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Deck Cadet Programme Scottish Professional Diploma

(SCQF level 8)

Nautical Studies & Marine Engineering, Nautical and STEM

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Mode of Study



Riverside Campus

  • Applications from International Students Welcome
  • Overview

    This is a three-year training programme providing the necessary training and qualifications for employment as a Deck Officer of the Watch.  There are a number of elements to the programme and also a compulsory sea time requirement.

    The programme is structured into 5 phases:

    • Phase 1 - College phase where you will complete year 1 of HND Nautical Science and compulsory STCW short courses.
    • Phase 2 - Sea phase where you will start your MNTB training record book in addition to a work-based learning course and a distance learning maths course.
    • Phase 3 - College phase where you will complete year 2 of HND in Nautical Science and STCW short courses and complete the theory element of the PDA Marine Management.
    • Phase 4 - Sea Phase where you will complete your MNTB training record book and PDA Marine Management.
    • Phase 5 - College phase where you will prepare for your OOW written and oral examinations and complete your final STCW short courses.

    There are two main intakes onto this programme - September and January.

    • Cadet Programme Start Date - 7th September 2020.
    • Cadet Programme Start Date - 11th January 2021.

    Contact us for further information about this course.

    Entry requirements

    Minimum entry requirements

    To gain entry to the course you should have any of the following combinations of qualifications:

    1.  Higher Maths and/or Physical Science at Grade C or above, and National 5/GCSE or equivalent which must include:

    • English
    • Maths
    • Physical Science (e.g. Physics/Chemistry/Technological Studies/Engineering Science)
    • One other subject

    2.  NC Shipping and Maritime Operations (SCQF level 6) with optional Engineering Units.

    3.  Alternative qualifications will be considered on an individual basis in conjunction with the sponsoring company or training provider.

    Additional selection requirements

    • You must have a sponsoring company in order to fulfil the sea time requirement of this programme.  There are a number of UK sponsoring companies the recruit UK/EU nationals as officer cadets.
    • Initial applications for this course should be submitted to a training provider or company, please see Careers at Sea for more information.

    ESOL entry requirements

    Applicants whose first language is not English should have minimum ESOL Intermediate level 2 or equivalent for NC/NQ courses and ESOL Higher for HNC/D courses.

    What you study

    During this programme you will study the following subjects:

    • Marine Meteorology.
    • Naval Architecture.
    • Navigational Maths and Science.
    • Celestial Navigation.
    • Bridge Watchkeeping.

    You will also complete our Bridge Room ready programme which will develop the practical understanding and skills required on a ship to help aid your transition from college to sea.

    In order to achieve your first Certificate of Competency, you will also complete short courses including:

    • First Aid.
    • Fire Fighting.
    • Sea Survival.
    • Tanker Familiarisation.
    • Rescue Craft.
    • Personal Survival Techniques.

    After the course


    On successful completion of the SPD programme, you can gain employment as a fully qualified officer of the watch.

    Continuing Study

    You can choose to progress onto University to study at a higher level.


    How the course is taught

    This course has two distinct elements – at sea and at college. 

    • During the college phase, you will study a range of subjects to prepare you for a career at sea.  You will also have the opportunity to learn in our bridge simulators in addition to completing a number of STCW short courses at locations in and around Glasgow.
    • At sea, you will work closely with the ship’s crew and understudy the Officer of the Watch to learn their roles and responsibilities, in addition to completing a training record book.

    Assessment methods

    During the SPD programme, you will be assessed using a variety of methods including:

    • Oral Presentations.
    • Portfolios and reports.
    • Written examinations.
    • Simulation exercises.
    • Competency-based assessments.

    Additional Information


    Materials will be made available through our virtual learning environment.

    Dress code

    As a sponsored cadet you will be expected to wear your company uniform every day into college.

    • Mode of Study:
    • Location:
      Riverside Campus
    • Applications from International Students Welcome