HNC/HND Marine Engineering (England)

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HNC in Marine Engineering (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as propulsion, auxiliary systems, stability and structure of merchant ships, electro-technology, mechanical principles, and thermodynamics.

The HND in Marine Engineering (SCQF level 8) builds on the knowledge and skills of the HNC and also covers legislation and leadership, management, strength of materials, applied mechanics, heat engine principles, naval architecture, ship construction and survey, electrical distribution systems, electrical power, process control, pneumatics, and hydraulic systems.

In the UK outside of Scotland, Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC) is the registered trademark of Pearson Education Limited and the trademark is used under licence from Pearson Education Limited

This qualification is available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC and HND Marine Engineering are suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • National Certificate in Ship and Marine Operations (with Marine Engineering options) at SCQF level 6
  • at least two Higher level (SCQF level 6) passes of which one should be Mathematics or a physical science - learners should have National 5 English at SCQF level 5 or above
  • relevant work experience

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

Learners who complete the HNC will have the opportunity to progress on to the HND.

Learners who complete the HND will have the opportunity to progress to higher level qualifications such as:

  • BEng in Marine Engineering
  • BEng in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Also, with the HND in Marine Engineering and three years of industrial experience, learners can articulate directly into an MSc at Strathclyde University.

The MNTB (Merchant Navy Training Board) supports the revised SQA HNC and HND Marine Engineering qualifications. Recognising the mapping of the qualifications to the Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) syllabi for the Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW), Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW), and STCW Management Level Engineer (Chief Engineer).

The MCA has confirmed that the HNC will give exemption from the following requirements for STCW EOOW: General Engineering Science (GES) A and B, examinations; Control Engineering examination; HELM operational level course; and High Voltage operational level course.

The HND will give exemptions for the STCW Management Level Engineer in the following subjects: Mathematics; Applied Mechanics; Applied Heat; Engineering Drawing; Electro-Technology; and Naval Architecture.

For both levels, in order to gain the professional Certificate of Competency, candidates are required to pass the IAMI (International Association of Maritime Institutions) and SQA Engineering Knowledge written exams and the MCA Oral examinations. With these exemptions the SQA HNC and HND awards comply with the MNTB requirement for the academic programmes within approved training schemes for engineer officer cadets.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification

HNC Marine Engineering

Group award code: GM1K 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Marine Engineering at SCQF level 7 consists of 12 mandatory units (96 SCQF credit points).

HND Marine Engineering

Group award code: GM1J 16 (240 SCQF credit points)

HND Marine Engineering at SCQF level 8 consists of 27 mandatory units (240 SCQF credit points).