Nautical Science

Nautical Science - Diploma of Technology
Skills and Interests

You love being on the water and you have leadership skills.

Work Environment

You don’t want to be chained to a desk; you have a passion for the natural environment and may have heard a call in the ocean’s roar.

Program Location:

Marine Institute Campus, Ridge Road (St. John's)

Program Length:

Four years


View Calendar entry

Practical Experience:

Three technical sessions and 360 sea days

Application Deadline:

Fall Admission:  April 15. Applications received after this date will be assessed as resources and space allow.

For More Information:

2023-2024 Undergraduate Viewbook

Program Description

The Diploma of Technology in Nautical Science is a globally recognized, cooperative program which is accredited by Transport Canada in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers, 1978 as amended in 2010 (Manila Convention).

This cadet program is designed to:

  • provide a strong theoretical and practical education in the field of nautical science;
  • prepare students for employment in marine transportation;
  • produce graduates who are capable of accepting the responsibilities and performing the duties assigned to them as ships officers;
  • prepare students for professional recognition as seafaring officers by Transport Canada and to sit for the remaining Transport Canada examinations for the Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competence.
Program Structure

As a co-operative program, the Nautical Science diploma consists of periods of study at the Marine Institute which alternate with periods at sea. The entire program consists of:

  • First Year consists of semester one and two followed by an eight-week technical session and;
  • a two-month sea phase following the first technical session;
  • a second or intermediate year of study consisting of semesters three and four, followed by an eight-week technical session;
  • a fifteen-month sea phase following the second technical session. This sea phase may be completed over two work term periods; and,
  • a third or advanced year of study consisting of semesters five and six followed by a final eight-week technical session.

The total time to complete the program is normally four years. As indicated, the first year of study, commencing in September, consists of two terms (fall and winter). Here the focus is on math, the sciences, and communications. Students are introduced to ships and shipping in their first and second term which is followed by an eight-week Technical Session. The Technical Session is completed in the spring following Term 2 The focus in technical session is on hands on courses and on short courses in Marine Emergency Duties.

The first Technical Session therefore serves the twin purposes of further introducing the cadet to the technical content of the program while carrying out practical exercises at sea and taking a series of short courses in Marine Emergency Duties (MED). The MED training prepares the students for the realities of emergencies at sea and the part that they might play in them. This, in combination with the practical exercises at sea, provides for safer sea phases for the cadets.

The second year focuses entirely on such technical subjects as navigation systems, stability, and seamanship. The second technical session serves the same purpose and its made up of technical courses which not only contribute to the overall technical competence of the cadets but provides them with other skills which employers consider essential. The student who has successfully completed all of the primary and intermediate parts of the program may be eligible to sit for the Transport Canada’s Bridge Watch Rating examination.

The final year of study covers advanced materials in courses introduced previously. Other subjects involving the business and management of shipping are also introduced here. The final Technical Session again involves technical materials including the practice of bridge resource management which, in part, is carried out on the Institute’s full mission bridge simulator.

Sea Phases

During the program, the cadet must accumulate a minimum of 12 months of recognized sea time in sea placements which have been approved by the Institute through The Office of Career Integrated learning. This is acquired through compulsory sea phase periods which are governed by the Marine Institute General Work Term Guidelines and the Nautical Science Work Term Regulations. These sea phases are, in fact, guided work terms for which accredited logbooks must be kept and the employers carry out personal evaluations of the cadets.

The first sea phase (WKTM 1102) is scheduled over a two-month period between the end of the first technical session and the beginning of the following semester.

Following the second Technical Session, the student commences the second sea phase (WKTM 2102). This is an extended period of 15 months wherein the student must accumulate the remainder of the required 12 months sea time.

Credit Earned: Diploma of Technology

4 years: (6 Academic Terms, 3 Technical Sessions and 2 Sea Phase Work Terms)

Normal Start: Fall

Admission Requirements

Adherence to our Application and Admission Regulations either upon high school graduation (following a period of employment subsequent to graduation), or by transfer from another post-secondary institution.

Proof of satisfactory physical fitness, visual acuity, colour vision, hearing, etc. prior to writing Transport Canada exams. It must be provided by way of a signed Transport Canada Seafarer's medical from an approved physician.

What Alumni Say

"The Nautical Science program enabled me the opportunity to work in the international maritime and oil & gas industries, take command of a 258 metre Floating Production and Storage unit Offshore (FPSO), become a certified marine surveyor, lecture at the Marine Institute and take a management position with one of the largest tanker companies in the world."

-Rob McNamara
MI Graduate