Overview top

This is MCA approved 36* week programme covering the underpinning knowledge and short courses required to qualify for a Chief Mate (Unlimited) Certificate of Competency.

bridge sim


Delegates will study towards an SQA Advanced Diploma which will cover the academic underpinning knowledge required for certification. 


The course consists of the following units:

  • Marine Passage Planning 
  • Management of Bridge Operations
  • Applied Marine Meteorology
  • Ship Stability
  • Structures and Maintenance
  • Management of Vessel Operations 
  • Shipmasters Law & Business
  • Shipboard Management
  • Marine Engineering Systems
  • Graded Units 2 and 3

During the academics to support your learning we will endeavor fully utilise all our world class resources, including our state of the art ship simulators, ‘live ship’ cargo software, meteorological instruments, ships compasses and our chartrooms. We also have great links with companies at the Port of Tyne so ship and port visits are frequently on the agenda.

During the second term of the Advanced Diploma delegates will attend external MCA/SQA examinations in Navigation and Stability & Structure.

The fee for the programme includes two weeks of MCA oral preparation.

The programme also consists of three required short courses, although an additional fee is required:

  • Navigation Aids and Equipment Simulator Training (NAEST) Management. 
  • Human Element Leadership and Management (HELM) Management
  • Medical Care on board

At the end of the programme you will attend two weeks of MCA oral preparation prior to your MCA oral exam. This course is specifically designed to cover the orals syllabus and each lecture is taught by a subject specific lecturer who will utilise our world class facilities and resources to their fullest extent.  You will also spend a day at our Marine Offshore Safety Training Centre getting hands experience of survival equipment and fire fighting appliances from our expert team.

All of the above courses are all part of the programme so you will be automatically enrolled.

To view our impressive facilities, take a look at our virtual tour here. 

Entry Requirements top

This course covers all the material for Chief Mate/Master written examinations.

The MCA regulations require a candidate:

  • Not less than 12 months sea service as a watch-keeping officer whilst holding an OOW Certificate of Competency (CoC). 
  • Discharge book entries verifying sea service.
  • Watch-keeping certificates to support all watch-keeping sea service.

A candidate who does not have a discharge book will need to obtain documentation from their shipping company verifying their sea service. 

It is the responsibility of candidates to ensure that all entry requirements for the course and the issue of a Notice of Eligibility (NoE) by the MCA are met prior to attending the course.

For sea time assessment a candidate may log onto the MCA's website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/maritime-and-coastguard-agency

Assessment top

For the Advanced Diploma all the assessments are internal and college based

The MCA/SQA written examinations are externally moderated and are hosted within the college.

The MCA oral exam is conducted by MCA examiners at the MCA North East Exam Centre located within the College.

Professional Opportunities top

With further sea service and experience candidates are eligible to enter the oral examination for the Masters (Unlimited) certification. Successful candidates can also progress onto our BSc (Hons) (Top Up) in Marine Operations.

Further Information top

To apply for this course e-mail nautical.studies@stc.ac.uk for more information and an application form.

For UK students a £500 deposit is required and a deposit of £1000 for Non-UK students to reserve your place on the course (subject to availability).  For overseas students full payment will be required before a CAS (if required for this course) will be issued.

Any fees paid by Bankers Draft should be made payable to Tyne Coast College.

Accommodation is available in the college at Dr Winterbottom Hall or in private lodgings. For full details please refer to the separate information sheet or contact Dr Winterbottom Hall.  Please telephone: +44 (0)191 427 3666 or email DWH@stc.ac.uk for more information. http://www.stc.ac.uk/page/halls-residence


COVID Update 

Covid-19 has challenged the delivery of professional programmes, but here at South Shields Marine School we have developed our professional standards for academic delivery with an effective approach to your programme of study which includes safe face-to-face teaching. This involves careful timetabling to dedicate each group (bubble) to a single classroom to prevent excessive movement and contact with others. Hand sanitiser and face coverings (masks) will be provided. Start times, coffee breaks, lunch and end times will be staggered as far as possible. Classroom windows will be open to increase fresh air flow.

Should there be a re-introduction of restrictions by the Government then we are also prepared to continue to deliver your programmes remotely.

The Curriculum Leaders remain active and will be meeting you during the first week to say hello, along with all of the lecturing team who will guide your learning and help with your assessments.  

In the coming months before commencing your studies please contact the marine administration office if you require any further guidance before joining us at nautical.studies@stc.ac.uk or telephone 0191 427 3592. 



Dates & Fees

Start End 19+ Full Cost HE Tution
6/9/2021 17/6/2022 £6000.00 /£6000.00*
6/9/2021 17/6/2022 £6000.00 /£6000.00*
4/1/2022 21/10/2022 £6000.00 /£6000.00*
4/1/2022 21/10/2022 £6000.00 /£6000.00*
25/4/2022 10/2/2023 £6000.00 /£6000.00*
25/4/2022 10/2/2023 £6000.00 /£6000.00*
*Fee for non-UK residents
Whilst we make every effort to ensure that all information relating to courses and fees is correct on the website it is always advisable to call our Student Services team to check the current situation with regards to fees and funding.