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Higher Education
San Jacinto College
News Release
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

College offers a course in the high-demand field of maritime administration

HOUSTON – San Jacinto College (SJC) now offers an Introduction to Ships and Shipping course that provides training in a high-demand, and rewarding career field that is expected to thrive as the Houston area’s vibrant international shipping industry continues to expand.  

As part of an articulation agreement with Texas A&M University at Galveston, SJC students may complete the ships and shipping course (MARA 2401) at the South Campus as part of an associate degree in maritime administration. The students can then transfer to Texas A&M for a Bachelor of Science in Maritime Administration. The MARA 2401 at SJC South is the equivalent of the university’s MARA 205 course, which means when a student transfers, he or she will be one step ahead and can skip the introductory course and devote more time to other courses in the program.

The Southeast Texas region, including the Port of Houston, is a major center for the worldwide oil and petrochemical industries, and for aerospace and biomedical research and development. The area is also the national and international headquarters for several major energy companies, including ConocoPhillips, Exxon-Mobil, Shell Oil, and BP. Cargoes such as rice, cotton, and cattle contribute to the region’s thriving economy. New energy technologies, such as wind, solar, and Liquefied Natural Gas, are growing sectors. The Port of Houston handles the largest export tonnage in the United States and imports are expected to increase even more when the widening of the Panama Canal is completed in 2014.

Maritime administration is what drives international commerce and is never boring or routine, according to Mary Kate Flanagan, who teaches the MARA 2401 course at SJC South. “It’s an interesting and dynamic career field and one that offers much variety, because the scope of business is global,” Flanagan commented. “One gets to interact with people of different cultures, and learning never stops. It’s a people business, but it’s also a very competitive business that is challenging and rewarding, because one has to learn something about virtually every aspect of the shipping industry.”

Students in the MARA 2401 course learn about shipboard nomenclature, types and mission of ships, shipbuilding materials, ship dimensions, modes of cargo handling, rules of the road, ocean currents, maritime trade and regulation, as well as winds and weather and their impact on vessel operation.

Dr. Brenda Jones, the South Campus dean of business and technical education, says the maritime administrative career field is booming and one that offers good pay and longevity within the industry. “Business at the Port of Houston has been stable and continues to thrive. With the opening of the deeper Panama Canal on the horizon, all projections point to continued growth,” Jones remarked. “There generally is not much turnover in the field, because people who get into the administrative area of the maritime industry like their jobs and keep them. Many tend to view the maritime industry as a male-dominated field, but women can and do excel in the administrative ships and shipping area of this industry.”

Indeed, SJC’s faculty member Flanagan excelled in the maritime field and found it very rewarding, working for more than 20 years for a family-owned international shipping company prior to stepping into the teaching field. “To me, it’s more than just a career choice, it’s a way of life. It’s a business that welcomes dynamic professionals who want to make their mark,” she said. “It’s a great field if a person likes variety, and likes to learn new things, and also likes a job that offers a good future.”

Registration for the Introduction to Ships and Shipping course at the South Campus, as well as all courses and programs at at San Jacinto College, continues through mid-January. The first day of classes for the Spring semester is Jan. 17, 2012.

To learn more about the transfer agreement with Texas A&M University at Galveston, visit

About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The College, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. Our graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook at

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