Maritime Studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that embraces the liberal arts as the foundation for exploring humankind's critical and continually evolving connections with the world's waterways and watersheds. Maritime Studies encompasses the liberal arts in recognized humanities and social science disciplines such as History, English, Geography, Economics, Political Science and Anthropology. Maritime Studies highlights the social and cultural side of the human/water relationship, but recognizes and explores the links between human activities and the composition and the condition of the coastal and marine environments. Incorporating history, literature, poetry, and film, maritime studies is able to cover a broader scope than traditional maritime history or seamanship.
Some of the institutions providing maritime studies combine a broad grounding in technical and scientific coursework with the study of courses in arts and humanities.
While maritime colleges frequently prepare cadets for careers in the merchant navy, maritime studies programs prepare students for a variety of careers in the civilian maritime industrial and service sectors. Graduate and undergraduate programs are offered at a range of institutions.