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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 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. 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 MCA-approved 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 complete 36 months' watchkeeping service while holding an OOW Unlimited II/1 CoC, before undertaking the exam for Master certification. This period may be reduced to 24 months if at least 12 months of such seagoing service has been served as Chief Mate while holding a Chief Mate Unlimited II/2 CoC.

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).


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

Course delivery location

The classroom element of this course is delivered from Solent University's main East Park Terrace campus in Southampton city centre. Please refer to your joining instructions for information of where to report to when you arrive. 

Southampton city centre map

Getting to Solent University

How to book

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

Tel: +44 (0)23 8201 5004

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

Your joining instructions will tell you which campus your training will take place at - please read carefully and take note.

Course information

Training towards

Chief Mate 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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