Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Great Lakes Maritime Academy a military academy?

No. The Academy is a public college.

Does the Academy have a military regimentation?

No. Our academic programs are not military regimented.

Is there a military or Coast Guard obligation after graduation?

No. Graduates of our Academy are civilian merchant marine officers who work aboard commercial ships on the Great Lakes or oceans.

Do I need a letter from my Congressman to be eligible for admission?

Neither of the two required letters of recommendation needs to be from a member of Congress.

How long does it take to complete the program?

Cadets entering the Academy with a previously completed Bachelor’s degree are eligible for the accelerated three-year program, unique to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy. All cadets will earn a Bachelor of Science in Maritime Technology.

Do women attend the Academy?

Yes. The Academy established the Women on the Water organization which has received recognition by the Maritime Administration and now has organizations at each of the other state maritime academies.

Is there an age limit to attend the Academy?

Minimum required age is 17 with a high school diploma or GED. There is no upper age limit. The average age at the Academy is 27.

How many students attend the Academy?

The Academy admits 60 cadets each fall. Our total cadet body is over 200.

Will the Academy accept transfer credits from another college or the military?

The Academy will evaluate general education credits completed at another college or during military service upon receipt of an official college or Smart transcript.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Financial aid is available for both the three-year and four-year programs. We encourage students to complete the FAFSA form as soon as possible after January 1 of the year they intend to attend in order to be eligible for the maximum financial aid award. Financial aid is granted based on financial need and is not guaranteed to pay full tuition.

What is the maritime industry?

The maritime industry refers to all forms of waterborne transportation. The Great Lakes Maritime Academy prepares future Merchant Marine officers with the education, training and credentials to sail the world’s largest ships. The maritime industry is quite diverse including tug/barge trade, container ships, passenger ships, tankers, research vessels, ferry systems, bulk carriers and specialized vessels of many types. It represents international business connected with intermodal transportation and the global economy. Skills in management, logistics and finance are essential to understanding the impact of shipping on the economies of nations. Our graduates serve as professional mariners/business professionals around the globe.

What is the United States Merchant Marine?

The United States Merchant Marine refers to those individuals (licensed or unlicensed) that make their living in the maritime industry. Merchant Marine officers have extensive training and managerial skills — essential in operating vessels that move goods within the United States and international waters. Merchant Marine officers are not in the military. Officers have a tremendous amount of responsibility and professional skill. While some areas of the industry require uniforms, others do not. On many vessels (such as cruise ships and ferries) it is essential to readily identify the officers for the safety of the passengers.

Why does my license come from the U.S. Coast Guard?

Similar to the way commercial airline pilots are licensed by the FAA, commercial shipping officers must be licensed by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). After passing the written examination administered by the USCG, deck department graduates will be licensed as a Third Mate Great Lakes and Oceans Unlimited Tonnage and First Class Great Lakes Pilot. Engineering department graduates will be licensed as a Third Assistant Engineer Steam and Motor Vessels of any Horsepower. Academy graduates have both a Federal License and International Credentials issued by the United Nations International Maritime Organization (STCW’10).

Where will I be licensed to sail?

Great Lakes Maritime Academy graduates who pass the licensing examinations are licensed to sail on both the Great Lakes and oceans.

Does the Academy have an ROTC program?

The Academy does not have an ROTC program, but does have a Merchant Marine Reserve/United States Naval Reserve program. For more information, please contact the Naval Science Department at (231) 995-1218.

Are cadets required to live on campus?

All first-year cadets under the age of 20 are required to live at least two semesters in the residence halls. Transfer students that have completed two full semesters at another college/university may be granted an exception. Cadets over the age of 20 may choose their own living accommodations.