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Marine Engineering HNC

Short-cycle tertiary education (ISCED 2011 level 5)


Cost Home/EEA students (outside UK) - £1,280; Rest of UK students - £6,720; International students - £7,020

What is special about this course?

If you aspire to a career in the Merchant Navy, this HNC in Marine Engineering is the first step towards achieving your goal. The course course covers many different aspects of engineering and as such provides an excellent basis for anyone wishing to become an engineer. It forms part of the Merchant Navy Cadet Programme for engineering officers. The programme runs over three years, the first year is the NC Shipping and Maritime Operations.

You will be sponsored throughout your training by a shipping company and receive an allowance and support at college, as well as spending a portion of your time onboard ships gaining hands-on marine training.

It is also possible to undertake the HNC as a one-year stand-alone course for which there would be no requirement to spend time at see. For further information please contact NAFC Marine Centre UHI: 

Special features

  • You will gain all the hands-on experience you need to become an engineer cadet
  • You will have financial support throughout your course by way of sponsorship from a shipping company
  • Engineering officer cadets spend a total of at least 8 months on-board a Merchant Navy vessel during their 3 year cadetship
  • Ship and local company visits are undertaken during the course to enable you to see engineering in action
Structural components
Laboratory training
Practical/Field work

Grant opportunities

External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact NAFC Marine Centre UHI for more information.


Year 1 of the Cadet Programme:

  • You should normally have a minimum of four National 5, Standard Grade or GCSE passes at Grade C/3 or above, including English, Mathematics and a science based subject
  • Other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis

Direct access to the HNC:

  • NC Shipping and Maritime Operations OR the completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship Engineering

You will be required to undergo a medical and fitness test.

You must be sponsored by the industry (Merchant Navy), be resident and have had residency in the UK for at least 36 months, be a national of the UK or an EU member state, and hold a UK or EU member state passport.

ISCED Categories

Machinery and operators
Naval engineering