MLA College

DipHE 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.
  • 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 course.
  • Whether you are a school leaver wishing to enter the industry, or new to working in the field this course has been designed to furnish you with the skills to meet the demands of the global hydrographic survey industry. 
Course details
  • Year 1

  • In your first year you'll benefit from a bespoke e-learning environment, which incorporates 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.

    Optional modules

    • Nautical Science (EHYD102)

      This module will allow the student to build on the material introduced in the first introductory Hydrographic Academy module, to develop learning and study skills together with an understanding of underpinning scientific principles. An introduction to aspects of nautical science important to the professional working in the marine environment are also provided.

    • Fundamentals of Hydrography (EHYD103)

      This module provides an introduction to aspects of Earth observation and measurement critical to those required to engage in practical hydrography. Basic geodesy, together with Earth observation using satellites and acoustics are studied, together with an introduction to the principles of horizontal and vertical positioning.

  • Year 2

  • Core modules

    • Maritime Studies for Hydrography (EHYD104)

      A study of ships and ship behaviour provides an underpinning knowledge of platform behaviour and the effects this may have on the planning and conduct of a survey. An introduction to the extent and nature of the marine environment, and current resource and policy issues is combined with further development in research methods.

    Optional modules

    • Practical Techniques in Hydrography 1 (EHYD105B)

  • Year 3

  • 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.

    • Data Management and Charting (EHYD202)

      This module will allow the student to develop their understanding of instrumentation, of errors and uncertainty, and the techniques necessary to quantify them. Study of the visualisation and presentation of data including, for example, digital mapping and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), together with the use of appropriate software, will enable the student to undertake further practical field training with confidence.

  • Final year

  • Optional modules

    • Hydrography in Practice (EHYD203)

      This module enables the student to pursue a largely self-directed course of study in an area of particular personal or professional interest. Following an introduction to all the topic areas suggested by the published professional body guidelines, the student will have the opportunity to develop and complete a major project.

    • Practical Techniques in Hydrography 2 (EHYD204B)

      This module will enable students to undertake hydrographic survey tasks on a variety of scales using commonly available survey equipment. A significant amount of applied survey work will be undertaken allowing the development of skills in operational hydrography together with data processing and presentation using industry standard software.

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

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

We welcome a mix of AS/A level and vocational A level qualifications as well as specialisation. If you are a UK school leaver, offers will be based on your results at the end of year 13, although AS grades gained at the end of year 12 may be used in conjunction with your predicted A level or vocational A level grades as an important indicator of ability.

Offers made to mature applicants (over 21) may take account of work and life experience, and in particular, work experience gained within the offshore survey industry.  

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 6.0 or above with a score of at least 6.0 in the written component.
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.

Progression routes

Completing this course enables you to progress onto these related courses and programmes with the University of Plymouth at level 5 or level 6, as specifically defined by this programme’s progression agreement.

For further information, including the progression from foundation degree form, please visit

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