Q: I would like to know more about marine engineering. How is it different from naval architecture?

A marine engineer is a qualified professional who has completed a degree in marine or maritime engineering and is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all major machinery and equipment on seafaring vessels, from aircraft carriers to submarines to trawlers, tankers and cruise ships. Both Merchant and Armed Navy offer employment opportunities to graduates of this profession. Other job opportunities are available from alternative energy producers such as wind turbines located offshore. They can also find meaningful work with companies manufacturing machinery and equipment for the shipping industry. A majority of ship building has moved to Asia, creating job opportunities.

[What students, and parents, need to know about an IB education]

Naval architects are responsible for the design and construction of ships and other offshore structures and floating systems. The focus is on the form, design and structure of ships. They determine the size of the ship, gross weight of machinery she can carry and structural strength.

Subjects studied in college for both professions will have lots of similarity and will focus on calculus, physics, applied mathematics and computer-aided design. But do remember becoming a marine engineer is not a track to working at sea. For that you would normally start as an Engineer Class V, do sea time and work your way up to Chief Engineer by taking a whole host of exams.

While selecting a college, not only should you ensure internships are being offered, but also check by whom, and the nature of internships as this experience will be key to getting a job.

China has two universities in the top five universities for marine engineering – Shanghai University and Dalian Technology College.

NTNU in Norway and University of Lisbon have enviable reputations.

In the US, reputed colleges include the Webb Institute in NYC; Massachusetts Maritime Academy; Maine Maritime Academy and US Naval Academy. Across the Atlantic we have South Tyneside College, University of Southampton University of Aberdeen and University of Strathclyde. Down under we have the Australian Maritime College in Tanzania, TAFE Western Australia and in India look out for Marine Engineering and Research Institute.

Sanjeev Verma is managing director of Intelligent Partners, a leading education consultancy (sanjeev@intelligentpartners.com, www.intelligentpartners.com). Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.