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naval architecture, coastal (civil) engineering, and oceanography. The education needs of the offshore oil and gas industry have stimulated development of special-purpose programs that draw on both naval architecture and coastal engineering. In this report, except where otherwise stated, the committee considers naval architecture, marine engineering, and ocean engineering as a single field (NA&ME) concerned with the design of ships and floating or fixed ocean structures, including the hull and all machinery essential to their operation.
The committee has characterized the field as the design of complex engineering systems for the ocean environment. The nearest engineering relative is aeronautical and aerospace engineering, which also addresses the design of highly complex systems that operate in hostile environments. The terms naval architect, ocean engineer, and naval architect/marine engineer will generally be used interchangeably in this report. All refer to an engineer whose work is focused on both complex systems and the ocean environment. A special kind of education is required for this field, and it is provided by the institutions listed in Table 4-1.
The following sections address three questions about education in NA&ME:
Will a revitalized U.S. maritime industry require the availability of specialized university-level education in NA&ME?
How should educational institutions go about ensuring the existence of viable programs in this area?
What measures should be taken by federal agencies to help ensure the existence of an adequate educational infrastructure to support U.S. maritime industries?
The fields of study and academic degrees awarded by the schools represented at the workshop are indicated in Table 4-2. The following discussion addresses the questions listed above.
Need For Specialized Programs
Question 1: Will a revitalized U.S. maritime industry require the availability of specialized university-level education in NA&ME?
Academia will play a minor role in the short-term revitalization of the U.S. maritime industry; however, it will play an essential role in maintaining that industry. Here, "short-term" implies about five years. One cannot expect education to have real impacts on this time scale. Changes to curricula require time to develop the faculty to teach new courses. Students must elect the program, become educated, and then work for several years in the industry before they have an effect. University research might have some—but not a major—impact in the short-term. Thus the following discussion focuses on the long-term role of universities in maintaining a vigorous U.S. maritime industry.