Full-time/Cooperative Education Diploma 2535dipts

Nautical Sciences Diploma Program

Do you see yourself as the Captain of a cruise ship, super-tanker, or tugboat? This program is your first step towards a career as an international Master Mariner in the commercial marine industry.

Navigational (Deck) Officers are trained seafarers capable of using technological and navigational equipment on a wide range of ships, from large passenger cruise ships to cargo vessels world-wide. Deck Officers are responsible for the safety of the crew and cargo aboard a ship. The main responsibilities of a Deck Officer include:

  • Marine navigation and communications
  • Conducting daily watchkeeping duties
  • Rescue, safety, and environmental response

The Canadian marine industry is experiencing a shortage of qualified Deck Officers. With over 90% of BCIT Nautical Sciences graduates employed in the industry, there are plenty of employment opportunities available.

The Program

The Nautical Sciences program is a four-year full-time Co-operative program accredited by Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS). You will gain a thorough background in the principles and operation of modern vessels like super tankers, bulk carriers, cruise ships, tugboats and off shore supply vessels. Students (Cadets) receive instruction and training based on seamanship and traditional maritime skills in areas such as:

• Operating navigational equipment
• Safe carriage of goods
• Watchkeeping
• Marine Communications
• Marine safety, security, and rescue
• Environmental response
• Ship Stability
• Chartwork

Upon successful completion of the third year of the program and obtaining at least 12 months of Transport Canada approved sea time, you will be eligible to challenge the Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency. Upon successful completion of the fourth year, you will receive exemptions towards Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) Chief Mate Certificate of Competency examinations.

Learn more about Transport Canada exemptions in the Nautical Sciences program.

Program Entry

Application processing

Applications are accepted November 1st* to March 31st.*

Applications are considered for a specific intake; this program does not carry a wait list from year to year.

Apply early; don’t wait for the deadline. This will allow you time to upgrade if needed.

Note: This program does not accept applications from International students. View programs that do

*or next business day

Entrance requirements

Competitive Entry: Two-step process

Preference will be given to applicants with:

  • Academic grades above the minimum
  • Related or transferable experience
  • Teamwork & leadership
  • Knowledge of the marine industry
  • Communication skills

Step 1: Meet the following entrance requirements

*This program has a mandatory uniform policy in which Cadets and Officers are required to wear a uniform while in class and at external industry functions.

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Step 2: Requirements for selected applicants:

All applications will be reviewed by the program area at the application deadline. All applicants will be contacted for the following:

  • Interviews will be conducted in the months of April and May, if required, and selections made thereafter.

Admission is competitive and will be offered to the most qualified applicants.

Note: Acceptance into the program does not constitute a guarantee by BCIT that a shipping company will provide a berth for the Co-op terms. BCIT will assist Cadets with the coordination of Co-op terms.

Recommended for success

  • Physics 11

Advanced Placement

You may be eligible to apply to an advanced level of this program through 1. re-admission or 2. direct entry.
  • 1. Re-admission: Have you previously completed part of this program at BCIT and want to apply to resume your studies?
    • Applications are accepted throughout the year.
  • 2. Direct Entry: Are you new to this program but have completed an equivalent part of it at BCIT or elsewhere and want to apply to an advanced level?
    • Contact BCIT Marine Campus Admissions at 604-453-4100 for more information.
The following applies to all advanced placement applications:
  • Competitive entry: If the number of applicants exceeds available seats, BCIT will select those deemed to have the best opportunity for success.
  • Acceptance based on seat availability: Confirmation may not be available until approximately one week before the term begins.

Transfer Credit

Individuals who have completed a Bridge Watchman program may be eligible for credit towards a portion of the first year of the Nautical Sciences Cadet program. Please contact the Associate Dean or Chief Instructor for more information.

Apply to program

Note: This program does not accept applications from international students. View programs that do

BCIT accepts only complete applications. In order to apply:

  • Include proof of meeting all entrance requirements prior to submission
  • Convert all transcripts and supporting documents to PDF files
  • Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee
Apply Online

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Scheduled intakes

September each year.

myCommunication

Within two business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal and myBCIT e-mail addresses. All correspondence regarding your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at my.bcit.ca. We'll send you an e-mail when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these e-mails or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within four weeks.


Programs and courses are subject to change without notice.

Costs & Supplies

Check out the required and optional textbooks PDF for each year of the Program.

Textbooks can be purchased through the BCIT Bookstore or by calling 604-432-8379 or 877-333-8379 (toll-free within Canada).

Tuition fees

Please see the Fees, Payments and Refunds section of the website for information on full-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

Required Book Estimates: Optional Book Estimates:
First Year: $200-$300 $800-$900
Second Year: $350-$450 $0-$100
Third Year: $450-$550 $0-$100
Fourth Year: $500-$600 $0-$100

(general estimated cost, subject to change)

For more information on textbooks, please contact the BCIT Bookstore at 604-432-8379 or 877-333-8379 (toll-free within Canada).

Supplies: Cadets must acquire drawing instruments, a scientific calculator and stationary supplies as required. Coveralls, sight and hearing protection and safety boots, worn during the training exercises, are the responsibility of the Cadets.

Uniforms: Cadets are required to purchase uniforms from an approved supplier to be worn while in class. Depending on quantity and size, the total cost for uniforms during the first year is between $250 and $350.

Documentation: Throughout the duration of the program, students are required to maintain official documentation such as Transport Canada Medicals, passports, and other company specific requests for the Co-operative sea phase terms, that are subject to additional fees.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.

Courses

Class hours

0830–1600, Monday through Friday

Due to size limitations in some courses, students may be required to take some afternoon classes.

Program matrix

First Year, Term 1 (27 weeks) Credits
  MEDI 1510 STCW Basic Safety 3.0
  MEDI 1810 STCW Proficiency in Survival Craft 2.0
  MSEC 1010 Ship Security Officer Revised 1.5
  MSSM 1025 Marine Basic First Aid 1.0
  MSSM 1200 Marine Advanced First Aid Revised 2.0
  MSSM 1205 Seamanship 9.0
  MSSM 1600 Oil and Chemical Tanker Familiarization Training 4.0
  NAUT 0001 Orientation to Nautical Sciences 0.0
  NAUT 1200 Ship Construction 1 2.0
  NAUT 1202 Ship Stability 1 3.0
  NAUT 1211 Ship Cargo 1 3.0
  NAUT 1220 Regulations 1 2.0
  NAUT 1225 Ship Navigation Safety 1 2.0
  NAUT 1230 Ship Navigation 1 6.0
  NAUT 1235 Ship Meteorology 1 2.0
  NAUT 1241 Mathematics 1 4.0
  NAUT 1252 Technical Writing 4.0
 
First Year, Term 2 Co-op (31 weeks) Credits
  NAUT 1990 Co-operative Training 1 41.5
 
Second Year, Term 3 (25 weeks) Credits
  ENAV 1030 Electronic Positioning Systems 6.0
  GMDS 1800 GMDSS - General Operator's Certificate (GOC) 4.0
  NAUT 1201 Terrestrial Navigation 4.0
  NAUT 1247 Physical Science 1 5.0
  NAUT 1805 Communications 1 2.0
  NAUT 1809 Communications 2 1.0
  NAUT 2200 Ship Construction 2 2.0
  NAUT 2202 Ship Stability 2 4.0
  NAUT 2211 Ship Cargo 2 3.0
  NAUT 2221 Regulations 2 6.0
  NAUT 2225 Ship Navigation Safety 2 2.0
  NAUT 2230 Ship Navigation 2 7.0
  NAUT 2235 Ship Meteorology 2 2.0
 
Second Year, Term 4 Co-op (40 weeks) Credits
  NAUT 2990 Co-operative Training 2 53.5
 
Third Year, Term 5 (26 weeks) Credits
  ENAV 1070 Simulated Electronic Navigation - Operational (SEN O) 8.0
  ENAV 2450 Leadership and Teamwork 2.0
  ENAV 3105 Electronic Chart Display and Information System 3.0
  MEDI 2510 Advanced Fire Fighting 2.0
  NAUT 1204 Cargo and Stability Software 1.0
  NAUT 1260 Oral Tutorial 1 2.0
  NAUT 2203 Celestial Navigation 10.0
  NAUT 2247 Physical Science 2 4.0
  NAUT 3200 Ship Construction 3 2.0
  NAUT 3202 Ship Stability 3 8.0
  NAUT 3211 Ship Cargo 3 3.0
  NAUT 3225 Ship Navigation Safety 3 3.0
  NAUT 3235 Ship Meteorology 3 2.0
 
Third Year, Term 6 Co-op (35 weeks) Credits
  NAUT 3990 Co-operative Training 3 47.0
 
Fourth Year, Term 7 (23 weeks) Credits
  NAUT 1275 Nautical Research Paper 4.0
  NAUT 1832 Navigation Systems and Instruments 8.0
  NAUT 1855 Meteorology 2 8.0
  NAUT 1857 Ship Management 3 8.0
  NAUT 1869 Engineering Knowledge 1 6.0
  NAUT 1878 Cargo 3 10.0
 
Total Credits: 334.5

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

Program length

Four years, full-time

Program location

Marine Campus
265 West Esplanade
North Vancouver, BC

The majority of classes take place at the BCIT Marine Campus; however, some courses may be taken offsite at locations such as the Justice Institute Fire and Safety Training Centre in Maple Ridge, BC.

Program structure

This four-year diploma program consists of four terms of classroom instruction interspersed with three Co-op terms:

School Co-op Terms
First Year Term 1
(Sept-Mar)
Term 2
(Mar-Oct)
Second Year Term 3
(Oct-Apr)
Term 4
(Apr-Jan)
Third Year Term 5
(Feb-Jul)
Term 6
(Aug-Apr)
Fourth Year Term 7
(Apr-Sep)
 
  • A three-year completion letter will be issued to students successfully completing Terms 1 through 5 of the program, subject to 12 months of TCMSS approved sea time being completed. This letter is required to book for an oral examination on General Seamanship at Transport Canada. If successful in passing this examination, the student will obtain a Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency from TCMSS.
  • A four-year program training completion certificate and a BCIT Diploma, upon application, will be issued to students successfully completing Terms 1 through 7 of the program. A Diploma may provide credits towards a Bachelor's Degree. In addition, Term 7 provides the student with exemptions towards their Chief Mate Certificate of Competency.

Learn more about Transport Canada exemptions in the Nautical Sciences Program.

Additional program requirements

  • Students must successfully complete all courses in the program within 7 years from the start of the program.
  • PER TP section 1.27 (1)(g), students must have sea service completed onboard one or more vessels of at least 150 gross tonnage while the vessels are engaged on voyages beyond sheltered waters.
  • TCMSS examination fees, where applicable, are not part of the program.course fees. They are payable to TCMSS directly and are due two weeks in advance of the examination.
  • Standard BCIT policies concerning examination re-writes apply to this program.

Graduating & Jobs

Career Overview

Cadets receive a thorough background in the principles and operation of modern vessels like super tankers, bulk carriers, cruise ships and off shore supply vessels.

Upon successful completion of the third year of the program and obtaining at least 12 months of Transport Canada approved sea time, you will be eligible to challenge the Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency. This initial licence allows a cadet to officially become a ship's Officer. They will then become an important part of the ship's management team to ensure the safe navigation of the ship and the safety of its cargo. They are also responsible for seamanship, cargoes and stowage, safety and communications. In port, they manage the loading and off-loading of cargoes. After graduation from the diploma program, and with more sea time aboard ships, Officers may continue to upgrade their skills with the ultimate goal of becoming a Master Mariner.

Lifestyle & Nature of Work

Whether being a member of the bridge team working with the Captain and other crew members to handle the ship or being in charge of a group of skilled seafarers to operate the ship's equipment, the challenges are great and the rewards are many. The marine industry requires its Cadets and Officers to be at sea operating in nearly every ocean, aboard a variety of vessels. Depending on the schedule of the shipping company, Deck Officers or Cadets could be away from home for months at a time. The work conditions can be demanding, however, there may be exciting opportunities to meet multinational crew members and travel around the world.

Job Opportunities

Graduates are able to work internationally as the program is recognized by the International Maritime Organization through Transport Canada. Co-op placements in the Nautical Sciences program typically end up becoming permanent positions as many of the Co-op employers seek lifetime employees. We work with employers such as Algoma Central Corporation, BC Ferries, Canada Steamship Lines, Canship Ugland, McKeil Marine, Rigel Shipping, Royal Caribbean, Seaspan, Teekay Shipping, Transport Desgagnes and more.

Upon successful completion of the program and obtaining your Transport Canada Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency, a licensed Deck Officer can expect to earn between $5,000 and $10,000 per month

Graduate employment outcomes

The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2015-2017 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2014-2016 graduates and for Degree 2013-2015 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.

To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.

Apply for graduation

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, complete an Application for BCIT Credential [PDF] and submit it to Student Information and Enrolment Services.

Allow approximately six to eight weeks for processing.

All financial obligations to the Institute must be met prior to issuance of any credential.

Transport Canada Exemptions

In accordance with Transport Canada Marine Safety and Security (TCMSS), full-time students enrolled in the Nautical Sciences, and Bridge Watchmen programs are granted some exemptions towards Transport Canada Certificates of Competency. Refer to the information below for exemptions that may be applicable to you.

Nautical Sciences Diploma Program

  • Watchkeeping Standards for Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping (STCW) un-restricted Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency (CoC)

    After successful completion of term 5 and after obtaining 12 months of TCMSS approved sea time through Co-op, students will be issued a three-year letter indicating that they have successfully completed the third year of the program. Students will be eligible to challenge the TCMSS oral examination for a STCW un-restricted Watchkeeping Mate Certificate of Competency (CoC). This federal document allows graduates to work offshore coast-to-coast and in international waters.

  • Chief Mate Certificate of Competency

    After successful completion of the program, a four-year training certificate and a diploma will be issued to students indicating that they have successfully completed terms 1 through 7. This certificate indicates that the student has completed Navigation Systems and Instruments, Engineering Knowledge, Ship Management, Cargo and Meteorology and provides exemptions for STCW Chief Mate Certificate of Competency examinations.

Contact Us

BCIT Marine Campus Registration Office
Tel: 604-453-4111

Agnelo Pereira
Chief Instructor
Email: Agnelo_Pereira@bcit.ca
Tel: 604-453-4117

Jeff Otto
Co-op Education Coordinator
Email: Jeff_Otto@bcit.ca
Tel: 604-453-4124

Sheena Clarkson
Program Assistant
Email: SClarkson5@bcit.ca
Tel: 604-453-4108

Questions or comments?

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Information Access and Privacy.

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