MLA College

PgDip Advanced Hydrography for Professionals

MLA College delivers innovative distance e-learning courses for the global marine industry. Their range of education and training products include short courses, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in subjects including hydrography, meteorology, oceanography and sustainable maritime operations.

Their award-winning Total Learning Package allows students to study University of Plymouth approved programmes whilst remaining in their own jobs and learning at their own pace.

MLA College is a young, ambitious organisation with a commitment to the highest-quality education and professional development. It is a privately-owned company limited by shares. The shareholders are BAU Global and IMarEST.

Putting students first, MLA College has a particular focus on distance and blended learning and strives to continue to develop its expertise in the use of technology to enhance student learning.
Key features
  • Study at your own pace, regardless of your location.
  • Balance work and further education by studying part time, and fit your study around changing working patterns.
  • Suited to marine professionals if you’re looking to advance your skills and qualifications without having to attend university full time.
  • Study anywhere at any time. With our self-contained e-learning packages you won’t need to rely on continuous internet access.
  • Equip yourself with essential hydrography skills and gain hands-on surveying experience through our short, intensive and practical residential sessions held at intervals throughout your programme.
  • Use the latest concepts and technology to equip you with the skills to meet the demands of the global hydrographic survey industry.
Course details
  • Programme overview

  • You’ll benefit from a bespoke e-learning environment, incorporating a variety of lectures, tutorials, practical work and assessment. The syllabus has been developed with industry, and includes topical subjects such as hydrographic survey practice and positioning, oceanography, underwater acoustics, and management and leadership. A number of intensive practical, residential sessions will be held, giving you hands-on surveying experience. The residentials will be two weeks long – they include detailed teaching and learning sessions ashore and afloat using sophisticated, state-of-the-art equipment. The use of cutting edge technology, with access to and support from, a range of industry-leading instructors gives you an unrivalled opportunity to build on your knowledge and experience. The sessions allow small group tuition so you really do get the best teaching and learning experience whilst gaining the vital practical skills necessary to further your career and employment possibilities.

    Optional modules

    • Meteorology and Oceanography (EHYD201)

      All hydrographic surveyors require an in-depth understanding of the environment in which they operate. This module enables the student to acquire the knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of meteorology and oceanography, together with the opportunity to develop their practical skills in data analysis and presentation.

    • Advanced Nautical Science for Hydrography (EHYD501)

      This module will allow the student to review the historical and professional framework for hydrographic surveying, and develop an in depth understanding of the effects on survey of ship motion and behaviour. A comprehensive treatment of Earth observation and remote sensing is augmented by support for study and research skills.

    • Sensors and Underwater Acoustics (EHYD502)

      This module provides a detailed coverage of the nature of sound, and its behaviour and application in the undersea environment as well as a review of the marine environment. Material covered in this module provides the theoretical knowledge required to operate depth sounding equipment effectively whilst afloat.

  • Year 2

  • Optional modules

    • Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 1 (EHYD503B)

      This module will focus on a blend of underpinning requirements in advanced mathematics, together with applied skills ashore and afloat. This will enable students to develop the necessary applied survey expertise.

    • Earth Science and Positioning (EHYD504)

      This module will provide the advanced theory in geodesy and positioning necessary to undertake and manage practical hydrographic survey work. Studies in geology, geophysics and sedimentation provide the underpinning knowledge necessary for future work in survey planning, conduct and management both inshore and offshore. Management of errors.

  • Final year

  • Optional modules

    • Hydrographic Survey Practice and Management (EHYD505)

      This module prepares the student for the final practical residential module, by developing important skills in survey planning and management.

    • Advanced Practical Techniques in Hydrography 2 (EHYD506B)

      This module will enable students to plan and execute all aspects of a hydrographic survey on a variety of scales paying due regard to legal and commercial requirements. A significant amount of applied survey work will be undertaken, allowing the development of skills in operational hydrography and survey management, and data processing using industry standard software.

The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.
Entry requirements

All applications are considered on individual merit in relation to the aims and outcomes of the programme. 

The criteria below set out normal minimum qualifications required for entry to the Postgraduate Diploma Advanced Hydrography for Professionals programme. 

The standard entry requirements will be one of:

  • A first degree, or appropriate professional or academic qualifications (UK, EU or international) deemed by the University to be equivalent to a first degree. A first degree would normally be expected in hydrographic surveying or a marine-based science subject with a hydrographic survey component.
  • If you don’t possess appropriate HE qualifications, you may be admitted to a postgraduate programme on the basis of prior experience, if the programme leader/admissions tutor considers that you have demonstrated the potential to complete the programme successfully. If you follow this entry route, you may well be expected to undertake one or more bridging modules.

English language requirements

If you have not obtained or do not have the appropriate entry qualifications in the English language, you may be required to produce evidence of English language ability. This will normally be the equivalent of:

  • GCSE Grade C or above in English language.
  • IELTS average score of 6.5 or above with a score of at least 6.5 in the written component.
  • Equivalencies are detailed in ‘Admissions Information and Procedures’ issued by the University Secretariat.
Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

For the latest information regarding programme fees please visit:

How to apply

We would like to welcome you to submit your application for the first module 'An Introduction to Hydrography and the Marine Environment'. You’ll need to complete this module before progressing on to either of the undergraduate (DipHE) or postgraduate (PgDip) pathway. Your previous experience and qualifications, coupled with your performance during the introductory module, will enable staff to assess and advise which of the two pathways will be most appropriate for you to pursue.

Admissions tutors for the Hydrographic Academy will check all applications thoroughly, and may also arrange an interview (usually by telephone or Skype), in order to assess your suitability for study. Offers are based on the information provided in the application documents and interview (where appropriate).

Please note that places are allocated on a first come, first served basis and our courses tend to fill up extremely quickly.  We advise you to submit your application as soon as possible.

If you would like to register your interest in studying with the Hydrographic Academy please contact us.

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss any aspect of studying with the Hydrographic Academy, please feel free to contact us.

Our partnership with MLA College
The University of Plymouth has developed partnerships with institutions around the world with the sole purpose of making higher education more accessible to those people who need something just a little different.

Our Academic Partnerships enable students to enrol for a degree at a partnership institution closer to home, or engage in distance learning – even when they’re in the middle of the ocean. They are there for those people looking to return to education, or enhance their professional development. Full- or part-time; foundation degree to masters-level – we cater for a huge variety of needs and aspirations.

Many of our partners offer specialist degrees, unique facilities, and smaller class sizes at a competitive price. And as a student of two institutions, you get the best of both worlds; a supportive learning environment as part of a close-knit community, and a university-level qualification awarded by the University of Plymouth. You’ll enjoy not only the facilities and services your partnership institution provides, but also all of the additional support and resources you need from us, and you’ll automatically become a member of our Students’ Union, too.

We are continuing to grow the number of partner institutions and expand our academic community to new locations around the UK and overseas. Why not visit the Academic Partnerships page on our website for a full list of partners and for more details on studying with us?

One of our partners delivers this particular course – so please visit their website for full course details, entry requirements, tuition fees and information on what student life is like there. 

To apply for the DipHE Hydrography for Professionals / PgDip Advanced Hydrography for Professionals course please fill in the online application form on the Marine Learning Alliance website.

Admissions tutors for the MLA College will check all applications thoroughly, and may also arrange an interview (usually by telephone or Skype), in order to assess your suitability for study. Offers are based on the information provided in the application documents and interview (where appropriate).

If you have any further questions or would like to discuss any aspect of studying with MLA College, please contact the Marine Learning Alliance.

Open days

Partner college open days

This course is run at one of our partner colleges. Open days are held at the college and more details of these can be found on the college website. You'll find contact details below, on this page.

University of Plymouth open days

You are also very welcome to attend a University of Plymouth open day, to get a flavour of the courses you can progress to from a partner college. There will however be limited information on this specific course and college.

The Hydrographic Academy

The Hydrographic Academy has developed blended distance e-learning programmes that are perfectly suited to marine professionals seeking advancement of skills and qualifications without having to attend university full time.

We have developed a flexible syllabus that meets the growing market need for part time study that fits around your working patterns.

Find out more about the course and The Hydrographic Academy
The Hydrographic Academy logo
Marine Building COAST laboratory Wave Flume.

Meeting the needs of our students

There's some really interesting materials and I've especially enjoyed the lectures on the history of hydrography. I'm currently offshore on a job and I am still finding time to study which is really good!

What our students want

It's great to have all the materials to be able to access the lectures and the notes as and when I have time. It's very comprehensive, there are a lot of materials and it's a great opportunity for me to be able to study like this.

Plymouth Sound