HND Nautical Science

The HND Nautical Science is specifically designed to equip you to enter employment in the Merchant Navy as a Deck Officer. It has also enables you to develop the skills required to gain employment within the wider UK maritime sector, including shore-based positions. It will develop your practical, interpersonal and social skills — important requirements for a career in the maritime sector.

The HND provides you with all the underpinning knowledge that is required for obtaining a Certificate of Competency at the Operational level, ie at Officer of the Watch level as defined by the STCW 95 convention. The award will also allow you to develop complex, vocationally-specific reading and report writing skills.

You will also be able to develop your critical thinking, planning and organising, and reviewing and evaluation skills.

Employment and progression opportunities

The HNC Nautical Science aims to equip you with the skills to seek employment at operational level in: ship management, port and harbour operations, freight and transportation operations, marine insurance industry, ship broking and chartering, the wider maritime safety industry (eg safety equipment manufacturers), meteorological services, pollution prevention services.

The HND will also provide a means for seafarers not holding an HND to obtain Chief Mate certification. It will also allow seafarers possessing certificates of competency issued by other national administrations to obtain either a UK Class 2 Deck Officer Certificate of Competency (COC) or, if you already hold an overseas class 2 COC, a UK Class 1 Masters COC.

If you achieve the HND, you will be eligible to apply for 2nd or 3rd year entry to marine degree programmes at higher education institutions including Glasgow, Strathclyde, Newcastle, Liverpool John Moores, Cardiff, Southampton and Plymouth Universities. You may also be able to progress to an MSc programme in Marine Operations at the City of London University. You should check with your centre and the institution in question.

The HND Nautical Science is recognised by the Merchant Navy Training Board and the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency as providing the underpinning knowledge required from Class 2 Deck Officer Certification. It is also recognised as a valuable academic qualification for seafarers by national administrations of most countries and all the major shipping companies across the globe.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. There are many courses that can be regarded as entry requirements, so you should check with the relevant centre.