World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

World Maritime University

World Maritime University (WMU)
Established 1983[1]
Type international university and United Nations research institute
Chancellor Koji Sekimizu
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Location Malmö, Sweden
Campus Malmö, Shanghai, Dalian
New WMU Building

The World Maritime University (WMU) in United Nations. Established by an IMO Assembly Resolution in 1983, the aim of WMU is to further enhance the objectives and goals of IMO and IMO member states around the world through education, research, and capacity building to ensure safe, secure, and efficient shipping on clean oceans.


  • Status 1
  • History 2
  • Campus 3
  • Organization 4
  • Programmes 5
    • Doctoral programme 5.1
    • Master of Science in Maritime Affairs 5.2
    • Distance Learning 5.3
  • Student Life 6
  • Teaching and Learning 7
  • International Conferences 8
  • Professional development courses 9
  • Research 10
  • Institutional publications 11
  • Alumni 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


WMU is considered an international university and has been granted the status of a UN institution by its host country, the Government of Sweden. Serving as a center for people of many nationalities to participate in teaching and learning, WMU encourages international co-operation to address international maritime problems and coordinate international action. Programmes offered include Ph.D. and M.Sc. degrees in Maritime Affairs. Post-graduate diplomas are offered via distance education in Marine Insurance, Maritime Energy, Executive Maritime Management, and International Maritime Law. Professional Development Courses (PDCs) and international conferences and events cater to the professional maritime community, as well as the expanding research portfolio.

As part of IMO, WMU is an education provider that is independent of any individual national education system, and is not a Swedish institution. WMU is operated for all IMO Member States and is entitled to conduct activities in Sweden under the agreement concluded between IMO and the Government of Sweden and the provisions of the Charter of WMU adopted by IMO for WMU activities in Sweden (A 25/Res. 1030). Under the provisions of this Charter, WMU has the power to confer degrees in Sweden as confirmed in 2014 by the Ministry of Education and Research.[2] Due to this special status, WMU is not accredited in Sweden but is internationally considered as an accredited institution, according to a United Nations statement.[3]

Alumni of WMU represent 165 countries and numerous graduates hold senior maritime positions as ministers of transport, directors of shipping companies and ports, heads of maritime academies and naval organizations, and many serve as representatives of their home countries at international forums and organizations such as the IMO. With its unique connection to IMO, WMU is an international educational organization for the maritime community, promoting the international exchange and transfer of maritime ideas and knowledge.


In the early 1980s, it was recognized within IMO that there was a shortage of well-qualified, highly educated maritime experts, particularly in lesser developed nations. To address this gap, the IMO endeavored to found an institution to support Member States with the high-level education necessary to implement international Conventions. In determining the institution's location, then IMO Secretary-General, Dr. C.P. Srivastava, approached the Swedish Ministry of Transport who welcomed the idea and Malmö was determined as the home of the institution. With the financial support of the Swedish government, the City of Malmö, and private donations, WMU was inaugurated on 4 July 1983.


The city of Malmö has always provided facilities for the University. In April 2015, WMU moved to the historic Old Harbour Master's building, Tornhuset, in the center of Malmö. Completed in 1910 and designed by the eminent Swedish architect Harald Boklund, Tornhuset served as the main office for Malmö’s harbor administration and was intended to provide panoramic views of shipping in the Öresund and in Malmö harbor.

An architectural competition by the City of Malmö sought the best possible design for the extension to Tornhuset. The winning entry by renowned architect Kim Utzon of Kim Utzon Architects in collaboration with Australian architect Tyrone James Cobcroft of Terroir Architects, centered on the concept of the building as an "urban hinge" linking the historic city center of Malmö to the docklands. The new facilities essentially doubled the University’s floor space.


WMU is governed by Charter and Statutes, approved by IMO Assembly, which is made up of delegations from 170 IMO Member States and 3 Associate Members. The WMU Board of Governors (BoG) is appointed by the IMO Secretary-General, and consists of 30 members, who each serve two-year renewable terms. The Board of Governors meets annually, chaired by WMU’s Chancellor who to date has been the IMO Secretary-General. The BoG reports to IMO Council which consists of the 40 leading maritime states.

An 11-person Executive Board (EB) is appointed by the IMO Secretary-General to help facilitate the work of WMU, provide oversight between sessions of the BoG, give directions and guidelines as necessary, consider draft plans of work and budgets, report to the BoG, and meet no less than three times a year. Members of the EB serve renewable two-year terms.

WMU’s current Charter was established by IMO Resolution A.1030(26), which took effect on 1 January 2010. The appointment and functions of the Chancellor, the Board of Governors, the Executive Board, and the Academic Council are detailed in the Charter. Any amendment to the WMU Charter is submitted by the Board of Governors to the IMO Council for approval and thereafter to the IMO Assembly for adoption.


WMU offers only postgraduate studies, meaning the students must have completed a relevant university education. In addition, students are expected to have worked in the industry for at least five years. A solid understanding of English is a requirement of all WMU programmes and students must pass internationally recognized tests of English as a foreign language. Students who need to sharpen their English skills prior to the start of the Malmö M.Sc. studies can enroll in the intensive, 3- month English and Study Skills Programme (ESSP) focusing on maritime English. Programmes available as of 2016 include:

Doctoral programme

WMU offers a doctoral programme in Maritime Affairs within the following research areas:

  • Marine Environmental Management
  • Maritime Administration: Law, Policy & Security
  • Shipping & Port Management
  • Maritime Technology & Education
  • Maritime Risk & System Safety
  • Maritime Energy

As of 2015, 9 graduates have been awarded the doctoral degree.[4]

Master of Science in Maritime Affairs

The following areas of specialization within the Master of Science in Maritime Affairs include:

The areas of specialization in Malmö, Sweden include:

  • Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration
  • Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management
  • Maritime Education & Training (and Organizational Leadership)
  • Maritime Law & Policy
  • Port Management
  • Shipping Management & Logistics
  • Maritime Energy Management

The area of specialization in Shanghai, China is:

  • International Transport & Logistics

The area of specialization in Dalian, China is:

  • Maritime Safety & Environmental Management

Distance Learning

WMU offers several postgraduate diploma programmes via distance learning; Executive Maritime Management in cooperation with DNV GL, and Marine Insurance, Maritime Energy Management, and International Maritime Law in co-operation with Lloyd's Maritime Academy.

Student Life

Henrik Smith Residence

The average age of the students is generally mid-30s and each class represents roughly 45 countries. WMU actively works to implement the UN Millennium Development Goal regarding the empowerment of women. Until the late 1990s, female students made up less than 5% of the Malmö intake. Recruitment strategies and support from fellowship donors have resulted in the proportion of female students rising to around a third of the annual intake.

Roughly half of the students are funded by their own companies, governments, or national funding agencies. Financial support from WMU donors accounts for the remaining students with only a fraction of the students paying out-of-pocket.

Students in the Malmö M.Sc. programme in particular benefit from an unusually diverse and international environment that provides an extraordinary network of faculty, visiting professors, guest lecturers, and fellow students. The majority of the students live together in the university-provided Henrik Smith Residence (HSR) that offers a unique opportunity for the sharing of maritime knowledge, as well as cultural understanding and growth. Located 3 km from WMU, HSR has 216 single study-bedrooms, each with a private bathroom and access to cooking facilities.

WMU connects the students in Malmö with host families who can teach them about Swedish culture. In turn, the host families have the opportunity to interact with students from around the globe and participate in many activities at WMU, such as the annual International Day celebration.

Teaching and Learning

WMU has an international faculty of roughly 20-25 resident members, plus research associates, from countries spanning the globe. There are also more than 150 Visiting Professors and Guest Lecturers from around the world. Many of the faculty have backgrounds as mariners, and almost a quarter of WMU faculty are female.

In general, courses in the M.Sc. programmes are intensive, 1-2 week long classes allowing students to focus on a particular topic, and facilitating the incorporation of visiting professors. The first term focuses on Foundation studies that are completed by all students before specialized studies take place during Terms 2 and 3. The final Term 4 focuses on a range of electives, allowing students to deepen their specialization and add explore other specializations as well.

An important part of the Malmö M.Sc. education is the Field Study programme that provides the opportunity for students to travel and to see what they are learning in class being put into practice. Each student in the M.Sc. Malmö program spends essentially three weeks traveling for field studies to host organizations in such countries as Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Korea, Malta, Norway, Portugal, The Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Field studies are also a part of the M.Sc. programmes in Shanghai and Dalian, China, but are typically more regionally oriented.

International Conferences

Since 2008, WMU has offered international conferences on such key topics as the impact of climate change on maritime transport, ballast water management systems, oil spill risk management, piracy at sea, ship recycling, corporate social responsibility in the shipping industry, and maritime women. These events bring together experts and stakeholders from various countries across the globe to share their knowledge, establish new contacts, and express their views on the legal, scientific, technical, and economic dimensions of complex maritime issues.

Professional development courses

WMU offers an extensive range of professional development courses (PDCs) in a variety of subjects with the potential for tailor-made courses at any location worldwide. WMU has a unique relationship with the IMO that allows for unprecedented access to maritime experts and a close connection to the broad spectrum of key maritime issues. PDC topics are based on the current needs and projected requirements of the maritime market particularly in key IMO mandated areas of maritime safety, security and environmental management. Led by WMU faculty, PDCs can range in length from a few days to several weeks.


Parallel to the academic programmes, research is a priority at WMU with roughly 15 on-going projects in areas such as mitigating invasive species in the arctic, risk assessment, Maritime Spatial Planning, e-navigation and safety of life at sea. In May 2012, IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu inaugurated the Maritime Risk and Safety (MaRiSa) Simulation Laboratory, a specialized research lab offering unique experimental facilities, particularly in the field of e-navigation.

Institutional publications

The WMU Journal of Maritime Affairs (WMU JoMA) was established in October 2002 and since 2011 has been published by Springer. It is an international journal that covers the subject areas of maritime safety, marine environment protection and shipping operations, giving special attention to the human element and the impact of technology. WMU JoMA is for professionals in maritime administration, industry and education. It aims at serving the international maritime community by presenting fresh ideas and current thinking on subjects of topical interest, reporting on relevant research findings and addressing interrelationships between safety, environment protection and efficiency of maritime transport.[5]


With more than 90 percent of global trade served by shipping, WMU graduates are a powerful influence in today’s maritime sector. As of 2014, the graduates represent 165 countries, and numerous alumni hold senior maritime positions as ministers of transport, directors of shipping companies and ports, heads of maritime academies and naval organizations, and many serve as representatives of their home countries at international forums and such organizations as the IMO.

The importance of WMU in the global sector was also remarked upon by IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu, who is also WMU’s Chancellor, at the December 2012 WMU graduation ceremony. "The influence of the World Maritime University within today's maritime community cannot be overstressed. Those who pass through its various programmes go on to become global maritime leaders, experts and professionals. They increase and enhance the capacity of their countries and help to shape and develop effective policies for the maritime community on both the national and the global level."


  1. ^ Maritime Programmes in Sweden
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "WMU Journal | World Maritime University". 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2013-07-25. 

External links

  • Official Site
  • International Maritime Organization

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.