Maine has always been a leader in maritime activity – the first American-built boat in colonial history was made in Maine – so it’s no surprise that one of the best schools in the state would be Maine Maritime Academy. A public college in Castine, ME, housed in the former Eastern State Normal School campus, MMA was founded in 1941 by the Maine Legislature, just in time for WWII to create a sudden boom in the Merchant Marine; by 1943, MMA had graduated more than 300 officers. After the war, the academy expanded to a full 4-year college, offering almost two dozen undergraduate degree programs in every aspect of maritime science. Today, Maine Maritime Academy is ranked one of the top 5 regional colleges in the North, and was formerly Money magazine’s #1 public college in the nation.
Academic ProgramsThe Maine Maritime Academy is designed to prepare students for all possible areas of maritime work and life, from the Merchant Marine to business and engineering. MMA is not a military academy – students are under no obligation to join the Navy, the Merchant Marine, or any other service, and many graduates go into conventional professional careers that are simply maritime-related. More than 20 undergraduate degree programs are available, built around key maritime professions – Engineering, International Business & Logistics, Ocean Studies, and Maritime Transportations. The Loeb-Sullivan School of International Business & Logistics also offers three graduate degrees.
The curriculum at Maine Maritime Academy is highly hands-on; as a necessity, considering the subject matter, students take part in experiential learning in a variety of settings, including the Training Ship of Maine and the Schooner Bowdoin (MMA’s lab ships), internships and cadet shipping, state of the art laboratories and simulators, and more. As a public college, tuition is kept low, and with MMA’s extensive network of alumni and industrial connections, graduates have a higher than 90% job placement rate within just three months of graduation. It’s no wonder MMA has been named one of the best values in Maine and New England.
Student LifeStudent life at Maine Maritime Academy is unique; around 70% of the student body is part of the Regiment of Midshipmen, a training program similar to the ROTC, and a requirement for any student planning to seek a US Coast Guard license (which is necessary to work as a maritime engineer, for example). Membership in the Regiment is not a requirement, however, and there is no obligation to military service. The student body, which numbers just over 700, is largely residential, and Midshipmen and traditional students live together in the same residence halls; though the college is coed, the student population is almost entirely male.
Aside from the Midshipmen, student life is fairly traditional for a small college, with many student-led clubs and organizations, and active campus activities. Ocean-related recreation and activities, of course, are highly popular, with groups like the Schooner Crew, the Yacht Club, and the SCUBA Club, while numerous professional development organizations help students prepare for the careers. The Maine Maritime Mariners compete in the NCAA Division III; not surprisingly, the Mariners are dominant in sailing.