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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Ocean Engineering student records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: AC-0396

Scope and Contents

The collection contains student records kept by the Department of Ocean Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from 1947-2005. Student records include admission forms and information, grade reports, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and correspondence about academic issues, including thesis topics.


  • Creation: 1947 - 2005


Conditions Governing Access

This collection requires permission for access. Records are restricted for 75 years from the date of creation. Contact Distinctive Collections for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical Note

The Department of Ocean Engineering was established as the Department of Naval Architecture in 1893 and designated as Course XIII. The course offered instruction in the theory and methods of designing and building ships. The first five degrees were awarded in 1895.

A course in marine engineering had been offered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as an option in the Mechanical Engineering course as early as 1886 and had been well received. Its popularity led the Institute’s president to recommend a complementary class in ship architecture in 1888. In 1889 naval constructor J. J. Woodward delivered the first lectures on naval architecture and the following year naval architecture was offered as a separate option in Mechanical Engineering. These options grew into Course XIII in 1893. Cecil Hobart Peabody (MIT class of 1877) was made full professor and put in charge of the department.

On January 6, 1910, the department name changed to the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering and offered instruction to students planning to be ship builders, designers, managers, and marine engine builders. A graduate course leading to an S.M. degree in aeronautical engineering was offered in the 1914-1915 academic year, and on December 10, 1913, the Laboratory of Aeronautics was established. In 1919 the aeronautics subjects were transferred to the physics department.

With the advent of World War I, it became evident that the United States had a dearth of ships to support its merchant marine and navy, and that there was a larger demand in 1917 for trained men than the department could produce. To help alleviate the manpower shortage, a ten-week special course in ship design was offered between April 23 and June 30, 1917. This course was designed for seniors in other engineering disciplines at the Institute. One-third of the graduates received commissions as ensigns in the navy; one-third served as civilian inspectors of navy yards; and one-third became naval draftsmen. A fifteen-week course and a ten-week course were offered the following year, in 1918, to fill vacancies in the navy.

In 1967 MIT authorized a new graduate program in ocean engineering. The Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering was designated the coordinating department for this program, which would integrate many existing engineering and scientific disciplines. In coordinating this program, the department cooperated closely with the Institute’s oceanography program, ocean engineering projects in the Instrumentation Laboratory, and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The first S.M. was awarded in the program within the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1968. Joint Ocean Engineering and Woods Hole doctoral and ocean engineer degrees were approved in 1969. Due to the broadening scope of the department, the name was changed during the 1971 academic year to the Department of Ocean Engineering.

In 1994 the department completely revised its undergraduate curriculum and offered a new graduate degree, Master of Engineering in Ocean Engineering, as well as a corresponding new Program in Marine Environmental Systems. The Department of Ocean Engineering merged with the Department of Mechanical Engineering effective January 1, 2005, and the merged department is known as the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Within the Department of Mechanical Engineering undergraduate and graduate programs in ocean engineering and graduate programs in Naval Architecture and Construction (previously XIII-A) and the Joint MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Program (previously XIII-W) will continue.

MIT History, Department of Ocean Engineering, 2005.


52 Cubic Feet (52 record cartons)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed collection inventory is available to staff in the MIT ArchivesSpace staff interface.

Processing Information

In spring 2021, this finding aid was revised as part of a project to publish previously unpublished finding aids. The finding aid was brought up to minimum description standards and any personally identifying information in the description was removed.

Preliminary Inventory to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Ocean Engineering Student Records
Staff Use Only
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Edited by Lana Mason for compliance with DACS single-level optimum requirements and to remove personally identifying information from the description.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US