Texas A&M University Establishes Ocean Engineering Department, Merges College Station And Galveston Programs

engineering logoThe College of Engineering at Texas A&M University has announced the establishment of the Department of Ocean Engineering, a department that combines two existing programs within Texas A&M University — one on the campus in College Station, Texas, and one on the marine-oriented campus in Galveston, Texas.

The merger brings together the world-class infrastructure of one of the largest engineering campuses, College Station, and the strategic location on Pelican Island and unique resources at Galveston.

Texas A&M’s College Station campus has offered undergraduate ocean engineering degrees since 1972 through the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, and is one of only a few universities in the United States that offers degrees in ocean engineering. It is a top-ranked and ABET-accredited degree program.  The Texas A&M Galveston campus has been graduating students in maritime systems engineering for more than 40 years and its offshore and coastal engineering systems program is also an ABET-accredited program.

The new department will offer Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Master of Engineering degrees as well as a Ph.D. in philosophy/engineering.

Banks
Dr. M. Katherine Banks
Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering
Director, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station

“Ocean and coastal engineering issues greatly impact our economy, environment and national safety and security,” said M. Katherine Banks, vice chancellor and dean of engineering. “We are uniquely configured to build a comprehensive program that leverages our strength in the field at Texas A&M’s College Station campus with our marine campus in Galveston to address global challenges related to our oceans and engineering.”

“Texas A&M Galveston is proud to be involved in this merger,” said RADM Robert Smith III (Ret. Navy), Texas A&M at Galveston. “The Houston/Galveston region is a logical and strategically significant location for this program. The campus’ proximity to Galveston Bay, the Ports of Houston, Galveston, Texas City and Freeport along with the largest petrochemical industry in the U.S. provides an ideal learning environment for ocean engineering students.”

Dr. Sharath Girimaji, professor and holder of the General Dynamics Chair in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, has been appointed interim head of the new department.

“This department is important because the field of ocean engineering is being rejuvenated with new areas of interest in off-shore/deep-water technology, renewable energy, air-sea interaction engineering, coastal and ocean environmental protection and preservation,” said Girimaji. “These new challenges call for creative solutions in classroom engineering instruction and fundamental research, and we look forward to providing our students with these opportunities.”

The department has access to several world-class technology centers at Texas A&M, College Station including the Aerospace Technology, Research & Operations Center; the Geochemical and Environmental Research Group; the Center for Autonomous Vehicles and Sensor Systems; and the Center for Geospatial Sciences, Application and Technology.

Additionally, the Texas A&M at Galveston campus will offer direct access to unique field-testing facilities such as a geotechnical lab, naval architecture lab, fluid mechanics lab, materials lab and wave lab, as well as access to the Gulf of Mexico through the use of its fleet of educational and research vessels.

“This program offers a unique opportunity for students to learn and conduct research in the areas of ocean and costal engineering at both campuses,” said Dr. Patrick Louchouarn, executive associate vice president for academic affairs at the Galveston Campus and associate provost at Texas A&M University. “Through this unique program, students will be engaged in the large-school spirit and abundant education and student life options that the main campus has to offer, while still taking advantage of the smaller classes, one-on-one educational experiences with professors, and coastal location of the Galveston Campus. We look forward to working with our colleagues at the College Station campus to provide an even greater experience for our students.”

Students interested in ocean engineering on either campus will be accepted to the new department beginning in spring 2016. New students interested in ocean engineering will have the option of either campus beginning in fall 2016.