultimately Chief Assistant License. More advanced licenses typically lead toward jobs with higher pay.

Prior Education for a Marine Engineering Program

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically required for most marine engineering degree programs and many students will need a minimum GPA and SAT/ACT score depending on the school. Once you obtain your degree, additional marine engineering certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Marine Engineering Degree Types

There are various different levels of marine engineering degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a in marine engineering to something that takes less time like a . Different marine engineering degrees vary in how long they take.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to marine engineering, with approximately 42.2% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to marine engineering tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 47.8%
Doctoral Degree 17.8%
Master’s Degree 15.8%
High School Diploma 3.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 3.8%

Most workers in marine engineering have at least a bachelor's degree. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in marine engineering have obtained.


This of course varies depending on which marine engineering career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Marine Engineering Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$77.2k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering will often lead to a career at a marine architecture firm. Graduates have also followed career paths in shipbuilding or joined the U.S. Navy.

Growth Projected for Marine Engineering Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your marine engineering degree? Marine Engineering careers are expected to grow 7.6% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to marine engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects 9,200 12.2%

How Much Money Do Marine Engineering Grads Make?

Marine Engineering graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $77,168 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $65,583 to as high as $94,796. As you might expect, salaries for marine engineering graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Marine Engineering Majors

Salaries for marine engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers marine engineering grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Engineering Professors $113,680
Marine Engineers and Naval Architects $98,970

Getting Your Marine Engineering Degree

With over 21 different marine engineering degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased marine engineering school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Marine Engineering

One of 40 majors within the Engineering area of study, Marine Engineering has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Marine Engineering

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,178
Electrical Engineering 28,844
Civil Engineering 21,388
Computer Engineering 17,987
Chemical Engineering 12,917

View All Marine Engineering Related Majors >


More about our data sources and methodologies.

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