A Guide to Singapore’s Top Maritime Courses

With strong growth and immense potential, the maritime industry offers many good quality jobs.

Singapore is a leading maritime nation. Besides being one of the world’s premier maritime hub, Singapore also offers world-class academic education to students aspiring to join the industry. 

By Lee Kok Leong, Executive Editor, Maritime Fairtrade

A key pillar of Singapore’s economy

Don’t let the size deceive you. Singapore may be small, but it is the world’s most important and well-connected maritime hub.  However, to maintain Singapore’s lead, there is a strong need for a talented workforce equipped with future-ready skills and a global mindset.  

Therefore, with Singapore’s status as having the best education system that produces the smartest students equip with the most up-to-date knowledge and relevant skills which will enable them to thrive in their chosen industry, the country is well-placed to offer a top-notch maritime education.

The maritime ecosystem comprises around 5,000 establishments employing 170,000 people and contributing about seven per cent to the GDP.  Singapore, home to 140 of the world’s top shipping companies and connected to 600 ports across 120 countries, is the ideal Asian gateway for global leaders in shipping finance, shipbroking, risk management and marine insurance.

Singapore is also fast becoming Asia’s hub for maritime law and arbitration and is one of the top global players in the offshore and marine engineering industry.

More jobs, better jobs

The government’s Sea Transport Industry Transformation Map aims to grow the sector’s value-add by S$4.5 billion and create 5,000 new jobs by 2025.  Additionally, the maritime sector can expect $20 billion in business spending from industry players by 2024, which will create more jobs in areas such as maritime law and arbitration, ship management and marine insurance.

The number of maritime tech start-ups will also more than triple from 30 to 100 by 2025, while a new program will be launched to develop leaders with knowledge of key maritime issues and strong business networks.

With relevant regulations and infrastructure to support the ambition, the maritime industry is set to be an even stronger force and will become a more promising sector to work in.

Diploma in Nautical Studies – Singapore Polytechnic

This three-year course is a double award program offering a diploma and the internationally recognized professional Class 3 Deck Certificate of Competency (CoC) qualification.  The CoC will allow the holder to sail as a certified sea-going officer worldwide.  This diploma is the first career step for the holder to sail as a junior deck officer and later as captain of a ship. 

The course, a direct fast track to becoming a ship’s captain, is completed in three phases: pre-sea induction where students learn the basic knowledge and skills to be a deck officer; sea-training where students undergo shipboard training to get a first-hand experience in working on board a vessel; and full-time study at the Polytechnic.  

With this diploma, students can gain direct entry into relevant degree programs in Shipping Management, Maritime Business and Logistics conducted by reputable tertiary institutions from Australia, UK, the US, and at Singapore’s National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. 

Diploma in Maritime and Offshore Management – Singapore Polytechnic

This one-year course will provide students with theoretical knowledge and principles in the operation and management of shipping, logistics and offshore businesses. This course is uniquely suitable for professionals who are currently working in non-maritime sector and want to switch to a career in the maritime and offshore industry. 

Additionally, it is also suitable for shipping, logistics and offshore executives currently working in the maritime industry but do not possess maritime qualifications or relevant sea-going experience.  

This course will also be suitable for deck/engineering sea-going junior officers who may be keen to supplement their navigational or technical skills with commercial and operational knowledge so as to prepare for a shore-based maritime career.

Upon completion of all the modules in each semester, the students will be awarded a Certificate.  After successfully acquiring two Certificates, the students will be conferred the diploma from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies – Nanyang Technological University

For those looking to get a bachelor’s degree in maritime studies, this four-year direct honors program is one of the best options.  This is the only maritime business-related degree in Singapore with the option of specialization in either Business or International Trading.  The major in Business is jointly offered with the world-renowned Nanyang Business School.

Offer by the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Maritime Studies program focuses primarily on shipping business and management and there is one semester of compulsory exchange with a partner university in Netherland.  The curriculum also includes professional internship to fully prepare students to enter the workforce.

Graduates can expect to be employed in a broad and diverse range of shore-based jobs with the potential to fill key leadership roles in the maritime industry. 

Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering / Naval Architecture / Offshore Engineering – Singapore Institute of Technology

This is one of the best maritime-related engineering programs with industry attachment at world-class companies. The Marine programs, jointly offered by Singapore Institute of Technology and Newcastle University, are three-year direct honors degrees in Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture or Offshore Engineering.

Marine Engineering students will be exposed to systems from the main propulsion engines to auxiliary machinery such as power generators, pumps, heat exchangers, HVAC system, and other machinery of pneumatic or hydraulic systems.  Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering students will learn about the concepts behind the design, structure, operation, and management of ships and offshore structures. 

Besides going through rigorous academic training, a key unique and differentiating factor is the Integrated Work Study Program where students have the chance to work for leading marine and offshore engineering organizations such as Keppel O&M, Sembcorp Marine, Singapore Technologies Marine and Wärtsilä Singapore.

Students will also get to go for a three-week Overseas Immersion Program at the Newcastle University campus in the UK. Upon graduation, they can expect to work for government agencies, shipping companies, ship and rig building yards, consultancy and design companies, oil and gas companies, and classification societies, among others.

Master of Science in Maritime Technology and Management – National University of Singapore

The program seeks to train and equip graduates with cutting-edge skillsets to enable next-generation port capabilities in Singapore, such as industrial systems development, big data analytics tools, and emerging port technologies. 

As Singapore strives to be the Global Maritime Hub for Connectivity, Innovation and Talent, and a hub of excellence for shipping, port, offshore, and maritime-related businesses, this program can well meet this objective by nurturing graduates with strong analytics expertise to prepare the maritime industry towards digitalization and technology innovation.

A special highlight is the 15-week internship practicum (for full-time students) in a maritime-related company which will provide students with the opportunity to integrate knowledge and theory on maritime technology and management acquired during the program in a practical setting.

Singapore envisions to be the International Maritime Centre and hopes to leverage on cutting-edge systems and infrastructure to become a key node in the global maritime network. And this advance degree is well-suited to prepare graduates to welcome this future.

Master of Science in Maritime Studies – Nanyang Technological University

This advance program is developed for professionals in the maritime industry who wish to broaden their horizon and elevate their knowledge of working in local business management to one of international and global business settings. The education will provide them with the necessary skillsets to form the next generation of maritime leaders.

Young graduates and middle-management executives working in the maritime industry can expect to gain a deep understanding of the international shipping scene including in the areas of business management, finance, chartering and other related topics.  This program is also suitable for graduates of other disciplines who wish to join the maritime profession.

This long-running and established program has been presented with the Excellence in Training Development award at the Singapore International Maritime Awards 2009 in recognition for its outstanding contribution to maritime education.

With reporting by Diana M.

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Lee Kok Leong

Lee Kok Leong

Kok Leong, executive editor, has overall editorial responsibility for the direction and focus of Maritime Fairtrade. He has two decades of working experiences, including holding senior regional roles in business-to-business (B2B) print and online publications. He enjoys his work as a journalist, and regards it as a calling.

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