The WMU mission is to serve the global maritime community as the International Maritime Organization’s apex institution for high-level maritime education, in furtherance of IMO’s aims and objectives.
 
As a centre of excellence for maritime education and research, the University promotes the highest practicable standards in maritime transportation, policy and administration, management, safety, security and environment protection, and provides a mechanism for the international exchange and transfer of knowledge and its applications. In particular, the University:
  • continuously reviews and develops its postgraduate programmes in response to current and future customer requirements, particularly in the developing countries
  • offers a range of consultancy services and executive and professional development courses for the international maritime community
  • undertakes original and applied research into aspects of maritime safety and security, maritime management, marine environment management and protection, and human resource development
  • provides an international focus and forum for networking and collaboration on critical issues and developments in maritime transportation worldwide
  • pursues effective policies of equal opportunity and commitment to quality in all areas of its activity
The aims of the University are to increase the number of highly qualified specialist maritime personnel in countries across the world. With such specialists, the international maritime conventions can be implemented for the benefit of the global community. Maritime safety can be improved, the marine environment better protected, and international shipping and ports made more efficient. Specialists in developing countries can ensure that economic growth in the maritime field is sustainable, with integrated planning allowing each sector to develop without damage to any other.
 
In addition to these aims, WMU's goal is to foster cultural understanding to encourage international cooperation, to solve international maritime problems, and to coordinate action internationally.
 
WMU educates individuals for the benefit of their countries and the global maritime community. As WMU graduates, they return home and, in turn, transfer their newly gained expertise to colleagues, helping their nations to achieve the highest practicable standards in maritime transportation and development.
 
Each year WMU receives many more applications for fellowships than the number of awards available – there are over four times more candidates than there are awards. It is therefore important that candidates and their nominating authorities make every effort to secure financing on their own behalf, especially if the applicants are aged over 40 or are from a more developed country.