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ISSN : 1229-3431(Print)
ISSN : 2287-3341(Online)
Journal of the Korean Society of Marine Environment and Safety Vol.25 No.3 pp.395-403

Comparative Study of Marine Engineering Curriculum Between MMU and PMMA

Hong-Ryeol Kim*, Jae-ung Lee**, Bu-Gi Kim**
*Division of Cadet Training, Mokpo National Maritime University, Mokpo, 58628, Korea
**Division of Marine Mechatronics, Mokpo National Maritime University, Mokpo 58628, Korea

First Author :, 061-240-7460

Corresponding Author :, 061-240-7239
May 11, 2019 May 27, 2019 May 28, 2019


This paper compares the marine engineering courses of two maritime institutions: Mokpo National Maritime University of Korea in the East Asia region and Philippine Merchant Marine Academy in the Southeast Asia region. It shows examines educational marine engineering programs, along with the different divisions and courses at each college. It demonstrates a divergence in methodologies and course offerings to cultivate competitive graduates. The comparative assessment completed is intended to offer broader knowledge on how each institution tackles the requirements of the STCW, and to meet the present and future demands of the maritime industry. Different course offerings are compared along with the units and hours allocated to each subject, and the differences in marine engineering academic and training requirements to graduate. Students must satisfactorily earn 150 units to complete their choice of major. Statistical procedures were used in this assessment and analysis from Excel programs.


    1. Introduction

    1.1 Research Background

    Mokpo National Maritime University (MMU) is one of the two maritime universities in Korea and a leading institution in maritime studies and research. The Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) is located in San Narciso, Zambales, in the Philippines. It is the only public maritime institution subsidized by the Philippine government. Both institutions offer maritime engineering courses and both countries are key players in supplying human resources for the maritime profession worldwide, both ashore and onboard ships. Both are signatories and fully compliant with the requirements of the STCW, Chapter III, Regs. 1-5, as amended (STCW, 1978).

    1.2 Purpose and Objective

    This paper introduces the curricula offered in the marine engineering divisions of two maritime institutions. A comparison is Performed to demonstrate the emphasis of methodologies in their course offerings, and despite very different maritime environments and economic standings, the two countries’ maritime pedagogy (Dimailig, et al., 2010) never differs in pursuit of excellence for graduates who will serve each country’s maritime needs, in full accord with the STCW and its latest amendments.

    2. Maritime Education and Training

    2.1 The Amended STCW Requirements

    The STCW Convention contains regulations supported by sections of the STCW Code. Generally speaking, the convention contains basic requirements which are elaborated in the code. Part A of the code is mandatory. Part B contains recommendations intended to help implement the convention. The measures suggested are not mandatory and the examples given are only intended to illustrate how certain convention requirements may be complied with. The Manila amendments represent the latest major revision of the STCW convention and code taken by the IMO and adopted on 25 June 2010, entering into force on 1 January 2012.

    The STCW has 8 chapters, wherein Chapter III, deals exclusively with the engine department, describing basic principles to be observed by personnel for safety. This chapter contains regulations 1-5 for engineer officers and regulation 6 for ratings forming part of an engine room watch (STCW, 1978).

    2.2 The MMU Marine Engineering MET (MMU, 2015a)

    The MMU Marine Engineering MET is composed of three divisions: the Marine Engineering System; Ocean Power System and Marine Safety; and Marine Mechatronics.

    All three of these divisions have common liberal arts and Department of Marine Engineering courses, and each has its own compulsory subjects and electives a student can choose from to satisfy the academic requirements of the university.

    Liberal arts courses require a minimum of 30 units, and the Department of Marine Engineering requires 75 mandated units. To graduate, a student must complete 150 units from his/her choice of major.

    2.2.1 Division of Marine Engineering [A] (MMU, 2015b)

    The Marine Engineering System Division has four departments: Marine Engineering; Mechanical Application; Electrical and Control Engineering; and Ocean Energy and Offshore Plants. Table 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

    2.2.2 Division of Ocean Power System and Marine Safety [B] (MMU, 2015b)

    The Ocean Power System and Marine Safety Division has three departments: Marine Engineering, Ocean Power System and Maritime Safety Administration.

    2.2.3 Division of Marine Mechatronics [C] (MMU, 2015b)

    The Division of Marine Mechatronics consists of two departments, Marine Engineering and Electro-Technical System Engineering.

    2.3 The PMMA Marine Engineering MET (PMMA, 2017)

    The College of Marine Engineering is one of two colleges at PMMA. It offers only one major as a baccalaureate degree, a Bachelors of Science in Marine Engineering. Its curriculum strictly follows the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 20 Series of 2014, which sets guidelines for seagoing service requirements for BSMarE programs to ensure compliance with the provisions of the 1978 STCW Convention and Code, as amended (CMO, 2014). Students must earn 219 units to graduate. The program follows a block academic system, where subjects are pre-arranged and all students must adhere to the requirements. Needless to say, there are no elective subjects.

    The academy life is strictly regimented and its regimental rules and regulations are firmly observed. Education takes place in classroom setting. All students are categorized as cadets, but they are mostly addressed as “midshipman/woman.” Freshmen are called “Fourth Class Midshipmen” sophomores are called “Third Class Midshipmen” Juniors are addressed as “Second Class” and seniors are “First Class Midshipmen.”

    During their second year of academy life, selected cadets are sent every week in groups of 16 or more to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), where the academy has an MOA to man, maintain and operate six SBMA sea-crafts. There, the cadets are taught the practical side of seamanship and engine works.

    They learn line-handling, personnel transferring, patrolling for specific areas of the bay, and more. During weekends, each boat is inspected for damage, and repairs or improvements are carried out. Actual maintenance of engines, machinery and bunkering are also performed.

    These practical tasks prepare the cadets for their eventual shipboard training in their third year of education.

    During their third year, midshipmen are required to serve a minimum of 12 months as Engine Cadets or Apprentice Engineers as mandated by CHED CMO 20, series of 2014 (CMO, 2014), on board mostly foreign ocean-going vessels. They carry with them sea-projects, which they have to complete and submit upon disembarkation. They are also required to accomplish and submit additional assignments by correspondence in every quarter.

    After satisfying all requirements during 12 months of supervised shipboard training, Mar-E midshipmen return to the academy for their final academic year.

    3. Discussions

    3.1. Mar-E Curricula Comparative Assessment

    The engineering education curriculum MMU and PMMA have been compared, following the breakdown of the curricular and training programs of both institutions as described in the previous chapter. The differences in curriculum design and delivery methodology as contained in the requirements of STCW 1978, as amended in 1995 (STCW 95), have also been addressed.

    The social climate in the two countries and the attitudes of the maritime communities in relation to the maritime programs offered has also been illustrated, with regard to the quality of competent maritime graduates.

    3.2. PMMA Mar-E curriculum

    The graphs in Fig. 1. Summarize the courses and required units for a student to complete his/her Mar-E education at PMMA. A cadet must complete 219 units to graduate. Overall, 134 units (61 %) are required for major subjects, including shipboard training, while 85 units (39 %) are required for general education and non-general education subjects (PMMA, 2017).

    General education subjects are those mandated by CHED CMO No. 32 series of 2013 (CMO, 2013) and the PMMA Regimental Rules and Regulations to qualify for a baccalaureate degree. These subjects are not offered during cadets’ shipboard training, and only a minimal 8 units are covered during senior year, where the maximum concentration of major subjects (30 %) are taught.

    3.3. MMU Mar-E curriculum

    The MMU Mar-E curriculum has been revised for SY 2015. Under the new curriculum, new freshmen of SY 2015 have to acquire a minimum of 150 units to graduate (MMU, 2015a).

    A minimum of 30 units are required for liberal arts subjects, with 20 mandatory units. The remaining units are elective subjects, with 102 subject offerings to choose from.

    Fig. 2. demonstrates the required units for the offered courses. The graph shows only the required 138 units, and students can select the remaining 12 units to complete the 150 units required for graduation from an array of electives courses for each department major or non-major course.

    The tables in sub-sections 2.2.1-2.2.3 show the curricula of the three divisions of the university’s marine engineering offerings.

    Each division must comply with the compulsory subjects/units of the Liberal Arts Department with a minimum of 20 units and the major courses of the Department of Marine Engineering with 18 units each. These two departments are common to all marine engineering divisions.

    All divisions have their own second major departments, each with 5 mandatory courses and various selective courses for students to choose from see Tables 5, 10 and 15. Table 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14

    A student must earn a total of 150 units to be eligible for graduation (MMU, 2015a).

    The two universities have different curricula, with slightly different trends. As a result, this paper is important for providing more specific details for planning engineering education curriculum. Table. 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23

    4. Conclusions

    Although both comply with the guidelines of the STCW 95, as amended, it has been observed that the two maritime institutions haves different approaches to meeting the code’s Chapter III requirements.

    They also differ extensively in terms of course offerings, where MMU has more technical subjects of both mandatory and elective types. This reflects the maritime environment of the country in which it is based, with numerous leading technical manufacturing plants and, shipyards where maritime technology is researched and eventually applied to manufacturing.

    A student has to earn 150 units to complete his/her choice of major. Of this, a minimum of 75 units (50 %) are required for a 1st major, aminimum of 30 units (20 %) for liberal arts subjects and 33 units (22 %) for 2nd major. The remaining 12 units can be fulfilled from an array of elective courses.

    On the available number of subjects, the 1st major department, Marine Engineering, which is required for all divisions, has 18 compulsory subjects and 1 elective on offer. Similarly, the 2nd major departments have plenty of subjects to choose from: the Division of Marine Engineering System has 15-compulsory subjects and 47 elective; the Division of Ocean Power System and Maritime Safety has 10-compulsory subjects and 34 electives; the Division of Marine Mechatronics has-5 compulsory subjects and 21 electives (MMU, 2015a, MMU, 2015b).

    The Philippines has had a reputation as a major supplier of human resources onboard foreign principals for quite a while, and the PMMA Mar-E program caters best to this environment. Its course offerings, while in a block system where students haves no choice of subjects, serves well in the present maritime education context.

    To be conferred aBachelor of Science in Marine Engineering, a cadet has to complete 41 major subjects with no electives. This includes 7 major subjects (17 %) in the first year, 11 (27 %) in the second year, and 8 (20 %) in the third year. These courses entail the submission of required sea projects, assignments and training record books (TRB) as per Section A III/I of the STCW 78, as amended. The bulk of the remaining subjects are taken during the fourth year of education, when 15 (37 %) units are earned.

    General education subjects are mostly mandated by CHED. Non-major subjects, include discipline, physical education and ROTC (a requirement for all cadets as they are automatically conferred reserve officer ranks in the Philippine Navy, with a direct commissionship for Philippine Navy and Coast Guard scholars upon graduation).

    These subjects are covered entirely in the 1st year 20 units and 2nd year 16 units with none in the 3rd or 4th years of education and training.


    • CHED – Commission on Higher Education

    • CMO – CHED Memorandum Orders

    • Mar-E – Marine Engineering

    • MET – Maritime Education and Training

    • MMU – Mokpo National Maritime University

    • PMMA – Philippine Merchant Marine Academy

    • STCW – Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping



    PMMA Mar-E summary of units per courses.


    MMU Mar-E summary of minimum units per courses.


    First year (Freshman) curriculum [A]

    Second year (Sophomore) curriculum [A]

    Third year (Junior) curriculum [A]

    Fourth year (Senior) curriculum [A]

    Summary of major subjects [A]

    First year(Freshman) curriculum [B]

    Second year(Sophomore) curriculum [B]

    Third year(Junior) curriculum [B]

    Fourth year(Senior) curriculum [B]

    Summary of major subjects [B]

    First year(Freshman) curriculum [C]

    Second year(Sophomore) curriculum [C]

    Third year(Junior) curriculum [C]

    Fourth year(Senior) curriculum [C]

    Summary of major subjects [C]

    Fourth class, 1st semester curriculum

    Fourth class, 2nd semester curriculum

    Third class, 1st semester curriculum

    Third class, 2nd semester curriculum

    Second class, phase I sea project

    Second class, phase II sea project

    First class, 1st semester curriculum

    First class, 2nd semester curriculum


    1. CMO(2014), Commission of Higher Education, CMO No. 20. series of 2014. pp. 3-4.
    2. CMO(2013), Commission of Higher Education, CMO No. 32. series of 2013. pp. 1-20.
    3. Dimailig, O. S. , J. Y. Jeong and C. S. Kim(2010), Comparative Review of Marine Transportation Education between Korea and the Philippines. pp. 73-76, pp. 77-78.
    4. MMU(2015a), MMU Student Support Office Manual, University Life Information, p. 33, pp, 219-268.
    5. MMU(2015b), MMU 2015 Admission Information and Guidelines, pp. 19-23.
    6. PMMA(2017), PMMA College of Marine Engineering BSMar-E Curriculum, pp. 1-4.
    7. STCW(1978), Conference of Parties to the International Convention on STCW for Seafarers, 1978, as amended in 1995 and Resolutions 3 to 14 of the Conference, pp. 84-109.