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

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.

We encourage you to:

  • undertake career planning and research
  • build your networks, meet employers and graduates
  • gain essential work experience during your course
  • attend career fairs and events
  • continually develop your skills and knowledge
  • get involved with relevant clubs and societies
  • visit the Careers Service for advice.

Knowledge and skills

Your degree will provide you with knowledge and skills that are valuable to all employers:

  • Leadership and ability to inspire confidence in others
  • Teamwork
  • Problem-solving, self-reliance and decision-making
  • Written and verbal communication
  • Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Organisation and workload management
  • Professionalism

Career options

Your degree will open the door to many graduate jobs and careers both within and beyond the Maritime sector. Sea-going careers that will be of particular interest to graduates of Navigation and Maritime Science include:

Merchant Navy Deck Officer

Superyacht First/Second Officer

There are also opportunities within the wider maritime industry to use your skills and knowledge – bear in mind that further study or seafaring experience will be required for some of these roles.

  • Crew Management (Ship Management)
  • Harbour Master
  • Hydrographic Surveyor
  • Lecturer (Maritime Education)
  • Marine Pilot
  • (Assistant) Marine Superintendent
  • Maritime consultant
  • Maritime lawyer
  • Operations manager
  • Port management
  • Shipbroker
  • Vessel Manager
  • Vessel Traffic Services Officer


  • 3rd Officer
  • Chief Mate
  • Chief Officer
  • Contracts Buyer
  • Director and Operations Manager
  • First Mate for Skipper Boat
  • Officer Navy
  • Senior Third Officer
  • Shipping and Logistics Trainee
  • Yacht Master Instructor


  • Columbia Cruise Services
  • DFDS
  • Fergusons Transport & Shipping
  • Fred Olsen Cruises
  • H Clarkson and Company
  • Huxley
  • IYC limited
  • Merchant Navy
  • P&O Ferries
  • Princess Cruises
  • Princess Yachts
  • Sailing Tectona CIC
  • Subsea 7
  • Swire Pacific Offshore
  • Trinity House
  • Viking Recruitment - Seabourn Cruise Lines
  • Wright Marine

*Data is from the Graduate Outcomes Surveys of 2017/18 and 2018/19. Graduates were surveyed 15 months after graduating. Data displayed is for 13 UK-domiciled, first degree, full-time graduates who are working, studying or looking for work.

Researching your career options

The maritime sector in the UK is the largest in Europe and makes a huge contribution to the economy with a turnover of approximately £40 billion per annum. In the UK, this industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and there are a wide variety of opportunities for well-qualified graduates to enter this key industry. Depending on the degree pathway and your areas of interest, you may end up working within the merchant navy, for a shipping company, a port or harbour authority, for a superyacht company, a shipping broker or within the marine leisure industries.

You can find good, general graduate information on the Prospects, TargetJobs however the following sector websites are particularly helpful for researching marine and maritime careers:   

British Marine – Careers in the Marine Industry

Careers at Sea – Merchant Navy Careers

Chiltern Maritime

Maritime Careers

Port Skills Safety

Superyacht Careers

Buying and selling
AboarD yacht broking and other useful links
International Marine Directory links to marine consultants, PR, yacht surveyors etc.
Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers


Marine business and shipping – include insurance and P&I
The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (UK)Maritime London a useful members index which includes government departments, marine law firms, shipping links, bankers and financiers etc.
Shipping Facts


Marine Surveying
International Institute of Marine Surveying
Shipbuilders and Ship repairers Association
Yacht Brokers, Designers & Surveyors Association some useful general information and links


Maritime search and rescue
Maritime & Coastguard Agency
RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution)


Maritime sports, leisure and tourism
A huge and expanding field with opportunities from marina management and development through to instructor level and crewing:
UKSA The United Kingdom Sailing Academy
British Marine Federation 
Marine Leisure Association general information
Yachting and Boating World includes a maritime directory of marinas, brokers, insurers etc.


Merchant shipping
Careers at Sea – Information on Merchant Navy career options
Merchant Navy Training Board


Navigational interests 
Institute of Navigation information and jobs 
Royal Institute of Navigation and members job forum


Ports and harbours 
Associated British Ports 
British Ports Association
Ports Skills and Safety


Technical and engineering operations
Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology(IMarEST) 
The Nautical Institute
Fisher Associates – port and shipping consultants

Employment opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth navigation and maritime graduates told us they were doing 15 months after graduation. In some cases these occupations may offer starting points and serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience.

  • Captain
  • Naval Officer
  • Data Researcher
  • Deck Officer
  • Director and Operations Manager
  • First Mate (Skipper Boat)
  • Hydrographic Officer
  • Merchant Navy Officer
  • Pilot Boatman
  • Port Agent
  • Royal Marines Officer
  • Royal Navy Officer
  • Sea Cadet
  • Senior Third Officer
  • Shipping and Logistics Trainee
  • Third Officer
  • Trainee Dynamic Position Operator


*Data is from the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2017/18. Graduates were surveyed 15 months after graduating. Data displayed is for 195 UK-domiciled, first degree, full-time graduates who are working, studying or looking for work.

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by Navigation graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest:

MSc Hydrography
MSc International Shipping

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme;
Find a Masters https://www.findamasters.com/
Find a PhD https://www.findaphd.com/
Prospects https://www.prospects.ac.uk/

It is also worth investigating what further study options the University has to offer as you may find the perfect course for yourself in an institution you already know. There are also sometimes financial benefits of staying on such as a fee discount to Alumni, find out your funding options here.

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn

Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Depending on the specialism chosen for your degree and whether you are sponsored or not, you may have the opportunity to spend a year at sea (or more) as part of your degree which will greatly boost your employability skills and your appeal to employers. Provided their performance placements meet employers’ expectations, many students do end up working for their sponsoring company on graduation

Plymouth is ideally situated offer you a myriad of additional opportunities to explore the maritime sector and develop extra skills by getting involved in maritime-related extra-curricular activities, all of which will help to develop relevant skills which will interest employers when you graduate.

Clubs and societies  

If you have time, getting involved with sports and societies demonstrates that you are engaged and someone who seeks out opportunities to try new things and develop. Involvement with Clubs and Societies also help to improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to navigation and maritime science or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.

<p>Student Hub</p>

Where could your degree subject take you?