Level 3 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Shipping and Maritime Operations (Engineering)

Level 3 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Shipping and Maritime Operations (Engineering)

SQA code: GA6G 57
Ofqual code: 603/4946/3
Total Qualification Time: 565
Guided Learning Hours: 501
Credit value: 57

The Level 3 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Shipping and Maritime Operations (Engineering) will develop knowledge and skills in areas such as basic vessel engineering systems, controlling vessel operations, vessel construction and stability, and electrical principles for marine engineers. Maritime employment and environmental and health and safety practice are also covered.

This qualification may be available through employers, training providers and colleges.

Rationale and purpose of this qualification

The main purpose of this qualification is to prepare the learner for the next stage of the approved merchant navy officer training programme.

This is one of a suite of qualifications that has been developed by industry specialists and is supported by the Maritime Skills Alliance. The qualifications provide the underpinning knowledge that will enable the learner to progress to HNC/D in Nautical Studies or Marine Engineering and so qualify as a junior officer (deck or engine) in the Merchant Navy.

This qualification delivers the underpinning knowledge needed to meet the nationally recognised standard for the role and so provides a sound basis for working in the industry. Learners who achieve this qualification can use it to gain employment, to progress in the industry, or to work towards another qualification (see Progression).


The qualification is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • preparing learners for employment
  • preparing learners to progress to another qualification
  • meeting relevant programmes of learning
  • giving learners personal growth and engagement in learning
  • confirming knowledge, understanding and skills


The Level 3 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Shipping and Maritime Operations (Engineering) is intended for people in the maritime sector and has been developed in conjunction with the Merchant Navy Training Board and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to ensure it is 'fit for purpose'. This qualification is a component of an approved merchant navy training programme and is a step towards certification as an engineering officer within the merchant navy.

What does this qualification cover?

As this is a knowledge-based qualification, learners will be acquiring the knowledge and skills required through either on-the-job experience or in a learning environment.

To attain the qualification, learners must complete 12 mandatory units to achieve a total of 57 mandatory credits.

The engineering officer route includes:

  • the economic importance, career pathways and regulatory bodies within the maritime sector
  • employee rights, health and safety practices, legislation and regulations relating to the maritime sector
  • the importance of protecting the marine environment
  • using numerical and graphical skills to solve problems related to seafaring
  • the features of different vessels and factors that affect their ability to stay afloat
  • the key features of different types of vessel and the purpose of equipment on the ship

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification may be of interest to learners who:

  • wish to pursue a career at sea
  • wish to work within the maritime industry
  • wish to enter the merchant navy
  • have already achieved a relevant Maritime Level 2 qualification and wish to progress on to the Level 3 Diploma
  • are ratings already working within the shipping industry
  • are wishing to transfer from another career
  • are practically minded, enjoy learning in a structured and detailed manner using practical training — and enjoy the challenge that the maritime sector can offer


Entry requirements to the qualification are:

  • GCSE Grades A-C or equivalent qualifications in the following subjects: English Language, Maths, a science-based subject and at least one other subject (such as Engineering or Science).


This qualification is a mandatory component in the Maritime Occupations Apprenticeship in England (as detailed in SASE).


The Level 3 Diplomas in Maritime Studies: Shipping and Maritime Operations are based on the Marine National Occupational Standards (NOS) suite 2006 and provide access to HNC/D in Shipping and Maritime Operations in order to qualify as a junior officer (deck or engine) in the merchant navy.

Deliver this qualification

Thinking of working with us?

Existing customer?

Where can you take this course

Qualification structure

SQA group award code: GA6G 57
Ofqual qualification code: 603/4946/3

The Level 3 Diploma in Maritime Studies: Shipping and Maritime Operations (Engineering) consists of 12 mandatory units (credit value 57).

Please refer to the qualification structure (88 KB) for more information.

Unit search

How to assess

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Each unit specification gives detailed information on the assessment criteria, assessment (evidence) requirements and guidance on instruments of assessment for the unit.

This qualification is assessed by completing various tasks to evidence what has been learned. This can be carried out through practical assessment, knowledge-based questioning or online assessment. The assessor can then confirm that the learner has met the requirements of the qualification and that they have the necessary underpinning knowledge and skills to progress.

The assessment process will ensure that the learner can complete the tasks that they have been directed to undertake and that they can interpret the instructions correctly. They will demonstrate that they can select the appropriate resources for the tasks and can complete them within the given timescales and specifications.

Learner portfolio

Assessment strategy/principle