Nautical Science (BSc) (Level 7)

  • Course Code

    MT 766

  • Field of Study

    Nautical Science

  • Type of Course:


  • Type of Qualification:


  • Type of Study:

    Full time

  • Application Closing Date:

Course Duration:

3 and a half years including seatime.

Course Summary

This course is designed for those who wish to pursue a career as a Deck Officer aboard ship, providing a comprehensive education in navigation and other ship board activities. Graduates can advance to Chief Mate or Ship's Captain with further study, examinations and sea time.

Admission Requirements:

For admission to a programme, standard applicants must

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

Leaving Certificate 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 Irish Maritime Administration of the Department of Transport, and are strongly advised 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 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 Seafarer's Discharge Book in their home country.

Info re MTU Mathematics Exam only:
Some students who apply to MTU/NMCI full-time courses may not achieve the required entry standard in Mathematics through the Leaving Certificate. For such applicants, MTU offers a second chance to reach the required entry standard through a MTU Mathematics Exam. This second chance facility allows applicants (depending on their results in the MTU 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.

Leaving Cert Subjects:

Helpful subjects are Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, and English.


National Maritime College

Related Courses

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Nautical Science

For information on Fees/Student Grants/Scholarships and Financial Assistance, please click here. 


Recorded November 2021



what is Nautical Science?

Nautical Science has three main elements:

  • Navigation and ship handling, in other words, the conning and control of a ship.
  • The safe operation of a ship, including the protection of life and the environment.
  • Shipboard administration and the handling, loading and care of cargoes, which may be as diverse as petroleum products, general cargo, 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. 


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 are expected to be placed in a commercial ship in year 2, gaining between twelve to 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, they 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 berth, this is outside the control of MTU/NMCI and the College cannot accept responsibility for difficulties in securing such placement.


Further Studies

For details, see


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 do I go about getting a training berth to sponsor me while I am in college?
Securing a cadet berth at sea is a competitive process managed by NMCI, with shipping companies. Students secure a berth based on their performance at NMCI. The number of cadet berths varies each year, depending on shipping company requirements. NMCI has a strong track record in securing cadet berths, however they are not guaranteed. 


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 worked as Deputy Harbour Master for Belfast Harbour. In her later role as Harbour Master of Warrenpoint Harbour, she became the first female in the history of the island of Ireland to become Harbour Master of a large commercial port. Currently, Catríona is the Navigation Services Manager for Irish Lights.


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.

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

Bachelor of Science in Nautical Science CR094

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. Career opportunities exist on a range of different types 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.


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.

Application for this course are processed by the
Central Applications Office (CAO)



EU Applicants must apply via the CAO - please click on the link above.

Non-EU Applicants - please click here for how to apply.

CAO 1st Round:

Entry 2021: 256

CAO Cut off:

CAO Average:

Capt Sinéad Reen, Head, Department of Maritime Studies, National Maritime College of Ireland
T: +353 (0) 21 4335612

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