Aalto University's master program

Optimised for passenger and arctic vessel designers

article picture: Aalto University's master program

For engineering students’ intent on designing ships either for passenger transport or for arctic environments, a Finnish university degree is the grade to go for. Aalto University’s top-notch Nordic Master program has drawn in motivated and capable students even from distant continents.

Aalto University’s Nordic Master program in Maritime Engineering was started more than a decade ago to market the traditional marine technology master program also to other Nordic Universities.

”In addition to Aalto University from Finland, students will study to complete the degree at either Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, DTU in Denmark, or NTNU in Norway,” says Mr. Pentti Kujala, Professor of Marine technology. He has also been the head of Marine Technology research group at Aalto University and the Vice Dean of the School of Engineering.

”Nordic cooperation between universities is a long-time tradition, dating back to 1948.”

Nordic master students and few teachers in Otaniemi when starting the studies.

International cooperation

Mr. Kujala has a long experience of working on the safety of ships both in open water and in ice, including full scale measurements of ice induced loads and analysis of the ice load statistics, simulation of ship performance in ice, development of advanced structural solutions for ships and development of system level safety of marine traffic.

Also, he has extensive national and international cooperation heading the Center of Excellence for safe Arctic shipping funded by Lloyd’s Register Foundation from London.

”The most significant developmental trend in this study program is that we are now attracting highly motivated students from around the world, even from the U.S. Furthermore, curriculums for the program have been thoroughly thought out between the participating universities,” Kujala explains.

From 2022 onwards, Aalto University is in charge of curriculum profiling.

Marine Techology research focus areas with 6 full-time and 1 part time professors .

Courses in four countries

Among other things, the Nordic Master program includes principles within the design, construction and operation of ships and offshore structures, including their hydrostatics and stability, hydrodynamics, wave, wind and ice loads, and structural analyses.

structural analyses. Studies include lectures, assignments, workshops and project work. Theory is supported by experimental work and computer simulations are intensively used.

In your first year, students study master’s- level topics within maritime engineering, naval architecture and offshore engineering. They include stability, resistance and propulsion, seakeeping, manoeuvring and ship and ocean structures.

and ship and ocean structures. In the second year, studies are concentrated on the student’s chosen specialisation: ocean structures, passenger ships, arctic ship design, ship operations or small craft.

For instance, Aalto University in Finland specialises in passenger ships and arctic technology, while Chalmers in Gothenburg will teach ship design.

Before applying, students need to have a suitable B.Sc. degree and a basic knowledge of related technologies.

Big data in major role

”Additionally, the subject of Big Data has to be taken into account in maritime engineering studies,” Kujala points out.

The term ’Big Data’ refers to huge amounts of telemetry and measurement data being acquired, stored, and analysed, in order to gain a more complete picture of hardware reliability, positioning, or other safety-related issues.

”To further develop maritime studies related to information technologies and Big Data, Aalto University has recruited professor Mashrura Musharraf from Canada. She has a lot of experience of maritime research, digitalisation, and Big Data applications.”

According to Kujala, Mrs. Musharraf will bring new insight into teaching automation, AI, machine learning and ship safety to maritime engineering students.

Aalto University now has a total of six professors teaching on the Nordic Master program.

program. Overall, maritime safety issues are high on the list of crucial subjects on the curriculum.

curriculum. ”This is where modern electronics and Big Data applications come in handy,” notes Kujala.

”A lot of progress has been made in the fields of collision avoidance, distance measurement and tracking, and automated warning messaging. These are additional tools for the conning bridge.”

Mr. Pentti Kujala, Professor of Marine technology says that cooperation between Nordic schools dates as back as 1948.

”Basic navigation and radar technologies are now being complemented by satellite and positioning data. What’s more, the collected data can now be utilised more efficiently than before.”

On some of these subjects, Aalto University’s maritime research personnel is working in close cooperation with the electronics & automation lab of the same campus.

Best knowledge from Finnish universities

Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, a large portion of Nordic Master studies have been implemented through remote learning over the Internet during the last two years.

”We now usually record the lectures on video. After viewing, some subjects may be perused with the students more thoroughly,” says Kujala.

”Some kind of hybrid teaching will be continued even after the pandemic as it has proved practical and useful.”

”The Master’s thesis has to fulfil the requirements of two different universities.”

According to Kujala, Finnish universities are the best among those offering studies in maritime engineering.

”The development of ship concepts and prototypes, hull structure optimisation, maritime safety and operating in icy conditions – these are subjects that are particularly well known over here. We have received plenty of good feedback from our international students,” Kujala mentions.

by: Ari Mononen

photos: Aalto University

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