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Merchant Marine Academy 2023

The Merchant Marine Academy, established in 1943 and located in Kings Point, New York, is definitely one of the more interesting academies when it comes to its flexibility in career options. 

Career Path

So, where do graduates of the Merchant Marine Academy go? This answer might shock you, but believe it or not, you can literally go into any branch you want, or you can go work in the maritime transportation industry.

It’s worth noting that the other four military academies offer admission to all six branches of the US military.

  • United States Military Academy
  • United States Naval Academy 
  • United States Air Force Academy 
  • United States Merchant Marine Academy


Like all of the other service academies, you go through a four-year curriculum where you receive a Bachelor of Science degree, except this academy offers just five core programs that mainly focus on marine transportation and marine engineering.

Table: Main Focus of Core Programs

  • Marine Transportation
  • Marine Engineering

So if you want to come out of here as a Marine officer, a pilot, or an army officer, keep in mind that a large majority of your time and energy spent here will be spent learning how to serve in the merchant marine as a deck officer or engineering officer. 

There are also mandatory Coast Guard exams for licenses in the maritime industry, so beware of the consequences if you want to take this route.

Student Life

Those who go to the Merchant Marine Academy are known as midshipmen. From the first year to last year, they are known as fourth, third, second, and first-class midshipmen, respectively.

Unique Aspects of the Merchant Marine Academy

First-year experience

Just like at the Naval Academy, those in their first year here are known as plebes. Your experience at the Merchant Marine Academy will be structured differently compared to the others. 

First, the mini boot camp that inducts people heading into their plebe year is just two and a half weeks. Despite its short length, it’s still designed to be stressful and intense, where it introduces candidates to the regimental life at the academy through PT, drill, history, customs, and courtesy.

Sea Year Experience

Another defining part of King’s Point is what is called Sea Year. Sea Year pairs midshipmen with a merchant’s vessel for extended periods of time throughout their sophomore and junior years. 

Your first sea period will last about 135 days during your sophomore year and 265 days during your junior year. You’re given the opportunity to request a buddy to join you on those, which is pretty cool.

Post-Graduation Commitment

Another thing that distinguishes this academy from the others is the service commitment. If graduates move on to serve in the merchant marine or maritime industry, they will be required to maintain the Reserve Commission in their respective branch for eight years and must work for five years in the aforementioned industry.

Bullet Points: Service Commitment

  • Maintain the Reserve Commission for eight years.
  • Must work for five years in the maritime industry.

For those who are commissioned into active duty, they must serve five years like everyone else. Regardless of where someone goes, all graduates must maintain their US Coast Guard-issued Merchant Marine Officer license for a period of at least six years.

Merchant Marine Academy Admission Requirements

As for the basic requirements to get into the Merchant Marine Academy, you must be a US citizen, meet the requirements necessary for commission in the Navy Reserve, be of good moral character, and be at least 17 years of age but not past your 25th birthday before July 1 of the year of entrance. 

If you notice, this is the oldest age requirement of the five service academies. So if you’re pushing 25 and have no other academy you qualify for, this is your option.


At the Merchant Marine Academy, you will choose from six different programs of study that will mainly focus on the various aspects of marine engineering and marine transportation.

As a service academy graduate, you will have a unique service obligation.  

You can choose to work for 5 years in the maritime industry and serve 8 years in any reserve unit of the military; you also have the option to serve 5 years as active duty in any of the military branches.

That’s all I have for this academy. Thank you for reading.

George N.