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Diploma in Nautical Studies
Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA)

Offered under Direct Admissions Exercise

“We all know that about 90% of the world’s trade is carried by the international shipping industry. Without shipping, half the world would starve and the other half would freeze!” said Mr Koji Sekimiza, International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The job prospects are wonderful for self-motivated, independent and adventurous young people. They would embark on not only a course but a career that leads one to becoming a ship’s captain.

What makes the DNS special?

  • A double award programme that awards you both a diploma and the internationally recognised professional Class 3 Certificate of Competency (CoC) qualification that allows you to sail as a certified sea-going officer worldwide
  • An extensive programme that prepares you to be versatile, equipping you with competencies to sail in any type of ship of any size worldwide
  • A 12-month sea training phase which gives you first- hand experience in working on board a vessel

Applicants must obtain:

i) the following GCE 'O' Level grades at not more than two sittings and

ii) 26 points or better for the net ELR2B2 aggregate score (i.e. English Language, 2 relevant subjects and best 2 other subjects, including CCA Bonus points)

Aggregate Type: ELR2B2-C
Subject Grade

a) English Language

1 - 7

b) Mathematics (Elementary/Additional)

1 - 6

c) Any two other subjects:

1 - 6


To be eligible for admission, you must also have sat for one of the following subjects:

  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Studies
  • Creative 3D Animation
  • Design & Technology
  • Food & Nutrition
  • Fundamentals of Electronics
  • Physics
  • Science (Chemistry, Biology)
  • Science (Physics, Biology)
  • Science (Physics, Chemistry)

Applicants must ensure that they have good eyesight (i.e. visual acuity unaided of 6/60 in both eyes and with visual aids of 6/6 in the better eye and at least 6/9 in the other eye).

Applicants must also not suffer from colour appreciation deficiency. Applicants must show proof of having passed the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Sight Test which is conducted at the Singapore Polytechnic Optometry Centre or by General Practitioners.

This three-year training programme prepares students for the Diploma in Nautical Studies (DNS) and their first professional sea-going qualification - the Class 3 Deck Certificate of Competency. It is the first career step for the holder to sail as a junior deck officer, and later, as master of a ship.

The course comprises three phases. Phase 1 commences at the start of the SP academic year whilst Phase 3 is conducted each semester.

Phase 1 - Pre-Sea Induction (18 months)
This three-semester Pre-Sea Induction course at the Singapore Polytechnic prepares students as cadet officers aboard ship. Students are taught the fundamental knowledge and skills required for a deck officer. During this period, the student also attends the approved STCW Basic Safety Training course.

Phase 2 - Sea-Training / Correspondence (12 months)
During this phase the students undergo shipboard training and follow a structured training programme, which includes a correspondence course package and the completion of a training and assessment record book. As cadet officers, students are groomed to shoulder the responsibilities of a Navigating Officer. A minimum sea service of 12 months is required for the award of Diploma in Nautical Studies and the Class 3 Certificate of Competency.

Phase 3 - Full-time study at Singapore Polytechnic (6 months)
This final phase of study (one semester) for the Diploma in Nautical Studies course includes the Class 3 Certificate of Competency Preparatory Course. The holder of the diploma may be granted exemption from the written part of the Class 3 Certificate of Competency examination conducted by MPA Singapore. The student will be required to attend the approved STCW Medical First Aid on Board Ship course as an ancillary.

First Phase - 18 months

  • Communication Skills for Work
  • General Education 1
  • General Education 2
  • Tanker Familiarisation
  • Advanced Fire Fighting
  • Introduction to Navigation
  • Principles of Navigation
  • Ship Knowledge
  • Basic Safety & Security Training
  • Marine Communications and Radar
  • Electronic Navigation Systems 1
  • Collision Regulations
  • Mathematics 1
  • Science 1
  • Software Application

Second Phase - 12 months

  • 12 Months Sea Service

Third Phase - 6 months

  • Ship Operations
  • Maritime Communications
  • Practical Navigation
  • Coastal Navigation
  • Cargo Work and ISM
  • Electronic Navigation Systems 2
  • Ship Construction & Ship Stability
  • Applied Science

There are plenty of exciting career options and opportunities.

You can start off as a Junior Navigating Officer and progress to become a Ship Captain or Manager ashore. You will learn to operate some of the most advanced technologies in the maritime industry.

Further Studies:

With a DNS diploma, you can gain direct entry into relevant degree courses overseas. If you are considering a sea career, you can pursue a degree in Bachelor of Maritime Operations offered by the Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz (The Netherlands).