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Last updated 6/28/99



School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology
Ocean and Resources Engineering

Holmes 402
2540 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7572
Fax: (808) 956-3498

*A. Malahoff, PhD (Chair)-ocean resources engineering, ship submersible-ROV integration
*K. F. Cheung, PhD-coastal and offshore engineering, hydrodynamics, computational methods, water wave mechanics
*R. C. Ertekin, PhD-naval architecture, offshore engineering, hydrodynamics, computational methods
*H. J. Krock, PhD-environmental engineering, mixing an transport, water quality, ocean thermal energy conversion, hydrogen
*J. C. Radway, PhD-marine resources, photobioreactors and bioremediation 
*L. H. Seidl, PhD-offshore engineering, naval architecture, SWATH ships, mooring systems and ship hydrodynamics

Cooperating Graduate Faculty
J. M. Becker, PhD-nonlinear hydrodynamic stability, general ocean circulation
K. A. W. Crook, PhD-sedimentology, tectonics, geoscience policy
B. D. Greeson, PhD-offshore engineering
R. H. Knapp, PhD-structural engineering
S. H. Masutani, PhD-ocean resources engineering
M. A. Merrifield, PhD-coastal and near-shore processes, internal waves and mixing, oceanography
H. R. Riggs, PhD-structural engineering
J. R. Smith, PhD-marine survey
J. C. Wiltshire, PhD-marine minerals

Affiliate Graduate Faculty
G. Nihous, PhD-ocean resources engineering
E. Noda, PhD-coastal and ocean engineering
D. Rezachek, PhD-ocean energy and engineering design
J. van Ryzin, PhD-mechanical and ocean engineering
D. Vithanage, PhD-coastal engineering, nearshore circulation

*Graduate Faculty

Degrees Offered: MS in ocean and resources engineering, PhD in ocean and resources engineering

The Academic Program

Ocean and resources engineering (ORE) is the application of ocean science and engineering design to the challenging conditions found in the ocean environment. Wave and current motion and forces, high pressure, and temperature variations, as well as chemical and biological effects, are among the considerations that set ocean and resources engineering apart from conventional land-based engineering. Ocean and resources engineering in the tropical, mid-ocean location of Hawai'i has the advantage of year-round access to explore research subjects related to oceanic island coastal processes, ocean energy development, deep-ocean mining, ocean instrumentation, ocean transportation, large floating platforms, and marine bioproducts.

Ocean and resources engineering, as an integral part of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, allows the complete coverage of questions involving ocean processes. Not only can the problem be defined scientifically, but engineering solutions can be devised.

Career opportunities for graduates in ocean and resources engineering exist in various areas. Depending on the student's individual interest, employment may be sought with industry, government, or universities. Government positions are usually with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Naval Facilities Command, or with state, city, or county public works departments. Jobs in private industry are with large oil companies, shipyards, consulting and contracting firms, environmental services firms or laboratories, offshore mining companies, large systems design companies and bioproducts firms. Graduates with the PhD degree in ocean and resources engineering have found jobs in research-oriented positions in higher education, government, and the private sector.


The master's program in ocean and resources engineering is accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). Although the PhD degree is not specifically accredited (ABET only accredits the first degree), the ABET evaluation covers the PhD program.

Preliminary Conference

Upon entering the ocean and resources engineering program, students are assigned a faculty adviser generally according to the option or area of interest selected by the student. Initial conference participants review the academic background of the student and advise the student on which courses are required and what, if any, deficiencies must be made up.

Graduate Study

The graduate program in ocean and resources engineering is intended to channel the student's previous engineering or scientific experience to ocean-related work. Students may pursue their studies in coastal engineering, offshore engineering, or ocean-resources engineering. 

Departmental interests in the coastal area include design of coastal and harbor structures, beach and surf parameters, near-shore and estuary hydrodynamics, hydraulic and numerical modeling, and tsunami wave studies. 

In the offshore engineering area, analysis and design of fixed and floating structures, submersible and semi-submersible platforms, offshore ports, mooring systems, ship and platform motions in waves, and stability in waves are addressed. 

In the ocean-resources engineering area, ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC), ocean mining, wave energy extraction, ocean living resources, waste disposal in the ocean, marine bioproducts and environmental response are addressed.

Master's Degree

The MS program in ocean and resources engineering is aimed at training professional engineers.

Admission Requirements

An intended candidate for the master's program is expected to have a bachelor's degree in engineering, applied mathematics, physics, or applied sciences.

In order to satisfy ABET requirements, candidates with degrees other than in engineering will be required to make up deficiencies in engineering. All students must satisfy minimum undergraduate engineering requirements, consisting of 16 credit hours in natural sciences, 16 credit hours in mathematics, 32 credit hours in engineering science, and 16 credit hours in engineering design. Official scores in the GRE General Test must be submitted. 

Generally the student's first semester is devoted to basic courses in the field of ocean and resources engineering; then, the student specializes in coastal, offshore, or ocean-resources engineering.

Degree Requirements

The MS degree in ocean and resources engineering may be earned under either Plan A (thesis) or Plan B (non-thesis).

Both degree plans require a balance between engineering science and advanced design. At least 24 credit hours must be earned in advanced courses numbered 600 and above. No more than 5 credit hours of 400-level courses can be counted toward the MS degree requirements.

Ten credits of core courses are required of all students in ocean and resources engineering, and a minimum of 12 credit hours must come from the list of courses identified as basic courses for the option area chosen by the student. As part of the course work requirements, the students must be competent in at least one scientific programming language.

One credit of seminar is required. Students may attend 15 seminars of their choice in ocean-engineering-related areas. They register before the semester in which they plan to fulfill this requirement. The remaining credits are to be chosen so as to form a coherent plan of study.

During the first semester of full-time enrollment, the student must take an examination (general exam) to qualify for admission to candidacy. During the last semester of residence, an oral examination (final exam) is given. This consists of a presentation of the thesis or Plan B paper and provides the faculty with an opportunity to test the student's understanding of the chosen field and ability to integrate theory and design at the master's level. The general and final examinations may be repeated once. The general exam must be taken earlier than the semester in which the final exam is taken.

Plan A (Thesis) Requirements

The thesis option requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, including 6 credit hours of thesis and a minimum of 24 credit hours of course work, including at least 3 credit hours of advanced design or engineering science. No more than 2 credit hours of directed reading (699) may be used to fulfill the minimum requirements. The thesis can be scientifically and/or technologically oriented and requires independent work by the student. A verbal presentation and defense of the thesis are part of the final exam. The subject of the thesis must receive prior faculty approval.

Plan B (Non-thesis) Requirements

The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, including at least 12 credit hours of engineering science and 12 credit hours of advanced design. Students are required to write and submit a paper on a technical subject prepared under faculty guidance. An oral presentation of the paper is part of the final exam. The subject of the paper must receive prior faculty approval.

Doctoral Degree

A student pursuing the doctoral program is required to achieve a broad understanding of the principal areas of ocean and resources engineering, as well as a thorough understanding of a specific area. The student may give proof of mastering the subject matter in a selected area by passing a number of related courses offered in the department, as specified by the graduate faculty, or by examination of the material contained in these various courses.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the doctoral program should normally have an MS degree in engineering, applied mathematics, physics, or applied sciences. Exceptionally well-qualified students with a BS degree in these disciplines may petition to be admitted to the PhD program directly. Applicants must submit the GRE General Test score. Submission of the relevant subject test score is recommended.

All students must satisfy minimum undergraduate engineering requirements, consisting of 16 credit hours in natural sciences, 16 credit hours in mathematics, 32 credit hours in engineering science, and 16 credit hours in engineering design. The student must also satisfy the minimum course work requirements or equivalence of an MS degree in ocean and resources engineering, which consists of 10 credits of core courses and 12 credits of basic courses in the major area chosen by the student. As part of the course work requirements, the student must be competent in at least one scientific programming language.

All intended candidates for the PhD degree must take a qualifying examination. This examination is given during the student's first semester.


After being advanced to candidacy, all students must take a comprehensive examination, which will cover the student's general preparation in the area of specialty and pertinent minor fields. An approved minor subject with at least 9 credits must be completed prior to the comprehensive examination. The results of the examination will determine whether the candidate will be allowed to pursue the dissertation. 

The dissertation topic must be approved by the doctoral committee. After the dissertation is completed, it will be reviewed by the committee and a final oral examination will follow. The oral examination includes an oral presentation, announced University-wide, of the dissertation by the candidate.

The qualifying and comprehensive examinations may each be repeated only once. The final examination may not be repeated, except with approval of the graduate faculty involved and the dean of the Graduate Division.

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