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Comment: educating the naval architects of the future

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On why the world needs more naval architects — and the global opportunities the profession offers.

Associate Professor Michael Woodward; Director, National Centre for Maritime Engineering Hydrodynamics

Naval architects are professional engineers who design cutting-edge ships and address problems for the benefit of society.

From the strive for the zero-emissions ship to the design of autonomous robot submarines that explore beneath polar ice-caps, naval architecture offers exciting challenges for anyone considering a career as a professional engineer.

Moreover, the world needs more engineers; internationally, there is a shortage of suitably educated engineers, and a qualified naval architect can contribute at a global level on a diverse variety of projects through their professional career.  

On a national level, many exciting opportunities exist, such as building high-speed catamarans and addressing the challenges of marine renewable energy. What’s more, the recently announced spend of close to $90bn in the Australian maritime defence sector will ensure life-long careers for many graduate naval architects.  

There’s currently much publicity around the need for more skilled tradespeople to facilitate the building of the ships and submarines. But more professional naval architects are vital for the success of shipbuilding programs, because over half the personnel hours that go in to a new vessel are spent on its design and facilitating its production.

Associate Professor Michael WoodwardThe Australian Maritime College, a specialist institute of the University of Tasmania, is proud to provide the industry with naval architects educated to the highest standards.

Our programs, accredited by Engineers Australia, are recognised around the world. We offer naval architecture degrees based entirely in Tasmania, as well as programs in conjunction with Flinders University in South Australia and Edith Cowan University in West Australia.  


With the recent announcement that the University of New South Wales will suspend its naval architecture programs, the Australian Maritime College, together with it partners, are once again the sole educators of professional naval architects in Australia.

This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly. We step forward with the confidence that we will provide the industry with naval architects with excellent credentials. For our current and future students, we are proud to offer the opportunity of a rich and successful career in an exciting and challenging professional industry sector.

Published on: 31 May 2017