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 Merchant Marine Reserve 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.
This core curriculum has several components:
- Comparative Literature and History
- Naval Science
- Physical Education and Ship’s Medicine
- Sea Year
Specific courses meeting these requirements are identified later in the course description section.
Midshipmen select their major course of study from among six programs:
- Marine Transportation - A program combining nautical science and maritime business management.
- Logistics and Intermodal Transportation - A program combining nautical science and logistics and intermodal management.
- Marine Engineering - An engineering program focused on shipboard engineering operations.
- Marine Engineering Systems - An engineering program emphasizing marine engineering design. Accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
- Marine Engineering and Shipyard Management - A program based on a marine engineering core and emphasizing the management of shipyards and other large engineering endeavors. ABET accredited.
Midshipmen who have selected the Marine Transportation major or the Logistics and Intermodal Transportation 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.
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.