Online master's degree while sailing - doable?

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by nhpdad, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. nhpdad

    nhpdad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ds is in his third year at KP and is a marine engineering major. He's talking about pursuing a master's degree in engineering assuming, God willing, he graduates. He mentioned civil engineeering, maybe mechanical - he really doesn't know at this point. He plans on sailing upon graduation (again, God willing).

    Has anyone had any experience, or know of someone, getting a master's while they're sailing. Is it doable? I'm thinking with the advent of online programs, maybe it can be done.

    Does anyone have any thoughts about the online programs out there?

    Thanks.
     
  2. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,083
    Likes Received:
    2,435
    While I have never been a Merchant Mariner, I have done two online degrees, one that was for Systems Engineering. I did my first masters while mostly deployed. It was hard to fit it all in, but I made it work. My second masters was for systems engineering and it was a split online with in person seminars. Recommendation is to get to sea first, understand his job there. Once he gets some time under his belt and understands what his schedules are like in the coming years, then sign up. Start out slow with one class and see how it goes. Communication with professors was key. I was sometimes out and away from bases for days, my professors were great giving me a few extra days if needed due to missions.
     
  3. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    443
    Your DS should also research into if an online masters degree will help him in whatever field he wants to pursue. Not all degrees are treated equal.
     
  4. Privateer

    Privateer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    2
    Where theres a will there (might) be a way.

    I'm long, long out of the industry (as in decades) but even 25 years ago, a 1st a/e on a ship i was on did a lot of coursework while in the anchorage in Diego Garcia. It might've even been Univ of Maryland or another state school. I think it was called "distance learning" or "extension", but in any event it was some sort of forerunner of todays online study.

    Now take that for what its worth, a quarter century ago and the peculiar status of of being on the hook in a lagoon 25 days of every month. But I would think that with the explosion of on-line learning,technology and the impending breakup of the higher ed cartel, it should only be much more doable in general. On the other hand a masters in Engineering is a lot different than a Psych degree.

    Good luck to him though.
     
  5. Ashore

    Ashore Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2011
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    0
    To confirm the University of Maryland has an enormous distance learning program in many areas. The also have satellite campuses. Also note that the USMMA has an on line Masters program in Engineering.

    In my opinion in most cases a graduate in any discipline should spend some time working (at least a couple of years) before starting a Master's program. During that period he or she can assess their desire for, and potential benefit of, further education e.g. Engineering, Management, Law, etc.
     
  6. nucwarrant

    nucwarrant Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    KP's masters in marine engineering should be accessible even if he's sailing so long as there's internet access. I had a couple of guys in my classes who were assigned to ships.
     
  7. nhpdad

    nhpdad Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you all for the great advice. So it definitely looks "doable" . And I appreciate that he should wait a year or so to confirm what direction he may want to go in.

    Another question (and maybe I should start another thread) is what kind of engineering experience would he get if he went Navy or Coast Guard out of KP? I asked him if he's considered it and he tells me he probably wouldn't be in the engine room and that he wouldn't be utilizing his engineering training.
    Does that sound right?
     
  8. KPEngineer

    KPEngineer Eternal Father ...

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    834
    Likes Received:
    156
    That sounds very right. It is possible that he may be assigned to the engine department, but I wouldn't consider it likely. Ever since they started sending new Ensigns directly to the fleet instead of SWOS, there has been a glut of new Ensigns on Navy ships. I have heard that many were basically just given a lot of collateral duties to keep them busy and they had no real job other than training.

    I would encourage anyone to think long term when choosing that first job out of school. Even if he's plans on getting out of the Navy at the first opportunity I wouldn't let the first assignment affect my choice to join/not join. There is still a lot one can learn on a Navy ship. It will only take him about six months to be on an even keel with his deckie classmates and he can end up with a deck license too.
     
  9. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,083
    Likes Received:
    2,435
    Sounds very right. Regardless of major, a new Ensign can be assigned to any Junior Officer job on a ship. And yes, most ships have more Ensigns then they really need, but its a great chance to learn the ship and earn your SWO qualification and all the other quals needed to get that SWO pin. Now if he goes SWO, he can try to get SWO with EDO option. This would allow him to earn his SWO pin then move on to engineering/acquisition type billets. These vary depending on where they are assigned, but mostly its a career working in testing, development, acquisition, etc. They won't be doing the big design and engineering work, they will mostly be leading teams that are reviewing, testing, moving through the fielding process from items being developed by defense companies. If SWO is something he is pursing highly recommend he talk with SWO officers along the way to really understand what each type of community is like; Cruisers, Destroyers, Amphibs, Frigates, etc. Each of these communities have very different personalities. One will fit better than another. SWO might not be the "coolest" job but its the heart and soul of the Navy and if you love the sea its a great option. Also, no other job has you headed straight to the fleet 30 days after graduation!
     
  10. Privateer

    Privateer Member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    2
    Based on what you describe as his interests, the Navy CEC (Civil Engineering Corps) may be something he wants to look into if he goes active duty. It may be quite competitive; I understand they can be coveted slots. Someone else on here may know more and can probably provide the straight scoop.

    My contact with CEC has been has been with post-Navy separated/retired people on their private sector second careers. They have a very strong network all around the country in senior and executive management of physical plants in higher ed and other sectors as well. A lot have gotten their masters, and pretty much all of them their PE's, as the Navy makes it possible for them. Coming out of the CEC with a PE after 6-25 years is a great ticket to have in the outside world.
     

Share This Page