New Master’s in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering program starts in September

By BCShippingNews
July 10 2013
Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering Program Advisory Council
Industry, government and academia collaborate on new program...

In anticipation of the intended shipbuilding contracts, the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Applied Science has joined forces with marine industry leaders to develop a new Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (NAME) stream of the Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Students entering this stream will take a specialized set of courses that draw material from Mechanical, Civil, and Materials Engineering, and that focus specifically on the design, construction, maintenance and operation of waterborne vehicles.

“UBC has a long tradition of expertise in the related areas of naval architecture, ocean engineering and coastal engineering, with many current and former faculty members in these fields,” said Professor Michael Isaacson, Ph.D., P.Eng., Director of the new NAME program. “The coming decade will see a major increase in shipbuilding projects in Canada, and these will need specialist engineers. UBC recognizes the importance of a highly skilled and educated workforce ready to meet the needs of this growing industry, and so has developed these new courses in response to that need. Graduates from this stream can expect to walk away from UBC into rewarding careers as tomorrow’s leading naval architects.”

Contingent upon the forthcoming shipbuilding contracts, UBC anticipates that $4 million from industry will be directed toward the university over the next 10 years for the development of the new NAME program. Starting in the spring of 2012, a committee of UBC faculty and industry representatives met to develop a preliminary plan for the program, which was then approved by the Dean of Applied Science last May.  With the help of these industry representatives and faculty from the University of Michigan’s NAME program, UBC is now working on developing the program’s eight new graduate courses and two undergraduate courses.

While UBC currently offers a Naval Architecture specialization within the Thermofluids option of the BASc MECH program, it was felt that developing a Masters-level program would allow for the comprehensive and interdisciplinary education necessary to prepare students for immediate work in the industry. “With the combined expertise of faculty in Mechanical, Civil and Materials Engineering at UBC, and with the active engagement of many industry professionals, students will be immersed in a comprehensive curriculum that synthesizes theory and practice, has a focus on design and hands-on experiences, and will equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to excel in one of the world’s important and fast-growing industries,” says Professor Isaacson.

The MEng in Mechanical Engineering requires a minimum of 12 months for completion and includes an intensive set of courses, which in the NAME stream will culminate in a capstone ship design project, and a 12-week internship with a company or other organization.

In addition to general requirements for admission into a Master of Engineering program at UBC, applicants to the Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering stream will also need to meet the specialization-specific requirements, which include a bachelor’s degree in Civil, Materials or Mechanical Engineering or equivalent, and the completion of prerequisite courses in Mathematics, Engineering Economics, Structural Mechanics, Fluid Mechanics, Automatic Controls, Metals and Fabrication, and Thermodynamics.

The program’s 12-month timeframe covers coursework done between September and April, followed by the design project in May and the internship from June to August. Although a Master’s program, NAME does not require a thesis or research and will instead focus on practical applications that will enable students to practice professionally in the marine industry.

The curriculum (pending Senate approval) consists of:

  • Introduction to Ship Structures
  • Introduction to Ship Hydrodynamics
  • Advanced Ship Structures
  • Advanced Ship Hydrodynamics
  • Ship Dynamics and Control
  • Ship Production and Industrial Engineering
  • Shipbuilding Project Management

In addition, students will take on  a Computer-Aided Ship Design Project — a capstone design project designed to give students experience in the preliminary design of a special purpose ship. Students work individually and in teams, using advanced design software and databases, to design a vessel according to specified criteria.

Following successful completion of the theory portion of the program, students will undertake a Shipbuilding Internship for the practical portion. The internship involves 12 weeks full-time work, with a focus on either Design or Production. The internship will be a paid position with a sponsoring company or agency.

It is expected that the new courses will be approved and ready for registration this July, and student applications are already being accepted for the September 2013 cohort. For more information, please visit:

Photo above: The NAME Program Advisory Council

UBC Members

  • Sheldon Green — Committee Chair; Head, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering; Head, Mechanical Engineering
  • Michael Isaacson — Director, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
  • Jon Mikkelsen — Associate Director, Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering
  • Warren Poole — Head, Materials Engineering
  • Reza Vaziri — Head, Civil Engineering

External Members

  • Robert Allan — Chairman, Robert Allan Limited
  • Iain Braidwood — Manager, New Build and Projects, Teekay Shipping, Vancouver
  • Richard W. Greenwood — Rear Admiral, Royal Canadian Navy (Ret’d)
  • Dan McGreer — Principal Engineer, STX Canada Marine Inc.,
  • John Shaw — Vice President, Government Relations & Business Development, Seaspan Marine
  • Don Smith — Captain, Commanding Officer, Fleet Maintenance Facility CAPE BRETON, Royal Canadian Navy
  • Ben Thompson — Marine Business Development Manager, Lloyd’s Register North America