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Engineering Sciences

Study Ship Engineering, Nautics in Germany

Explore 35 programmes.

Nautics concerns itself with the navigation and manoeuvring of ships, while ship engineering focuses on the technical systems and units installed on a ship. Therefore, holding a degree in this field doesn’t necessarily mean you yourself will set sail. You may also remain on solid ground and work for, e.g., a shipping company or federal maritime administration.
In addition to the areas of nautics and ship engineering, this field also includes marine engineering and ship operation engineering.


11 Higher Education Institutions

Bachelor, Master

German, English

3-8 Semesters

What content can I expect?

If you are interested in commanding ships at sea, a degree programme in nautics may be right for you. Nautics students should have an affinity to technology and management. Apart from the nautical subjects, the course of study will also cover knowledge of natural sciences, law, and economics. Manoeuvring, meteorology, and merchant shipping law are typical examples of modules in a nautics degree programme.

Programmes in ship engineering are much more technically oriented and include teachings from physics, mathematics, electrical engineering, and technical mechanics. Modules in system engineering, cooling and air-conditioning technology, or marine electronics are also part of the study content.

You should have a good command of the English language, especially for a degree programme in nautics, as English is a prerequisite for participating in international shipping. But your physical and mental health will also be important when you are on the open sea!

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Which admission requirements apply for ship engineering and nautics courses of study?

In Germany, only selected higher education institutions offer degree programmes in ship engineering and nautical science. Unsurprisingly, you will find them close to the sea. General entry requirements are a higher education entrance qualification or the international equivalent. If you wish to study nautics, it is also possible that you will need to provide proof of your fitness for sea service before enrolling. In the case that you already hold a certificate of proficiency as a ship mechanic, an NOA training record book, or proof of sufficient seagoing service, you may be able to complete the degree in less time than usually required. At some higher education institutions, a (nautical) internship is a prerequisite for admission!

A Bachelor of Science programme lasts seven to eight semesters at most higher education institutions. In most cases, the curriculum allots six semesters of theory and one to two semesters of practical training; you will probably complete the practical semesters at the beginning and end of your studies. During the compulsory practical phases, you will have the opportunity to apply your theoretical knowledge directly on board a ship. The duration of the practical units can differ between the degree programmes; it is best to check directly with the higher education institutions of your choice for the requirements and contents. A Master’s degree in this subject usually comes with a standard period of study of four semesters.

Some higher education institutions offer the option to specialise in particular ship engineering or nautical subjects. If you already have a certain field in mind, it is well worth taking a closer look at the courses and study contents!

By the way: Some higher education institutions offer their degree programmes entirely in English. This way you can prepare yourself all the better for your future international career. Bear in mind, a minimum language level is usually required for English-language degree programmes.

How much does it cost to study ship engineering and nautics in Germany?

Most courses of study in ship engineering and nautics are offered at public higher education institutions and are therefore free of charge. You will only rarely degree programmes in this subject area at private higher education institutions, which often charge high tuition fees. However, you should still plan for semester contributions in your budget; fees vary between higher education institutions and usually amount to between 100 and 400 euros per semester. The fees pay for the administration, the student union, but often also for your semester ticket, which allows you to use public transport in a certain area.

The biggest item in your budget will most likely be rent. Here, too, there are big differences within Germany; smaller cities are often cheaper. However, you can keep the costs within reasonable limits if you opt for student halls of residence or shared apartments. Depending on the city, however, you can expect to spend quite some time apartment-hunting!

To finance your studies in Germany, you should also find out about scholarships. There are many different scholarship programmes and excellent grades are not the only deciding factor. You can learn more about scholarships  and find suitable programmes directly on My GUIDE.

What are my career options with a degree in ship engineering and nautics?

Depending on the higher education institution, graduates earn not only a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree but also a national certificate of competence as a nautical watch officer, which allows you to work as a captain at sea after gaining the required experience.

You can start off your career in various areas, in the ship management of cargo and passenger ships, in nautical-technological ship operations or in process design and planning in logistics. Technical ship management is also an option.

If you would rather stay on land, careers such as the shipping administration of the federal and state governments or shipping companies, shipyards, transhipment companies or other maritime transport businesses are a possibility. However, you can also gain a foothold in shipping-related companies, energy companies or the supply industry. You can even start your own business as a surveyor or expert. A job in maritime training and teaching are also possibilities you can take advantage of.

If you are aiming for a management position, then you should definitely complete an advanced Master’s degree, as this is usually expected. Since there are not many graduates in nautical or marine engineering in Germany, your general job prospects look good!

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Check your eligibility to study at German higher education institutions (non-binding)

Run a quick and non-binding check to determine whether your certificates make you eligible to study at German higher education institutions. Depending on which educational certificates you provide, you may qualify for all degree programmes or only for certain subjects or types of higher education institutions. It is possible that you do not currently meet the requirements to be eligible to apply to a German higher education institution. In such a case, you may be able to attend a Studienkolleg. Please note that the eligibility check results apply exclusively to undergraduate programmes and are not legally binding.

Once you have completed the non-binding check, degree programmes that match your eligibility will be marked with a corresponding icon.