School of Engineering

FdSc Navigation and Maritime Science

This exciting degree will set you on course for a successful career as a maritime professional in the global maritime sector. Opt to follow a two year programme designed for students wishing to pursue a career in shore based maritime management; or follow an accredited three year programme that includes a year working at sea, and gain internationally recognised qualifications for professional seafarers in the merchant navy, yachting or superyacht industries.

You will 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. You’ll develop the practical, communication and problem-solving skills employers are looking for. You’ll experience life at sea first hand as trainee officers to gain practical experience from a seagoing placement year.

Key features

  • Lay strong foundations for a successful career in the maritime sector. Join successful graduates who have gone on to work in a diverse range of maritime industries and professions such as professional navigator, marine manager and yacht racer.
  • 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.
  • Gain hands-on experience from the outset by learning to navigate our dedicated 13 metre sail and navigation training vessel Take The Helm on Plymouth Sound. Once qualified and approved, you'll be able to skipper her yourself.
  • Ensure you have the practical, communication and problem-solving skills employers are looking for with a mixture of lectures, tutorials, and practical’s featuring group and individual problem-based learning; case studies; debate and critiques; oral and visual presentations; field work; and professional development planning.
  • Gain sponsorship from shipping companies or training organisations, looking to train the next generation of professional seafarers. Sponsorship can become available to students already following our programme.   
  • Study this accredited degree as a sponsored student and receive funding towards tuition fees and living expenses from the sponsoring company, while you study. 
  • Experience life at sea first hand as trainee officers to gain practical experience from a seagoing placement year.
  • If you are not sponsored you can still follow an accredited trajectory into a professional seafaring career. Many of our students wish to work as officers in the superyacht industry, where qualified officers are increasingly in demand.

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
    • NMS101 Coastal Navigation

      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.

    • NMS102 Marine Operations

      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.

    • NMS103 Voyage Planning and Meteorology

      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.

    • NMS106 Management and Leadership 1

      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.

    • NMS108 Field and Professional Skills

      A practical module including work-based or fieldweek elements developing navigation/safe working practice and management and leadership method and techniques

    • NMS105 Marine Techniques

      This module will help equip the student with the essential skill for study in higher education. Statistical analysis along with library 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.

    • NMS107 Accreditation 1

      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.

    • BPIE116 Stage 1 Navigation Placement Preparation

      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.

  • Year 2
  • In your final year, you’ll advance your navigation skills, learn about position determination, including celestial navigation, as well as ship construction, stability and cargo operations, and get 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. You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake RYA qualifications, including Yachtmaster Offshore.

    On completion of the final year you will have completed the requirements for the award of the foundation degree.

    Students following the accredited pathway now return to sea for another year of sea time on board working ships, gaining the experience and the skills required to be an effective ships officer, before returning to university for the final courses and preparations leading to the award of professional certificates of competency.

    Core modules
    • NMS201 Voyage Planning and Collision Avoidance

      This module focuses on the development of strategies to enable the vessel to maintain track and avoid collision. A study of the technology and techniques involved together with their application will be undertaken. This will enable the student to develop a watchkeeping skill set appropriate for the navigation of a wide range of vessels.

    • NMS202 Marine Operations and Construction

      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.

    • NMS203 Law

      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.

    • NMS204 Management and Leadership 2

      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.

    • NMS205 Field and Professional Skills 2

      Enable the student to complete a portfolio of learning and training. Credit will be gained by proving application of taught underpinning knowledge via a navigation and operations workbook, and academic skills enhanced by analysis and reflective practice of topics specific to the environment within which the student is working.

    • NMS208 Accreditation 2

      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.

    • NMS207 Ocean Navigation

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

    • BPIE216 Stage 2 Navigation Placement Preparation

      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.

  • Year at sea
  • This year is a chance to go to sea. If you’re sponsored, you’ll follow a structured programme with your sponsoring company; alternatively, it’s an opportunity for yachtsmen or women to build miles and gain valuable industrial experience. Put your newly acquired skills to the test on a real ship or yacht, and benefit from the experience of those around you. 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.

    Optional modules
    • BPIE337 Navigation and Maritime Science-related Placement

      A substantial period of professional training education spent as the third year of a sandwich programme undertaking an approved placement with a suitable company. This provides an opportunity for the student to gain relevant industrial experience to consolidate the first two stages of study and to prepare for the final University phase and employment after graduation.

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:

FdSc Navigation and Maritime Science 4494

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.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

48

To include a grade E at a relevant science subject, excluding general studies.

BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: PPP in a relevant 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 science related Access course. Must have GCSE English and Maths grade C/4 or above or equivalent

International Baccalaureate: 24 points overall to include 4 at Higher Level science. 

GCSE: mathematics and English language grade C.

An interview may be required. Equivalent qualifications will be considered.

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

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,500 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.


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 international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Navigation and maritime science

From sailing ships to travelling the world, find out what our students love about studying navigation and maritime science at Plymouth University

Ship simulator and maritime navigation facilities

Plymouth University's ship simulator, complete with a 240-degree screen and realistic control panel.

Take the Helm

Experience Plymouth University's fantastic yacht Take the Helm.

Facilities and resources

Being by the sea isn’t the only reason Plymouth is one of the best places in the UK to study the marine environment. You’ll enjoy access to a wide range of high-specification facilities, so you have the resources to match, and achieve, your ambitions.

Our brand new Marine Building makes us a world-renowned centre for maritime science and enterprise.

Find out more about our facilities and resources

Careers

Do you want a maritime career; be an officer in the merchant navy, navigate superyachts or race yachts? Whatever your aspirations, we’ll make sure you get all the academic support you need to succeed.

Find out more about careers in the maritime industry

Graduate profiles

Our graduates succeed. With 90 per cent of global trade carried out by sea, and the UK being a crucial part of that trade, the career you’re looking for is yours for the taking. And we’ll help you get it.

Over 70 per cent of our graduates say they got the advice and support they needed to reach their goals.

Find out more about some of our graduates

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.

Find out more about our accredited degree

Sponsorship

Sponsorship can help you study for a Navigation and Maritime Science degree, and follow an accredited pathway to an OOW Certificate of Competency.

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

Find out more about sponsorship on our accredited degree