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Master and Chief Mate (Examination Route) - For Experienced Seafarers

About this course

This blended learning course will enable you to achieve Chief Mate and Master certification by the SQA exam route.

Why choose blended learning?

  • A more convenient way to gain your Chief Mate and Master certification.
  • Study while you earn.
  • Shorter time spent on campus helps reduce living costs.
  • No Tier 4 visa requirement for international students.

Course structure

For the campus phase of the course, you will receive tuition and assessment in HND (Nautical Science) in two Level 5 units: the NAEST and HELM (Management Level) courses. You'll also prepare for the SQA exams in Navigation, and Ship Stability, and MCA signals and oral exams. 

Of the three remaining units, two are completed during the distance learning phase of the course, and one is delivered through blended learning (part distance learning, part completed on campus).

The distance learning phase (completed immediately before the campus phase) is fully supported through online unit pages and forums, where extensive course material and support is available to all students. Assignments must be submitted online for the distance and blended learning units, while exams are held on campus. 

Additional information

Candidates must hold an STCW certificate in Proficiency in Medical Care before the issue of their Chief Mate Certificate of Competency. This certificate must be no older than five years. Additionally, candidates who completed the NAEST(O) course prior to 1 January 2005 must have completed an IMO Model 1.27 ECDIS course before undertaking the NAEST(M) course. Both of these courses can be undertaken at Warsash outside of the main course.

Once a chief mate certificate of competency has been achieved, candidates must return to sea to accumulate a further minimum 12 months' sea service as a watchkeeping deck officer before taking a Master’s MCA oral exam to gain full Master’s certification.

Course content

Distance learning

  • HND Level 5 units in Cargo and Port Operations, Law and Management, and part of Bridge and Systems Engineering.

Term 1

  • HND Nautical Science Level 5 units in: Passage Planning, and Advanced Ship Stability.
  • Preparation for SQA exams in Navigation and Ship Stability (undertaken at the end of the first term).
  • Navigation Aids and Equipment Simulator Training (Management Level) - NAEST(M).

Term 2

  • Remaining part of HND Nautical Science Level 5 unit in Bridge and Engineering Systems.
  • Preparation for MCA Oral exam.
  • SQA/HND revision sessions leading ro resit opportunities.
  • Human Element, Leadership and Management (Management Level) - HELM(M).

Start dates

Start dates
Distance learning Campus 
6 November 2017  5 February 2018 
19 February 2018 14 May 2018


9-13 weeks' distance learning, followed by six months on campus (including term breaks).

How to book

Please contact the admissions team if you require more information about this course:

Tel: +44 (0)23 8201 5015 

Our office hours are (UK time):
Monday - Thursday: 08.30 - 17.00
Friday 08.30 - 16.30

Course information

Training towards

Master certification



Teaching methods

Blended learning


  • Minimum 12 months' sea service as a watchkeeping deck officer while holding STCW ‘95 Table A II/1 Certificate of Competency (Watchkeeper).
  • A valid personal medical fitness certificate recognised by the MCA.

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