School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics

BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science

90% of world trade is carried by sea, with a navigation and maritime science degree you can become a professional in this exciting and vital industry. Our graduates go on to careers in the shore-based maritime sector and, for those who follow the accredited route, to become a Ships Officer. Our degrees are accredited by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the Merchant Navy Training Board. You will study an exciting programme that develops the skills sought by employers across the sector.

You can increase your employability with an optional one-year industrial placement in a relevant maritime business or, if sponsored, work at sea towards the professional qualification of Officer of the Watch. We embed our full mission bridge simulator and sailing vessel in the teaching of this challenging applied degree. By studying with us, you will develop the skills required to join the next generation of leaders in the maritime sector.

Opportunities available...

  • A scholarship scheme is available: for more information, see the 'Fees, costs and funding' section, below.
  • Excellence schemes: we may make you a personalised offer if you are a strong candidate – visit our webpage for details.


Sponsorship can provide you with the sea time and financial support to achieve professional navigating officer qualifications.

The University does not guarantee sponsorship for any student.

Find out more about sponsorship opportunities

Careers with this subject

Discover employment and further study opportunities that you could consider once you graduate with a navigation and maritime science degree, and learn how you can stand out to graduate employers.

What can you do with a navigation and maritime science degree?

Key features

  • Lay strong foundations for your successful career in the maritime sector. Our students go on to work in a diverse range of maritime industries. Whether you aspire to be a professional navigator, a marine manager or yacht racer, the world’s oceans could literally unfold before your eyes. 
  • Distinguish yourself with a degree that’s accredited by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, as well as the Merchant Navy Training Board*.
  • Immerse yourself in the latest technology; we've equipped our Marine Navigation Centre with an advanced full mission ship simulator and the latest in electronic charts.
  • Develop your 'sea-sense' with hands-on experience on our dedicated 13 metre sail and navigation training vessel 'Take The Helm' on Plymouth Sound. If qualified and approved, you'll be able to skipper the vessel yourself.
  • Ensure you have the practical, communication and problem-solving skills employers are looking for. With a mixture of lectures, tutorials, and practicals featuring group and individual problem-based learning.
  • Many of our students gain sponsorship from shipping companies or training providers. In many cases sponsorship becomes available to students already on our programme.  
  • Students may also receive funding towards tuition fees and living expenses from the sponsoring company, greatly reducing costs. They go to sea as trainee officers to gain practical experience from a seagoing placement year.

Course details
  • Year 1

  • In your first year, you’ll engage with the foundations of marine operations, meteorology and navigation techniques, including use of our ship simulator and sail training vessel. You’ll also develop your navigation, leadership and management skills in a challenging field week, which is essential for future maritime leaders.

    Sponsored students will spend the summer of this year at sea.

    Core modules

    • Stage 1 Navigation Placement Preparation (BPIE116)

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • Coastal Navigation (NMS101)

      This module introduces and develops position determination methods, and the basics of safe navigation practice. This module will be delivered using a mixture of lecture practical and tutorial activities.

    • Marine Operations (NMS102)

      This module provides an introduction to the knowledge required to participate in all aspects of both cargo operations and operational procedures on a merchant vessel.

    • Voyage Planning and Meteorology (NMS103)

      This module provides an introduction to the factors affecting the planning of coastal and ocean passages. The external meteorological factors will be considered alongside the impact this will have on the planning of the passage.

    • Management and Leadership 1 (NMS106)

      This module enables the student to start developing their own learning agenda via a personal development plan. It will introduce the concept of management skills, in particular bridge team management, and how effective application improves the safety of ships. The regulatory framework which encourages same will also be introduced.

    • Accreditation 1 (NMS107)

      This module provides the means to record achievement of the standard set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for the issue of a certificate of competency in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) as periodically amended.

    • Marine Techniques (NMS109)

      This module will help equip the student with the essential skill for study in higher education. Effective library and internet use and basic investigation and research skills will be developed. Writing and presentation skills and methods will be developed in parallel to enable effective communication of concepts, ideas and research.

    • Introduction to Unmanned Maritime Systems (NMS110)

      To introduce the student to Maritime procedures, processes, and Unmanned Maritime Systems providing an overview of the history, industry applications, and future challenges. 

  • Year 2

  • In your second year, you’ll advance your navigation skills and learn about position determination (including celestial navigation), ship construction, stability and cargo operations, as well as getting to grips with the latest satellite position and timing systems. A sailing based field week helps you put your navigation, leadership and management skills into practice, contextualising your theoretical work.

    Core modules

    • Stage 2 Navigation Placement Preparation (BPIE216)

      This module is aimed at students who may be undertaking an industrial placement in the third year of their programme. It is designed build on the Level 1 module (BPIE116) and to assist students in their search for a placement and in their preparation for the placement itself.

    • Marine Operations and Construction (NMS202)

      This module will provide the student with an introduction to how ships and yachts are designed and constructed, including a study of propulsion (wind and power), steering systems and stability.

    • Law (NMS203)

      This module will provide the theory and practice relating to the responsibilities and liabilities associated with the management and operation of merchant ships and the carriage of goods by sea.

    • Management and Leadership 2 (NMS204)

      This module will develop the students' knowledge of management techniques, on a number of levels. These include mission critical management of search and rescue scenarios, contingency planning and emergency management, through to day to day management practice including budgetary planning.

    • Ocean Navigation (NMS207)

      To develop an appreciation of the navigation methods used in ocean passage-making.

    • Accreditation 2 (NMS208)

      This module provides the means to record achievement of the standard set by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for the issue of a certificate of competency in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) as periodically amended.

    • Voyage Planning and Collision Avoidance (NMS209)

      To develop an appreciation of the navigation methods used in ocean passage-making.

    • Unmanned Maritime Systems (NMS210)

      Provide the student with core knowledge in technical and regulatory domains for Unmanned Maritime Systems.

  • Year at sea

  • This year is a chance to go to sea or work onshore in the maritime industry. If you’re sponsored, you’ll follow a structured programme with your sponsoring company; alternatively, it’s an opportunity to gain valuable industrial experience. This year is optional: if you’re already qualified or are progressing to a shore-based management career, you can go straight to the final year.

    Core modules

    • Navigation and Maritime Science-related Placement (BPIE337)

      This year is an opportunity to work in a maritime industry. It helps to build your knowledge, experience, CV and ultimately your employability.

  • Final year

  • You’re now ready to refine the skills necessary for a career in the maritime sector, gaining experience managing operations and solving complex problems that you’ll encounter in the workplace. You’ll round off what you’ve learnt this year by studying advanced topics around navigation management, and complete a year-long research project on a topic of your choice. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop, run and present, at a conference attended by key industrial players

    Core modules

    • Problem-Solving in the Marine Environment (NMS303)

      To provide the opportunity for a student to develop problem-solving strategies in the marine environment, including: search and rescue, data communications and managing a navigation team.

    • Marine Honours Project (NMS304)

      This module requires students to undertake an approved research project with a marine science theme and to report the findings.

    • Navigation Safety and Management (NMS305)

      Students will further develop their on-board leadership and management skills through the study of specialist navigation topics, emergency situation planning and accident investigation.

    • Ship and Yacht Management (NMS306)

      Students will develop an understanding of the regulatory framework governing ship and yacht management, coupled to the practical application of maritime law.

    • Unmanned Maritime Systems Operations (NMS308)

      This module will provide the students with knowledge in service definition and operations involving Unmanned Maritime Systems. 

    Optional modules

    • Accreditation (NMS307)

      This module provides the means to record achievement of success in short courses or other similar education or training provision gained in association with their higher education studies as determined by the individual students' CPD needs.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BSc Navigation and Maritime Science ProgrammeSpecification September2022 4493

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

80 - 112

Applicants exceeding our entry requirements may be eligible for an offer under our Engineering and Navigation Excellence Scheme.

A level: To include a grade C in a relevant science (Biology, Human Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Physics, Design Technology, Applied Science, Geography, Engineering, Geology, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Psychology) excluding general studies.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: MMP - DMM dependent on subject.

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

Pass Access (Science) with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction to include 12 credits in science. Must have GCSE English and mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent.

T level: Pass – C or above in Core. Science and Technology pathways accepted only.

Note: currently T-levels are not recognised by sponsoring companies, though this may change in the future.

International Baccalaureate: 26 overall, to include 4 at Higher Level science

GCSE: Mathematics, English language, science and one other subject at grade C/4.

An interview may be required. Equivalent qualifications will be considered. We welcome applications from students around the world with equivalent qualifications.

Direct Entry into year 2 or final year

It is possible for appropriately qualified (typically HND, Foundation degree or equivalent) student to have a direct entry into year 2 or the final year of the programme.

Non UK residents will need to obtain sponsorship from their own national fleet subject to Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) approval.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding
Student 2022-2023 2023-2024
Home £9,250 £9,250
International £14,600 £16,300
Part time (Home) £770 £770
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.

Scholarships for outstanding School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics applicants

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics Scholarship Scheme recognises and rewards the achievements of high achieving entrants to our undergraduate degree programmes. Scholarships of £1,000 will be automatically awarded to the highest qualified 12 new entrants from across our four disciplines - Engineering, Computing, Mathematics and Navigation. Selection will be based upon entry qualifications and strength of application. Awards will be made during first year of study.
This scheme is open to home students only.
There are additional subject specific prizes and awards to reward outstanding achievement in later stages of study.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Science and Engineering and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Additional fieldwork, equipment and graduation costs.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email

Progression routes

International progression routes

The University of Plymouth International College (UPIC) offers foundation, first-year and pre-masters programmes that lead to University of Plymouth degrees. Courses are specially designed for EU and international students who are missing the grades for direct entry to the University, and include full duration visa sponsorship. You can start in January, May or September, benefitting from small class sizes, top-quality tuition and 24/7 student support.

Find out more at or contact our team at

Discover navigation and maritime science

From sailing ships to travelling the world, find out what our students love about studying navigation and maritime science at the University of Plymouth. Discover the career options open to you and the facilities available on the course.

"The facilities at the University are brilliant. There’s a good mix of theoretical and practical aspects to the course."
Cameron, second year student

Facilities and resources

Being by the sea isn’t the only reason we think Plymouth is the best place in the UK to study. You’ll enjoy access to a wide range of high-specification facilities, including our own full mission ship simulator in which you'll be able to experience what it's like to be in control of a ship. 

We also have our own sail training vessel which you will have the chance to sail with your course mates as part of your study; learning how to navigate and to manage crews, laying the foundations for a successful career at sea.

Brand new facilities coming online include the cyber security Ship Lab and our own autonomous vessel.  

Discover what will be available to you


Full Mission Bridge Simulator, Marine Navigation Centre<br></p>


You do not require sponsorship to study Navigation and Maritime Science.

Sponsorship can provide you with the sea time and financial support to achieve professional navigating officer qualifications.

For information on sponsorship opportunities to follow the accredited programme.

Find out more about sponsorship on our accredited degree 

<p>Navigation and Maritime Science <br></p>

Putting theory into practice

Seychelles-born Emmaline talks to us about what attracted her to Plymouth as a city and a university. Having already studied at the Seychelles Maritime School, where she was able to practice her skills on the water, Emmaline has found that the University of Plymouth has given her a solid basis of the theory she will need to progress in her career once she graduates with an accredited award.
<p>Emmaline Contoret, BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science<br></p>

Think about your future

Career paths

Do you want to become a professional seafarer where you are an officer in charge of ships or to work in the shore side maritime sector? Whatever your aspirations, we’ll make sure you get all the academic support you need to succeed.
<p>Navigation and Maritime Science Nikolas Peratikos</p>


Haley Shepherd – BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science graduate

Haley Shepherd has sailed all over the world and tells us how studying at the University of Plymouth was crucial in her career development.

Read Haley's story

<p>Haley Shepherd</p>
<p>Nikolas Peratikos -&nbsp;

BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science&nbsp;<br></p>
<p>Nikolas Peratikos - BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science <br></p>
<p>Nikolas Peratikos - BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science <br></p>

In 2016, I became a sponsored HollandAmerica Line (Carnival Corp.) cadet with Viking recruitment at the University of Plymouth and was sent to sea. First stop, Seattle, WA to board the first ship I had ever seen. In the year that followed I sailed through Alaska, Hawaii, Argentina, Cape Horn, Chile, Antarctica and the Med from Cadiz (west) to Mykonos (east) and everything between. I now have an honours degree, am a qualified Officer of Watch (OOW) unlimited and a 3rd Officer in the HollandAmerica Fleet. I now have an exciting career ahead and prospects ashore when I decide to settle down. Thank you very much to the lecturers of the Navigation and Maritime Science course that guided me there!

Nikolas Peratikos - BSc (Hons) Navigation and Maritime Science graduate

Inspirational graduate – Conrad Humphries

Plymouth graduate Conrad Humphries is the most decorated yachtsman ever to come out of the University of Plymouth, competing in some of the world’s most celebrated open ocean races and discovering the limits of his endurance.

Read his amazing story in our recent interview.


Conrad Humphreys


Accredited pathways

Our BSc (Hons) and FdSc Navigation and Maritime Science programmes are accredited by the Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB).
Following an accredited pathway can lead to professional seagoing qualifications as a navigating officer.
Full mission bridge simulator, Marine Navigation Centre, Marine Building
Delivered by a team of experienced international academics, consultants and researchers.
<p>athena swan bronze</p>

Athena Swan Bronze

The School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics was awarded an Athena Swan Bronze award in October 2020 which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality and success for all.

*Accreditation is considered for re-approval annually.

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Discover Uni is updated annually in September.