The motivations and expectations of students pursuing maritime education

  • IAMU Section Article
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  • Published: 27 January 2015
  • Volume 14 , pages 313–331, ( 2015 )

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  • Yui-yip Lau 1 &
  • Adolf K.Y. Ng 2 , 3  

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The ever-changing global environment has increased emphasis on the research and creation of knowledge dedicated to professional practice. The maritime industry serves as the illustrative example, of which it has transformed from a traditionally largely unskilled, labor-intensive industry to a capital-intensive, sophisticated one. This has transformed the nature of maritime education from a highly practical, hands-on approach to tertiary education emphasizing on business and analytical skills, as characterized by the increasing number of tertiary institutions offering under- and postgraduate maritime programs. However, the motivations and expectations of students pursuing such programs have remained under-researched. In this study, we have conducted a questionnaire survey towards under- and postgraduate students who pursue maritime programs. The aim is to understand their profiles, motivations, and expectations of respective programs that these students have enrolled in. Constructive recommendations and strategies are provided to contribute to an effective planning and management of program articulation.

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1 Introduction

The maritime industry is one of the four economic pillars of Hong Kong. According to a summary statistics on the Hong Kong shipping industry (Transport and Housing Bureau 2012 ), Hong Kong is currently among the world’s top 10 fleet owning countries/territories. There are a total of 72,524,000 tonnages for all registered vessels in Hong Kong, while the number of vessels is 2035 and the number of authorized ship insurers in Hong Kong has reached 90. The maritime industry has made significant economic contributions to the city. For instance, ship agents and managers and local representative offices of overseas shipping companies have generated a profit of HKD 5,975 million, while the profit made by ship owners or operators of sea-going vessels was HKD 93,727 million. The Hong Kong maritime industry has created a wide range of industry groups and job opportunities: 7,653 persons engaged in ship agents and managers and local representative offices of overseas shipping companies business; 4,461 persons joined the workforce in ship owners or operators of sea-going vessels; 2,024 persons were involved in ship owners and operators of Hong Kong–Pearl River Delta Vessels; and 285 persons were employed as shipbrokers.

To maintain the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s maritime industry in the world, it would be essential to maintain a comprehensive maritime education. However, there has been increasing concerns that maritime studies may gradually “fade out” under an integration of courses covering broader themes to be redundant. Footnote 1 As the changing global environment has created an emphasis on dedicated knowledge, professional, and research (Moreby 2004 ), employees of the highest caliber should respond effectively to ongoing changes and professional education could be an effective and direct way to improve productivity (Becker 1993 ). In recent years, there has been a substantial growth in “professional” and “practice-based” programs based has taken place among academic institutions (Bourner et al. 2001 ), which emphasize apprentice-style, non-academic learning approaches.

The maritime industry serves as an illustrative example, especially after its transformation from a largely unskilled labour- to a capital-intensive industry, and contributed to the presence of tertiary education in maritime studies (Grammenos 2002 ; Heaver 2002 ; Levinson 2006 ; Stopford 2009 ). Many governments formulate policies to train up officers on sea-going vessels and shipping firms ashore through maritime education. Mitropoulos, the secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) believed that an extensive international education and training would be essential to continually upgrade knowledge and skills throughout one’s working life Footnote 2 . In the early years, maritime education mainly focused on vocational training of deck and electronic officers on board sea-going vessels as their knowledge, skills and willingness could contribute to the reliability and efficiency of shipping operations (Gardner et al. 2007 ; Harlaftis and Theotokas 2004 ; Theotokas 2007 ). However, factors such as economic growth, the rise in multimodal supply chains, technological revolution and sophisticated maritime business models have called for the need to redesign the curriculum of maritime education with an objective to appeal to the younger generation. There is also a need for maritime programs to adopt a wider strategic view, as opposed to a narrow, operational view (Mangan et al. 2001 ).

In this paper, we understand maritime education as an interdisciplinary academic field that embraces ship management, humankind’s critical monolithic skills, and knowledge for being management trainees in companies and deck cadets on board. To meet the ever-rising national and international standards within the maritime industry, such as Port State Control (PSC) and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code, maritime education should enhance, and explain, integration between human activities and the condition of the maritime environments (Fu et al. 2010 ; Lewarn 2002 ; Zhu 2006 ). To align maritime programs with the needs of maritime stakeholders, their curriculums should inscribe business and management skills, e.g., language, decision making, leadership, organizational knowledge, interpersonal, etc., into consideration. Indeed, they should equip students with the desired skills and proper knowledge and professional attitudes for the maritime industry. Although the demands for both under- and postgraduate maritime studies programs keep on growing rapidly, the reasons for such demand remain rather unclear. To fill in this gap, we review the development of maritime education and examine the value of under- and postgraduate maritime programs from the student’s perspective, with a special focus on Hong Kong. It aims to explore whether exiting maritime education is an effective way for occupational groups to achieving their professional status and in what ways education supports a substantial growth of maritime industry and generates increasing productivity and equips industrial practitioners with desired skills.

The rest of the paper is structured as follows. Section  2 presents the situation of maritime education in Hong Kong, followed by an explanation of the methodology in Section  3 . Section  4 discusses the empirical results. Before the concluding remarks in Section  6 , Section  5 examines the structures and characteristics of the demands for under- and postgraduate maritime programs in Hong Kong.

2 Maritime education in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government strongly supports the education and trainings of programs in the maritime industry (The 2013 Policy Address 2013; Hong Kong Maritime Department 2013 ). A number of local academic institutions offer programs related to maritime studies at both post- and undergraduate levels. Table  1 illustrates some major maritime programs offered by Hong Kong’s tertiary and professional institutions.

2.1 Scope of area

The majority of training courses and educational programs associated with maritime studies focus on transportation, logistics operations and supply chain development. Hong Kong is among the world’s top 10 fleet owning countries/territories, and a port of Hong Kong is one of top 5 ports in the world, handling 23 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) (UNCTAD 2012 ). These evidences suggest that it would be necessary for Hong Kong to develop maritime education programs that focus on sea freight management and operations.

2.2 Course design

Considerable current maritime programs emphasize on shipping operations, dangerous goods handling, import/export trading practices, port and terminal operations, intermodal transport operations, and chartering practice. When designing new programs, it is important to balance theoretical and practical knowledge.

Over the years, considerable research works have contributed to the literature regarding maritime education and training, the skills required for maritime employees, and the structure of maritime courses (e.g., Barnett et al. 2006 ; Carp 2004 ; Cooper et al. 2003 ; Emad and Roth 2008 ; Evangelista and Morvillo 1998 ; Gardner et al. 2007 ; Hara 2000 ; Ircha 2006 ; Lewarn 2002 ; Ng et al. 2011 ; Paine-Clemes 2006 ; Pettit et al. 2005 ; Ruan 2002 ; Sampson 2004 ; Shah et al. 2007 ). Taussik ( 1998 ) highlights interdisciplinary training and education in maritime industry as being critical for the maritime stakeholders. Barnett et al. ( 2006 ) identify seafarer requirements at sea and shore-based maritime sectors have contributed to these initiatives through mapping the multiple career opportunities and maritime education that exist for seafarers. Finally, Shah et al. ( 2007 ) outlines a specific template for postgraduate level courses requiring a fine balance between academic and vocational relevance in maritime education.

Nevertheless, research examining the significance of different incentives in decisions to embark on maritime education has remained rather scarce. The extents by which actual features of such programs correspond to the aspirations of the enrolled under- and postgraduate students have not been empirically studied. Many previous studies also seem to share some methodological shortcomings. First, many do not have applied research methodologies, e.g., statistical, experimental, etc., and conclusions are often based on theoretical discussions. Many are merely extensive analyses about regulations in the maritime industry and the changing needs of contemporary business environment. Inadequate attention has been paid to students, the direct users of educational services. Also, although there are some studies which attempt to address this deficiency (e.g., Ng et al., 2009 ; 2011 ), comprehensive studies comparing under- and postgraduate students have been found wanting. Understanding such, in this study, we conduct a questionnaire survey with students enrolling in under- or a postgraduate maritime programs. Specifically, we focus on the following issues:

Students’ profiles

Their considerations, motivations, and channels of information before choosing to study on maritime programs

Their expectations, particularly in academic knowledge, career, and personal development

Their selection of career paths after graduation

Their evaluations of the features of maritime programs.

We compare the survey findings between under- and postgraduate students through a comprehensive database developed to a survey within a same maritime education institution. The study explores the process of professionalization within a shipping world and offer useful insights and advice to improve existing under- and postgraduate maritime programs so as to sustain the development of such programs in the long run.

3 Methodology

A questionnaire based on the Likert-style score scale (1 = strongly agree; 2 = agree; 3 = fairly agree; 4 = fairly disagree; 5 = disagree; and 6 = strongly disagree) was designed, and distributed to students who have enrolled in under- and postgraduate programs in maritime studies. During the fall of 2011, 250 questionnaires were distributed to 180 undergraduates and 70 postgraduates studying maritime programs at the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies (LMS) at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (HKPU), pursuing the Bachelor of Business Administration in International Shipping and Transport Logistics and the Master of Science in International Shipping and Transport Logistics, respectively. We have decided to focus on HKPU because it has been offering education for vocational training of deck officers and electronic officers on board sea-going vessels for potential managers to ship management for decades, and is considered to be a very significant player in Hong Kong’s maritime education. Since the 2000s, LMS (Department of Logistics, or LGT, before 2008) has re-designed the curricula of all maritime programs by incorporating subjects related to management and general business issues within a maritime industry rather than highly specialized or technical subjects, e.g., marine engineering, maritime law, maritime technology, etc. To ensure that the respondents could provide relevant answers based on real learning experience, all of them have completed at least one year of studies in their respective programs. Footnote 3

The response rate was encouraging—76.4 % with 191 completed questionnaires (with valid responses). The questionnaire was divided into two sections: In Section A, participants were asked to provide background information related to their work experiences and studies, for instance, their highest academic qualification, years of working experience within a maritime industry, nationality, age, family background, etc. In Section B, participants provided detailed information about their studies including higher education enrolment, employment, and scholarships during their studies as well as their plans and preferred work after graduation. The questionnaire also asked respondents on the following topics: (1) issues considered when deciding to pursue their maritime programs, (2) information channels for their current maritime programs, and (3) a description of their maritime programs. The questions were asked in the form of statements and participants responded by choosing the extent to which they agree with a particular statement or not (i.e., eight to nine statements per theme).

To comply with confidentiality, data analysis was undertaken collectively without reference to any particular survey participants or institutions. Additionally, the survey questions and certain information in Section  5 were based on some semi-formal discussions with a number of relevant parties or materials pertaining to scholars, industrial practitioners, and maritime journalists. All aspects of the attributes could be validated in the questionnaire and addressed the study objectives (Malhorta and Grover 1998 ).

To ensure statistical sensibility of the collected data, we have conducted a series of t tests to evaluate their reliability and addressed potential non-response bias on the results (Armstrong and Overton 1977 ). The non-response bias was measured by dividing the 191 survey respondents into two groups (Table  2 ), and we used this as the database for further analysis. The results revealed that the collected data was statistically significant at the 5 % significance level.

4 Empirical results

4.1 background information.

Most undergraduate students enrolled in undergraduate maritime programs have completed secondary education for at least two years, or have obtained higher diploma or associate degree, and have articulated to programs that they are currently pursuing through the Non-Joint University Programs Admissions System (Non-JUPAS) Footnote 4 . Simultaneously, over 90 % of the postgraduate students consist of degree holders in business, management, and/or marine engineering. Their degrees are awarded by universities worldwide, including the University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong), City University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Shanghai Maritime University (China), Shanghai International Studies University (China), Dalian Maritime University (China), Southwest Jiaotong University (China), University of Applied Sciences (Germany), University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Rouen Business School (France), Huddersfield University (UK), and Curtin University of Technology (Australia). The rest of the respondents have obtained other professional qualifications with solid work experience in the shipping, transport, or logistics sectors before proceeding to their postgraduate maritime programs. In Hong Kong, there is less restriction in language, since in most cases English is used as the main medium of instruction. Additionally, there are non-Chinese students enrolled in such programs every year as exchange students to take part in maritime programs.

Broadly speaking, only 7.4 and 9.3 % of the under- and postgraduate students, respectively, have family members who have worked in the shipping industry, or in any maritime-related employment before (Table  3 ). Among them, two have a (former) marine engineer within the families—a senior safety officer and a captain. Although the results suggest that few under- and postgraduate students enrolled in maritime programs had family members working in a maritime industry, 75.6 and 65.1 % of under- and postgraduate students, respectively, found that a role of maritime tradition was significant to their decision to enroll in maritime programs. Not surprisingly, 83.8 and 70 % of under- and postgraduate students, respectively, reported that an economy of their hometowns are currently associated with jobs related to a maritime industry.

The results indicated that 27 % of the undergraduate students held at least one university degree or possessed postgraduate qualifications, while 16.3 % of their mothers were also university degree holders. For postgraduate students, 27.9 % of their fathers and 14 % of their mothers were degree holders (Table  4 ). Nevertheless, none of the parents of the under- or postgraduate students have attended any marine academies.

The results indicate that the annual family income of our respondents stands at a lower and of the scale (Table  5 ). Over 60 % of undergraduate students reported that their families earned less than HKD 203,410 (equivalent to about USD 26,245 in August 2014) per year, and only about 20 % and 10 % of these families can be categorized as middle- and upper-income class, respectively. Therefore, it is not surprising to find that 44.6 % of the undergraduate students have part-time works so as to relieve some financial difficulties. Similarly, 58.1 % of the postgraduate students reported that their respective family income was at lower income levels and that 30.2 % of them have a full time job (Table  6 ).

4.2 Professional experiences before and during enrolment

Interestingly, no postgraduate students in our survey had any professional sea-going experience, although 13 possessed some onshore experiences, such as sales and marketing, accounting, law, documentation, customer services, procurement, to name but a few. As expected, most undergraduate students did not have any professional maritime experiences when they enrolled in their maritime programs (Table  7 ), although some of them had some professional experiences: 56.5 and 83.3 % had worked in non-maritime-related part- and full-time jobs, respectively. In addition, over 70 % of the undergraduate students planned to work part time during their studies. This was not only due to financial incentives but also a desire to gain some professional experiences before graduation. Meanwhile, professional experiences and financial incentives were the main factors that prompted postgraduate students to pursue their current studies (Table  8 ).

4.3 Plans after graduation

Over half of the undergraduate students who completed the survey planned to continue their postgraduate education in maritime studies after graduation, and this could foster themselves to obtain higher educational qualifications in a maritime field (Table  9 ). Except for coast guards and the shipbuilding industry, the responses for all other sectors were similar and showed positive feedbacks. Indeed, the undergraduate students often planned to seek professional life from other industries.

In terms of plans after graduation, the responses from postgraduate students are significantly different from their undergraduate counterparts. Few of them consider pursuing further studies, neither in logistics and maritime theme (9.3 %) nor in another discipline (4.7 %). Half of them indicate that they prefer finding a job in the maritime (and, in some cases, logistics) industries. There was also a tendency to seek professional life from other industries among these postgraduate students, especially in the banking and financial sectors. Slightly over half of them wanted to work in a shipbuilding industry (56 %), closely followed by the (general) transport industry (53 %). Port and coast guards are jointly ranked as the third most preferred option (49 %). Finally, tourism is ranked as the fifth most preferred option (40 %). Based on the collected data, postgraduate students least prefer to work in public administration (21 %) (Table  10 ).

Table  11 presents the results of postgraduate students’ responses to the question “if maritime industries are an ideal work to be associated with, then which sub-sector?” The results show that about 45 % of them showed an interest in containers, 14 % in dry bulk, and 11.6 % in tankers. Only few would like to work for cruise or coastal shipping.

4.4 Motivation to enroll in maritime programs

Nearly 40 % of the family members of the students being surveyed expressed a positive view towards maritime studies, and this suggests that their family members are likely to support them to pursue such programs and develop a career path in the maritime industry. With the support from their family members, 30 % of the undergraduate students reported state that the maritime programs that they are pursuing were their first choice during their university admission application. In contrast with undergraduate students, four out of five postgraduate students decided to pursue maritime programs. Practical and occupational-orientated nature seems to be the most crucial factor for pursuing maritime programs at postgraduate level (Table  12 ).

Forty-three postgraduate students have answered the question about scholarships in pursuing maritime program. Thirteen and four postgraduate students have received scholarships from tertiary institutions and external parties, respectively. In our data analysis, this is a crucial point of postgraduate students pursuing in such program.

4.5 Issues considered in enrolling a maritime program

To explore the key issues considered by under- and postgraduates when enrolling in a maritime program, the questions asked and a description of the summarized mean scores are presented in Tables  13 and 14 , respectively. The results indicate that the top 3 issues considered by undergraduate students when pursuing a maritime program are (1) to enhance knowledge about a logistics industry, (2) to enhance knowledge about maritime industry, and (3) program’s accreditation by professional units with the last item scoring the best mean score. The findings also show that undergraduate students pay less attention to (1) higher chance of getting a job, (2) great interests in the courses, (3) to be associated with their respective countries’ maritime tradition, and (4) no other alternatives. On the contrary, postgraduate students emphasize the following factors: (1) a reputation of the programs/departments, (2) university/faculty/departments have good networks within the industry, and (3) the easiness to obtain good grades in courses, followed by (4) courses are practice-oriented, which is in line with a crucial feature of the maritime programs (as mentioned earlier). Interestingly, when considering whether to enroll in a particular maritime program or not, postgraduate students are generally not affected by family members, friends, or colleagues whose have already pursued such programs.

4.6 Information channels for the maritime programs

In this section, we address the ways on how respondents found out about the program they enrolled in (Table  15 ). In this regard, it is surprising to see that, while social network (notably family members, friends, teachers, or knowing a third person) is not an effective channel for undergraduate students to gather information about maritime programs, it is very important for postgraduate students. In fact, a large number of enrolments (especially postgraduate students) were not a direct result of any aggressive marketing campaigns. The advancement of information technology has also helped students to seek relevant course information without time and place restrictions, and because of this, both under- and postgraduate students mostly agree that information technology is an important channel to obtain necessary information regarding the programs.

4.7 Description of the maritime programs

During the survey, we have invited survey respondents to describe their enrolled maritime programs. The received answers are summarized in Table  16 . Most under- and postgraduate students agreed that the maritime program outcomes meet their initial expectations. The workload is appropriate, and the teaching staff has adopted various teaching methods to allow students to learn effectively. In general, all responses to the specific questions fell within a range of strongly agree (1) to rather agree (3). None of the 191 survey respondents has expressed any disagreement towards any of the statements in this section. However, despite the well-qualified teaching staff, many feel that the courses are too academic or theoretical and that the courses could, and should, cover more practical aspects of the maritime industry. Unlike their postgraduate counterparts, undergraduate students appreciate the fact that they can enhance their professional competence and skills and transfer job-related skills from the maritime programs. However, 54 % of them reported that they had limited or no knowledge about the Chinese maritime industry (Table  17 ). Given the closer ties between Hong Kong and other parts of China, this suggested a major shortfall of the maritime programs being studied.

5 Discussions

We have closely examined the profiles, motivation, and expectations of under- and postgraduate students pursuing maritime related programs. In addition, we have analyzed the structures and characteristics of the demands for such programs.

Our study discusses the presence of a triple maritime dimension: Students select to pursue an undergraduate maritime degree, and that they may consider studying for a maritime postgraduate program, and finally their ambition is to work in the maritime sector. In general, the motivation of both under- and postgraduate students in pursuing their respective maritime programs is strategically driven by practical considerations. The results support the notion that their maritime programs generally meet the initial expectations of both under- and postgraduate students.

Regarding the degree choice considerations, according to our findings, a good program should possess the following competencies: (1) increases students’ professional competence and skills, (2) provides updated information on the industry, and (3) courses to be delivered by well-qualified teachers. Additionally, well-qualified teaching staff should provide a wide variety of innovative teaching methods so as to transfer relevant professional and practical skills to students and enhance their knowledge about the maritime industry.

Both under- and postgraduate students perceive the maritime programs they pursue as being too theoretical. To address this problem, we strongly believe that tertiary institutions should put more efforts in strengthening their networks with a local maritime industry. In return, the latter should offer more training opportunities, mentorship, and internship placements, so as to allow students to establish or expand their industrial networks more effectively. For example, HKPU has often invited scholars from foreign universities to conduct reviews and help in redesigning maritime programs. Other parties from the maritime industry, including industrial associations, potential and current employers, and alumni were also invited to offer advices to the programs, and to better equip students when they entered the job market. Furthermore, our findings illustrate that a large number of students pursue maritime programs because of an appropriate study workload, and that in some cases students perceive that they could obtain good results rather easily. The long-term impacts of such trend against the quality of the maritime industry professionals are subject to further research.

Unsurprisingly, most students expect to work in the maritime industry after graduation. For postgraduate students, a container sector is their ideal work under the maritime industry. This should not be deemed surprising, given that most of the world’s traded cargoes are carried by container shipping both in terms of value and tonnages (Ng and Liu 2014 ), and thus, it often receives the most attention, in both media and the maritime programs themselves. This suggests that maritime programs should perhaps pay more attention to the non-container aspects. Furthermore, with closer economic ties between Hong Kong and other parts of China in recent years, the maritime and logistics development of both regions are likely to affect each other significantly. However, our findings suggest that not many undergraduate students have even fundamental knowledge about the Chinese maritime industry. Thus, in the future, universities and tertiary institutions in Hong Kong should consider incorporating subjects with more “Greater Chinese elements” into both under- and postgraduate curricula of maritime education in future and invite more reputable guest speakers to deliver seminars or presentations about the Chinese maritime industry.

Regarding survey respondents’ family background, few family members of the surveyed under- and postgraduates have worked in the shipping industry or in maritime-related activities. This suggests that an influence from family members probably does not play a vital role in providing first hand or updated relevant maritime programs information in Hong Kong. Compared with undergraduate students, most postgraduate students are already working in the maritime industry and their key contact parties (notably, colleagues, supervisors, former teachers, and associations) can provide them with useful information regarding the maritime programs, and share past experience with them in pursuing such programs. Support from these parties often creates peer-group influences that motivate these students to pursue the maritime programs. Finally, our findings suggest that information technology has become a necessity for students to access maritime program information in real time.

Regarding the annual family income of the respondents, most under- and postgraduate students come from or are living at low-income levels, and they take up employment during their studies because of financial necessities. Only 39.5 % of the postgraduate students have been awarded scholarships from tertiary institutions/universities and/or external parties. Based on these findings, the HKSAR Government and industrial associations should take more initiatives in offering scholarships to motivate qualified students to enroll in maritime programs.

6 Conclusions

Quality education is fundamental for the long-term well-being of the maritime industry. As a global maritime logistics hub, maritime education has been growing in Hong Kong in the past decade as reflected by an increasing number of enrolments in maritime programs and the number of programs offered to under- and postgraduates by local tertiary institutions.

In this study, we collected data from 191 students (148 undergraduates and 43 postgraduates) through a questionnaire survey. By doing so, we can understand more about the students’ profiles, their sources of information, motivation, and expectations of the associated programs that they have enrolled in. In addition, we explored the different perceptions and evaluations of undergraduates and of their enrolled programs. This study has examined a professionalization process of the maritime industry and provides invaluable insight to researchers, maritime industries, associations, perspective students, and current ones. By studying the characteristics and structures of the demands for maritime programs, strategies and recommendations are made to contribute to an effective planning and management of maritime program articulation, and to help Hong Kong to develop into a world-class maritime educational hub in Asia-Pacific and the world. Useful strategic advice for developing a global maritime logistics hub is also given for others’ reference. In the past, Hong Kong’s maritime education focused on seafarer vocational training and covering narrow and highly technical aspects in shipping. Nowadays, they do not only cover shipping-dedicated subjects (e.g., navigation and communication systems, shipping logistics, ship-broking, chartering practice, marine navigation and meteorology, port planning and management, etc.) but also core (e.g., business finance, introduction to business law, global economic environment, operations management, etc.) and non-core business subjects (e.g., business English, transferrable skills, etc.). In many cases, the restructured maritime programs have incorporated a wide range of theoretical and commercial knowledge and skills, so as to equip graduates with both specialized knowledge in shipping and logistics as well as strong management competency, such as leadership, teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.

A well-structured and comprehensive maritime program offers both width and depth (from certificate and doctorate level) to train up students in business knowledge and analytical skills. A number of local [e.g., Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ)] Footnote 5 and overseas [e.g., National/Scottish Vocational Qualification (N/SVQ) Footnote 6 , Association of MBAs (AMBA) Footnote 7 , the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) Footnote 8 , and the European Foundation for Management Development-European Quality Improvement System (EFMD-EQUIS)] Footnote 9 professional institutions have accredited Hong Kong’s maritime programs, such as those offered by LMS, in achieving certain quality standards. These institutions offer constructive advice on how to articulate degree programs with a postgraduate study level in both local and overseas institutions.

Maritime education has flourished in Hong Kong in the past decade as evidenced by the increasing number of under- and postgraduate maritime programs offered by local tertiary institutions. However, the structures and characteristics of the demands for such programs remain under-researched. Through this study, a generalized trend regarding the profiles, motivation, and expectations of respective programs of students from maritime programs can be drawn and the similarities and differences in terms of professional experience, culture, gender, and competency among these students can be identified. Furthermore, we have offered ways to adopt effective planning and management of maritime program articulation and to sustain the development of Hong Kong as a world-class educational hub for maritime studies.

This paper is based on a single case study, i.e., Hong Kong, and is an initial attempt to apply a concept of professionalism in maritime education through an exploratory study. It should provide useful insight to professional bodies on how to improve the quality of these under- and postgraduate programs in the future. To increase the generalizability of our findings, we plan to conduct large-scale longitudinal studies on maritime education in other countries, for instance, a comparison of maritime programs offered in Hong Kong and those in other countries (e.g., Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, China, Thailand, Korea, etc.). A comparative study between Hong Kong and other Asian countries should be of great significance, as the findings will help to plot the general development of under- and postgraduate studies in maritime education. By doing so, we can create a strong platform in conducting further research on this important topic.

Here, it is interesting to recall a plenary session held during the Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME) 2000 (Naples, Italy), discussing this issue in light of the restructuring of Cardiff University, UK, and the integration of the then Department of Maritime Studies and International Transport to the University’s Business School. During the conference, some scholars expressed the view that the end of maritime studies higher education degrees was probable.

This is an opening address by Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, E. Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization on 10 May 2006 for the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), 81st session.

When the survey was undertaken, most undergraduate programs run by the universities in Hong Kong, including HKPU, were still under the 3-year system. Hence, all the survey respondents were either in their second year or, in the case of undergraduate students, third year of study.

JUPAS is the main route of application designed to assist students with Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) Examination results (past and/or current) to apply for admission to programmes offered by the JUPAS-participating tertiary institutions in Hong Kong.

For details of HKCAAVQ, see: .

N/SVQ is the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority of the UK, Scotland, Wales, Australia and New Zealand. For details of N/SVQ, see: .

For details of AMBA, see: .

For further details on AACSB, see: .

For further details on EFMD-EQUIS, see: .

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The study was partly supported by the CPCE Research Funds (project account code: 4.8L.xx.EZ65). We thank the editor and anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and advice. The usual disclaimers apply.

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Yui-yip Lau

Department of Supply Chain Management, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Adolf K.Y. Ng

Transport Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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Lau, Yy., Ng, A.K. The motivations and expectations of students pursuing maritime education. WMU J Marit Affairs 14 , 313–331 (2015).

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Received : 24 June 2014

Accepted : 09 January 2015

Published : 27 January 2015

Issue Date : October 2015


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Theses/dissertations from 2023 2023.

Environmental chemical analysis method optimization and application to northwest Cuban marine sediment , Thea R. Bartlett

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The effects of temperature and oxygen availability on aerobic performance in three coastal shark species; Squalus acanthias, Carcharhinus limbatus, and Carcharhinus leucas , Alyssa M. Andres

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Interactions between juvenile estuary-dependent fishes and microalgal dynamics , Ian C. Williams

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

Metabolic Rate, Critical Oxygen Partial Pressure, and Oxygen Supply Capacity of Farfantepenaeus duorarum at their Lower Thermal Limit , Alexandra L. Burns

From River to Sea: Improving Carbon System Measurement Methods for use in Rivers, Estuaries, and Oceans , Ellie Hudson-Heck

Riverine and Estuarine CO2-System Studies on the West Coast of Florida , Christopher S. Moore

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Investigating the Recent History of a Changing Planet with Innovative Isotopic Techniques and New Geologic Archives , Ryan A. Venturelli

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Testing the Efficacy of Recompression Tools to Reduce the Discard Mortality of Reef Fishes in the Gulf of Mexico , Oscar E. Ayala

Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Organochlorine Pesticides, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Snapper (Family Lutjanidae) from Cuba and the Wider Gulf of Mexico , Brigid E. Carr

A Health Evaluation of Gulf of Mexico Golden Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) and Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill , Kristina Leigh Deak

A Process-based Approach to Evaluating the Role of Organic Ligands in Trace Metal Cycling in the Marine Environment , Travis Mellett

Investigation of Retention Versus Export of Planktonic Fish Eggs in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico , Bich Vi Viviane Nguyen

Development of a Benthic Foraminifera Based Marine Biotic Index (Foram-AMBI) for the Gulf of Mexico: a Decision Support Tool , Bryan O'Malley

Plio-Pleistocene Antarctic Ice-Ocean Interactions in the Ross Sea , Catherine Prunella

Mechanisms of Carbon Movement and Stabilization in Mangrove Wetlands , Carey Schafer

Hepatobiliary Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Pelagic Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico , Madison R. Schwaab

Analytical Methods and Critical Analyses Supporting Thermodynamically Consistent Characterizations of the Marine CO 2 System , Jonathan D. Sharp

Large Thecosome Pteropods of the Northern Gulf of Mexico: Species Abundance, Spatial and Vertical Distribution With a Temporal Comparison of Shell Thickness , Sarah M. Shedler

Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Exposure, Hepatic Accumulation, and Associated Health Impacts in Gulf of Mexico Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) , Susan M. Snyder

Investigating the Isotope Signatures of Dissolved Iron in the Southern Atlantic Ocean , Brent A. Summers

Modeling Early Life: Ontogenetic Growth and Behavior Affect Population Connectivity in Gulf of Mexico Marine Fish , Kelly Vasbinder

Isotope-Based Methods for Evaluating Fish Trophic Geographies , Julie L. Vecchio

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

Use of Spectrofluorometry to Detect Petroleum Hydrocarbons in the Marine Environment , Mary Iris Abercrombie

Can Florida's Springs Coast provide a Potential Refuge for Calcifying Organisms? Evidence from Benthic Foraminifera , Kyle E. Amergian

Iron-Virus Interactions: Development and Testing of the Ferrojan Horse Hypothesis , Chelsea Bonnain

DNA Barcoding of Fish Eggs in the Gulf of Mexico , Makenzie Burrows

Ecological Responses of Seascape Heterogeneity , Dinorah H. Chacin

Species Abundance, Spatial and Vertical Distributionsof Large Heteropods (Pterotracheidae and Carinariidae)in the Northern Gulf of Mexico , Kristine A. Clark

Zooplankton Community Structure in the NE Gulf of Mexico: Impacts of Environmental Variability and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill , Kate M. Dubickas

Life History Through the Eyes of a Hogfish: Evidence of Trophic Growth and Differential Juvenile Habitat Use , Meaghan E. Faletti

Population Demographics of Golden Tilefish Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps in the Gulf of Mexico , Greta J. Helmueller

Regeneration of Trace Metals During Phytoplankton Decay: An Experimental Study , Adrienne P. Hollister

Estimating Coastal Water Turbidity Using VIIRS Nighttime Measurement , Chih-Wei Huang

Untapped Potential of Gorgonian Octocorals for Detecting Environmental Change in Biscayne National Park, Florida, USA , Selena A. Kupfner Johnson

High-Resolution Investigation of Event Driven Sedimentation: Response and Evolution of the Deepwater Horizon Blowout in the Sedimentary System , Rebekka A. Larson

Variations of Sedimentary Biogenic silica in the Gulf of Mexico during the Deepwater Horizon and IXTOC-I Oil Spill. , Jong Jin Lee

Variations of Global Ocean Salinity from Multiple Gridded Argo Products , Chao Liu

Fish Communities on Natural and Artificial Reefs in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico , Elizabeth C. Viau

Reconstructing Geographic and Trophic Histories of Fish Using Bulk and Compound-Specific Stable Isotopes from Eye Lenses , Amy A. Wallace

Studies of the Long-term Change of Global Mean and Regional Sea Surface Height , Yingli Zhu

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Ecophysiology of Oxygen Supply in Cephalopods , Matthew A. Birk

Remote Estimation of Surface Water p CO 2 in the Gulf of Mexico , Shuangling Chen

Spatial Dynamics and Productivity of a Gulf of Mexico Commercial Reef Fish Fishery Following Large Scale Disturbance and Management Change , Marcy Lynn Cockrell

Quantifying the Probability of Lethal Injury to Florida Manatees Given Characteristics of Collision Events. , B. Lynn Combs

Diversity of ssDNA Phages Related to the Family Microviridae within the Ciona robusta Gut , Alexandria Creasy

Use of a Towed Camera System along the west Florida shelf: A Case Study of the Florida Middle Grounds Benthic Marine Communities , Katie S. Davis

Using Ecosystem-Based Modeling to Describe an Oil Spill and Assess the Long-Term Effects , Lindsey N. Dornberger

Extending Spectrophotometric pHT Measurements in Coastal and Estuarine Environments , Nora Katherine Douglas

Evaluating the use of larval connectivity information in fisheries models and management in the Gulf of Mexico , Michael Drexler

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Predator-Prey Relationships in a Changing Ocean: From System Design to Education , Ileana M. Freytes-Ortiz

Application of Image Recognition Technology to Foraminiferal Assemblage Analyses , Christian Helmut Gfatter

Evaluation of trace-metal and isotopic records as techniques for tracking lifetime movement patterns in fishes , Jennifer E. Granneman

The Stability of Sand Waves in a Tidally-Influenced Shipping Channel, Tampa Bay, Florida , John Willis Gray

Application of Modern Foraminiferal Assemblages to Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction: Case Studies from Coastal and Shelf Environments , Christian Haller

Integrating Towed Underwater Video with Multibeam Acoustics for Mapping Benthic Habitat and Assessing Reef Fish Communities on the West Florida Shelf , Alexander Ross Ilich

Evaluating Beach Water Quality and Dengue Fever Risk Factors by Satellite Remote Sensing and Artificial Neural Networks , Abdiel Elias Laureano-Rosario

Microbial Associations of Four Species of Algal Symbiont-Bearing Foraminifera from the Florida Reef Tract, USA , Makenna May Martin

Environmental controls on the geochemistry of Globorotalia truncatulinoides in the Gulf of Mexico: Implications for paleoceanographic reconstructions , Caitlin Elizabeth Reynolds

Dormancy in the Amphistegina gibbosa Holobiont: Ecological and Evolutionary Implications for the Foraminifera , Benjamin J. Ross

Optical Remote Sensing of Oil Spills in the Gulf of Mexico , Shaojie Sun

Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Pelagic Sargassum in the Intra-Americas Sea and Atlantic Ocean , Mengqiu Wang

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

Packaging of Genetic Material by Gene Transfer Agents (GTAs) Produced by Marine Roseobacter Species and Their Effect on Stimulating Bacterial Growth , Shahd Bader Aljandal

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Evaluating satellite and supercomputing technologies for improved coastal ecosystem assessments , Matthew James Mccarthy

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Diversity and Distribution of Diatom Endosymbionts in Amphistegina spp. (Foraminifera) Based on Molecular and Morphological Techniques , Kwasi H. Barnes

Abundance of Archaias angulatus on the West Florida Coast Indicates the Influence of Carbonate Alkalinity over Salinity , Sean Thomas Beckwith

Resource Use Overlap in a Native Grouper and Invasive Lionfish , Joseph Schmidt Curtis

Miocene Contourite Deposition (along-slope) near DeSoto Canyon, Gulf of Mexico: A Product of an Enhanced Paleo-Loop Current , Shane Christopher Dunn

Trophic Ecology and Habitat Use of Atlantic Tarpon ( Megalops atlanticus ) , Benjamin Neal Kurth

Characterization of Bacterial Diversity in Cold-Water Anthothelidae Corals , Stephanie Nichole Lawler

Whiting Events Off Southwest Florida: Remote Sensing and Field Observations , Jacqueline Long

Pollutants and Foraminiferal Assemblages in Torrecillas Lagoon: An Environmental Micropaleontology Approach , Michael Martinez-Colon

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Profile Aspirations of Maritime Students in one Higher Education in the Philippines

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In attaining the goals and aspirations towards success, problems might occur in a situation which is already beyond the students' control and looking for the right answer or responding to it is the only way to move on. The study aimed to determine the profile of the students, value orientation and problems of the students in terms of health, family, relationship with others, self-concerns and studies. The descriptive type of research method was used in the study. Results revealed that the maritime students have high level of terminal, instrumental, moral and social values. Maritime students belong to determination category where they try their best to have high/good grades for future employment, to become a ship captain in the future no matter how hard it is and to have their own set of objectives and direction to achieve a better future. The profile aspiration of students in terms of Hibernation is affected by the type of school they graduated and parents' educational attainment while perspiration is affected by year level, type of school and educational attainment of mother.

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sample thesis title for maritime students pdf

Asia Pacific Journal of Maritime Education

Realizing work values as early as college years defines the character of the future professionals on how they could get into the corporate world with proper orientation and preparation for higher goals and responsibilities. This study aims to determine the level of importance on common work values of maritime students as drawn from participation in co-curricular activities. Quantitative descriptive type of research utilized in the study with 318 randomly selected maritime students across all year levels. Results showed that maritime students have very high level of importance on work values towards social environment with reasonable superior, consider their work as important by their peers and establish rapport among fellow cadets. Active participants of co-curricular activities have significantly higher level of importance of work values towards interpersonal relationship and social environment due to their experiences with the people in the academic community and society at large. Results suggest that active participation in co-curricular activities no matter how small the project, students have to show off their talents and potential contribution to the community in order for them to have a sense of ownership of their outputs and realization of learning outcomes.

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Several factors may be considered in selecting school and degree program like quality education, the people from the environment, personal choice; and accessibility of the school from students' residences. This study utilized a descriptive type of research method with Freshman Maritime students as respondents. Findings revealed that it is the personal choice of the students to enroll in maritime program in Lyceum of the Philippines University-Batangas (LPU-B) with the support primarily from their parents wherein quality education through being known as home of board topnotchers and its standards are considered big factor for their decision. They also believed that finishing maritime education would bring them in employment abroad which is basically the nature of duties and responsibilities of seafarers. High interest towards the degree program is also manifested among the maritime students. Maritime students graduated from public schools have significantly higher chance of being influenced by people in choosing the school and degree program and they also have significantly higher degree of interest towards the maritime program compared to those graduated from private schools.

IJESRT Journal

This study sought to find out the profile of students and their reasons for taking maritime education at NSU. The BSMarE and BSMT students served as respondents of the study of which the former comprised 48 of them and; the latter, 52 of them constituting an aggregate number of 100 respondents. The data were gathered with the use of a questionnaire and the same were analyzed with the use of descriptive statistics such as frequency counts, percentages, means and rank to describe the findings. Results revealed that the average age of respondents was almost 20 years old, predominantly males and single with a great number of them residing in boarding houses in Naval town. Their parents were the source of their financial support for their education. The respondents reasoned out that they were persuaded to take maritime education because it is an “in demand course”, among other reasons.

This study sought to determine the factors that influence the preference of maritime students in choosing the college degree program. Descriptive type of research was utilized with 154 maritime students as respondents of the study from one private maritime institution in the Philippines. Results showed that environmental factor has higher level of influence to the decision process of the students in choosing a college degree followed by behavioral factor. Those from public SHS have significantly higher motivation to pursue the program because of their ambition and they feel more ready to face the challenges of the program than those students from private schools. those students from private senior high schools have personally chosen maritime as their college degree while those students from public senior high school have decided to choose maritime with their parents and other relatives. The findings of the study provides some insights on the career planning of the maritime students gearing towards the fulfillment of their profession. Advice of the parents is important aspect in developing the career of their children while the personal preference of the children must also be given equal value.

This study aimed to determine the level of interest of the First Year Maritime Students towards their enrolled college degree and how they differed in terms of program difficulty. Descriptive type of research was utilized in the study with 126 respondents. Result showed that they have expressed higher level of interest based on the affective domain of learning followed by psychomotor. Findings also revealed that those maritime students with low level experienced of program difficulty have expressed higher level of interest towards the maritime program in terms of cognitive domain; while those maritime students with high level of interest based on affective domain towards the maritime program are also those who experienced higher level of program difficulty. Certain level of students' interest towards maritime program describes how far they could overcome the difficulties of their chosen college degree and the findings suggest that the first year students need more social orientation and development of strong personality and resiliency about the maritime profession.

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One significant component to assure quality education is formulation of policies aimed on Student' development. The academic performance of the students may also serve as an evaluation of the quality of education which the institution offers to the students. The study aimed to determine the academic performance of Freshmen Maritime students when grouped according to educational background. It further examined the differences in their performance in the technical courses, general education courses and aptitude for the service. Using percentage, mean and t-test, data are analyzed. Based on the semestral report on grades, the freshmen performed good in the professional subjects and performed very good in both general education courses and aptitude for the service. Further, there is no significant difference between academic performance of those without college background and with college background in the professional and general education courses but those with college background performed better in the aptitude for the service. The result suggests that the administration may explore the possibility of considering crediting the units earned by the students with college background. They should venture on the acquisition of more technical laboratory equipment such as simulators to increase the student's enthusiasm in the professional courses. Also, the school needs to improve its instruction and assessment on the aptitude for the service.

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Students with different performance levels have varying degrees of development needs in order to discover their full potential as future leaders and professional. This study aims to determine the comparison between Maritime Students with high and low academic performance in developing their confidence in terms of social and personal needs; and leadership capabilities in terms of cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Descriptive type of research was utilized in the study with 150 sample population as respondents. Maritime students have higher development needs in terms of cognitive leadership capability as well as confidence for personal and social development. The low performing students have significantly higher needs in terms of developing their confidence compared to high performing students as well as in cognitive leadership capability. Allowing the maritime students to participate in the international academic activities like attending research conferences would provide them the exposure and experience to meet and communicate with various professionals from different nationalities. Giving them the chance to actively participate in the community extension activities as support to classroom instruction that will also provide a better view of the society on how they will apply the knowledge and theories they learned from the University and contribute to the welfare of the community and as part of their personal and social development.


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Experiences of a London PhD student and beyond

Thesis Title: Examples and Suggestions from a PhD Grad

Graphic of a researcher writing, perhaps a thesis title

When you’re faced with writing up a thesis, choosing a title can often fall to the bottom of the priority list. After all, it’s only a few words. How hard can it be?!

In the grand scheme of things I agree that picking your thesis title shouldn’t warrant that much thought, however my own choice is one of the few regrets I have from my PhD . I therefore think there is value in spending some time considering the options available.

In this post I’ll guide you through how to write your own thesis title and share real-world examples. Although my focus is on the PhD thesis, I’ve also included plenty of thesis title examples for bachelor’s and master’s research projects too.

Hopefully by the end of the post you’ll feel ready to start crafting your own!

Why your thesis title is at least somewhat important

It sounds obvious but your thesis title is the first, and often only, interaction people will have with your thesis. For instance, hiring managers for jobs that you may wish to apply for in the future. Therefore you want to give a good sense of what your research involved from the title.

Many people will list the title of their thesis on their CV, at least for a while after graduating. All of the example titles I’ve shared below came from my repository of academic CVs . I’d say roughly 30% of all the academics on that page list their thesis title, which includes academics all the way up to full professor.

Your thesis title could therefore feature on your CV for your whole career, so it is probably worth a bit of thought!

My suggestions for choosing a good thesis title

  • Make it descriptive of the research so it’s immediately obvious what it is about! Most universities will publish student theses online ( here’s mine! ) and they’re indexed so can be found via Google Scholar etc. Therefore give your thesis a descriptive title so that interested researchers can find it in the future.
  • Don’t get lost in the detail . You want a descriptive title but avoid overly lengthy descriptions of experiments. Unless a certain analytical technique etc was central to your research, I’d suggest by default* to avoid having it in your title. Including certain techniques will make your title, and therefore research, look overly dated, which isn’t ideal for potential job applications after you graduate.
  • The title should tie together the chapters of your thesis. A well-phrased title can do a good job of summarising the overall story of your thesis. Think about each of your research chapters and ensure that the title makes sense for each of them.
  • Be strategic . Certain parts of your work you want to emphasise? Consider making them more prominent in your title. For instance, if you know you want to pivot to a slightly different research area or career path after your PhD, there may be alternative phrasings which describe your work just as well but could be better understood by those in the field you’re moving into. I utilised this a bit in my own title which we’ll come onto shortly.
  • Do your own thing. Having just laid out some suggestions, do make sure you’re personally happy with the title. You get a lot of freedom to choose your title, so use it however you fancy. For example, I’ve known people to use puns in their title, so if that’s what you’re into don’t feel overly constrained.

*This doesn’t always hold true and certainly don’t take my advice if 1) listing something in your title could be a strategic move 2) you love the technique so much that you’re desperate to include it!

Thesis title examples

To help give you some ideas, here are some example thesis titles from Bachelors, Masters and PhD graduates. These all came from the academic CVs listed in my repository here .

Bachelor’s thesis title examples

Hysteresis and Avalanches Paul Jager , 2014 – Medical Imaging – DKFZ Head of ML Research Group –  direct link to Paul’s machine learning academic CV

The bioenergetics of a marine ciliate, Mesodinium rubrum Holly Moeller , 2008 – Ecology & Marine Biology – UC Santa Barbara Assistant Professor –  direct link to Holly’s marine biology academic CV

Functional syntactic analysis of prepositional and causal constructions for a grammatical parser of Russian Ekaterina Kochmar , 2008 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

Master’s thesis title examples

Creation of an autonomous impulse response measurement system for rooms and transducers with different methods Guy-Bart Stan , 2000 – Bioengineering – Imperial Professor –  direct link to Guy-Bart’s bioengineering academic CV

Segmentation of Nerve Bundles and Ganglia in Spine MRI using Particle Filters Adrian Vasile Dalca , 2012 – Machine Learning for healthcare – Harvard Assistant Professor & MIT Research Scientist –  direct link to Adrian’s machine learning academic CV

The detection of oil under ice by remote mode conversion of ultrasound Eric Yeatman , 1986 – Electronics – Imperial Professor and Head of Department –  direct link to Eric’s electronics academic CV

Ensemble-Based Learning for Morphological Analysis of German Ekaterina Kochmar , 2010 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

VARiD: A Variation Detection Framework for Color-Space and Letter-Space Platforms Adrian Vasile Dalca , 2010 – Machine Learning for healthcare – Harvard Assistant Professor & MIT Research Scientist –  direct link to Adrian’s machine learning academic CV

Identification of a Writer’s Native Language by Error Analysis Ekaterina Kochmar , 2011 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

On the economic optimality of marine reserves when fishing damages habitat Holly Moeller , 2010 – Ecology & Marine Biology – UC Santa Barbara Assistant Professor –  direct link to Holly’s marine biology academic CV

Sensitivity Studies for the Time-Dependent CP Violation Measurement in B 0 → K S K S K S at the Belle II-Experiment Paul Jager , 2016 – Medical Imaging – DKFZ Head of ML Research Group –  direct link to Paul’s machine learning academic CV

PhD thesis title examples

Spatio-temporal analysis of three-dimensional real-time ultrasound for quantification of ventricular function Esla Angelini  – Medicine – Imperial Senior Data Scientist –  direct link to Elsa’s medicine academic CV

The role and maintenance of diversity in a multi-partner mutualism: Trees and Ectomycorrhizal Fungi Holly Moeller , 2015 – Ecology & Marine Biology – UC Santa Barbara Assistant Professor –  direct link to Holly’s marine biology academic CV

Bayesian Gaussian processes for sequential prediction, optimisation and quadrature Michael Osborne , 2010 – Machine Learning – Oxford Full Professor –  direct link to Michael’s machine learning academic CV

Global analysis and synthesis of oscillations: a dissipativity approach Guy-Bart Stan , 2005 – Bioengineering – Imperial Professor –  direct link to Guy-Bart’s bioengineering academic CV

Coarse-grained modelling of DNA and DNA self-assembly Thomas Ouldridge , 2011– Bioengineering – Imperial College London Senior Lecturer / Associate Prof –  direct link to Thomas’ bioengineering academic CV

4D tomographic image reconstruction and parametric maps estimation: a model-based strategy for algorithm design using Bayesian inference in Probabilistic Graphical Models (PGM) Michele Scipioni , 2018– Biomedical Engineer – Harvard Postdoctoral Research Fellow –  direct link to Michele’s biomedical engineer academic CV

Error Detection in Content Word Combinations Ekaterina Kochmar , 2016 – Computer Science – University of Bath Lecturer Assistant Prof –  direct link to Ekaterina’s computer science academic CV

Genetic, Clinical and Population Priors for Brain Images Adrian Vasile Dalca , 2016 – Machine Learning for healthcare – Harvard Assistant Professor & MIT Research Scientist –  direct link to Adrian’s machine learning academic CV

Challenges and Opportunities of End-to-End Learning in Medical Image Classification Paul Jager , 2020 – Medical Imaging – DKFZ Head of ML Research Group –  direct link to Paul’s machine learning academic CV

K 2 NiF 4  materials as cathodes for intermediate temperature solid oxide fuel cells Ainara Aguadero , 2006 – Materials Science – Imperial Reader –  direct link to Ainara’s materials science academic CV

Applications of surface plasmons – microscopy and spatial light modulation Eric Yeatman , 1989 – Electronics – Imperial Professor and Head of Department –  direct link to Eric’s electronics academic CV

Geometric Algorithms for Objects in Motion Sorelle Friedler , 2010 – Computer science – Haverford College Associate Professor –  direct link to Sorelle’s computer science academic CV .

Geometrical models, constraints design, information extraction for pathological and healthy medical image Esla Angelini  – Medicine – Imperial Senior Data Scientist –  direct link to Elsa’s medicine academic CV

Why I regret my own choice of PhD thesis title

I should say from the outset that I assembled my thesis in quite a short space of time compared to most people. So I didn’t really spend particularly long on any one section, including the title.

However, my main supervisor even spelled out for me that once the title was submitted to the university it would be permanent. In other words: think wisely about your title.

What I started with

Initially I drafted the title as something like: Three dimensional correlative imaging for cartilage regeneration . Which I thought was nice, catchy and descriptive.

I decided to go for “correlative imaging” because, not only did it describe the experiments well, but it also sounded kind of technical and fitting of a potential pivot into AI. I’m pleased with that bit of the title.

What I ended up with

Before submitting the title to the university (required ahead of the viva), I asked my supervisors for their thoughts.

One of my well intentioned supervisors suggested that, given that my project didn’t involve verifying regenerative quality, I probably shouldn’t state cartilage regeneration . Instead, they suggested, I should state what I was experimenting on (the materials) rather than the overall goal of the research (aid cartilage regeneration efforts).

With this advice I dialled back my choice of wording and the thesis title I went with was:

Three dimensional correlative imaging for measurement of strain in cartilage and cartilage replacement materials

Reading it back now I’m reminder about how less I like it than my initial idea!

I put up basically no resistance to the supervisor’s choice, even though the title sounds so much more boring in my opinion. I just didn’t think much of it at the time. Furthermore, most of my PhD was actually in a technique which is four dimensional (looking at a series of 3D scans over time, hence 4D) which would have sounded way more sciency and fitting of a PhD.

What I wish I’d gone with

If I had the choice again, I’d have gone with:

Four-dimensional correlative imaging for cartilage regeneration

Which, would you believe it, is exactly what it states on my CV…

Does the thesis title really matter?

In all honesty, your choice of thesis title isn’t that important. If you come to regret it, as I do, it’s not the end of the world. There are much more important things in life to worry about.

If you decide at a later stage that you don’t like it you can always describe it in a way that you prefer. For instance, in my CV I describe my PhD as I’d have liked the title to be. I make no claim that it’s actually the title so consider it a bit of creative license.

Given that as your career progresses you may not even refer back to your thesis much, it’s really not worth stressing over. However, if you’re yet to finalise your thesis title I do still think it is worth a bit of thought and hopefully this article has provided some insights into how to choose a good thesis title.

My advice for developing a thesis title

  • Draft the title early. Drafting it early can help give clarity for the overall message of your research. For instance, while you’re assembling the rest of your thesis you can check that the title encompasses the research chapters you’re included, and likewise that the research experiments you’re including fall within what the title describes. Drafting it early also gives more time you to think it over. As with everything: having a first draft is really important to iterate on.
  • Look at some example titles . Such as those featured above!
  • If you’re not sure about your title, ask a few other people what they think . But remember that you have the final say!

I hope this post has been useful for those of you are finalising your thesis and need to decide on a thesis title. If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to hear about future content (and gain access to my free resource library!) you can subscribe for free here:

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Port Management Dissertations

  • International Transport & Logistics Dissertations
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Theses/Dissertations from 2023 2023

Stakeholder perception of financial incentive in truck appointment systems at Chittagong Port , Suraya Yeasmin Jui. ( Port Management, Bangladesh. )

Assessing Namibian dry ports: a stakeholders-centric evaluation in comparison to contemporary global standards , Phillemon Gabriel Shaningwa Mupupa. ( Port Management, Namibia. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2022 2022

The determination of port automation levels using an analytic hierarchical process : a case study for the Port of Colombo , Waruna Lasantha De Silva Amarathunga. ( Port Management, Sri Lanka. )

A socio-economic analysis of automated container terminal (ACT) concept in Indonesia : case study : New Priok Container Terminal One , Febri Triana Hartami Siagian. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

A conceptual framework for synchromodol port: an extension of synchromodality from hinterland transport to marine operations , Gautam Suryavanshi. ( Port Management, India. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2021 2021

The governance structure and its impact on port performance: a case of Port of Tema, Ghana , Malik Adams. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Measuring logistics performance in ports: a case of Alexandria in Egypt , Engy Mahmoud Helmy Awad. ( Port Management, Egypt. )

Port throughput forecasting using ARIMA and OLS regression: case study : Gwangyang port in Korea , Shin Park. ( Port Management, South Korea. )

Container trade and demand for the west coast of Africa: determining the competition and collaboration between six major ports in the region , Ngouye Sougoufara. ( Port Management, Senegal. )

Impact of COVID-19 on port terminal performance in the United States of America , Ian Michael Sulzer. ( Port Management, United States. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2020 2020

Green port strategies for sustainable growth and development of ports in Malaysia , Mohammad Yoshikatriezan bin Abeng. ( Port Management, Malaysia. )

The impact of concession agreements as public-private partnership tools on port performance : the case of Tema Port Container Terminal Concession Agreement , Margaret Aidoo Quarcoopome. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Why and how to reduce port waiting time : a case study of Umm Qasr Port , Walaa Taher Altop. ( Port Management, Iraq. )

Cost and benefit analysis of port projects investment : a case study of Rades Container Terminal (Tunisia) , Houcem Eddine Cherni. ( Port Management, Tunisia. )

Increasing port competitiveness by enhancing logistics performance : a case of Madagascar , Rajoelina Francka Haingomalala. ( Port Management, Madagascar. )

The impact of liner shipping bilateral connectivity on bilateral trade flows : a case of the Republic of Korea , Hyeongseok Kim. ( Port Management, South Korea. )

Analysis of container terminal efficiency: a case study at Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) in the Kingdom of Cambodia , Sola Kruy. ( Port Management, Cambodia. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2019 2019

A quantitative analysis on the potential impact of blue economy on developing countries’ economies: the case of Kenya , Willie M. S Andriamahazomandimby. ( Port Management, Madagascar. )

A comparative analysis of dry port developments in developed and developing countries: an implication for Myanmar dry ports , - Aye Nyein Zin. ( Port Management, Myanmar. )

Comparative analysis of the legal framework that regulates the port concession scheme in Colombia and Chile with emphasis on the regulatory functions of the port authority , Simdy Calderon and Reynaldo Rojas. ( Port Management, Colombia. )

Developing a dry port to spatially increase and decongest Banjul Port , Dawda Colley. ( Port Management, Gambia, The. )

Port governance and its impacts on port performance and the economy: a case-study at the Freeport of Monrovia , Aromenia Zinnah Cooper. ( Port Management, Liberia. )

Impact of Umm Qasr port on Iraqi trade: case study of container terminal in Umm Qasr Port , Asaad Saeed Desher. ( Port Management, Iraq. )

An econometric analysis for cargo throughput determinants in Belawan International Container Terminal, Indonesia , Taufik Haris. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

Future of cruise shipping in Baltic Sea region (BSR) nexus: analysis on circular economy , Fhaysal Khan Jadoon. ( Port Management, Pakistan. )

Assessing the limitations of integrating energy and environmental standards into seaports of small island developing states , Matthew Kensen. ( Port Management, Vanuatu. )

An appraisal of ports to the socio economic development of Cameroon: case of the port of Douala , Munge Mbongalle. ( Port Management, Cameroon. )

Assessing ship ownership opportunities for South Africa based on competitive advantage , Siphosethu Mthembu and Prince Williams. ( Port Management, South Africa. )

An assessment of container terminal efficiency in East Africa ports using data envelopment analysis (DEA): the case of Dar es Salaam & Mombasa ports , Makiri Manase Fredrick Ngangaji. ( Port Management, Tanzania. )

The role of port authority in hybrid governance structure: a comparative case study of Laem Chabang Port and Bangkok Port, Thailand , Yatimaporn Poontai. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

Offshore support vessels market: sales & purchase, and chartering strategies for PSV and AHTS : an evaluation of the influential factors , Juan Manuel Pulido Guzman. ( Port Management, Colombia. )

UNCTAD liner shipping connectivity index and the development strategy of Port of Colombo , Prasad Dumidu Subhawickrama. ( Port Management, Sri Lanka. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2018 2018

Performance evaluation and solutions for port congestion focused on the container terminal: a case study of Khalifa bin Salman Port (KBSP) Kingdom of Bahrain , Mohamed Ebrahim A.S. Alhameedi, Abud Jamal Said, and Tri Wahyunita Mudjiono. ( Shipping Management & Logistics, Bahrain, Kenya, Indonesia. )

Developing port marketing strategies: a case study for Bangkok Port, Thailand , Kanchisa Deerod. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

Implementation of lean enterprise and renewable energy in port castries Saint Lucia , Thecla Sabrina Joseph. ( Port Management, Saint Lucia. )

Customer relationship management (CRM),customer satisfaction, loyalty and port performance: a case study of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) , Egilla Mkawuganga. ( Port Management, Kenya. )

An economic analysis of concentration in port operations: the case of Haiphong Port , Minh Phuong Nguyen. ( Port Management, Vietnam. )

Determining the factors affecting the turnaround time of container vessels: a case study on Port of Colombo , Wajira H.V. Premathilaka. ( Port Management, Sri Lanka. )

The econometric analysis of the factors affecting the revenue of Bangkok Port , Viyada Suriyakul Na Ayudhaya and Praew Ritthirungrat. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

A total factor productivity analysis of a container terminal, Durban, South Africa. , Asanda Isaac Zangwa. ( Port Management, South Africa. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2017 2017

The history of port governance and performance in Namibia: a case of Port of Walvis Bay , Hileni M. Amakali. ( Port Management, Namibia. )

A business case for change management, using "change management return on investment" on the implementation of the ISO-IMS project: a case of Tema port , Joshua Owusu-Ansah. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2016 2016

Analysis of productivity in dredging project A case study in Port of Tanjung Perak Surabaya – Indonesia , Tiggi P. Hardya. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

A forecasting model for container throughput: empirical research for Laem Chabang Port, Thailand , Pitinoot Kotcharat. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

Kandangan dry port project: an option of solution for congestion: case of Lamong Bay Terminal (Surabaya, Indonesia) , Wardhani Pudji Rahmanto. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

An application of a simulation technique on rail container transport between Laem Chabang Port and Inland Container Depot Ladkrabang, Thailand , Ud Tuntivejakul. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2015 2015

A study on the reasons for sharp decline on the baltic exchange dry index in 2008 , Sung Man Jung. ( Port Management, South Korea. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2014 2014

Outsourcing workers in Indonesia Port Corporation II : a cost effective measure in The Procurement Bureau and recommended actions for IPC , Ni Made Devita. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

The prospects of development of the car carrier industry in China , Yan Liu. ( Port Management, China. )

Development of policy for climate change adaptation for South African ports , Tebogo Abia Mojafi. ( Port Management, South Africa. )

A port marketing strategy in the wake of new shipping alliances : a case study of Busan Port , A. Rum Park. ( Port Management, South Korea. )

Analysis of onshore wind - solar PV - battery bank power generation system development for Toamasina port , Hary Lys Jean Louis Soloniainanirinanandrianina. ( Port Management, Madagascar. )

Evaluation of shipping finished automotive in multimodal containers : a marketing plan for shipping company , Xu Xuan. ( Port Management, China. )

Cost and benefit analysis of shore side electricity in the Port of Tanjung Perak, Indonesia , Oscar Yogi Yustiano. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2011 2011

An analysis of the creation of a global ship recycling fund in the framework of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 , Gopal Krishna Choudhary. ( Port Management, India. )

Analysis of possibilities the North Aegean Candarli Port of being a regional hub port in the Mediterranean Sea region , Hasan Tarcan. ( Port Management, Turkey. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2010 2010

An analysis of multimodal route via Iraq to the Mediterranean and Europe compared to the Suez Canal , Safaa Abdul Hussein Jaiyz Al Fayyadh. ( Port Management, Iraq. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2009 2009

Assessment of alternative maritime power (cold ironing) and its impact on port management and operations. , Richard Fiadomor. ( Port Management, Algeria. )

Transarctic routes : impact and opportunities for ports , Adil Rashid. ( Port Management, Pakistan. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2008 2008

Trade facilitation for landlocked developing countries : a case study of the Palestinian economy , Ashraf Y. A. Abed. ( Port Management, Palestine. )

The impact of distance and service quality on port selection decisions of shippers from West African landlocked countries , Eyalon Fawie. ( Port Management, Togo. )

To determine the potential for Brunei Darussalam Maura container terminal to serve as a transhipment hub for the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines EAST ASEAN growth area (BIMP-EAGA) region , Helmi Haji Talib. ( Port Management, Brunei. )

Impact of privatization in ports : measuring efficiency through data envelopment analysis and key performance indicators , Nana E. Quansah. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2007 2007

Shiprepair competition : drivers and opportunities , Robert Castrillon Dussan. ( Port Management, Columbia. )

How the Suez Canal can contribute to the reduction of air pollution from ships , Mohamed Moustafa Abbas El Kalla. ( Port Management, Egypt. )

An assessment of the competitiveness level of Elsokhna container terminal in Egypt to the Middle East and east Mediterranean transhipment container market , Mohi Eldin Mohamed Elsayeh Ibrahim Attia. ( Port Management, Egypt. )

An analysis of cruise tourism in the Caribbean and its impact on regional destination ports , Adrian Hilaire. ( Port Management, Saint Lucia. )

Studying the selection of ports on liner routes , Nguyen Khoi Tran. ( Port Management, Vietnam. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2006 2006

A sectoral assessment of the cruise shipping industry and comparative analysis of the cruise markets worldwide : implications and policy imperatives for Indian ports , Vipin Raman Menoth. ( Port Management, India. )

An analysis of the trend in concessions and privatisation in ports : the case of Kenya and Tanzania , Sudi Amani Mwasinago. ( Port Management, Kenya. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2005 2005

Can ports contribute to the economic development of the regions they serve? : an examination of the potential, if any, of using the Kenya Ports Authority as an engine for Kenya's economic recovery and development , Stanley Ndenge Chai. ( Port Management, Kenya. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2004 2004

A comparative study of import transit corridors of landlocked countries in West Africa , Michael Achagwe Luguje. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Cost comparison between the North-South Corridor [Northern Europe to the Persian Gulf] and the Suez Canal route , Masoud Mohsenpour. ( Port Management, Iran. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2003 2003

Impact of port efficiency and productivity on the economy of Bangladesh : a case study of Chittagong port , Halima Begum. ( Port Management, Bangladesh. )

Analysis of the optimisation of berth allocation : berth allocation with an external terminal facility , H.J.K.U. Kumara. ( Port Management, Sri Lanka. )

A model for measuring quality of port services in a container terminal , Ali Akbar Safaei. ( Port Management, Iran. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2002 2002

Effective cargo and vehicle storage in distribution centers : a case study of Copenhagen Malmö Port (CMP) , Samuel Alphonse Kwame Etsibah. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Optimising liquefied natural gas [LNG] supply chains : a case study for China , Yang Li. ( Port Management, China. )

Indian port policy imperatives post privatisation , Sudhesh Kumar Shahi. ( Port Management, India. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2001 2001

Valuation of port assets : impact on the financial performance of port and the national economy , Martison Ankobiah. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Computer assisted economic modelling for establishing value based tariffs. , Lancelot Arnold. ( Port Management, Saint Lucia. )

Increased port productivity and its impact on the Jamaican economy : a case study of Kingston Terminal Operators Limited , Karen Joy Clarke. ( Port Management, Jamaica. )

Port pricing in the era of privatization : a case study of Tema port , Esther Gyebi-Donkor. ( Port Management, Ghana. )

Comparative analysis for choosing a single gateway of seafreight in Scandinavia : a project for Schenker International , Van Vinh Thai. ( Port Management, Vietnam. )

Theses/Dissertations from 2000 2000

Towards a competitive setting for the Port of Aqaba in the new millennium , Salah Abu Afifeh. ( Port Management, Jordan. )

Comparative study on port privatisation : two ports under Port Authority of Thailand : Bangkok port and Laem Chabang port : case study , Noppadol Angkanupong. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

Proposals to transform the Port of Banjul into a transhipment and distribution centre with special emphasis on feedering , Ismaila Malang Bojang. ( Port Management, Gambia, The. )

Value added service strategy for Jakarta International Container Terminal : comparative study of value added services in the ports of Rotterdam, Malmo and Aarhus , Raja Oloan Saut Gurning. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

Optimum container handling equipment plan in Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) : a quantitative model using interger linear programming , Andi Isnovandiono. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

Improvement of port operation, service efficiency and competitiveness, in order to meet the logistical needs of clients : a case study of Bangkok port container terminals , Jiravich Klomperee. ( Port Management, Thailand. )

Investigation on the possible causes of declining dry cargo throughput at Dar-es-Salam port , Nelly Kyejo Mtaki. ( Port Management, Tanzania. )

Analysis and evaluation of restructuring of the operation system in the conventional terminal in the Port of Tanjung Priok , Guna Mulyana. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

Grain and fertilizer handling GBHL terminal : an analysis of its impact on port fraternity and its post effects on bulk traffic through the port of Mombasa , Evelyn Umazi Mwamure. ( Port Management, Kenya. )

Analysis of customers complaints, 1995-1999, for the improvement of port services in Mombasa [Kenya] , Rose Atieno Nyalwal. ( Port Management, Kenya. )

A cash flow analysis approach to privatisation : case study of Klaipeda Stevedoring Company , Andrius Saveikis. ( Port Management, Lithuania. )

Cargo handling equipment productivity analysis of the Chittagong Port Authority [Bangladesh] , A.S.M. Shahjahan. ( Port Management, Bangladesh. )

Hispaniola : a maritime city for the next century : a feasibility economic study for the construction of a container terminal in the south part of the island , Pedro Jeremias Vega Medina. ( Port Management, Dominican Republic. )

A techno-economic study of liquefied natural gas transportation : a prospective to develop India's first import terminal , Neelima Vyas. ( Port Management, India. )

Analysis and evaluation of the impact of privatisation on the performance of container handling equipment in Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT), Indonesia , Kartiko Yuwono. ( Port Management, Indonesia. )

Theses/Dissertations from 1999 1999

Privatisation of Kenya Ports Authority : its socio-economic impact , Mwambire Alii. ( Port Management, Kenya. )

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    Theses/Dissertations from 2021. PDF. The governance structure and its impact on port performance: a case of Port of Tema, Ghana, Malik Adams. ( Port Management, Ghana.) PDF. Measuring logistics performance in ports: a case of Alexandria in Egypt, Engy Mahmoud Helmy Awad. ( Port Management, Egypt.) PDF.

  22. Research topics and trends in the maritime transport: A structural

    A structural topic model (STM) is adopted to analyze the research themes and trends in the maritime literature. STM is a text mining-based methodology to uncover main topics from large-scale unstructured textual data. In total, 3199 articles published between Jan 1991 and Aug 2020 were collected and analyzed.