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Marine Engineering - Explore the High Seas

Marine Engineering is an extremely challenging and well-paying career. Read this subject guide on undergraduate study options in Marine Engineering.

Mahesh Ramani
marine engineering-oil-rig

Did you know that Indian marine engineers are among the best in the world? Shipping companies around the world prefer to hire Indian marine engineers.

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Subject modules & entry requirements

Ancient Indian history is replete with wars and conquests fought across mountains, deserts and plains. What very few historians cover is the naval conquests of rulers from South India who set up kingdoms in places as far as modern Cambodia. The temples built by the descendants of these kings still stand and one wonders at the amazing strength of these ancient navigators who travelled across the oceans on their wooden ships. Today marine engineering is a highly sought after career option. With shipping firms still transporting cargo, luxury cruise liners carrying the rich on cruises to exotic tourist destinations and large-scale drilling of the sea-bed to extract oil; marine engineers are always in high demand.

In India, there are a number of institutions that offer a variety of programmes that lead to the career outcome of a marine engineer. There are specialised courses that look at Naval Architecture and Engineering, Nautical Sciences and Ship-Building and Design. This subject guide looks at some of the most popular undergraduate programmes in Marine Engineering in popular study abroad destinations, the subject specialisations on offer and the career opportunities on offer for undergraduate marine engineers.

Marine engineering erogrammes – A broad overview

The most commonly offered undergraduate degree programmes in Marine Engineering are the BSc, BEng and B.Tech. Many universities in the UK offer the Marine Engineering module in conjunction with a Mechanical Engineering programme. The subject is also taught along with Naval Architecture and Nautical Science. Marine Engineering deals with the design, construction, operation and maintenance of engines, turbines and plants on board sailing vessels, marine systems, rigs and other floating structures. The subject also examines scenarios and challenges very specific to working on the high seas like tackling engine and turbine issues caused because of very high temperatures. The subject matter requires a lot of intensive study and practical training in simulated engine rooms and actual ships.   

Popular undergraduate marine engineering programmes

In the UK, Plymouth University offers a popular BEng (Hons) programme in Marine Technology. This is a four-year full-time programme and costs around INR12.55 lakhs every year as tuition fees. Prospective applicants should have studied Mathematics and Physics as a part of their high school curriculum. The programme incorporates modules in Mathematics, Manufacturing, Materials, Engineering Design, Business for Engineers, Mechanics, Electrical Principles, Robotics Control Engineering, Thermodynamics, Marine Engineering Concepts, Vessel Propulsion and Naval Architecture.

More than the UK or the USA, which focus keenly on postgraduate study options in Marine Engineering, Australian universities offer a fine selection of undergraduate programmes in Marine Engineering.  

Edith Cowan University – ECU offers a highly popular Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) programme in Marine and Offshore Systems. ECU offers this programme in partnership with the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania in Launceston, Tasmania. This is a four-year full-time programme with a tuition fee of about INR11.63 lakhs every year.  Prospective applicants should have completed their high school studies with Maths and Science as part of the curriculum and an IELTS score of 6.0 or equivalent. With massive oil drilling projects happening across various oceans around the world, the demand for trained and skilled engineers to oversee operations on oil rigs and drilling platforms is quite high. This programme is designed for students looking to carve a career for themselves in the oil and gas industries.

The University of New South Wales – UNSW offers an acclaimed Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Naval Architecture programme. This is a four-year full-time programme and the tuition fee works out to roughly INR18.07 lakhs per year. Naval architecture is the branch of engineering which is concerned with the design, building and utilization of all types of ships and marine vehicles. Naval architecture is a fascinating subject and holds a massive career potential for those looking to make it big in the industry. Like the automobile industry, there is a clear focus on designing ships, submarines and mono-diving submersibles that are efficient and consume less fuel. Defence services around the world are keen to design and operate state-of-the-art battleships and submarines and qualified naval architects and marine engineers have a wide variety of career options to choose and pick.

Click here to view all the undergraduate Marine Engineering programmes on offer!

Subject specialisations

At the undergraduate level, for a marine engineering programme, a number of universities offer students a chance to specialise in a specific subject. The most common and popular subject specialisations on offer are as follows:

  • Naval Architecture
  • Propulsion
  • Engine Dynamics
  • Marine Engineering Design
  • Marine Renewable Energy
  • Underwater Cable Laying
  • Petrochemical Engineering
  • Oceanography

Career prospects

It may seem that marine engineers can only find jobs aboard ships in some far away oil-drilling platform. This is not correct! Marine engineers can choose from a wide variety of jobs ranging from luxury cruise liners, designing weapons and battleships for the Navy or private firms, working in ports taking care of design and fittings, working with ecological conservation groups examining the impact caused by industries located near ocean bodies and much more.

Professional associations:

The Institute of Marine Engineers in India was set up in 1980 and now has branches across leading Indian cities. The Institute works towards building a community of marine engineers who support each other and also offers a number of learning and training courses to help guide students of marine engineering.  

Salaries

In India, a trainee marine engineer with an undergraduate degree from an Indian institution will be able to earn roughly INR3.5 lakhs to INR4.5 lakhs a year. A similar degree from an international university and employment abroad will fetch a trainee engineer between INR10 lakhs to INR14 lakhs a year. This clearly demonstrates the importance of an international education and finding a job abroad.  

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