Higher National Diploma (Nautical Science)

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he Higher National Diploma (HND) in Nautical Science also known as Advanced Diploma in Nautical Nautical Science in some institutes is a comprehensive one to two-year program designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career as deck officers in the maritime transport sector. This specialized course prepares students to take on the role of trainee cadet officers, commonly referred to as deck cadets, upon completion. As cadets accumulate essential sea experience and successfully pass certificate of competency exams, they become eligible for employment as navigating officers on merchant ships. The program covers a wide range of subjects, including seamanship, chart work, collision prevention, navigation, bridge equipment and watchkeeping, cargo handling and stowage, ship stability, naval architecture, meteorology, marine signaling, and ship maintenance and operation. Practical training is emphasized, focusing on detailed procedures and maintenance techniques for critical deck machinery. Graduates of the HND in Nautical Science have promising career prospects, with opportunities to ascend from deck officers to the prestigious position of Captain on merchant vessels. Admission requires a National Diploma in a relevant discipline, Ordinary Level Credit Passes, completion of one year of Industrial Training, and a JAMB Registration Number/Regularization.

Eligibility for Nautical Science Course:

Age: The maximum age limit for eligibility is 25 years.

Educational Qualification: Candidates must have successfully completed their +2 (12th Standard) or its equivalent. The academic background should include a minimum aggregate of 50% in the Maths, Physics, and Chemistry Group, along with a minimum of 50% marks in English.

Medical Standard: Aspiring candidates need to meet specific medical standards to be deemed fit for sea service. These standards include having 6/6 vision in the better eye, 6/9 vision in the other eye, and no color blindness. Additionally, candidates are required to take the IELTS examination to assess English proficiency, and a minimum score of 5.5 is necessary.

Admission Process: The admission process involves three stages, an Entrance Test, an Interview, and final Admission to the college. Aspirants need to successfully navigate through these stages to secure a position in the Nautical Science course


The HND program focuses on developing expertise in areas such as marine emergency response, vessel management, marine law, and bridge operations, providing a holistic understanding of the complexities of maritime operations. The inclusion of subjects like shipmaster's business and marine engineering systems further enhances students' skills, preparing them for leadership roles in the maritime sector. The course duration typically spans two years, ensuring a comprehensive and in-depth exploration of the intricacies of nautical science.

  • Seamanship
  • Chart Work
  • Collision Prevention
  • Navigation
  • Bridge Equipment & Watchkeeping
  • Cargo Handling & Stowage
  • Ship Stability
  • Naval Architecture (Elementary)
  • Meteorology
  • Marine Signaling
  • Ship Maintenance and Operation

Practical Learning

The HND in Nautical Science emphasizes a comprehensive approach to practical learning, ensuring that students acquire hands-on experience in key areas of seamanship, navigation, marine meteorology, ship power plants, entrepreneurship development, and human resource management. The curriculum incorporates practical sessions in ship handling, anchoring, mooring, towing, buoyage systems, and life-saving appliances. Additionally, students engage in real-world scenarios related to ship stability, structural layout, compass work, and the operation of various maritime equipment. This practical exposure is integral to preparing students for the challenges and responsibilities they will face in their future roles as navigating officers.

The students of this coruse engage in various practical activities as mentioned below that provide a real-world context to the theoretical concepts covered in the coursework. 

  • Seamanship labs
  • Workshops
  • navigation laboratories

Workshop practices expose students to the essential skills needed for ship construction, stability, and maintenance. In seamanship labs, they learn the practical aspects of navigation, chartwork, and bridge equipment operation. The applied sciences lab and computer lab sessions allow students to practically apply scientific principles and technological skills relevant to the maritime field.

Furthermore, the program includes onboard training, where students gain sea service experience with sponsoring companies. This practical exposure is crucial for students to apply their acquired knowledge in a live maritime environment. Overall, the diploma ensures that students are well-prepared with the practical skills required for a successful career as navigating officers in the merchant navy

Course Curriculum

The curriculum of the two-year HND NS course encompasses key subjects like Communication in English, Chart Work, Marine Meteorology, Ship Power Plant, Seamanship, Entrepreneurship Development, and Human Resource Management

The general objectives of the course include understanding chart work principles, meteorological instruments, ship handling, navigation aids, and ship stability. By the end of the program, students are well-prepared for the challenges of working as navigating officers on merchant ships. The curriculum not only imparts theoretical knowledge but also ensures hands-on training to enhance practical skills, making graduates competent and ready for a successful career in the maritime industry.

First Year

  • Communication in English III
  • Chart Work III
  • Marine Meteorology
  • Ship Power Plant I
  • Seamanship III
  • Entrepreneurship Development
  • Human Resource Management
  • Ship Power Plant II
  • Compass Work
  • Ship Stability and Structure
  • Seamanship IV
  • Cargo Handling & Stowage
  • Ship Construction
  • Computer Application
  • Electronic Navigation Aids

Second Year

  • Electronic Navigation Aids
  • Maritime Law I
  • Cargo Handling & Stowage II
  • Ship Stability and Structure II
  • Celestial Navigation III
  • Research Methodology
  • Watch Keeping
  • Industrial Relations
  • Maritime Law II
  • Emergency Procedure
  • Meteorology & Oceanography
  • Voyage Planning
  • Search & Rescue
  • Project

Top Institutes

The institutes in India and abroad offering the HND in Nautical Science course play pivotal roles in providing holistic education in nautical science. They offer well-structured academic programs, practical learning opportunities, and strong industry connections. The following are just some of the top institutes that actively facilitate placements, international collaborations, and sponsorships, ensuring students receive comprehensive support for a successful career in the maritime industry.

  • AMET University In collaboration with South Tyneside College, UK
  • Global Pacific Shipping and Marine Services, New Delhi
  • BP Marine Academy (BPMA) Belapur Campus, Navi Mumbai
  • Commander Alis Academy of Merchant Navy, Secunderabad
  • Samundra Institute of Maritime Studies (SIMS), Mumbai
  • Vels University School of Maritime Studies, Chennai

Career Growth

After completing the Diploma in Nautical Science, graduates get promising career options in the maritime industry. Post the HND, graduates have various career options, starting as deck cadets and progressing to positions like Third Mate, Second Officer, Chief Officer, and ultimately, obtaining the prestigious rank of Master or Captain. The course also opens avenues for specialization and further studies in related fields.

The journey begins with a written test and a personal interview, followed by a thorough medical examination adhering to government norms. The subsequent phases of career progression include:

  • Pre-Sea Training: A crucial four-month phase at the academy, providing foundational knowledge and practical skills.
  • On-Board Ship Training: Over the next 24 months, students undergo hands-on training aboard ships, receiving a stipend ranging from USD 250 to USD 350 per month.
  • Certification: Graduates appear for the 2nd mate examination, marking a significant milestone in their professional journey.

Notably, this diploma program is sponsored by reputable companies from the UK and Australia, enhancing students' opportunities for valuable industry exposure. Moreover, the collaborative nature of the course with foreign universities and colleges further enriches the educational experience, providing a global perspective and broadening career prospects for aspiring mariners


The future scope of the Higher National Diploma (HND) in Nautical Science is promising, offering graduates diverse opportunities in the maritime industry. Upon completion of the course, individuals can pursue careers as navigation officers, advancing from deck cadets to third mates and eventually reaching the rank of captain or master. The course provides a solid foundation in seamanship, navigation, and maritime operations, making graduates well-equipped for roles involving ship handling, safety procedures, and navigation protocols.

Moreover, with the increasing global demand for skilled maritime professionals, HND holders in Nautical Science can explore employment opportunities in international shipping companies, cruise liners, and offshore industries. The program's emphasis on practical training ensures that graduates are not only academically qualified but also possess hands-on experience crucial for success in the field.

The course opens avenues for specialization in areas such as marine law, marine engineering, or maritime management, allowing individuals to diversify their skill set and pursue leadership roles within the maritime sector.

As the maritime industry continues to evolve and expand, professionals with a strong educational background and practical expertise, as provided by the HND in Nautical Science, will be in demand. Graduates can anticipate a fulfilling and dynamic career, with opportunities for growth, leadership, and international exposure in the maritime domain