Ocean Engineering, M.S.

Ocean Engineering, M.S.

Get a Master's in Ocean Engineering

Ocean Engineering MS

Ocean engineers study the world’s ocean environment using engineering expertise to analyze its effects on vessels and structures. They are involved in deep-sea exploration and projects such as designing and operating platforms or sub-surface vehicles.

A master’s in ocean engineering from Florida Tech provides students a multidisciplinary, hands-on program oriented toward the needs of industry. With its emphasis on basic engineering sciences, design, and modern engineering tools and methods, ours is one of the only graduate programs in the country that offers training in ocean engineering, naval architecture, oceanography, meteorology, environmental science, and coastal management.

Through hands-on fieldwork, students apply their understanding of civil, mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering to design and build solutions for complex marine environments.

Why Pursue a Master's in Ocean Engineering at Florida Tech?

Florida Tech’s unique community offers students seeking a master’s in ocean engineering access to numerous environment-oriented private companies. Students meet and interact with professionals from many prominent local organizations, who often guide students through projects, provide internships, and work at Florida Tech as adjunct faculty. This makes for a special educational opportunity.

Flexible Learning Environment—Professor Mentorship with World-Class Faculty

Master’s in ocean engineering students benefit from the vast experience Florida Tech professors bring to the classroom. With expertise in a variety of areas, including materials, composites, anti-biofouling, corrosion control, underwater and surface vehicles, and ocean energy, the faculty is on the cutting-edge of their fields. Small class sizes allow professors to provide one-on-one mentoring in collaborative learning and research experiences using the latest body of knowledge to prepare students for employment.

Other ocean engineering graduate programs may not have the intimate, focused environment Florida Tech offers—where professors mentor students, class sizes are small and there is an opportunity for hands-on internships and research in some of the most diverse coastal environments in the world.

In addition, other ocean engineering graduate programs cannot offer access to the many environment-oriented businesses and organizations that Florida Tech can, due to its coastal location. The university has close relationships with numerous organizations including:

  • 45th Weather Squadron of the United States Air Force
  • NASA Kennedy Space Center
  • Hubbs Sea World Research Institute
  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
  • Marine Resources Council
  • National Weather Service

An Ideal Environment for Research

Research is an integral part of every degree program at Florida Tech, enhancing classroom learning. Graduate programs like the master’s in ocean engineering offer students the flexibility of choosing research that best aligns with their career goals. Professors guide students to take advantage of Florida Tech’s location for unique research opportunities. Here, students get out in the environment—and get wet. Some of the most popular research topics among students in the master’s in ocean engineering program are autonomous underwater and surface vehicles, wave riders, and coastal engineering.

In terms of location, other ocean engineering graduate programs cannot match Florida Tech’s coastal location. The Atlantic Ocean is just minutes from campus, and the most diverse estuary in North America, the Indian River Lagoon, is just ten miles away. The Florida Keys and Everglades are just a few hours from Florida Tech.

Laboratories and Facilities Ocean Engineers Dream About

The F.W. Olin Engineering Complex and F.W. Olin Life Sciences Building provide comprehensive research laboratories equipped with 21st century technology. In addition, facilities at the Florida Tech Anchorage (the Evinrude Marine Operations Center) include docks, electrical power, and storage for nautical equipment, supplies, and scientific equipment. A fleet of small craft available for student use for accessing research sites includes pontoon boats, jet skis, Robalo boats, Boston Whalers, skiffs, and Chris Craft powerboats.

Ocean science laboratories provide state-of-the-art facilities for experimentation and analysis in structures, fluid mechanics, wave dynamics, underwater technology, corrosion and biofouling, instrumentation, materials, and electronics—a diverse capability that other ocean engineering graduate programs may not offer.

Preparation for Top Ocean Engineering Careers

Ocean engineering is a fast growing and dynamic field with opportunities that are expanding as people turn to the oceans for food, transportation, and energy. Because ocean engineers study all aspects of the ocean environment to determine people’s influence on the oceans and the ocean’s effects on ships and other marine vehicles and structures, the work is global in nature. When comparing ocean engineering graduate programs, Florida Tech provides the type of training a graduate needs to enter challenging careers in private industry, contracting, or government agencies.

What Ocean Engineering Research or Other Opportunities Can I Expect?

Ocean engineering internships are hands-on experiences that give students a glimpse into what real-world employment positions might demand of them. Organizations such as the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and the Center for Coastal Studies have provided ocean engineering internships—giving students a chance to work side-by-side with experts in the field on a range of topics related to their chosen area of concentration.

In addition to ocean engineering internships, students have a chance to work with national research organizations and institutes that includes:

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Mineral Management Service
  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Federal Emergency Management Association
  • United States Coast Guard
  • Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
  • Marine Technology Society
  • American Bureau of Shipping
  • Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Scripps Oceanographic Institute
  • Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute

Research Projects

While working in ocean engineering internships and research, emphasis is placed on a strong scientific background so that students are prepared for any number of careers in academia, research, private industry, or government. Faculty-led and personal research projects address current ocean engineering topics with a desire for students to contribute to the field. This can include:

  • Autonomous underwater and surface vehicles
  • Remote operated underwater and surface vehicles
  • Ocean energy systems via waves and currents
  • Coastal engineering
  • Ocean, estuary, and storm modeling
  • Ship design—high-speed small craft to large-scale ships
  • Reef and beach restoration
  • Underwater archaeology engineering
  • Corrosion and anti-biofouling studies

Students can use Florida Tech’s Battlespace Preparation Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (BPAUV) by Bluefin Inc., or on one of the remotely operated vehicles. Divers become AAUS certified, giving them opportunities take deep-sea dives from research vessels throughout the world.

High-Tech Research Laboratories

Whether working in ocean engineering internships or on research, Florida Tech engineering students have state-of-the-art laboratories in which to do their testing and analysis.

  • Structures Laboratory—Supports instructional experiments such as compression and tensile testing, with research and teaching activities focused on the mechanical behavior of metallic, concrete, plastic, composite materials, and structural forms.
  • Fluid Mechanics Laboratory—Houses the experimental hardware used for experiments that measure fluid properties and to verify the laws of conservation of fluid motion. Experiments include rheology, hydrostatics, stability of floating bodies and pressure around a circular cylinder.
  • Underwater Technology Laboratory—Provides students with hands-on research using underwater robotic systems and includes equipment such as oscilloscopes, high-range power supplies, frequency generators and voltmeters, among others.
  • The Vero Beach Marine Laboratory (VBML)—Serves as a beachfront field station for the university in support of research and teaching marine science with easy access to sites used to launch, test, and evaluate student designs.
  • The Marine Materials Exposure Site, Indian River Lagoon—Offers a seawater exposure site for evaluation of biofouling and corrosion characteristics of materials.
  • Get Published

Graduate students are encouraged to submit their finding from participation in ocean engineering internships and research projects for publication in respected industry journals. This includes publications such as Oceans, Marine Technology Reporter, Environmental Coastal & Offshore, Marine News, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and IEEE Marine Technology.

How Will a Master's Degree Benefit My Ocean Engineering Career?

In addition to creating remotely operated vehicles and autonomous underwater and surface vehicles, ocean engineering careers involve developing underwater structures, oil rigs, wave buoys for data collection, as well as developing ways to capture the energy of waves and turn it into electricity. 

Ocean engineers also develop transportation systems, plan new uses for waterways, design deep-water ports, and integrate land and water transportation systems and methods. They are concerned with discovering, producing, and transporting offshore petroleum, as well as developing new ways to protect marine wildlife and beaches against the unwanted consequences of offshore oil production and storm erosion.

On the job, ocean engineers would likely work with a team of different types of engineers to find solutions for ocean infrastructure, research and utilization. Integrating a variety of disciplines in ocean science is common and could include a team of professional trained in oceanography, materials science, mechanical, civil, computer, software, marine, chemical, and electrical engineering. 

Career Outlook

Many ocean engineers engage with Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) to explore the ocean floor, take pictures, collect samples or perform repairs on an underwater structure such as an oil platform. Every instrument, device, and process in an ocean environment is the responsibility of ocean engineers. Ocean engineering careers are often organized among five specialties: 

  • 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 United States Department of Labor 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 10 percent through 2022. One factor stimulating growth is the need to design ships that can transport goods and energy across the globe. Due to the corrosive environment of the ocean and new pollution regulations on cargo shipping, demand for ocean engineers to repair and modify existing ships and their systems will drive employment. Additionally, ocean engineering careers will be found in pharmaceuticals and medicine, agriculture and environmental protection. 

Check the handbook for ocean engineering jobs and other related careers.

Career Options

Ocean engineering careers are numerous and offer a wide range of positions that include:   

  • Ocean Engineer
  • Naval Architect
  • Structural Engineer
  • Marine Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Petroleum Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Subsea Pipeline Engineer
  • Marine Operations Director
  • Project Manager – Offshore Vessels
  • Underwater Mining Engineer
  • Marine Quality Assurance Engineer 

Potential Employers

Ocean engineering careers can be found with such organizations as:

  • Rockwell Aviation
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Boeing
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • National Science Foundation
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Architectural and engineering firms
  • Water transportation, ship and boat building