What is the Difference between Nautical Science and Marine Engineering?

In order to have a successful career at sea, it is important you make the right decisions at the start. Degrees in nautical science or marine engineering are two ways in which one can get a job on ships. However, choosing between engine and deck side career on ships is one such decision that often bothers students.



Moreover, there have been several cases wherein students have taken up deck or engine side just to realize after sometime that they are more inclined towards something else.  It is therefore extremely important that one knows in advance what field they are going to pursue and what job they would be doing later on while on ship.

So what is the difference between nautical science and marine engineering degrees? How would you know which one to choose and what to expect from that?


Difference between Marine Engineering and Nautical Science Degrees

Marine Engineering

Marine engineering is a field that deals with the engineering aspect of the maritime industry. Like any conventional engineering course, marine engineering is a four year course which prepares an individual to become an engineer on ships.

Marine engineering is all about machinery on ships, boats, yachts, or any sea going vessels. There are several other technical streams that sprout out from this field. The curriculum of the course focuses on teaching specialized knowledge of both theoretical and practical marine and mechanical engineering. Greater importance is given to impart skills and competencies that are required to operate and maintain machinery on board ships.

The subjects taught in the first and second year of the course are almost the same as those taught in conventional mechanical engineering. The main aim is to introduce engineering sciences to the students and to make them understand the applications of those sciences in various aspects of marine engineering.

The third and fourth years are totally dedicated to impart marine technical knowledge. Both theoretical and practical aspects of marine machinery are covered with special focus on ship’s operation and maintenance of marine machinery. Practical knowledge through laboratory and workshop training is provided throughout the four years of the program, so that students get hands-on knowledge of dismantling and maintenance of machines on ships.


Nautical Science

While marine engineering makes an individual a ship’s engineer, nautical science prepares a person to become a deck officer. Nautical science is a three years course after which the student joins a ship as trainee cadet officer. After completing sufficient time at the sea and clearing required competency exams, promotion is given to the officer.

Nautical science imparts nautical technology knowledge which is important to become a deck officer on board ships. Theoretical and practical knowledge required for navigation, cargo operation, and ship maintenance and operation is imparted during the three years course, along with exposure to some areas of humanities and social sciences. Hands-on training is extremely important as a deck officer and thus detailed procedure and maintenance techniques of importance deck machinery is an integral part of this course.

Emphasis is also given on providing specialized knowledge on subjects such as seamanship and working in marine environment. Several modular courses that are required to join a ship are also included in the syllabus of nautical science, along with special training on sailing, boat handling, rope and rope ladder climbing.


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  1. Anish says

    Yes! Both are equally important to run a ship.
    Deck officer are responsible for Navigation operation and engineer are responsible for Machinery on ship

  2. Aadarsh Saraswat says

    When they reaches a port which of them are allowed to go and see the nearby places. engineers or both. and which field gets better pakage

  3. neca tronco says

    Is there any chances that you could be a captain if you will choose the nautical science instead of seaman? Will,., just asking.for my best friend

  4. says

    I will be completing my senior secondary school next year and am applying to the regional maritime university in Ghana to study marine engineering and I want to know if you are able to bring student from other country.

  5. Odimah odafe says

    I’m a marine engineering student of Delta State School Of Marine Technology, Burutu. Nigeria….. I wish to further my studies in any good maritime university in the world on scholarship… if there is any, please kindly contact me on email : omzy4eva@gmail.com or mobile no : +2347082359828,+2348134448055 or on facebook : cadet omatosan odimah…….thanks

  6. Smart says

    Please am confuse in choosen what course to study inbetween Marine engineering and Neutical science.

  7. Sajid Ansari says

    What is the difference between Diploma in Nautical Science and Degree in Nautical Science
    And what type of job i get after diploma in nautical science…..Is there any collage in india who provide a education loan for this course diploma in nautical science

  8. Saravana says

    Sir,im joined nautical science.wht are the skills i need to develop to become a good deck officers.and wht are the qualities needed to select in campus interview sir.

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