What is an Ocean Engineering Degree?
Ocean engineering is a multidisciplinary field of technology applied to the ocean environment that combines aspects of civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering with naval architecture and applied oceanography.
Students working toward an ocean engineering degree gain fundamental expertise in chemistry, math, and physics, and build in-depth knowledge of coastal processes, ocean systems, and design technologies. Whether you want to become a naval architect, or develop a new way of preventing coastal erosion, design jetties, and seawalls, an ocean engineering degree from Florida Tech develops a strong background in engineering with experience in environmental science and instrumentation.
Gain Practical Experience
Studying for an ocean engineering degree at Florida Tech gives students a unique opportunity to study in a marine environment—the university is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean. Ocean engineering is field-intensive and seagoing; students often participate in research projects on board-chartered vessels in the open sea.
As a senior, you’ll complete an exciting design project in collaboration with a team of your peers. Together, you’ll conceptualize, design, construct, and present a machine or structure that fulfills a real-world need. You’ll present your project to industry leaders and employers, and may compete in international competitions. As a result, you get practical experience, an expanded professional network, and perhaps even a pre-graduation job offer.
“Why Pursue an Ocean Engineering Degree at Florida Tech? ”
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There are many reasons why Florida Tech is the perfect ocean engineering university for you. For one thing, Florida Tech is listed among the Fiske Guide’s “Engineering/Top Technical Institutes” and Parade Magazine’s “College A-List in Engineering.”
The undergraduate ocean engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org. Additional information can be found on the department’s ABET information page.
100% of Our Professors Hold Doctorates in the Field
Another benefit to choosing Florida Tech as your ocean engineering university is being able to work alongside top ocean, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineers, as well as renowned oceanographers, meteorologists, and environmental scientists. Our faculty is a big reason we are considered a top ocean engineering university. All of them have PhDs, and they teach all the classes offered in the program. They are always available to students for advising. Many professors are also registered professional engineers, and are active researchers who encourage eligible students to join their research teams.
Because Florida Tech has an intimate learning environment with small class sizes and low faculty-to-student ratios, students develop active working relationships with professors and are often hired to assist their professor in research work. Ocean engineering at Florida Tech is hands-on, field and laboratory intensive, and seagoing. Seniors also participate in faculty-led research projects that have included topics in ocean energy, beach erosion, sediment transport and design of high-speed small craft.
Lab Facilities of an Ocean Engineer’s Dreams
Facilities are important to any ocean engineering university, and Florida Tech does not disappoint. In addition to the shared ocean science labs, ocean engineers have access to laboratories for fluid mechanics, wave dynamics, underwater technology, corrosion and biofouling, instrumentation, materials, and electronics.
There is also a fleet of small craft for shallow-water testing, and the MV Thunderforce, a utility and research vessel, is chartered for larger projects. Students also have access to machine and welding shops, fiberglass fabrication facilities, and materials testing rooms. Students interested in underwater vehicles have access to two multimillion-dollar Bluefin Autonomous Underwater Vehicles.
Located in the Heart of Florida’s High-tech Corridor
Florida Tech is the perfect place for a BS in Ocean Engineering. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (so named because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us), minutes away from the Indian River Lagoon, the most diverse estuary in North America, and the Florida Keys and the Everglades are only a few hours’ drive away.
The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce also provides an abundance of internship and employment opportunities.
Florida Tech is just over the causeway from the Atlantic Ocean with its 72 miles of beautiful beaches, and a short trip to the Florida Keys or the Orlando theme parks. We also have a rich campus life that includes a wide range of intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities.
Build Lasting Professional Relationships through Campus Organizations
Beyond the classroom, ocean engineering degree students build leadership and professional experience through participation in academic organizations like Tau Beta Pi (the engineering honor society), student government, and over 100 other campus-wide student organizations.
The Florida Tech chapters of the Marine Technology Society and the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers work to establish networking opportunities between students and professionals in the field. This can help members find ocean engineering internship positions and possible career opportunities.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a student-run organization that participates in engineering challenges and competitions utilizing the knowledge they gain at Florida Tech.
“How Will an Ocean Engineering Degree Prepare Me for the Future? ”
Peerless Study and Internship Opportunities
Ocean engineering internship opportunities provide our students with hands-on work experience to prepare them for the career world. Some of the companies providing ocean engineering internship experiences are:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
- Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
- Center for Coastal Studies
- Government agencies
Stunning Undergraduate Research Projects in a Real-World Ocean Environment
Opportunities for research in local ecosystems are plentiful for Florida Tech students. Student field projects allow ocean engineering majors to design and create functioning projects for a variety of uses, all tested in real-world oceanic environments. Ocean engineers have access to laboratories for fluid mechanics, wave dynamics, underwater technology, corrosion and biofouling, instrumentation, materials, and electronics.
Past student research projects included:
- Sebastian Inlet real-time oceanographic and meteorological data
- Artificial reefs in the Mexican Caribbean
- Remotely operated surf rover
- Autonomous underwater vehicles
Students frequently patent their work on such innovative projects. Student field projects put Florida Tech students in a very competitive position when looking for ocean engineering careers.
“What Can You Do with an Ocean Engineering Degree? ”
Students who graduate with a degree in ocean engineering are likely to find ocean engineering jobs such as designing structures and vehicles for marine environments, from aircraft carriers and submarines to sailboats and tankers.
Ocean engineering jobs involve everything from preventing coastal erosion, designing jetties, and seawalls, to working as a naval architect. Success in this profession requires a strong background in engineering, combining it with in-depth experience in experimentation and hands-on design.
Get Recruited Upon Graduation
Employers seek out graduates with an ocean engineering degree from Florida Tech. Employers that have recruited our students for internships and careers include:
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- US Navy
- Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock Corp.
- National Science Foundation
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
- Rockwell Aviation
- Northrop Grumman
- US Environmental Protection Agency
Ocean engineering jobs are organized among five areas of concentration:
- Coastal engineering
- Hydrographic engineering
- Marine vehicles (naval architecture)
- Marine materials and corrosion
- Underwater technology
Information about ocean engineering jobs can be found in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The handbook provides information about specific jobs including median annual pay, working conditions and job outlook, among other things.
According to the Department of Labor, employment of ocean engineers and naval architects is expected to grow 17% through 2020. The need to design ships that can transport goods and energy across the globe will help spur employment growth for ocean engineering jobs.
Additionally, marine engineers are in demand for such occupations as maintaining offshore oil rigs, updating fleets to meet new federal requirements in transporting oil and gas, and designing cargo ships that better protect the environment through less pollution.
Other Career Options
Ocean engineering careers can include jobs such as:
- Ocean engineer
- Marine engineer
- Naval architect
- Mechanical engineer
- Petroleum engineer
- Environmental engineer
Graduate and Doctoral Programs
Rather than starting employment immediately after graduation, 20% of Florida Tech Ocean Engineering grads go directly to graduate school, either at Florida Tech or at one of several other prestigious institutions, including:
- University of Alaska
- Johns Hopkins
- Virginia Tech
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- University of Alaska
- University of Rhode Island
- University of North Carolina
- Cambridge University (UK)