Undersea Warfare - Curriculum 525

Program Officer

CDR Pamela Tellado

Spanagel Hall, Room 304

(831) 656-2045, DSN 756-2045


Academic Associate

Christopher Smithtro, Ph.D.

Code PH/Sc, Spanagel Hall, Room 206A

(831) 656-3939, DSN 756-3939


Brief Overview

The Undersea Warfare program is jointly sponsored by N97 and N95 to educate officers in the engineering fundamentals, physical principles and analytical concepts that govern operational employment of undersea warfare (USW) sensors and weapons. The USW program is interdisciplinary and integrates many subjects: mathematics, physics, oceanography, electrical and mechanical engineering, and operations analysis.

The program is designed to allow the US student to meet all of the requirements for Navy PME (as established by the Chief of Naval Operations) and for Joint Professional Military Education for Intermediate Level Professional Military Education (JPME Phase I) as established by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A separate track modeled after the program is available for international students. The international version replaces U.S. PME courses with courses specifically developed for international students.

Requirements for Entry

A baccalaureate degree, or equivalent, from a program with a calculus sequence and a calculus-based physics sequence that results in an APC of 323 is required for direct input. Courses in the physical sciences and engineering are desirable. Officers not meeting the academic requirements for direct input may enter the program early for a one or two quarter refresher of math and/or physics as required.


Fall, Spring

Program Length

24 Months


Students in Undersea Warfare (525) may choose from a variety of technical degrees including:

Master of Science in Engineering Acoustics

(with emphasis on underwater acoustics, hardware design, and signal processing)

Master of Science in Physical Oceanography

(with emphasis on the prediction of the littoral environment, ocean acoustics and environmental effects on sonar performance)

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering

(with emphasis on communications or signal processing)

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering

(with emphasis on autonomous systems)

Master of Science in Engineering Science

(with emphasis on autonomous systems)

Master of Science in Applied Mathematics

(with emphasis on autonomous systems or secure communications)

Master of Science in Applied Physics

(with emphasis on acoustics, weapons, or sensors)

Master of Science in Operations Research

(with emphasis on target search and detection)

Master of Science in Network Operations and Technology

(with emphasis on cyber resiliency)

Master of Science in Cyber Systems and Operations (U.S. students only)

(with emphasis on cyber resiliency)

In special circumstances students may pursue a Master of Science degree in Applied Science with emphasis on Signal Processing, Physical Oceanography, or Acoustics.


Completion of this program qualifies an officer as an Undersea Warfare Subspecialist with a subspecialty code of 6301P. The curriculum sponsors are N97 (Submarine Warfare) and N95 (Expeditionary Warfare).

Typical Subspecialty Assignments

Naval Undersea Warfare Center COMINEWARCOM Naval Air Warfare Center

Submarine Development Squadron Twelve

Program Executive Offices

Patrol Wing Staffs

Carrier Group Staffs

Naval Air Systems Command

Naval Surface Warfare Development Group


Destroyer Squadron Staffs

Fleet Mine Warfare Training Center

Operational Test and Evaluation Force

Typical Course of Study

Notes: Courses NW3230, NW3285, NW3275, and NW3276, are Joint Professional Military Education courses and are applicable to U.S. Navy students only. UW0001 (0-1) Seminars on Undersea Warfare related topics are offered approximately bi-weekly throughout the program. USW students are expected to attend UW0001 seminars as offered.

Quarter 1

MA1115Multi Variable Calculus

MA1116Vector Calculus

OC2020Computer Computations in Air-Ocean Sciences

PC3400Survey of Underwater Acoustics

MA1115, MA1116: 6 week accelerated courses offered sequentially

Quarter 2

MA2121Differential Equations

NW3230Strategy & War

NW3275Joint Maritime Operations - part 1

OC3230Descriptive Physical Oceanography

Quarter 3

MA3132Partial Differential Equations and Integral Transforms

NW3276Joint Maritime Operations - part 2

Specialization Elective

Quarter 4

ME3720Introduction to Unmanned Systems

OS2103Applied Probability for Systems Technology

Specialization Elective

Specialization Elective

Quarter 5

NW3285Theater Security Decision Making

OA3602Search Theory and Detection

OC3260Fundamentals of Ocean Acoustics

Specialization Elective

Quarter 6

EO2402Introduction to Linear Systems

UW2001History of USW Part I , Mine Warfare

UW2003Undersea Warfare – Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

Specialization Elective

Specialization Elective

Quarter 7

OA4607Tactical Decision Making

UW0810Thesis Research/Group Project

UW0810Thesis Research/Group Project

Specialization Elective

Quarter 8

EC3460Introduction to Machine Learning for Signal Analytics

OC4270Tactical Oceanography

UW0810Thesis Research/Group Project

UW0810Thesis Research/Group Project

Educational Skill Requirements (ESR)

Undersea Warfare Program

Subspecialty Code: 6301P

Maintaining superiority in Undersea Warfare is an essential goal for our Navy and one of the CNO's top priorities. Small, quiet targets, rising ambient noise levels, technologically sophisticated asymmetric weapons, and an emphasis on the littoral make conducting successful offensive and defensive naval operations in the undersea environment a most challenging task. The Undersea Warfare curriculum at the Naval Postgraduate School seeks to improve the performance of officers throughout their careers in the operation, evaluation, development, and acquisition of USW systems. To accomplish this requires a broad, interdisciplinary education in the fundamental principles of USW. The conceptual tools and techniques provided by courses in mathematics, physics, oceanography, operations research, signal processing, and autonomous systems prepare the officer to understand and solve new problems. In addition to the broad education provided by the core courses of the curriculum, each student will obtain their degree in a specific field such as Operations Research, Electrical Engineering, Engineering Acoustics, Applied Physics, Physical Oceanography, Mechanical Engineering, or Applied Mathematics. The combined breadth and depth of this education provide the Navy with a cadre of officers prepared to respond to future challenges in a wide variety of USW-related jobs. The specific ESRs include:

  1. Mathematics: The officer will master the mathematical principles and techniques necessary to complete graduate level course work and research related to undersea warfare.
  2. Physics: The officer will understand physical principles applicable to acoustic, non-acoustic Undersea Warfare (USW) systems.
  3. Acoustics: The officer will understand acoustical phenomena affecting the design, performance, and operation of acoustic USW systems.
  4. Oceanography: The officer will understand atmospheric and oceanographic processes influencing the performance and tactical use of USW systems.
  5. Signal Processing: The officer will understand principles of signal processing and machine learning as they apply to signal and information processing in USW systems.
  6. Operations Research: The officer will understand the principles of USW search, detection, and localization (in support of operational planning). The officer will understand principles of tactical decision aids and data analysis in the evaluation of USW systems.
  7. Unmanned Systems: The officer will understand the fundamental technologies and capabilities of unmanned underwater systems and tactical robotics. This will include a physical understanding of autonomous vice remotely operated current and future technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as concepts and limitations for unmanned systems as part of future undersea operating concepts.
  8. Programming and Simulation: The officer will be able to program solutions to essential engineering problems. The officer will be able to assess models and perform simulations.
  9. Problem Solving and Practical Applicability: The officer will demonstrate the ability to conduct independent analysis in Undersea Warfare and proficiency in written and oral presentations.  Additionally, they will understand the history of USW and its implications to today's Navy.

Curriculum Sponsor and ESR Approval Authority

Director, Submarine Warfare Division (N97) Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division (N95)