Center for Ocean Engineering

Discover OE

Discover Ocean Engineering

Ocean Engineers develop the technology to explore most of the surface of our planet – the oceans. Through the Discover Ocean Engineering (DOE) program you will experience ocean engineering through hands-on activities and through meeting and talking to the faculty, students, and researchers who are leaders in this fascinating and dynamic field. You will also get a chance to explore and learn about MIT itself. The student experience at MIT can be an awesome challenge–DOE is a special freshman pre-orientation program designed to help you make a smooth and enjoyable transition to the exciting culture of MIT.

Here’s what some of our past students had to say about Discover Ocean Engineering:

“DOE is a really great hands-on experience.”
“Everyone going into engineering should go through this program.”
“It’s THE only way to begin MIT!”
“One of the best and most interesting experiences of my life.”


Check out these answers to frequently asked questions…send us an e-mail if you need more info!

Q: What is Ocean Engineering?

A: Ocean Engineering combines many disciplines of engineering and applies them to the ocean environment.

It is a combination of the classical engineering disciplines such as Civil, Mechanical and Electrical engineering. What separates Ocean engineers is the ability to solve complex issues including hydrodynamics, marine acoustics, offshore engineering, marine robotics and naval architecture.

Q: What is the difference between Ocean Engineering and Oceanography?

A: Ocean Engineering is an engineering field much like chemical engineering, mechanical engineering and electrical engineering; Oceanography is an earth science.

Ocean engineers solve problems and design for their environment either on the harsh ocean surface or at crushing depths. An ocean engineer might focus on ocean acoustics, wave hydrodynamics, off-shore structures, marine robotics and vortical flow amongst many other concerns. An ocean engineer is highly technical and skilled at designing for all projects that face complex ocean variables.

Oceanographers have a substantially different relationship with the ocean. Their goals include monitoring the inner workings of marine ecosystems, plate tectonics, ocean currents and geology of the sea floor.

The two disciplines work closely together to find answers to intricate ocean problems. For example, an ocean engineer might design an underwater vehicle capable of diving to extreme ocean depths. An oceanographer would use the same vehicle to capture samples of the marine biology living at these extreme depths. The two disciplines are known to have a symbiotic relationship. As ocean engineers develop technology capable of withstanding the atmospheric pressure of extreme depth, oceanographers can use this technology to survey ocean depths.

Q: Will I limit my career opportunities with an Ocean Engineering Degree?

A: Career opportunities as an Ocean Engineer are diverse and limitless.

Our graduates are heavily recruited to fill openings that only our OE graduates can fulfill. All Ocean Engineering students (2-OE) at MIT are required to complete the fundamentals of Mechanical Engineering. These courses include statistics, dynamics, strength of materials, materials science, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, along with applied engineering courses. With a foundation in Mechanical Engineering, students that pursue Ocean Engineering can apply their fundamentals to complex ocean courses taught by experts in the field of Ocean Engineering. Experts know that the design of a structure or vehicle to withstand the harsh environment of the ocean is more complex than a similar structure designed for land.  Are you ready for the challenge?

Most importantly,  if you have a passion for Ocean Engineering, you will learn more because the subject is so compelling. When you combine passion with a world class education….the combination is powerful!  So, if the ocean structures, underwater vehicles and the ”great unkown” interest you, then your destiny is solving the world’s most difficult problems. Ocean Engineering will be the challenge you have been waiting for!

Q: What are some specific career opportunities?

A: Our graduates find themselves at the cutting edge of Ocean Engineering research and exploration.

You may find yourself in the offshore oil industry, environmental protection, ocean monitoring, developing renewable energy, underwater vehicles, ocean mapping, designing structures, marine transportation, or designing ships! A very wide spectrum but this still does not even touch all of the opportunities that require graduates to have a degree in Ocean Engineering. Many of the companies that recruit students from MIT indicate that there are far too many vacancies. So, what are you waiting for? Start your career by studying Ocean Engineering at MIT.

Q: Why MIT?

A: Our goal is to produce graduates ready to tackle real world problems.

We have the faculty and facilities to make this a reality.  If you are interested, please stop by and take a tour.  Also, check out some of our alumni profiles.  This is just a small sampling of where you can go with an Ocean Engineering degree from MIT!!