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Project Based Coursework In A Naval Architecture Curriculum

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Projects in Ocean and Marine Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.948.1 - 8.948.8



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Paper Authors

author page

Paul Miller

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1478

Project-Based Coursework in a Naval Architecture Curriculum

Paul H. Miller United States Naval Academy Annapolis MD 21402


Studies have shown the benefits of incorporating design projects into engineering courses. These projects allow the students to directly apply the course topics in “hands-on” applications, while also providing the students opportunities to develop group project skills. In the small field of naval architecture little has been written of these projects. This paper presents the details of five courses using this approach in the Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department (NAOE) at the United States Naval Academy (USNA). The first course is the major’s introductory course for sophomores where after seven weeks each student submits the specification, calculations, lines plan and construction drawings for a towing tank model. These plans are then turned over to another student to build and test. The second course is a junior-level structures course focusing on ship structures. The students design a full midship section. The final three courses are at the senior-level and include an elective in marine fabrication methods and two capstone design courses. In the fabrication course small student groups design, build, perform QA/QC tests and proof-test a series of components in metal, reinforced concrete and composites. This course focuses on the benefits of design-for-manufacturability and instills this approach through the actual time it takes the students to design, build and document their group projects. The capstone courses include a fall semester class that has each student prepare the preliminary design of a specific small vessel. During the spring semester student groups prepare preliminary designs of a vessel of their choice. It is the department’s hope that these project- based courses provide the students with a better understanding of the complete ship design process. Positive feedback on student evaluation forms indicate the students enjoy the approach and alumni comments indicate they feel the approach is worthwhile.


The USNA was established in 1845 and is the premier institution staffing the officer corps of the Navy and Marine Corps. Its mission is “to develop midshipmen morally, mentally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor and loyalty in order to provide graduates who are dedicated to a career of naval service and have potential for future development in mind and character to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government”. The Academy provides the 4100 midshipmen the opportunity to pursue studies in engineering, science or humanities. Due to a large focus in math and science in the required courses, all students receive a Bachelors of Science Degree. The ABET-accredited Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Miller, P. (2003, June), Project Based Coursework In A Naval Architecture Curriculum Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11672

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