This paper describes the development, implementation, review, evaluation, and results of a baccalaureate-degree curricul11lll in engineering developed especially to prepare graduates for careers in the shipbuilding and related industries.

The Marine Engineering Technology curriculum offered at the junior-senior level emphasizes naval architecture, marine engineering, shipyard operations, shipbuilding technology, and necessary supporting courses.

The paper reviews the acceptance of graduates as well as the role of the shipbuilding industry in the development, support, and review of the curriculum.


This report describes a unique baccalaureate-degree program designed to prepare graduates for a career in the shipbuilding industry. The program came into being because three elements came together at the same time in the same place. These elements were:

  1. the need of an expanding shipbuilding industry for a type of personnel not being produced by any then-existing educational program,

  2. the creation of programs in engineering technology by the Legislature at the State of Mississippi, and

  3. the creation of the Sea Grant Program by the Federal Congress. They came together in south Mississippi, reaching a "critical mass" in 1968 even though each element had received its own emphasis at a different point in time.

The need of the shipbuilding industry for a larger number of men especially educated to provide technical and management leadership in the economical construction of ships had been heralded by the new Merchant Marine Law in 1970, which was to provide increased funding for merchant ships built in American yards. About the same time, the United States Navy made the decision to build more ships on the basis of single-source procurement. These decisions were bringing home to shipyards the fact that traditional shipbuilding methods would have to be replaced by faster and more economical methods. Two shipyards on the Central Gulf Coast were among the first to develop new shipbuilding systems, Avondale Shipyards, Inc., in New Orleans, La., and the "Shipyard of the Future" built by Litton in Pascagoula, Miss. The need for a new type of personnel thus became evident in south Mississippi.

The Gulf Coast Technical Institute (forerunner of the Institute of Engineering Technology), a division of the College of Engineering at Mississippi State U., had been in operation in Gulfport, Miss" since the fall of 1965. The Institute had been created in response to a 1964 law passed by the Mississippi Legislature to offer baccalaureate degree curriculums with an emphasis on the application of engineering principles. The Gulf Coast Technical Institute (GCTI) opened in Gulfport, Miss., in Sept. 1965.

During 1968, the Sea Grant Office of the National Science Foundation [now a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the Dept. of Commerce] was making its first grants in response to implementation of Public Law 89-688 of Oct. 15, 1966. This law envisioned the development of marine and ocean resources by a system of federal encouragement comparable to the Land Grant (Morrill) Act of almost 100 years earlier.

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