Ocean Engineering Major (B.S.)

Ocean Engineering Major (B.S.)
Ocean engineering major student working in the ocean engineering tank.

The BSOE curriculum provides students with a solid engineering core and prepares students for professional engineering careers or for graduate study, starting 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 and 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 at least four technical electives, which help students gain further competence in an area of their choice. Students finish their curriculum with a two-semester senior capstone design project. Opportunities exist for dual majors and minors in environmental, electrical or mechanical engineering, oceanography, international affairs, sustainability or marine biology.


What is a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering?

This degree program is tailored to students interested in solving engineering challenges associated with the ocean by studying the future technology, infrastructure needs and exploration methodology for the changing environment. It prepares students for careers in industry or government and provides a foundation for graduate studies. This program emphasizes ocean engineering fundamentals while offering interdisciplinary opportunities for focused study in civil, electrical, environmental or mechanical engineering and marine sciences.

Why study ocean engineering at UNH?

Ocean engineering students are immersed in the exploration and utilization of the marine environment from the first semester. They study in an interdisciplinary field rooted in a variety of engineering and physical science disciplines. Students conduct hands-on research in our recently expanded Jere A. Chase Ocean Engineering Laboratory, on our vessels, in our estuaries and in our coastal ocean. They use emerging technologies to interrogate the ocean environment, map the ocean floor, design ocean structures and address the dynamic forces that lead to coastal erosion. The program emphasizes principles for innovation from the first-semester hands-on seminar through the ocean projects capstone experience.

Potential career areas

  • Army Corps of Engineers
  • Consulting firms
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Navy laboratories
  • Ocean mapping industry
  • Ocean technology companies
  • Offshore energy industry
  • Research institutions 
Contact

Oceanography Graduate Coordinator & Ocean Engineering Undergraduate Coordinator
Professor
Office: Earth Sciences, Chase Hall Room 121B, Durham, NH 03824
  • Ocean Engineering student Jane Schwadron discusses working in the Chase Ocean Engineering Lab
    Ocean Engineering students simulates ocean waves in wave tank
    Ocean Engineering student Jane Schwadron discusses how students simulate and measure ocean waves in the Chase Ocean Engineering Lab.
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  • Ocean engineering student Kelsea Carmichael
    Meet a Wildcat: Ocean Engineering
    Kelsea Carmichael is a ocean engineering major in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. Read more to learn about why she loves being an ocean engineering student at UNH.
    Learn More
  • Ocean_Engineering_Rose Walker
    Meet a Wildcat in Ocean Engineering
    Watch Rose Walker discuss her favorite things about being a ocean engineering major at UNH and advice for those considering attending UNH.
    Learn More
  • Natalie_Cook
    Natalie Cook '23 shares internship experience with NOAA
    Natalie Cook ’23, an ocean engineering major from Brookline, New Hampshire, secured an at-sea internship with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration and is documenting her experience.
    Learn More
  • Ocean Engineering student Olivia Dube
    "My favorite spot on campus is the wave tank in the High Bay of the Chase Ocean Engineering Lab. It's quite amazing to look at the beautiful waves created by the tank and relate them to my classes, or rather to connect the math and science of what's happening in front of me.  I get really excited when I see the wave tank being used, it's spectacular!"
    Learn More

Curriculum & Requirements

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.

The BSOE curriculum provides students with a solid engineering core and prepares students for professional engineering careers or for graduate study. The BSOE 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 at least four technical electives, which help students gain further competence in an area of their choice. 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.

Students work with an advisor to plan a program that is based on the required coursework for the degree. Some ocean engineering elective courses may not be offered every year.

The Ocean Engineering (B Sci in Ocean Engineering) program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, under the General Criteria and the Program Criteria for Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering, Ocean Engineering and Similarly Named Engineering Programs.

Sample Degree Plan

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
MATH 425 Calculus I 1 4
PHYS 407 General Physics I 2 4
OE 400 Ocean Engineering Seminar 1
Discovery Program Elective 4
Discovery Program Elective 4
 Credits17
Spring
ENGL 401 First-Year Writing 3 4
MATH 426 Calculus II 4
OE 490 Introduction to Ocean Engineering 4
PHYS 408 General Physics II 4
Discovery Program Elective 4
 Credits20
Second Year
Fall
CHEM 405
or CHEM 403 and CHEM 404
Chemical Principles for Engineers 2
or General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II
4
ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography (satsifies the Discovery Inquiry requirement) 4 4
MATH 528
or MATH 525
Multidimensional Calculus 5
or Linearity I
4
ME 525 Statics 4
 Credits16
Spring
IAM 550 Introduction to Engineering Computing 4
MATH 527
or MATH 526
Differential Equations with Linear Algebra 5
or Linearity II
4
ME 503 Thermodynamics 3
ME 526
or CEE 501
Mechanics of Materials
or Strength of Materials
3
OE 401 Ocean Engineering Seminar 1
 Credits15
Third Year
Fall
ECE 537 Introduction to Electrical Engineering 4
ME 608 Fluid Dynamics 3
ME 627 Dynamics 3
OE 754 Ocean Waves and Tides 4
 Credits14
Spring
OE 610 Ocean Instrumentation Lab 4
OE 757 Coastal Engineering and Processes 3
OE 758 Design of Ocean Structures 3
Technical Elective 6 4
 Credits14
Fourth Year
Fall
ESCI 720 Ocean Measurements Lab 4
OE 765 Underwater Acoustics 3
TECH 797 Undergraduate Ocean Research Project 2
Discovery Program Elective 4
Technical Elective 6 4
 Credits17
Spring
TECH 797 Undergraduate Ocean Research Project 2
Technical Elective 6 3-4
Technical Elective 6 3-4
Discovery Program Elective 4
Discovery Program Elective 4
 Credits16-18
 Total Credits129-131
1

MATH 425 Calculus I satisfies the Discovery Foundation Quantitative Reasoning category.

2

PHYS 407 General Physics I or CHEM 405 Chemical Principles for Engineers or CHEM 403 General Chemistry I and CHEM 404 General Chemistry II satisfies the Discovery Physical Science (with lab) category.

3

ENGL 401 First-Year Writing satisfies the Discovery Foundation Writing Skills category.

4

ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography satisfies the Discovery Inquiry requirement.

5

MATH 525 Linearity I and MATH 526 Linearity II may be substituted for MATH 527 Differential Equations with Linear Algebra and MATH 528 Multidimensional Calculus.  The MATH 525 and MATH 526 sequence will also count as one Technical Elective.

6

Total technical elective credits must be at 14 credits or higher to meet the UNH required total of 128 credits for graduation

Degree Requirements

Minimum Credit Requirement: 128 credits
Minimum Residency Requirement: 32 credits must be taken at UNH
Minimum GPA: 2.0 required for conferral*
Core Curriculum Required: Discovery & Writing Program Requirements
Foreign Language Requirement: No

All Major, Option and Elective Requirements as indicated.
*Major GPA requirements as indicated.

Major Requirements

Technical Electives
The ocean engineering program curriculum requires four technical electives that are CEPS 600-level or higher courses that have been approved by the OE undergraduate curriculum committee. Sequences have been identified that will provide students more in-depth opportunities in one of the ocean engineering sub-areas.  One of the technical electives needs to be a program-approved statistics course (OE #764 Spectral Analysis of Geophysical Time Series Data, MATH 644 Statistics for Engineers and Scientists, or ESCI 701 Quantitative Methods in Earth Sciences).

Discovery Program
Students must satisfy the University's Discovery Program requirements. The following features are unique to students in the Ocean Engineering program: students are required to take an Inquiry course or an Inquiry Attribute course during their first two years. This is satisfied with ESCI 501 Introduction to Oceanography. The Discovery Environment, Technology, and Society category requirement is met upon receiving a B.S. degree in ocean engineering. The Discovery Social Science category must be satisfied with either ECON 402 Principles of Economics (Micro) or EREC 411 Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives. The Discovery senior capstone experience is satisfied with TECH 797 Undergraduate Ocean Research Project.

Grade-Point Average
In order to graduate with an ocean engineering B.S. degree, students must have at least a 2.0 grade-point average in all engineering and science courses, including required technical electives, normally taken as department requirements after the start of the junior year as defined in the degree plan below.

Predictor courses: To enter the sophomore year, students must achieve a greater than (but not equal to) 2.00 GPA in PHYS 407 General Physics I and MATH 426 Calculus II with no grade below a C.

To enter the junior year, students must achieve a minimum GPA of 2.00 in ME 525 Statics, ME 526 Mechanics of Materials, and ME 503 Thermodynamics with only one C- grade allowed and no grades below C-.

Students are allowed two repeats of these predictor courses to achieve the predictor rule requirements before being removed from the program. This can be a single class repeated twice or two classes repeated once. Students are also removed from the program if they obtain a semester GPA <1.5 three times. Students may petition to be reinstated after one year out of the program.

Transfer Policy for UNH Students

CEPS Students: To transfer into the freshman or sophomore year, students must earn a combined GPA greater than (but not equal to) 2.00 in PHYS 407 General Physics I and MATH 426 Calculus II with no grade below a C in these two courses.

If students are enrolled in ME 525 Statics (or CEE 500 Statics for Civil Engineers), ME 526 Mechanics of Materials (or CEE 501 Strength of Materials), or ME 503 Thermodynamics, they must earn a combined GPA of 2.00 with no grade below a C- in two of these courses with only one C- grade allowed to transfer in and advance to the junior year. 

Non-CEPS Students: To transfer into the Ocean Engineering B.S. from another college at UNH, students have to satisfy the CEPS college transfer policy as well as the Ocean Engineering program transfer policies listed above according to status.

Required Courses
CHEM 405Chemical Principles for Engineers4
or CHEM 403
CHEM 404
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry II
ECON 402Principles of Economics (Micro)4
or EREC 411 Environmental and Resource Economics Perspectives
ECE 537Introduction to Electrical Engineering4
ESCI 501Introduction to Oceanography4
ESCI 720Ocean Measurements Lab4
IAM 550Introduction to Engineering Computing4
MATH 425Calculus I4
MATH 426Calculus II4
MATH 525
MATH 526
Linearity I
and Linearity II
12
or MATH 527
MATH 528
Differential Equations with Linear Algebra
and Multidimensional Calculus
ME 503Thermodynamics3
ME 525Statics4
ME 526Mechanics of Materials3
or CEE 501 Strength of Materials
ME 608Fluid Dynamics3
ME 627Dynamics3
OE 400Ocean Engineering Seminar1
OE 401Ocean Engineering Seminar1
OE 490Introduction to Ocean Engineering4
OE 610Ocean Instrumentation Lab4
OE 754Ocean Waves and Tides4
OE 757Coastal Engineering and Processes3
OE 758Design of Ocean Structures3
OE 765Underwater Acoustics3
PHYS 407General Physics I4
PHYS 408General Physics II4
TECH 797Undergraduate Ocean Research Project2
Technical Electives: 600-level or higher, choose four electives; at least one of the four courses must be 4 credits.

  • (1) ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science and math. Knowledge of fluid mechanics and hydrostatics with depth in at least one. An ability to apply solid mechanics and dynamics through multivariate calculus and differential equations. Knowledge of oceanography, water waves, and underwater acoustics. Ability to apply probability and applied statistics.
  • (2) ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental and economic factors.
  • (3) ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences.
  • (4) ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental and societal contexts.
  • (5) ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives.
  • (6) ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions.
  • (7) ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Explore program details

Those interested in the Ocean Engineering major may also be interested in the following advanced degrees.

Ocean Engineering M.Eng.

Ocean Engineering M.S.

Ocean Engineering Ph.D.

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