Jul 23, 2024  
CSU Maritime Academy 2023-2024 Catalog 
CSU Maritime Academy 2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

University at a Glance

Cal Maritime at a Glance

The maritime industry has a significant role in today’s global economy. The men and women who work at ports and on ships are vital in the transportation of goods and commodities throughout the world. These merchant mariners manage cargo to its destination, navigate ships, manage ports and terminals, and oversee engine rooms. They understand the impact they may have on the environment through accidental oil spills and effluent discharge. Some work to improve engines and energy systems; others work in maritime law, safety, ship brokering and insurance, towing, piloting, amongst several facets of maritime trade and transportation.

Located in Vallejo, California, California State University Maritime Academy (Cal Maritime) is one of only seven degree-granting maritime academies in the United States, and the only one located on the West coast. It is a unique and specialized campus of the California State University that offers licensed and non-licensed degree programs to meet the above diverse needs of the maritime industry.

Licensed programs prepare students for the Third Mate or Third Assistant Engineer license issued by the United States Coast Guard upon successfully completing their baccalaureate degree and passing the United States Coast Guard licensing examination. The license, recognized and respected by other countries, enables graduates to sail as officers on U.S. ships on any ocean, regardless of tonnage, horsepower and size.

Students interested in becoming a licensed Third Mate need to complete their studies in the Marine Transportation degree program. Students interested in becoming a licensed Third Assistant Engineer need to complete their studies in the Marine Engineering Technology degree program or the licensed Mechanical Engineering degree program.

In addition, Cal Maritime offers degrees in several non-licensed programs. Graduates in these programs typically work in shore-side jobs related to the maritime industry. For example, graduates are prepared to work in U.S. federal, state, and local governments; agencies specializing in maritime security; international organizations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Maritime Bureau (IMB); and insurance and underwriting firms specializing in shipping and maritime issues.

They are also prepared to pursue graduate study in engineering, maritime law, international relations, public policy, maritime affairs, and international business and trade.

The non-licensed degree programs include: Mechanical Engineering, Facilities Engineering Technology, International Business and Logistics, and Global Studies and Maritime Affairs.

Normally, all students, regardless of major, sail on at least one two-month cruise aboard Cal Maritime’s ship, the Training Ship Golden Bear. Students in licensed programs must complete three cruises - two aboard the training ship and one on a commercial vessel. Engineers in non-licensed programs cruise once on the training ship and participate in two Cooperative Education (Co-Op) programs on land. Students in the International Business and Logistics program, as well as the Global Studies and Maritime Affairs program, complete one Co-Op program on land and may complete an international study program in lieu of the training cruise, depending on space availability in either experience.

At Cal Maritime, all students are in the Corps of Cadets. They are required to wear uniforms, attend formations and “stand watch.” However, there is no armed service obligation requirement. Military options are available including programs offered by the Coast Guard and Navy. (See section on Military Opportunities .)


Cal Maritime is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510-748-9001, www.wascsenior.org. The Marine Engineering Technology and Facilities Engineering Technology programs are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission (ETAC) of ABET, www.abet.org. The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission (EAC) of ABET, www.abet.org. The Business Administration program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), P.O. Box 25217, Overland Park, KS, 66225, 913-631-3009, www.iacbe.org.

Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping For Seafarers (STCW)

The California State University Maritime Academy deck and engine programs are in compliance with the requirements of the International Convention of the Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 1978, as amended.

Mission, Vision, Beliefs and Values


The California State University Maritime Academy’s mission is to

  • provide each student with a college education combining intellectual learning, applied technology, leadership development, and global awareness.
  • provide the highest quality licensed officers and other personnel for the merchant marine and national maritime industries.
  • provide continuing educational opportunities for those in the transportation and related industries.
  • be an information and technology resource center for the transportation and related industries.


The California State University Maritime Academy will be a leading educational institution recognized for excellence in the business, engineering, operations, and policy of the transportation and related industries of the Pacific Rim and beyond.

Beliefs and Values

The California State University Maritime Academy is defined, in part, by the system of beliefs that make us unique as an institution of higher education. They are:

  • experiential learning
  • ethics development, both personal and professional
  • small residential campus environment
  • student centered learning
  • professional orientation
  • having a niche to focus on in higher education
  • campus civility and collegiality
  • diverse living and learning community

Our values influence how we make and carry out decisions, and how we interact with our internal and external constituencies. At Cal Maritime they are dedication, honor, integrity, respect, responsibility, and trust.

Cal Maritime’s Compass Points

Cal Maritime uses the four points of the compass to symbolize the four key elements of our mission commitment to our students. Namely, intellectual learning, applied technology, leadership development, and global awareness.

Intellectual learning begins with the acquisition of data and culminates in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The initial stage is the acquisition of key facts, terms, precepts, and methodologies in a discipline. When these are synthesized, internalized, and integrated, the learner is able to construct a conceptual framework of the field, then reason through new scenarios. One who has mastered such a process will be able to solve problems, apply and evaluate theories, and construct new and meaningful syntheses from facts within the field. The levels of mastery involved in this process will differ according to the student’s level of development. The beginning student learns key facts and theories. The intermediate student applies this knowledge to ever more challenging problems.

Finally, the advanced student demonstrates the ability to think critically and learn independently, allowing him or her to acquire insights and make significant achievements throughout life.

Applied technology is the use of direct experiential methods, both in classes and through immersion in professional environments, with the objective of learning the skills, techniques and attitudes appropriate to a student’s chosen profession, particularly those aspects of a profession that are difficult to learn through traditional academic coursework. Cal Maritime’s intention is that applied technology augment, enrich and supplement traditional classroom lecture and discussion, the intellectual learning. The outcome of these activities builds graduates with professional abilities that allow them to step into their roles in the maritime industry, and also in other industries or government.

Leadership development is informed by the action-oriented, real-world demands of the maritime industry, into which the majority of our graduates enter. Cal Maritime cadets participate in and must complete the Edwards Leadership Development Program at Cal Maritime which is built on a “maritime model” embracing the history, tradition and importance of the seafaring chain of command, while promoting active participation in modern team management practices. The foundation of the program promotes a maritime leader who at all times “does good for the greater good.” The maritime leader is a “loyal shipmate,” who is ethical, responsive and goal-oriented, who strives for excellence, demonstrates integrity, and is confident, ever-learning, and adaptive. The California State University’s emphasis on cultivating critical thinking skills and ethics in its student graduates has provided a vital inroad to more deeply defining effective leadership practices at Cal Maritime. Only active, goal-directed, yet flexible and fluid thinking will allow the Cal Maritime graduate to maintain a competitive edge while navigating his or her course into the future.

Global awareness is based on substantive and applicable knowledge of a wide range of international issues and cultural perspectives. In the international arena, this type of understanding includes an array of issues that can be broken down into broad categories that include international politics and economics, environmental and cultural awareness, and global dynamics. Numerous contemporary issues face the global community, many of which have significant implications for the greater maritime and transportation industries.

These issues range from environmental crises affecting all people to critical political, economic, and social problems that affect much of the world’s population. Global dynamics refers to the understanding of how the world’s complex political, economic, social, and technological systems interact and operate in conjunction with one another. The interdependence of the members of the international community, and its impact on our students and their future, requires an awareness of global dynamics. Consistent with how we approach the other three points of the mission, global awareness at Cal Maritime is significantly more than academic and classroom-based awareness of the issues facing the world today and the diversity of cultures of the greater society in which we live.

We are committed to an understanding and awareness of global issues experienced firsthand by all of our students. To this end, all students at Cal Maritime are required to spend time abroad as part of their education. This active, participatory and experiential approach to global awareness makes Cal Maritime unique among many institutions of higher education in the United States.

History of the Academy

Founded in 1929 as the “California Nautical School,” the California State University Maritime Academy is in its ninth decade of service as a center for excellence in education and research in maritime trade and transportation.

This school was first located in Tiburon, on the Marin Peninsula north of San Francisco. In 1936, the U.S. Congress passed the Merchant Marine Act, which directed the creation and maintenance of an adequate merchant marine to support U.S. international and domestic commerce, and to meet the needs for national defense. Responding to this mandate, the federal government and the California state legislature began supporting the California Nautical School’s mission. In the early days, only three-year deck engineering programs were offered.

In 1939, the school changed its name to California Maritime Academy. In 1940, with war looming, the Academy was relocated to San Francisco. With the start of World War II, the course of study accelerated to 17 months, and many Academy graduates served in the war. In the midst of the war effort, a new permanent home for the academy was established in 1943 on a 67- acre site at Morrow Cove in Vallejo.

In 1973, California Maritime Academy became the first in the nation to enroll women in its licensed maritime program. In 1974, a four-year undergraduate program was established, laying the groundwork for accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Nautical Industrial Technology and Marine Engineering Technology were the four-year majors offered. In the late 1980s, majors in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration were added, and the Nautical Industrial Technology program was replaced by Marine Transportation.

In 1995, Cal Maritime became a member campus of the California State University (CSU) system. In 1996, Cal Maritime introduced a Facilities Engineering Technology major. A new science and engineering lab building was completed in 1999. The curriculum further expanded in 2003, when the major in Global Studies and Maritime Affairs was introduced. Today, Global Studies and International Business and Logistics major programs are part of Cal Maritime’s School of Maritime Policy and Management. Also in 2003, the Academy dedicated its new Technology Laboratory and Classroom Building.

The University has continued to expand its resources and enjoy expanding support from the private sector to meet new challenges. McAllister Hall, a new residence facility named for Robert McAllister (D’42) -the largest individual, private donor to the institution -opened in 2009. The Academy also opened a new state-of-the-art Marine Simulation Center, already one of the world’s most advanced facilities for maritime teaching, training, and research. Maritime classification and engineering giant ABS made a $3 million grant to help further strengthen the School of Maritime Policy and Management, a portion of which has been used to create an enhanced and expanded classroom meeting facility.

The University recently constructed a new waterfront Dining Hall and Physical Education and Aquatics Center, featuring new gymnasiums, training rooms, and a maritime survival training center.

Enrollment at Cal Maritime has grown steadily in response to industry demand for skilled, motivated and well-trained graduates with a sense of purpose and global perspective. The future looks strong and bright with continued growth and support from alumni, industry, and friends.