BS in Marine Engineering in the Philippines

The Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering is a 4 year degree program that centers on the construction, operation, and maintenance of different kinds of marine vessels such as cargo ships, cruise ships, fishing boats, battleships and submarines.

This program aims to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will enable them to operate and maintain the different machineries installed in marine vessels, including the propulsion plant, adjunct and auxiliary machinery, electrical and refrigeration systems.

Some of the subjects included in this program are:
  • Engine Watchkeeping
  • Ship Construction and Ship Stability
  • Mechanics and Hydrinechanics
  • Marine Power Plant
  • Fuel Oils and Lubricants
  • Ship and Ships Routine
  • Auxiliary Machinery
  • Machine Shop
  • Heat Balance
  • Engineering Physics
  • Electro Technology
  • Analytic Geometry with Solid Geometry
  • Spherical Trigonometry
  • Plane Trigonometry
  • Integral Calculus
  • College Algebra
  • General Chemistry
  • Basic Safety
  • Marine Pollution and Prevention

The Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering is taught through classroom-based frontal instructions as well as hands-on trainings usually conducted in special laboratories and a one year apprenticeship aboard a ship.

Is Marine Engineering a profession?

Marine Engineering is a profession. A graduate of BS in Marine Engineering needs to pass the Licensure Examinations for Officer-in-Charge of an Engineering Watch, Second Engineer or Chief Engineer before practicing as a marine engineer. In general, a Marine Engineers job includes the maintenance, operation and installation of different machineries and systems in the vessel, as well as the development and construction of marine vessels.

What are the admission requirements for BSME?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers admission.
  • Must pass the college entrance examination
  • Must pass the qualifying test implemented by the Engineering Department of the school
  • Must pass the interview conducted by the college/university admission officer
  • Medical laboratory results and health certificate
  • Good Moral certificate from the previous school (sometimes from enrollees Barangay)
  • Some schools require a particular rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT)
  • Some schools require a particular grade in Math and Science

What skills will help you succeed in this course?

  • Mathematical Skills – you need to have advanced computational skills and be equipped with a strong foundation of mathematical concepts in order for you to solve problems
  • Analytical Skills – the ability to identify the kinds of data that are actually important and figure out how to solve problems
  • Critical Thinking – the ability to think logically and make use of reasoning in evaluating the different solutions or approaches to a problem
  • Technical Skills – the ability to perform various tasks related to engineering, mathematics, science, and technology. Moreover, this can also refer to the ability to operate various equipments and software.
  • Mechanical Skills – this skill is important because this field involves the development, construction, operation, and maintenance of different machineries and mechanical systems used in a marine vessel.
  • Endurance – this refers to the ability to withstand difficult situations, hardships, or stress. This skill is important because working as a marine engineer involves difficult tasks and entails being away from your family for long periods of time.
  • Creativity – the ability to come up with unique concepts and designs for marine vessels as well as their component parts. This skill is also needed in creating the models and prototypes of the conceptualized designs that are usually presented in class.
  • Interpersonal Skills – the ability to communicate and interact harmoniously with other people will definitely help you work on group projects and activities with your classmates.
  • English Skills – the ability to read, write, and communicate well in English is necessary because most of the technical literature and required reading materials are in this language.

How difficult is this course?

Just like other Engineering courses, BS in Marine Engineering is a difficult course. It involves a lot of technical, scientific, and mathematical concepts. Moreover, this degree program entails advanced mathematical computations, analyses, as well as abstract and logical reasoning.

How long does it take to complete BS in Marine Engineering in the Philippines?

Normally, the BSME program takes 4 years to complete. However, some schools which apply the trimestral school calendar system do the program for a shorter period of time.

The internship for BS in Marine Engineering takes a whole year to complete, so basically, this course involves three years of basic studies and one year of apprenticeship period.

Apprenticeship Period

The apprenticeship period involves a 1-year internship aboard a ship in order to expose students to the practical applications of the concepts they learned in the classroom and laboratory activities. Some schools help the students find companies or organizations where they could work as an apprentice, while some give their students the freedom to find on their own. Moreover, some companies provide an allowance during this period, while others do not.

The Board Exams

Before taking any of the relevant licensure examinations, graduates of BSME must have a work experience aboard an actual ship, and the minimum length of service depends upon the requirements of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

The licensure examinations are conducted two or three times per year by the Board for Marine Deck and Marine Engine Officers under the supervision of the PRC.

  • Officer-in-Charge of an Engineering Watch Licensure Examination

    Passing this exam allows you to work as an OIC of an Engineering Watch.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • Original and Photocopy of Engine Room Simulator Certificate (ERS) & Practical Assessment Certificate
    • Training Record Book
    • An approved Sea going Service as Apprentice Engineer/Engine Cadet/Engine Boy/Oiler/Wiper/Motorman for 12 months on board sea going ship of 750 kilowatts or more, and twenty four (24) months sea-service for those graduates of AME, CME and SME.
    • Certification of Sea Service
    • Seamans Identification Record Book
  • Second Marine Engineer Officers Licensure Exam

    Passing this exam allows you to work as a Second Marine Engineer.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • Original and Photocopy of Engine Room Simulator Certificate (ERS) & Practical Assessment Certificate
    • Original and photocopy of Unexpired Certificate of Competency and Endorsement
    • An approved sea going service of 24 months. Combination of Sea Service as Fourth Engineer/Third Assistant Engineer and Third Engineer/Second Assistant Engineer. (Applicants with promotion on board must present Wages Account, Payslip, or Crewlist on Board as proof of promotion).
    • Certificate of Sea Service
    • Company Certification
    • Seamans Identification Record Book
  • Chief Marine Engineer Officers Licensure Exam

    Passing this exam allows you to work as a Chief Marine Engineer.

    Requirements for taking this exam:
    • Original and Photocopy of Engine Room Simulator Certificate (ERS) & Practical Assessment Certificate
    • Original and photocopy of Unexpired Certificate of Competency and Endorsement.
    • One year accumulated approved seagoing service as Second Engineer Officer. To submit the following proof: a) With sea service as Second Engineer for at least 12 months on board sea-going ship of 750 kilowatts or more.
    • Original and photocopy of Certification of Sea Service
    • Original and photocopy of Seamans Identification Record Book

Career opportunities for BSME graduates

  • Jobs for licensed marine engineers (board exam passers)

    • OIC of an Engineering Watch – this job entails working as an engine room personnel, maintaining a safe and economical sailing, supervising maintenance and repair work by subordinates, ordering of spare parts, as well as other tasks assigned by the Chief Engineer.
    • Second Marine Engineer – this job involves updating documentations (e.g., Machinery Maintenance Record Book; Engine Room Log Book; Lube Oil and Chemical Inventory), engine room management, and machinery maintenance (e.g., major repair works; round checks; emergency repairs).
    • Chief Marine Engineer – this involves acting as the head of the marine engineers in a ship and working closely with the captain. A Chief Marine Engineer is in charge of delegating tasks to its team to ensure the maintenance of the Engine Room, Oil and Chemical Inventory, as well as the inventory for spare parts.
    • Naval Engineering Officer – this job involves the development, operation, and maintenance of Philippine Navy ships and other marine vessels.
    • Coast Guard Engineering Officer – this job entails ensuring that the marine vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard are working efficiently and are properly maintained.
  • Jobs for those who have not yet passed a board exam

    • Engineering Cadet – this job involves assisting in the engineering operations of the ship including the operation and maintenance of machineries. The engineering cadet usually reports to the second engineer.
    • Apprentice Engineer – this job involves aiding the licensed engineers with the different operations including the repair of the marine vessels and equipments, as well as the maintenance of the engine room.
    • Engine Cadet – this is one of the most junior personnel in the Engineering department of the ship. This job involves taking orders from higher engine officers and assisting the engine officers in the different tasks related to the engine room and other machineries.
    • Engine Boy – this job entails being familiar with the different components of the machineries. An engine boy must know how to operate these machines, conduct repairs, and maintain the machines to ensure that they are working efficiently.
    • Oiler – an oilers main duty is to oil or provide lubrication to the machineries in the marine vessel, so they will work smoothly. Aside from that, they also operate and maintain the propulsion system in the vessel.
    • Wiper – also called the cleaner, a wipers job is to clean engine spaces as well as machineries, and assist the engineers or other higher officers as directed.
    • Motorman – the motormans job involves making sure that the all the motors and overall machinery in the vessel are always working properly. Their job does not only involve ensuring that the machines and motors are properly maintained, but instead, they must also provide assistance to other crew members and officers.
    • Procurement Engineer – this job entails the review of the quality and costs of marine equipments, as well as the schedule of deliveries of these purchases.
  • Career Opportunities Abroad

    There are job opportunities abroad for Filipino Marine Engineers in countries such as Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United States, Germany,Singapore and Kuwait. (source)

Reviews of BS in Marine Engineering graduates:

C. N.
Studied BS in Marine Engineering
at John B. Lacson Colleges Foundation - Bacolod , Bacolod City
Graduated: 2008

Why did I choose this course:
Since it is in line with my field of interest and it is a bonus that I could earn a greener pasture and I will be able to travel around the world for free.

About my college education:
I was able to learn the background of engines as well as their parts and functions. I have also developed skills in using the welding machines, lathe machines, and milling machines. We were also trained to use manual working tools.we were also taught on troubleshooting of machinery.

The subject that I found difficult was Machine Shop and Naval Architecture. The most useful thing that I have learned are the skills like welding and lathe machining. Passing the exam was a bit difficult since there are parts of the exam that I was not able to learn from school or some I have already forgotten.

If you want to be successful in this course you have to develop stability under pressure and critical thinking.

My current job:
I am a marine engineer, specifically a 3rd engineer on-board.
I am in charge of maintenance work for the machinery on board the vessel. And I am part of the team who is in charge of safe and efficient operation of the engine and machinery on board.

Am I using what I learned in college:
Troubleshooting and work shop skills are the things that I have learned from school that I have applied to my job on-board.

How long did it take to find a job after graduation:
Since I was part of the scholarship program, even before graduation I already had my company, and 6 months after graduation, after I completed my documents, I was able to go on board.

Do I recommend studying BS in Marine Engineering:
With regards to employment opportunities, as of now that the world of shipping is greatly affected by the global economic downfall, so I would not recommend taking up this course, since job opportunities is a bit low compared to the number of graduates.

For first timers on international sailing vessels, salary ranges from 450 to 1,000 usd per month. And for the rest, it depends on the position on board - the higher the position the higher the salary.

Advice to people who are thinking of studying this course:
If you want to study this course you to start developing your critical thinking skills and prepare yourself in doing heavy jobs. As much as possible you should also try to develop your skill in using handheld tools. And most importantly assess yourself whether you can handle pressure and you can live far from people who are important to you.
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