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CR 094

Key Info

  • Course CodeCR 094
  • Field of StudyNautical Science
  • Type of CourseDegree
  • Type of QualificationBachelor of Science
  • Type of Study Full time Part time Online
  • Application Closing Date
  • Duration3 and a half years including seatime.
  • Level7
  • LocationNational Maritime College of Ireland
  • CAO 1st RoundEntry 2019: 237

Nautical Science has three main elements:

  • Navigation - the conning and control of a ship
  • Cargo Operations - the safe operation of a ship, including the protection of life and the environment
  • Ship Handling - shipboard administration, and the handling, loading and care of cargoes which may be as diverse as petroleum products, general cargo, or thousands of new cars or passengers


In addition to theoretical studies, students gain practical experience in safety, personal survival, rescue and fire-fighting. All students train with experienced seafarers at the National Maritime College of Ireland and aboard merchant vessels worldwide. Whether the choice is nautical science or marine engineering, the student will experience the most modern resources in the world of seafarer training.


About the Course

Location: NMCI, Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork.


This course is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a Deck Officer aboard ship. It provides a comprehensive education in navigation and other ship board activities.


Work placement

Students who successfully complete Year 1 can expect to be placed on a series of commercial ships in Year 2, gaining fifteen months seatime for practical training experience, and to gain the necessary ‘seatime’ for the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Certificate of Competency. In addition, students must complete a comprehensive workplace training programme including training records, journals and other documents associated with the training programme, as specified from time to time.


It should be noted that while every endeavour will be made to secure suitable sea training placement, this is outside the control of CIT/NMCI and the College cannot accept responsibility for difficulties in securing such placement.


Further Studies

For details, see www.nmci.ie

Degree holders who achieve the specified level of academic performance are eligible to apply for entry to the one year add-on


Question Time

How successful is the College at securing work placement?
Very successful. Suitable qualified personnel with relevant qualifications are always in demand in the industry.


How do I go about getting a Shipping Company to sponsor me while I am in College?
The College endeavours to place all students on vessels. To-date it has been successful.


Do I have to work for the training berth once I graduate?
The commitment from the sponsoring companies usually ends upon graduation. However, a significant number of graduates go on to work as an officer with their sponsors.


How much sea going experience do I need before I can apply to sit for a Master’s Ticket?
A minimum of 36 months sea-service is required to progress to Ship’s Captain. With leave and further study requirements, this generally takes six to seven years to complete.


Graduate Profile

Catríona Dowling
Harbour Master

Catríona is a graduate of both the Level 7 and Level 8 BSc in Nautical Science programmes. During her seagoing career, Catríona sailed on a wide variety of vessels including a survey vessel, lighthouse tender, general cargo vessel, passenger/RO/RO vessel, ferries, and cruise ships. After graduating with the Level 8 Honours Degree,


Catríona obtained her MCA Master Mariner (Master Unlimited) Certificate of Competency qualifying her to command her own vessel as Captain/Master Mariner.


On coming ashore Catríona began working as an Assistant Harbour Master and was later promoted to Deputy Harbour Master in Belfast Harbour before taking up her newest role as Harbour Master in Warrenpoint Harbour. Catríona is the first female Harbour Master of a large commercial port in the history of the Island of Ireland. Catríona is the recipient of the 6th CIT Faculty of Engineering & Science STEM Graduate Achievement Award.


Sinéad Reen
Master Mariner

When Sinéad completed the Nautical Science Degree course, she worked on ships as a Navigating Officer to gain experience before returning to CIT to obtain qualifications as First Mate. Sinéad qualified as a Master Mariner when she successfully completed her Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport professional examinations.


She has the proud distinction of being the first woman to be issued with a Certificate of Competency as Master Mariner in Ireland. Sinéad is a former President of the Irish Institute of Master Mariners and is currently Head of the Department of Maritime Studies at the NMCI.

For admission to a programme, standard applicants must

  • score the necessary CAO points and
  • meet the minimum entry requirements


Leaving Certificate examination in five subjects i.e. Grade O6 or H7 in five subjects. The five subjects must include Mathematics, and either English or Irish, and note the following:


  • Note 1: The programme is normally available only to Irish citizens and EU citizens who are ordinarily resident in Ireland.

  • Note 2: Applicants must pass the approved medical fitness and eyesight tests as specified by the Maritime Safety Directorate of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and are recommended to attend a career advisory session. Offer of a place on the course will be subject to passing the Medical and Eyesight Tests at the time of offer.

  • Note 3: Applicants, other than those indicated in Note 1, will need to be sponsored by an approved internationally trading shipping company, provide an IELTS score of 6.5, and also meet the medical and eyesight requirements for a sea going career.

  • Note 4: Applicants should note that in order to qualify for an Officer of the Watch Certificate of Competency (CoC), the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has set additional criteria with respect to minimum pass marks, academic progression, and students with dyslexia. Download Marine Notice No. 65 of 2013.

  • Note 5: Applicants who are non-Irish citizens should ensure that they qualify for the issuance of a Seafarers Discharge Book in their home country.

Info re CIT Mathematics Exam only: Some students who apply to CIT/NMCI full-time courses may not achieve the required entry standard in Mathematics through the Leaving Certificate. For such applicants, CIT offers a second chance to reach the required entry standard through a CIT Mathematics Exam. This second chance facility allows applicants (depending on their results in the CIT Mathematics Examination) to gain entry to courses with an Ordinary Leaving Certificate Mathematics entry standard, and (with a higher level of performance) courses with a Higher Leaving Certificate entry standard. Please click here for more information.

Graduates first become Officer of the Watch on a vessel after graduating and passing relevant examinations. They can advance to Chief Mate or Ship's Captain with further study, examinations and sea time. Careers exist on all different type of ocean going vessels: bulk carriers, oil tankers, container ships, cruise and ferry vessels. There are also careers on specialist vessels, such as seismic and exploration ships, pilot vessels, tugs and mega yachts.

Career prospects are excellent. There is always a need for high quality personnel. At present, there is a shortage of junior ships’ officers and there is an expectation that those starting now should rise quickly to senior positions.

Potential Areas of Employment

  • Ship’s Officer (from Junior Ranks to Captain)
  • Harbour Master/Pilot
  • Marine Surveyor
  • Maritime Studies Lecturer

A career at sea does not mean a lifetime at sea. Positions ashore include harbour masters, pilots in the major ports of the world, marine equipment producers/suppliers, marine law and insurance, ship classification societies, marine and ship surveying with the Department of Transport (and its equivalent in other countries) who monitor shipping using its ports and territorial waters, management, cargo handling, training and education.

While many of the career opportunities mentioned above are usually dependant on the applicant having a Master Mariner Certificate of Competency, those with an Honours degree, in addition, will have more attractive employment prospects in these areas.

Full details of the modules on this programme of study are available by clicking the following link:

Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science CR094

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