What is the Difference Between Nautical Science and Marine Engineering?

Nautical Science and Marine Engineering: It’s critical to make informed decisions from the outset if you want to have a successful maritime career. It is common to be confused while starting out at a maritime institute about which stream to pursue additional studies, especially for those who do not have a direct connection to anyone in the business.

Difference between Nautical Science and Marine Engineering

Officer positions on merchant ships can be pursued after completing degrees or diplomas in nautical science or marine engineering. There have been cases where someone has chosen one stream only to discover that it does not suit their academic interests or their future prospects at sea, prompting them to change their minds and choose another.

It is therefore critical to identify what field one wants to follow and what position one will perform later on the ship.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Behind The Rise Of Engineering Careers In India

Nautical Science

A career in nautical science prepares a person for a position as a deck officer.

B Sc Nautical Science at Chitkara University is a three-year program that provides an undergraduate degree and a position as a trainee cadet officer on a ship (commonly referred to as a deck cadet).

The cadet becomes eligible to work as a navigating officer on board a commercial ship after completing sufficient time at sea (the amount of experience/sea time necessary as a deck cadet varies depending on the undergraduate course) and passing relevant certificate of competency exams.

During the three-year course, students learn the theoretical and practical knowledge needed for seamanship, chart work, collision prevention, navigation, bridge equipment, and watchkeeping, cargo handling and storage, ship stability, naval architecture (elementary), meteorology, marine signaling, and ship maintenance and operation, among other things.

As a deck officer, practical experience is essential, hence this course includes specific procedures and maintenance techniques for major deck machinery. The syllabus of nautical science, which is mandated under the IMO STCW Convention, includes several modular courses that are required to join a ship.

Also Read: Job Opportunities After Nautical Science In India

Marine Engineering

The field of marine engineering is concerned with the technical aspects of the nautical sector. Marine engineering at Chitkara University is a four-year program that prepares students to work as ship engineers.

Marine engineering is concerned with the machinery found on ships, boats, yachts, and other seagoing vessels. This field has spawned a number of other technical streams. The course’s curriculum emphasizes the acquisition of specialized knowledge in both theoretical and practical aspects of marine and mechanical engineering.

More emphasis is placed on teaching the skills and abilities required to operate and maintain shipboard machinery. The first and second years of the program teach concepts that are nearly identical to those taught in traditional mechanical engineering. The major goal is to introduce engineering sciences to students and help them understand how they are applied in various parts of maritime engineering.

The third and fourth years are entirely devoted to harnessing the marine technical knowledge of the students. Both theoretical and practical aspects of marine equipment are taught, with a particular emphasis on ship operation and maintenance.

Throughout the four years of the curriculum, students receive practical knowledge through laboratory and workshop instruction, allowing them to dismantle and maintain devices on ships.

After completing the course at the Institute, the engineer cadet must spend the required time at sea to gain the required experience for the engineering certificate of competency examinations. Passing these examinations earns you the mandatory ‘ticket’ to work as a certified engineer officer on board.

Also Read: How To Become A Marine Engineer?

The Difference in Career Path: Nautical Science and Marine Engineering

A cadet in Nautical Science must spend sufficient time at sea to have the required experience. They must then complete the required competency examinations and obtain certification. They can only apply for navigating officer employment and board a merchant ship.

A trainee cadet officer or a deck cadet is the starting point for a career in this field. This course offers exact ways for operating and maintaining important deck machinery, which is essential for a deck officer. A promotion from Junior Officer to OOW is possible (Officer on Watch).

The title of Third Mate or Junior Officer comes with the initial promotion. However, depending on the shipping company, the years of experience required for this role may vary. Chart work, collision avoidance, navigation, bridge equipment, cargo handling, and other activities all require a mix of academic and practical knowledge. They are also taught management skills.

Private enterprises employ the majority of marine engineers. They are responsible for the design, development, research, and construction of new marine boats and components. They’re also in charge of keeping the ships in good repair. Career chances are also available at GSI, SAIL, ONGC, Coal India, GMDC, and other reputable companies.

Also Read: Career Options At Sea: Nautical Science Vs Marine Engineering


To work as an engineer on a ship or as a Captain at the helm, these vocations require excellent health and stamina. A course in Marine Engineering leads to Chief Engineer, while a course in Nautical Science leads to Captain. Both offer opportunities to work on ships and other seagoing vessels. The shipping industry provides excellent job opportunities and has been increasingly important as a vocation over the last few decades. The industry makes a substantial contribution to a country’s economic growth and development.



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