Naval science and technology (S&T) has a tremendous impact upon defense, world commerce, and energy production. The U.S. Navy is expanding its fleet to the largest size in nearly twenty years. Approximately 90% of world trade is carried by sea. The number of offshore solar, wind, and wave energy installations continues to increase.

The underlying science and technology challenges demand a workforce with a strong foundation in the engineering sciences related to fluid flow, computational and experimental methods, autonomous systems, and control. The Certificate in Naval Science & Technology introduces students to the principles of naval hydrodynamics including propulsion, resistance, maneuvering, and seakeeping, as well as the fundamentals of autonomous systems, including control systems, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Students completing the certificate will work in a unique learning community where they will have an opportunity to contribute to projects of interest to the Navy and its supporting industry, and learn about potential career paths.

Naval Hydro Testing CRWC
Naval Science

Certificate Overview

The undergraduate Certificate in Naval Science and Technology requires 18 s.h. of credit. Students must maintain a GPA of at least 2.00 in work for the certificate. The certificate may be earned by any student admitted to the University of Iowa who is not concurrently enrolled in a UI graduate or professional degree program. College of Engineering students earning the certificate are advised by the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

All of the certificate courses have prerequisites; students must complete all of a course's prerequisites before they may register for the course. Prerequisites do not count toward the 18 s.h. required for the certificate.

Mechanical engineering students may supplement the certificate with an additional eligible course to complete a tailored focus area. Also, with careful selection of courses, students may earn the Naval Science and Technology Certificate while completing either the design focus area or the robotics and autonomous systems focus area (FA). The following guides illustrate how to complete the certificate and one of these FAs without having to take additional courses:

Design FA + Naval S&T Certificate

Robotics & Autonomous Systems FA + Naval S&T Certificate

Courses in Naval Hydrodynamics

Students must complete at least two courses from these*:

course number course title semester hours
ME:4125 Biomimetic Fluid Dynamics 3
ME:4175 Computational Naval Hydrodynamics 3
ME:4176 Experimental Naval Hydrodynamics 3

* In certain circumstances where it is not possible for students to complete two of these courses, students may request permission to replace ME:4175 with ME:5143 Computational Thermal & Fluid Engineering.

Courses in Autonomous Systems and Machine Learning

Students must complete at least two courses from these:

course number course title semester hours
ME:4111 Scientific Computing and Machine Learning 3
ME:5114 Nonlinear Control in Robotic Systems 3
ME:6115 Cooperative Autonomous Systems 3


Capstone Course

Students must complete either a capstone design project on an approved naval science and technology topic, or an independent investigation involving research or testing of a system related to naval hydrodynamics. If a student chooses, both courses may be completed for credit toward the certificate.

One or both of these:

course number course title semester hours
ME:4098 Individual Investigations: Mechanical Engineering Arr.**
ME:4186 Enhanced Design Experience 3***

**It is expected that students will register in at least 3 s.h. of ME:4098 if the course is taken for credit toward the Naval S&T certificate.

***Students completing the Naval S&T certificate will register in a Naval S&T section of ME:4086 and ME:4186 (ME:4086 is a prerequisite for ME:4186), subject to approval of their application for this elective capstone design path.


The above course requirements constitute a minimum of 15 s.h.  If additional semester hours are needed to fulfill the requirements of the Naval S&T Certificate, students may choose from the following courses:

course number course title semester hours
ME:4116 Manufacturing Processes and Automation 3
ME:4120 Advanced Linear Control Systems 3
ME:4140 Modern Robotics & Automation 3
ME:4150 Artificial Intelligence in Engineering 3
ME:4200 Modern Engineering Materials for Mechanical Design 3
ME:5143 Computational & Thermal Fluid Engineering 3
ME:5160 Intermediate Mechanics of Fluids 3