The Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Course

The graduate course in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering started at Instituto Superior Técnico in 1980/81, as a natural evolution of the specialization courses that had been taking place between 1970 and 1980, under the control of the Rectorate of the Technical University of Lisbon (to which IST belongs), and at that time already designated as Shipbuilding Engineering.

The start of the above-mentioned specialization courses coincided with the initial operation phase of Setenave, which then needed a large number of Naval Architects for its normal operation. This was the determining factor for several national shipyards to lend their support to start the courses. The Navy also gave an important contribution to this initiative, with some of their Naval Architects giving lectures of their specialised fields.

In 1980/81 started at IST the Engineering degree (Licenciatura) in Shipbuilding Engineering, with a 5-years duration, that replaced the specialization courses, suspended in the meanwhile.

In 1988/89 decisive steps were taken towards an increased scope of the degree, which led to a curricular restructuring, including a larger number of courses focusing on design, which essential in any engineering field. This restructuring not only widened the scope of the graduate degree, but also changed its designation from Shipbuilding Engineering to Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (Engenharia Naval).

In 1991, the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Autonomous Section (SAEN) was created, the academic unit at IST responsible for de graduate degree course in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in Portugal. At IST, the designation Autonomous Section is given to an academic unit that functions as a Department but the different name reflects the situation of a smaller number of full time academic staff.

In 1999/2000, a new plan of studies was introduced that promoted an adaptation of the course to market trends. With this in mind, three specialization fields, or profiles, were created, namely: Ship Design and Shipbuilding, Machinery and Maritime Systems, and Maritime Transportation and Ports, sectors where naval architects with specialized capabilities are needed and which could be provided by this degree course. Due to a limitation in the number of the academic staff and students, the field of Machinery and Maritime Systems was never offered.

Following this change, the name of the graduate degree course changed to Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, reflecting the importance of Naval Architecture in this degree, given that it is the main scientific area of the course.

In 2006, as a consequence of the implementation of the Bologna Agreement, two cycles of studies were created, the first corresponding to the Undergraduate Degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, with a duration of 3 years, and the second corresponding to a Master degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, with a duration of 2 years.

In 2017, in response to the market needs, namely related to the exploitation of sea energy resources, a new profile was created related to the Ocean Systems and simultaneously the name of the course was adjusted to Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering in the three cycles of study.