Jump to content

Study plan - Bachelor of Nautical Science with operational cadet training

Autumn 2024

Bachelor of Nautical Science with operational cadet training is a study program that runs over four years and has a scope of 240 credits. The program includes operational cadet training, and it is Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) that offers each individual student an internship on board a ship in a given shipping company throughout the course of study.

The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers 78 as Amended (STCW) and the Norwegian regulations in FOR-2011-12-22 nr. 1523 Forskrift om kvalifikasjoner og sertifikater for sjøfolk specifiy the requirements for the program and the necessary approval from the Norwegian Maritime Directorate (NMD). The program is approved by NMD. During the program, the students have both theoretical and practical training, ensuring that they can apply for a D3 licence when the diploma is in place. The candidate can go straight into a job as a deck officer on board a vessel. Through the course of study, there is close contact with the maritime industry and the candidates are highly attractive as future employees.

Students who have been admitted to the program must at all times be able to present a valid medical certificate without restrictions, issued by a seafarer’s doctor approved by Norwegian authorities.

When completed the bachelor program, the candidate is qualified for admission into the Master of Maritime Operations at HVL, but also for other master degree programs in Norway and abroad.


The admission requirement is Higher Education Entrance Qualification or MARTE- requirements. Read more about the admission requirements here: https://www.samordnaopptak.no/info/english/general-requirements/

Learning outcomes


The candidate:

Has thorough knowledge within nautical topics in accordance with the regulations in STCW 78 as Amended, regulation II/1 and II/2, section A-II/1 and A-II/2, and the tables A-II/1 and A-II/2.

Has an overall perspective on the nautical domain, with knowledge of the nautical domain's history, traditions, distinctive character and place in society.

Has broad knowledge about working on board ships and who is responsible for the different tasks on board.

Has broad and updated knowledge on national and international maritime law and regulations related to the operation of vessels.

Has broad knowledge of different methods, theoretical perspectives and issues related to maritime safety and management.

Has knowledge of mathematics, natural science and maritime English related to the operation of vessels.

Has knowledge of optimization of the operation of vessels.

Has thorough knowledge on obtaining relevant information and solve problems by using subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and methodology in combination with the nautical subjects.

Has thorough knowledge of the deck officer's role in society.

Is familiar with relevant research and developmental work, scientific methods, tools and procedures within the maritime field.

Is able to update own knowledge through e.g. literature searches, contact with different academic, technical or specialist environments and revise own practice.

Has basic knowledge of innovation processes which contributes to development of the maritime industry.


The candidate:

Is able to see different subject areas contextualized in order to use knowledge and skills from multiple subjects on one specific problem.

Can with the knowledge acquired during the study program and relevant research and development work reflect on and assess theoretical, practical and technical problems related to the operation of ships, and are able to make well-founded choices.

Can use the knowledge from the basic subjects on a wide specter of maritime problems.

Are able to use different methods, techniques and tools, including simulators, to operate ships in a safe, efficient and sustainable manner.

Can lead on board operations, both in Norwegian and English

Can work both independently and in teams.

Has insight in and can reflect upon own practice and adjust it under supervision.

Can relate to and communicate with personnel from other subject areas and different nationality, and show respect for others.

Can use relevant terminology and other maritime forms of expression.

Can find, critically evaluate, use and refer to relevant information, literature and scholarly subject matter and present and discuss this in a manner that sheds light on a problem.

Can identify, assess, prioritize, execute, follow up on, report and document work assignments within own responsibility on board and are familiar with guidelines on board the ship.

Can use theoretical knowledge in the on board training, and experiences from the on board training in the lectures.

General competence

The candidate:

Is competent in accordance with STCW 78 as Amended, Regulation II/1 and II/2 and can apply for deck officer licence class 3 (D3) and is qualified to apply for jobs as a deck officer.

Has a broad understanding within navigation, cargo handling, safety and management.

Is conscious of social, environmental and ethical challenges related to the maritime industry in a local, national and global perspective, and are able to integrate this knowledge in own role on board or in shore based maritime industry.

Can plan and carry out various assignments and projects, alone or in cooperation with others, and in accordance with ethical requirements and principles.

Can communicate maritime professional knowledge, theories and problems to different groups in writing and orally, both in Norwegian and English.

Can contribute in multidisciplinary work and can adjust own behavior and team skills to the specific work situation and conditions of work.

Contributes actively in discussions and are able to share own knowledge and experiences with others, and thereby contributes to development of good practice.

Is familiar with new thinking and innovation processes within the maritime field.

Has developed a foundation for development of analytical abilities and will, in addition to theoretical knowledge sufficiently to study on master level in Norway and abroad.

Has an overall understanding of the operation of vessels and understand the complexity and context of the seafarer's conditions of work.

Can use theoretical and practical knowledge on new problems and in development processes.

Has insight in development and use of new technology and digital solutions on vessel and system levels.


The Bachelor of Nautical Science with Operational Cadet Training at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL) is an educational program with close connections to the maritime industry, and it is located in the midst of one of the leading maritime clusters in Norway. The four year program covers the requirements in STCW 78 as Amended, regulation II/1 and II/2. The education provides insight in and knowledge of the maritime industry in a regional, national and global perspective, and contributes to safeguarding the interaction between humans, maritime technology, enivironment and society. Completed and passes Bachelor of Nautical Science with Operational Cadet Training provides the qualifications for applying the Norwegian Maritime Authority for a Deck Officer Class 3 licence (D3).


The educational program covers the international and national regulations as specified in STCW 78 as Amended and FOR 2011-12-22 nr. 1523 and is approved by the Norwegian Maritime Authority.


On board training is included in the study program through four mandatory on board training periods. The on board training are planned as follows:

On board training I: First part of 2. semester, 4 weeks.

On board training II: Last part of 4. semester, 8 weeks.

On board training III: First part of 5. semester, 8 weeks.

On board training IV: Last part of 7. semester, 5 weeks.

It is mandatory for the students to do tasks in Webcadet (digital training system, approved by the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA)) in the on board training periods. The assessment of the practical tasks carried out on board is the responsible of the on board assessor. This is in accordance with NMA requirements, and the assessor has the necessary training and approval from the NMA.

The academic and professional content of the on board training is defined in the course descriprion for the four on board training courses. In summary, the following is the main topics of the on board training periods;

On board training I: Familiarization, roles on board, own role now and in the future, starting navigation

On board training II: Navigation main topic, starting ship technology and management

On board training III: Ship technology main topic, management, completion of navigation

On board training IV: Management, completion of all topics

The on board trining periods will be connected to the courses completed before the practical training and the theoretical training after the on board training period. This may lead to the student having additional task collecting information for use in subsequent courses. For more info on the content of the practical training, please see course descriptions for the on board training courses.


The following forms of work and mandatory learning activities are included in the study program:

Forms of work:



Skills training

Practical training

Calculation training

Oral presentations

Project work

Practical training

Excursions/industry visits



Self studies

Group work

Digital resources

Mandatory learning activities:

Written assignments


Peer assessment

Group work and individual work


Practical courses and training

Simulator training

Lab training

Oral presentations

The education is based on a research-orientes and analytical approach to the courses included in the study program through e.g. case studies, syllabus etc. In the course of the studies, the students experience different forms of teaching and dissemination physically and digitally, with lectures, practical training, problem solving and problem based learning as the most common. A large degree of student acitivity is planned and expected in all courses. The academic environment spend a lot of time preparing teaching activities and following up on students, and it is therefore expected that the students come prepared to the lessons. Digital tools are an important part of the professional and pedagogical work.


The following forms of assessments are included in the study program:

Written assessment

Practical/oral assessment

Assignments individually or in groups

Assessment of on board training

Portfolio assessment

Oral assessment

Bachelor thesis

The forms of assessment have two purposes:

The students should get feedback on where they are academically and thereby support improvement and further progression in the study program.

Give information on the students learning results and achieved learning outcomes.

The form of assessment is chosen based on the content and forms of work in a specific course. As a consequence, som courses have forms of assessment which is a combination of practical and theoretical assessments. Varied forms of assessment is used throughout the program. Several of the assessments are carried out by use of digital aids.

The forms of assessment spans from traditional summative assessment such as written or oral exams to formative assessment such as portfolios consisting of several elements or a combination of several forms of assessment such as e.g. practical/oral assessmen in the simulator combined with a written exam. Some forms of assessment are individual and some are group based or a combination of these. In the on board training courses, the grading scale is passes/not passed, whil the aim in the other courses are grading scale A-F.


The nautical science studies enable you to become an exchange student at a collaborating educational institution in the last semester of the program. In the exchange semester, the students take a combination of 15 ECTS elective courses and 15 ECTS Bachelor Thesis equalling a total of 30 ECTS.