A Career Guide for the Ocean Engineering Major

The degree of Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering is a rigorous course of study that prepares its graduates for professional careers in industry, government or with consulting organizations within the ocean environment and other more traditional engineering areas.

In addition to basic engineering competence, preparation is available in the following ocean specialties: Acoustics, marine materials/ corrosion/batteries and energy systems, hydrodynamics, oceanography, offshore and coastal structures, vibrations, water resources and environmental engineering, intelligent underwater vehicles, and control systems and signal processing. Graduates who want to be engineers in charge of design and construction projects or consultants become Registered Professional Engineers by performing the specified intern service and passing a license examination. Each state sets its own requirements for professional engineer licensing and practice.

FAU initiated the first Ocean Engineering curriculum in this country in 1964, and the program has steadily grown to the current status of offering the Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral degrees. Since 1974, the program has been designated a "State University System Program of Distinction" and is widely recognized for the caliber of its engineering training and the competence of its graduates. Since originally becoming eligible, the program has been continuously certified by ABET, the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

Ocean Engineering positions are readily available throughout the marine and petroleum industries. Graduates find excellent jobs in acoustics and vibrations, ranging from underwater acoustics to applications in the computer and electronics industries. Civil and offshore engineering firms have hired FAU graduates for structural, geotechnical, and water resources and environmental jobs. Various small and large design and manufacturing firms need engineers who are experienced in computer-aided design, ranging from electronics to mechanical devices to system automation and ship system design.

The following Interests and Aptitudes/Qualities are associated with or needed for success in the study of this major.

  • Science and mathematics
  • Oceanic research
  • Managing and/or participating in group projects
  • Mechanical applications
  • Concern for conservation
  • Keen observation skills
  • Problem solving ability
  • Creative thinking
  • Mechanical ability
  • Strong written/communication skills
  • Detail oriented
  • Physical stamina
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to work independently/in groups
  • Self-discipline


The BSOE degree requires the completion of 136 credits, 77 of which are core engineering subjects. This usually takes four years, including summer semester classes each year. Students can enter as freshmen, as community college graduates with Associate degrees or as transfer students with some credits already completed. Students who attend community college before entering the program are encouraged to take chemistry with labs, physics with calculus and labs, and three courses in calculus as part of their associate degree requirements.

Seniors work in teams on a design project to specify, design, and build a working device for the ocean environment; for example, an autonomous underwater vehicle. When the renovations are completed at SeaTech, the Department's newly acquired facility on the ocean in Dania, seniors can anticipate performing their final year of study in this oceanside environment.


The following are examples of positions often held by Ocean Engineering graduates:

Acoustics Specialist (sound silencing, submarine detection, echo sounding, underwater archeology)
Sonar/Underwater Communications Systems Designer
Designer of Fixed/Floating Structures
Marine Construction Manager
Materials Specialist
Pipeline Construction/Testing Engineer
Corrosion Prevention Specialist
Designer of Surface Vessels or Submarines
Designer of Unmanned (remotely operated) Undersea VehiclesInstaller/Repairer of Ocean Cables
Defense Worker (involving weapons systems, mines, etc.)
Designer/User of Underwater Salvage Systems
Pilot of Deep Submergence Vehicles
Naval Officer
Industrial Researcher
Business Owner
Designer of Undersea Habitats
Offshore Soil Exploration Engineer
Designer/Developer of Alternate Energy Schemes
Manager of Water Resources
Aquaculture Systems Designer
Oceanographic Instrumentation Designer
Designer of Diving Systems
Designer of Marine Instrumentation (including construction and testing)
Coastal Engineer (hydrographic surveying, etc.


For information about choosing a career, graduate/ professional school, internships or job descriptions, and for career library resources, contact:

Career Development Center
Boca Raton Campus - Student Services Building, Room 220 (SU 220)

Davie Campus - Modular G

Jupiter Campus - SR 110

For information about choosing a major and concentration and degree requirements, contact:

Department of Ocean Engineering
Boca Raton Campus, College of Engineering & Computer Science Building, Room 190 (EG 190)

SeaTech Campus, Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the Florida Atlantic University Career Development Center, Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Undergraduate Programs, and in cooperation with the College of Engineering & Computer Science.

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