Oct 02, 2023  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog


The Curriculum

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy provides a four-year academic program leading to a bachelor of science degree, a license as a merchant marine officer (issued by the U.S. Coast Guard), and an appointment as a commissioned officer in a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces (including the Strategic Sealift Officer Program of the U.S. Navy). The curriculum is demanding, comprehensive and stimulating. It has been carefully designed to ensure that graduates are professionally competent, trained for leadership and responsibility, and well-rounded intellectually.

Midshipmen complete a series of required courses in the core curriculum. These courses provide a nucleus of knowledge in key academic and professional subjects. In the second trimester of the fourth class year, Midshipmen begin preparing for a deck or engine license. They spend approximately one year at sea during their course of study at the Academy.

The academic year at the Academy is divided into three trimesters spanning eleven months, from late July to late June. Credit for courses is awarded in semester credit hours.

Core Curriculum

The core curriculum has several components:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Science
  3. English
  4. History
  5. Comparative Literature and Writing
  6. Naval Science
  7. Physical Education and Ship’s Medicine
  8. Internship
  9. Sea Year

Specific courses meeting these requirements are identified later in the course description section.

Components A-E provide a basis for Midshipmen’s general education, further supplemented in their major courses.

Major Programs

Midshipmen select their major course of study from among six programs:

  1. Marine Transportation - A program combining nautical science and maritime business management.
  2. Maritime Logistics and Security - A program combining nautical science, business, logistics, and maritime security topics.
  3. Marine Engineering - An engineering program focused on shipboard engineering operations.
  4. Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management - A program based on a marine engineering core and emphasizing the management of shipyards and other large engineering endeavors. Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET.
  5. Marine Engineering Systems - An engineering program emphasizing marine engineering design. Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET.

License Programs

Midshipmen who have selected the Marine Transportation major or the Maritime Logistics and Security major prepare for the third mate (deck officer) license examination. Marine Engineering, Marine Engineering Systems, and Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management majors prepare for the third assistant engineer (engineering officer) license examination.

Sea-Year Training

After completing the fourth class year in late June, half of the students (designated the B-Split) will go to sea for one trimester, return to campus for the second trimester of their third class year, then return to sea for the third trimester plus the first trimester of their second class year. They will return to campus for the second trimester of the second class year and remain on campus through graduation.

The other half of the class (designated the A-Split) will remain in residence for the first trimester of the third class year, will go to sea for the second trimester and return to campus for the third trimester. Then they will go to sea for the second and third trimesters of their second class year, return for the first trimester of their first class year and remain on campus until graduation.

The choice of Split, A or B, is made in the first trimester of fourth class year. Preference is granted to those Midshipmen participating in varsity athletics or in other programs like the regimental Band.

Elective Courses

Elective courses enhance the Midshipman’s professional training and their intellectual curiosity. The number of elective courses varies by major.

Graduation Requirements

The minimum requirements for graduation are:

  • Pass the required resident and sea project courses. (A four-year course of study is required by 46USC310.52.) A maximum of 5-1/2 years in attendance is permitted to complete degree requirements.
  • Earn the number of semester credit hours required by the curriculum in which you are enrolled. Exemptions from courses completed at other accredited institutions or waived due to physical disability may lower the number of credits required for some students.
  • Earn a Cumulative Quality Point Average (CQPA) of at least 2.000 for all courses taken.
  • Earn a Cumulative Grade Point Average of at least 2.000 for all courses specifically required in your major.
  • Pass all required license competencies.
  • Pass the examination and receive a USCG third mate or third assistant engineer license. Those ineligible to receive the license (e.g., foreign national, medical disqualification for a duty-related injury) must nevertheless, pass the examination.
  • Satisfy all necessary certifications as required by the USCG as specified for your program.
  • Pass all required Naval Science courses prescribed by the Department of the Navy.
  • Apply for and accept, if offered, an appointment as a commissioned officer in a Reserve Component of the U.S. Armed Forces (including the Strategic Sealift Officer Program of the U.S. Navy).
  • Pass the Academy Physical Fitness Test.

Academic Division Goals

Upon successful completion of a rigorous curriculum that includes general education and professional areas of study, graduates of the Academy will have the knowledge, skills and abilities to:

  1. Serve immediately as merchant marine officers with the foundation to advance to master or chief engineer.
  2. Work in approved maritime related shore positions with the capability to rise to senior levels.
  3. Lead with integrity, competence and high ethical standards.
  4. Work in teams constructively toward common goals.
  5. Think critically and creatively and solve complex problems.
  6. Communicate proficiently both orally and in writing.
  7. Demonstrate information literacy and proficiency in the use of information technology.
  8. Understand and function effectively in the socially, economically, politically and culturally diverse global environment.
  9. Pursue continued intellectual and professional development.

Programs of Study

Prior to entering the academy, applicants are asked to list a tentative major. Near the end of the first trimester, plebes are asked to affirm their initial selection or to choose another major. An extensive orientation program and introductory professional course- work in the first trimester will assist them in making that decision. All major programs are described in this section.

The courses taken at the Academy following fourth class year will vary greatly depending on the major. The following is a detailed description of the major curricula and the course of study each entails. The exact sequence of the course offerings in some cases may be modified due to staffing needs.