Ocean Engineering
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Ocean Engineering Overview

The ocean covers most of the earth's surface, yet is still full of mysteries scientists have yet to uncover. If you would like to develop structures to help us understand, protect, and utilize the world's largest resource, consider majoring in Ocean Engineering.

Ocean Engineers mix different types of engineering from civil to electrical to chemical with a knowledge of the ocean. Some of the tasks they may complete include developing instruments to take measurements, building structures to control water levels, and constructing underwater tunnels. In order to prepare for this career you will take classes in oceanography, civil engineering, naval architecture, computer-aided design, and maritime systems along with more specialized classes like analysis of ocean waves and air-sea interactions to learn everything about the Ocean Engineering field.

Required Skills

Since Ocean Engineering combines the field of engineering with oceanography, students should have a strong background in math, chemistry, and physics. Strong critical thinking and problem solving skills will aid students in designing new structures that can withstand the corrosive and unpredictable nature of the ocean. It is also important you are able to work in teams and have strong communication skills to explain projects and ensure they move along successfully.

Although most engineers typically work in an office setting, ocean engineers must be flexible enough to make trips to the field location. Depending on your occupation, you may have to travel to work on a project and put in longer hours to ensure timely completion.

Like other engineering majors, experience through internships will give students the ability to work hands-on in the field as well as making them attractive to future employers. Students may work summer jobs, internships, or participate in summer learning programs to gain this additional experience.


The possible career options available to Ocean Engineering majors are as vast as the ocean itself. Graduates have the skills of an engineer and are able to specialize in anything ocean related. Some graduates are working to preserve endangered areas, building dikes and other water control methods, constructing rigs to survey the ocean floor, and developing materials to withstand the corrosive environment. The skills and experience this degree opens many different doors.

Due to the many career options along with the average growth rate of the field, graduates should be able to quickly find jobs after graduation.

Ocean Engineering graduates have an average starting salary of $63,225 and a mid-career salary of $118,597.

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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Ocean Engineering might open up.

Architectural and Engineering Managers
Engineering Teachers, Postsecondary
Engineers, All Other
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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