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March, 4

The Marín Naval Academy in Spain

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Marín Naval Academy (Marín) is a coeducational naval academy that educates officers for commissioning primarily into the Spanish Navy and Spanish Navy Marines. The Spanish Naval Academy is located on the southern shore of the estuary of Pontevedra, in the comarca of O Morrazo, in north-western Spain. The academy is the only facility of its kind in Spain, and it has a long and distinguished history that dates back to the 18th century. It is one of the best military academies in Spain.

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The academy is also known for its rigorous and demanding curriculum, its high standards of discipline and honor, and its rich and diverse campus life. Marín Naval Academy is not only a place of learning but also a place of tradition, pride, and camaraderie.

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Brief History of The Marín Naval Academy

The origins of Marín Naval Academy can be traced back to 1717, when José Patiño, a prominent Spanish statesman and naval reformer, established the Real Compañía de Guardias Marinas (Royal Company of Maritime Guards) in Cádiz as a training institution for young naval officers. The company was later renamed the Real Colegio de Guardias Marinas (Royal College of Maritime Guards), and it moved to San Fernando, near Cádiz, in 1769. The college was the first in Europe, producing many illustrious naval leaders, such as Jorge Juan, Antonio de Ulloa, Alejandro Malaspina, and José de Mazarredo.

In 1943, during the Franco regime, the college was relocated to Marín, where it adopted its current name of Escuela Naval Militar (Naval Military Academy). The academy was housed in the former Palace of Cadro, the oldest pazo (fortress) in Galicia and the family seat of the House of Romay.

The palace was renovated and expanded to accommodate the new facilities and services of the academy, such as classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, mess halls, libraries, chapels, sports fields, and docks. The academy also inherited the Puerta de Carlos V (Gate of Charles V), the main entrance of the palace, which bears the coat of arms of the Spanish monarch and the motto of the academy: Honor, Valor, Disciplina, Lealtad (Honor, Courage, Discipline, Loyalty).

Since its establishment in Marín, the academy has undergone several changes and adaptations, such as the introduction of female cadets in 1988, the incorporation of the Spanish Navy Marines in 1999, and the adaptation to the European Higher Education Area in 2010. The academy has also maintained its close ties with the local community of Marín, which hosts the annual celebration of the Day of Carmen (July 16), the patron saint of the navy. It welcomes the visit of the King of Spain or the Prince of Asturias, who presides over the ceremony of the Pledge of Allegiance and Delivery of Offices.

Admission Process into The Marín Naval Academy

Gaining admission into the Marín Naval Academy is a highly competitive and selective process, which requires academic excellence, physical fitness, moral integrity, and leadership potential. The admission process consists of the following steps:

  • Nomination: Applicants must obtain a nomination from a Spanish public authority, such as a member of the parliament, a minister, a regional president, or a mayor. The nomination is a formal endorsement of the applicant’s suitability and interest in pursuing a naval career. Applicants can also obtain a nomination from the Chief of the Naval Staff if they meet certain criteria, such as being a child or a sibling of a naval officer or having completed a pre-university course at the academy.
  • Application: Applicants must submit an online application form along with the required documents, such as a copy of their national identity card, a certificate of their academic record, a medical certificate, and a letter of motivation. The application period usually opens in April and closes in May.
  • Examination: Applicants must take a written examination, which tests their knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, English, and general culture. The examination is held in June at various locations throughout Spain. The examination is scored on a scale of 0 to 10, and applicants must obtain a minimum score of 5 to pass.
  • Interview: Applicants who pass the examination are invited to an interview, which evaluates their personality, motivation, communication skills, and suitability for a naval career. The interview is conducted by a board of naval officers, who also verify the applicant’s documents and nomination. The interview is held in July at the academy in Marín. The interview is scored on a scale of 0 to 10, and applicants must obtain a minimum score of 5 to pass.
  • Physical Test: Applicants who pass the interview are required to take a physical test, which measures their strength, endurance, agility, and coordination. The physical test consists of various exercises, such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, running, swimming, and jumping. The physical test is held in July at the academy in Marín. The physical test is scored on a scale of 0 to 10, and applicants must obtain a minimum score of 5 to pass.
  • Medical Test: Applicants who pass the physical test are subjected to a medical test, which assesses their health and fitness for naval service. The medical test includes a comprehensive physical examination, a blood test, a urine test, a chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram, an audiometry, and an ophthalmology. The medical test is held in July at the academy in Marín. The medical test is scored on a scale of apt or not apt, and applicants must be declared apt to pass.
  • Selection: Applicants who pass all the tests are ranked according to their overall score, which is calculated as the weighted average of their examination score (60%), their interview score (20%), and their physical test score (20%). The academy then selects the applicants who meet the quota of vacancies for each branch of the navy (surface, submarine, naval aviation, or marine). The selection is announced in August, and the selected applicants are admitted as cadets of the academy.
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Tuition Fees at The Marín Naval Academy

Marín Naval Academy is a public institution funded by the Spanish Ministry of Defense. Therefore, there are no tuition fees for the cadets of the academy. However, cadets are responsible for covering some expenses, such as uniforms, books, materials, and personal items. The academy provides financial assistance to cadets who need it, based on their family income and situation. Cadets also receive a monthly stipend, which varies according to their rank and seniority, ranging from 300 to 600 euros. The stipend is intended to cover the cadets’ living expenses, such as food, transportation, and leisure.

The Marín Naval Academy 2024/25 Rankings

Marín Naval Academy is widely recognized as one of the best naval academies in the world and one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in Spain. The academy has been ranked among the top 10 naval academies in the world by various sources, such as the International Maritime Organization, the Naval Institute, and the Military Times. The academy has also been ranked among the top 50 universities in Spain by various sources, such as the Times Higher Education, the QS World University Rankings, and the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The academy has received several awards and distinctions for its academic excellence, such as the National Quality Award, the European Quality Award, and the ISO 9001 Certification.

Academic Programs

Marín Naval Academy offers a four-year undergraduate program, leading to a Bachelor of Science degree in Naval and Oceanic Engineering, with a specialization in one of the four branches of the navy: surface, submarine, naval aviation, or marine. The program is accredited by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain, and it follows the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area.

The program combines theoretical and practical courses, covering subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics, electronics, hydrodynamics, navigation, weapons, tactics, leadership, and ethics. The program also includes a foreign language requirement, usually English, and a naval history and culture requirement. The program is delivered by a faculty of naval officers and civilian professors with extensive experience and expertise.

The program is evaluated by continuous assessment and final exams, which measure the cadets’ knowledge, skills, and competencies. The program is completed by a final project consisting of research or design work related to the cadets’ specialization and interests.

Marín Naval Academy also offers a two-year graduate program, leading to a Master of Science degree in Naval and Oceanic Engineering, specializing in one of the four branches of the Navy: surface, submarine, naval aviation, or marine. The program is accredited by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain and follows the European Higher Education Area guidelines.

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The program builds on the undergraduate program, providing more advanced knowledge and training in the cadets’ specialization. The program consists of core and elective courses covering naval architecture, marine propulsion, naval systems, operations, strategy, and law. The program also includes a foreign language requirement, usually English, and a naval history and culture requirement. The program is delivered by a faculty of naval officers and civilian professors with extensive experience and expertise. The program is evaluated by continuous assessment and final exams, which measure the cadets’ knowledge, skills, and competencies. The program is completed by a master’s thesis, which consists of a research or design work related to the cadets’ specialization and interests.

Marín Naval Academy also offers a doctoral program, leading to a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Naval and Oceanic Engineering, specializing in one of the four branches of the navy: surface, submarine, naval aviation, or marine. The program is accredited by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation of Spain and follows the guidelines of the European Higher Education Area.

The program is aimed at cadets who wish to pursue a career in research, development, innovation, or teaching in the naval field. The program consists of a period of research training followed by a period of original and independent research under the supervision of a faculty member. The program is evaluated by progress reports and seminars, which monitor the cadets’ research activities and results. The program is completed by a doctoral dissertation consisting of a written and oral presentation of the cadets’ research findings and contributions.

Campus Life

Marín Naval Academy is not only an academic institution, but also a military institution, which shapes the cadets’ character, values, and ethos. The campus life of the academy is challenging, rewarding, and enriching, as it offers the cadets a variety of opportunities and experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.

The daily routine of the cadets is structured and disciplined, following a strict schedule of activities, such as wake-up, breakfast, flag-raising, classes, lunch, study, sports, dinner, and lights-out. The cadets are expected to follow the rules and regulations of the academy, such as wearing uniforms, saluting superiors, attending formations, and maintaining order and cleanliness.

The cadets are also expected to uphold the academy’s honor code, which states that “a cadet does not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” The cadets are subject to a system of merits and demerits, which reward or punish their conduct and performance. The cadets are also subject to a system of ranks and responsibilities, which assign them different roles and duties, such as squad leader, platoon leader, company commander, or battalion commander.

The campus life of the academy is also stimulating and enjoyable, as it offers the cadets a range of activities and facilities, such as clubs, societies, events, and services. The cadets can join various clubs and societies, according to their interests and hobbies, such as music, art, photography, chess, astronomy, sailing, diving, or flying. The cadets can also participate in various events and ceremonies, such as the Day of Carmen, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Delivery of Offices, the Graduation, or the Naval Ball. The cadets can also access various facilities and services, such as libraries, museums, chapels, cafeterias, shops, banks, or medical centers.

The campus life of the academy is also diverse and inclusive, as it welcomes cadets from different backgrounds, cultures, and countries. The academy has a policy of equal opportunity and non-discrimination based on merit and ability. The academy also has a policy of international cooperation and exchange, which allows the cadets to study or train abroad or to host foreign cadets at the academy. The academy has established agreements and partnerships with various naval academies and institutions around the world, such as the United States Naval Academy, the Royal Naval College of Canada, the Britannia Royal Naval College of the United Kingdom, the École Navale of France, or the Naval Academy of Italy.

Athletics

Marín Naval Academy is also a sports institution that promotes the physical and mental well-being of the cadets, as well as their spirit of competition and teamwork. The academy has a strong and successful tradition of athletics, which dates back to its origins in Cádiz, where the cadets competed in various sports, such as rowing, fencing, or horse riding. The academy has also produced many outstanding athletes, representing Spain in various national and international competitions, such as the Olympic Games, the World Championships, or the Mediterranean Games.

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The academy offers a wide and varied sports program, which covers individual and team sports, such as athletics, swimming, basketball, soccer, rugby, volleyball, handball, tennis, golf, or sailing. The academy also offers a specialized sports program covering specific naval and military skills, such as diving, parachuting, shooting, or orienteering. The academy also offers a recreational sports program covering alternative and leisure sports, such as surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, or hiking.

The academy has a state-of-the-art sports complex, which includes various facilities and equipment, such as gymnasiums, pools, courts, fields, tracks, docks, boats, planes, or helicopters. The academy also has a qualified and experienced staff of coaches, trainers, instructors, and physiotherapists who guide and support the cadets in their sports activities and goals. The academy also has a competitive and prestigious sports team, known as the Marín Naval Academy Eagles, which participates in various leagues and tournaments, both at the national and international level, such as the Spanish University Sports Championship, the European University Sports Association, or the International Military Sports Council.

Notable Alumni

Marín Naval Academy has a long and illustrious list of alumni who have distinguished themselves in various fields and sectors, such as the navy, the military, the government, the academia, the industry, the arts, or the society. Some of the most notable alumni of the academy are:

  • Admiral José María Carrero Blanco: He was a naval officer and a politician who served as the Chief of the Naval Staff, the Vice President of the Government, and the Prime Minister of Spain during the Franco regime. He was assassinated by the Basque terrorist group ETA in 1973.
  • Admiral Luis Carrero-Pérez was a naval officer and diplomat who served as the chief of the naval staff, the ambassador of Spain to the United States, and the secretary general of NATO. He was the first Spaniard to hold the latter position from 1984 to 1988.
  • Admiral Fernando Poole: He was a naval officer and a scientist who served as the Naval Staff Chief, the Naval Observatory Director, and the Royal Academy of Sciences President. He pioneered astronomy, geodesy, and hydrography, and discovered several asteroids and comets.
  • Admiral Juan de Borbón: He was a naval officer and a royal, who served as the Head of the House of Bourbon, the father of King Juan Carlos I, and the grandfather of King Felipe VI. He renounced his rights to the throne, in favor of his son, in 1977.
  • Admiral Francisco Franco: He was a naval officer and a dictator, who served as the Head of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. He ruled Spain with an iron fist, from 1939 to 1975.
  • Admiral Pedro Duque: He was a naval officer and an astronaut, who served as a member of the European Space Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He was the first Spaniard to travel to space, in 1998 and 2003. He is currently the Minister of Science and Innovation of Spain.
  • Admiral Blas de Lezo: He was a naval officer and a hero, who served as the Commander of the Spanish Navy in the Americas, during the War of Jenkins’ Ear. He defended the city of Cartagena de Indias, against a British invasion, in 1741. He was known as “Half-Man”, due to his numerous wounds and amputations.
  • Admiral Miguel de Cervantes: He was a naval officer and a writer, who served as a soldier in the Battle of Lepanto, where he lost his left hand. He is considered the greatest writer in the Spanish language, and the author of Don Quixote, the first modern novel.

Conclusion

Marín Naval Academy (Marín) is a naval academy that educates officers for commissioning primarily into the Spanish Navy and Spanish Navy Marines. It is located on the southern shore of the estuary of Pontevedra, in the comarca of O Morrazo, in north-western Spain. The academy is the only facility of its kind in Spain, and it has a long and distinguished history that dates back to the 18th century. The academy is also known for its rigorous and demanding curriculum, its high standards of discipline and honor, and its rich and diverse campus life. Marín Naval Academy is not only a place of learning but also a place of tradition, pride, and camaraderie.

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