Info on NAME Masters programs in the US

Discussion in 'Education' started by kruemt, May 3, 2011.

  1. kruemt
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    kruemt Junior Member

    Hi,

    I'm looking for information on US naval architecture and marine/ocean engineering schools that offer a masters program. I am looking at the following schools and would like to get some word of mouth information about these schools and any other suggestions you guys may have about other schools.

    I'm looking at the following schools:

    Florida institute of technology
    Virginia Tech
    MIT
    University of new orleans
    University of michigan
    University of California, Berkeley
    Texas A&M

    I have narrowed these schools down from a larger group because they have classes that would allow me to concentrate on small craft design.

    I would like info on what previous students of these schools thought about these programs, the availability of research programs and the caliber of research at the school, the ability to find a job after school, if there are other schools I should be considering and any general information you guys think would be beneficial.
     
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  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    I have a Masters from Michigan but that was several decades ago. My studies there concentrated on hydrodynamics and related topics. They definately do some high quality research.

    The naval architecture program at MIT was made part of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department several years ago. You might want to have a look at their catalog and course schedule to see if there is enough being offered to be of interest to you.

    Before going to Michigan I was also interested in Berkely. At that time the program was very small, and has since been discontinued as a separate department. There is an ocean engineering program within the Mechanical Engineering department.

    Now some questions for you:
    - What is your education?
    - What do you want to get out of a Masters degree program?
    - What are your goals? Do you want to get into small craft design?
    - What is relative interest in technolgy? Design?
     
  3. kruemt
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    kruemt Junior Member

    I have a bachelors in mechanical engineering with a concentration in fluid dynamics. My intent when I decided to get this degree was to get a job in the marine industry and hopefully in small craft design.

    Unfortunately in the last year I have not been able to find a job in the marine industry. I feel that a masters in naval architecture will help me transition and will give me a better understanding of small craft and ship design.

    My goal is to work in small craft design. Ideally I would like to work with a small company that would allow me to work on a variety of projects.

    I'm not sure how to answer the last question. Could you clarify?
     
  4. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Your interests probably align better with "naval architecture" than "ocean engineering". Ocean engineering is frequently focused on more or less fixed structures such as oil platforms, buoys, wave energy devices, etc, not on ships and boats.

    NAME at Michigan has a definite naval architecture focus. Don't know too much about New Orleans but they appear to also have a naval architecture focus. MIT may also be of interest though check what they are currently offering. As I said above Berkely eliminated their NAME department a number of years ago.

    If you want to get into designing small craft than a possible option would be the one-year design program at The Landing School in Maine. However a certificate from that program may not be particularly helpful towards getting a job in marine fields other than small craft design. I suspect the number of small craft design jobs is limited with a fair number of folks going after them.

    As an undergraduate I was interested in a career related to boat design. When I went looking for a job nothing along those lines was available so I went into aerodynamics research which eventually led to designing automobiles. That was interesting and rewarding, but I'm now retired from it and getting back into boat design.
     
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  5. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Westlawn

    ==================
    I'd suggest you contact Dave Gerr at Westlawn and discuss your situation with him:
    http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/ed...tes-free-online-journal-now-posted-37238.html
     
  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Westlawn would be an alternative to The Landing School design course. Landing School is a one year residental program, Westlawn is a "correspondence" course which you can do while working another job (assuming you can find the time).

    Eric Sponberg has some advice for folks who want to make a career designing boats. http://sponbergyachtdesign.com/ArticlesDesigner.htm
     
  7. kruemt
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    kruemt Junior Member

    Thanks. The website was interesting.

    I'm not planning on getting a certificate. I'm planning on getting a masters. So, I'm not considering The Landing School or Westlawn.

    My thoughts were to get a degree and go to work for a small craft manufacturer. I would like to work independently, but I understand that experience and name recognition are necessary.

    What are the prospects of finding a job with a small craft manufacturer after school?

    DCockey when you graduated from Michigan did you work in the industry or for academia?
     
  8. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    I moved to another university and received a PhD in aerodynamics, then went to work in a corporate research center. That job eventually led to a job leading the (non-asthetic) design of a number of cars and SUV's.
     
  9. kruemt
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    kruemt Junior Member

    Anyone else have any information on the universities above?
     
  10. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Kruemt, all of the schools are good, you will get a fine engineering education. However, this will not necessarily lead to a job with a small craft builder. Here is why: most production boat builders rely on people who have come up through the ranks from the shop floor or from sales. People with naval architectures degrees in design departments are RARE! Builders will more likely have someone in their design departments with a Landing School or Westlawn certificate who is really good at doing CAD drawings on the computer, and that's about as far as they go. Also, most small craft builders will promote or hire up from someone that they know--it is rare that they will hire someone completely out of the blue based on a resume and interview. They have to be looking for someone with the right qualifications to do that. Right now, the economy is still in the dumps and boat builders are not expanding really fast--hiring, particularly in engineering, is still way off.

    Before you embark on more education, try calling a few builders that you might like to work with, and ask them about their design departments. How many naval architects do they have vs. how many draftsmen? Call a few design offices, too, you would probably have more luck with an independent design office than with a builder. Another thing you could try is to register with a headhunter who specializes in naval architecture and engineering jobs--they do exist. See what the current environment is for hiring.

    Sorry if that sounds pretty dismal, but it is.

    Eric

    PS. Glad you liked the website.
     
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  11. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    Eric, any idea of the extent to which production builders farm out design work to outside firms vs having work done in-house?
     
  12. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Here in the US, very little. I have been in this business over 30 years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of inquiries I have had from production boat builders to do new designs, or even consult on designs. On my other hand, I can count the number of designers I know personally who have actually worked with production boat builders who have built those designers' designs on a production basis.

    At one time back in the 1980s, I conducted a survey of all the designers and naval architects in the US about how they do business. I hired a marketing consultant to help me do it. I got a 50% response on my survey (because I promised everyone the results for free). There were about 135 designers and design firms in the country at that time. Now, I don't know how many there are, but my guess is that it is not too much different--some have died off or gotten out of the business, many more people have tried to get into the business, and we certainly have much better training these days that will qualify these people with the appropriate skills. It is really rare to be an independent designer for a boat building company.

    Eric
     
  13. vinafk
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    vinafk Junior Member

    thank you
     
  14. kruemt
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    kruemt Junior Member

    That's somewhat disconcerting. I would not have a problem working with an independent design office.

    I'll take your advice and try contacting some builders and headhunters.

    There seems to be quite a few NA&ME programs. What type of work are these graduates doing?
     

  15. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    A lot of naval architects go with the bigger commercial design offices and shipyards. Small craft shipbuilding, up to 200' loa, is actually pretty active. Big ship design and construction are also very healthy around the world. There are a lot of new design and construction initiatives underway in all sorts of subfields of naval architecture and marine engineering, particularly "going green", so technological development seems to be pretty healthy. Here in the US, look at the magazines "Maritime Reporter" (website: www.marinelink.com) and "Marine Log" (website: www.marinelog.com) to get an idea of the activity going on in commercial naval architecture. It makes the superyacht and recreational boat industries look anemic.

    Eric
     
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