How do the Licensed Marine Engineering Majors Work?

Mar 27, 2020
I've seen this topic brought up a few times, but I need some clarification and advice. Probably in stupid question territory, but insight is needed.

How do the Marine Engineering Systems and Marine Engineering/Shipyard Management majors compare? I've looked online at the curriculum, and they seem very similar to someone who is not an engineer.
Both seem to allow for Professional Engineering licensing. Are they equal in terms of licensing? Would they both be allowed to be PE licensed engineers in the same field? I'm guessing the field would be Marine Engineering?
I've heard that the MES major is much harder. Why is this the case? I've also heard that the Capstone Project is almost impossible/ridiculously hard. Anyone know why? Both of these majors seem so similar, yet I've seen where MES is significantly much harder. Is MES better for engineering grad school? If not, then these majors seem so similar, it seems that the majoring in Marine Engineering/Shipyard Management would allow for the same opportunities as MES after graduating KP, but with a more manageable challenge while at KP. I think I've even seen where people talked about that Marine Engineering/Shipyard Management is one of the easier majors in general.
How true is this? Anybody here have experience with taking the FE exam or PE exam and getting jobs with them after graduation? Do both majors allow for a solid "hands on" engineering experience combined with academic work?
While you wait for a reply from the experts, I will answer what I can. Both these majors are treated the same in terms of your Coast Guard licensing and both allow for PE licensing.

There are no easy majors at Kings Point. All five will challenge you in different ways, so pick the one that interests you the most and more closely aligns with your future plans/goals. You will have plenty of job offers with either degree.

The important thing is that you decide between engine and deck as it is really not possible to change back and forth between the two. During your first trimester, you will have an Introduction to Marine Engineering class where you will learn more about the engineering majors and can ask specific questions. All Plebes take the same classes first trimester (with different math and English placements), and you do not have to decide on a major until after that.

Regarding hands on experience, you will have a ton, both at school and at sea, with ALL of the five majors. I would honestly be able to make the case that Kings Point offers the best experiential education experience of any college in the country.

Good luck with your decisions.
All engineering majors are licensed marine engineers upon graduation.

As far as pursuing the PE licensure is concerned, I would start at the NCEES webpage. It will give you the topics covered on the various flavors of the FE exam. You can decide which one you want to pursue and make the appropriate major choice based on which exam you plan to take. You can take the FE without an ABET accredited degree, but it may require some additional work experience after graduation.

Systems is definitely harder. I don’t know the attrition rate, but I saw plenty of people drop back to straight engine. This is all anecdotal but what I recall is that it was primarily the extra math class and a class then called Machine Design which got everyone who dropped back prior to the Capstone project. The professor who taught Machine Design is no longer there and I don’t know if that makes a difference.

My advice to anyone pre-college who is looking at any particular career path is to ensure you understand what a particular career actually does vs. pursuing a credential. You may be enamored with being a PE, but only knowing what you will actually do as a PE will make the journey worth it and give you the insight on which flavor of licensure to pursue.