Ocean Engineering B.S.

Ocean engineering is a field of study that seeks to solve engineering problems associated with the ocean, including those problems associated with the sustainable utilization of ocean resources and the scientific exploration and study of the ocean environment.  Ocean engineering is an interdisciplinary field with roots in mechanical, electrical, civil, and environmental engineering, with strong ties to physical, chemical, biological, and geological oceanography.  Students of ocean engineering are best served when they are formally trained inside a framework that fuses the expertise of these often-disparate fields.

Mission Statement

The department strives to prepare students for productive careers in industry or government as well as to provide a foundation for graduate studies. The program emphasizes ocean engineering fundamentals while offering interdisciplinary opportunities for focused study in civil, electrical, environmental, or mechanical engineering, as well as marine sciences.

Career Pathways

Deployment of the bouyOcean Engineering at UNH is intended to provide students with a rigorous foundation in several of the traditional and emerging concentrations within ocean engineering including ocean instrumentation, the design of ocean structures, coastal engineering, ocean hydrodynamics, and ocean acoustics. Through technical electives and optional research internships with UNH faculty, BSOE students have the opportunity to choose career pathways that could include:

  • Coastal Engineering (coastal structures, coastal erosion and adaption)
  • Marine Renewable Energy (harnessing wave and tidal energy)
  • Marine Robotics (autonomous and remotely controlled surface and underwater vehicles)
  • Ocean Acoustics (the study and use of sound in the sea, sonar engineering)
  • Ocean Environmental (environmental engineering, remediation, and human health)
  • Ocean Instrumentation (the design, calibration, and novel use of ocean sensors)
  • Offshore Structures (design/deployment of structures in the ocean)

Job DemandJobs in the water

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that between 2010 and 2020, there will be a 14.3% increase in number of professional positions for marine engineers, including ocean engineers, resulting in an increase of more than 50,000 job openings. Given the very low number of B.S.O.E. programs across the nation, the demand for graduates is expected to be extremely high.  Students graduating with a B.S.O.E. are currently sought by a wide range of employers including the federal government (e.g., navy labs, NOAA, Army Corps of Engineers), DoD contractors, environmental consulting firms, ocean equipment and instrumentation manufacturers, ocean survey (mapping) companies, and oceanographic research institutions. Within New Hampshire, examples of these of employers include the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, BAE, L3-Klein, Airmar, Appledore Engineering, and the University of New Hampshire. 


The B.S.O.E. curriculum provides students with a solid engineering core and prepares students for professional engineering careers or for graduate study. The B.S.O.E. starts with foundational classes in math, physics, chemistry, and engineering computing, along with introductions to ocean engineering through seminars and oceanography coursework. Students develop their engineering acumen through coursework and laboratory studies that are focused on analysis, experimentation, and design. Students proceed to increasingly advanced coursework in ocean instrumentation, waves and tides, the design of ocean structures, coastal engineering, ocean measurements, and ocean acoustics. Opportunities exist for students to gain further competence in an area of their choice with the technical elective course offerings. Students finish their curriculum with a two-semester senior capstone design project. Elective courses in the arts, humanities, and the social sciences are included to provide a well-rounded education.

Faculty Advising

Students work with an advisor to plan a program that is based on the courses shown in the Ocean Engineering Course Outline that totals not less than 128 credits. The outline is considered a guideline and may be modified to suit student needs and desires within the constraints of meeting minimum credit hours, course pre-requisites, and non-major elective course requirements. A progress sheet is maintained by the O.E. Department and kept in the students’ records. It is recommended that all students review this progress sheet for accuracy and to determine progress toward graduation during pre-registration each semester.