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Maritime Sciences


Maritime sciences programs prepare people to operate ships in lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Maritime sciences programs teach people maritime traditions, laws, and policies. Students learn to navigate ships safely in and out of harbors.

Maritime sciences programs include topics such as:


Only a few community colleges offer associate degree programs in maritime sciences. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

A few colleges and universities offer a bachelor's degree in maritime sciences. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four years of full-time study to complete.

Several universities offer graduate degrees in maritime sciences. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

It is a good idea to take as many math and science courses as possible. In addition, many schools look favorably on community service and volunteer experience. This is evidence of your leadership potential.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

This undergraduate program typically includes courses in the following subjects:

Some of your classes are conducted at sea during a "sea term." This means that you spend a minimum number of days at sea. You get practical hands-on experience in fishing and boat operation. Each time you go out to sea, you are expected to take more responsibility for the ship's operation. Typically you take at least three sea-terms.

Things to Know

Many of your classes will use computer simulations to teach radar operations, emergency situations, and weather forecasting

A few schools offer degrees in business with a concentration in maritime sciences.

Maritime sciences training is similar to military training. You are called a cadet instead of a student. You follow specific procedures, wear a uniform, and take orders from ranked officers.


King-Snohomish Area

Crawford Nautical School

Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies (MITAGS)

Seattle Central College

University of Washington - Seattle

Tacoma Area

Flagship Maritime Training Center