Undergraduate Programme Specification: BSc (Hons) Marine Operations (Stage 3) Full-Time


Please note:

  • Standard text is in grey highlight;
  • Guidance notes for staff or suggestions for the design and functionality of the database are in italics.  Guidance notes should be deleted in the final version.




  1. Name  of programme


Marine Operations



  1. Award title

Bachelor of Science, Honours



  1. Programme linkage

Is this part of group of linked programmes between which students can transfer at agreed points?





  1. Is the programme a top-up only?





  1. Does the programme have a Foundation Year (level 3) associated with it so that students enter for a four-year programme and progress directly from the Foundation Year to Stage 1 without having to re-apply?





  1. Level of award




  1. Awarding body: University of Sunderland


  1. Which department is it in?


Faculty of Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing at the University, and in the South Shields Marine School in the College.


  1. Programme Studies Board?

Marine Programmes/Module Studies Board


  1. Programme Leader

Trevor Douglas LLb(Hons)


  1. How and where can I study the programme?

Tick all boxes that apply


At Sunderland:


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At the University of Sunderland London campus: 


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At a partner college:


Full-time in the UK 


Part-time in the UK


Full-time overseas


Part-time overseas


By distance learning


As a full-time sandwich course in the UK


As a part-time sandwich course in the UK


As a full-time sandwich course overseas


As a part-time sandwich course overseas


As work-based learning full-time in the UK 


As work-based learning part-time overseas


Other (please specify)



  1. How long does the programme take?



Min number of years / months

Max number of years / months







Distance learning



Work-based learning




For start-dates please see the current edition of the Prospectus or contact the relevant department at the University. For start-dates for programmes delivered in a partner college, please contact the college.




See Outline Programme Proposal Form for responses to questions 13 to 25


  1. Learning and teaching strategy.

The BSc in Marine Operations Stage 3 has been designed in close consultation with Industry and the programme should enable graduates to progress from their current employment. There is a strong emphasis on case studies and the real life application of knowledge and managerial competencies and problem solving skills are developed throughout.


1.Programme subject content is delivered via modules. The module descriptor describes the content of the module and its teaching, learning and assessment approaches, together with the notional student workload divided between lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, directed and independent learning and assessment.


2.At the start of a module teaching and learning plans are routinely distributed. The teaching and learning plans will include the aims and learning outcomes of the module being studied. Additionally, the plans will provide further details of the objectives, the material to be covered, additional reading and suggested independent learning activities for the contact sessions. Such information aims to help students to use independent study time more effectively and to monitor their own progress against objectives. To ensure consistency across module delivery, Module Tutors are responsible for co-ordinating the production and distribution of all module material to the teaching team.


3.For taught modules, lectures are the primary medium utilised to deliver the basic knowledge input required to meet the module learning outcomes. The teaching and learning plans discussed above will identify additional reading required to supplement the materials covered in lectures.


4.Lectures are supported where appropriate by seminars and workshops that allow a range of teaching and learning approaches to be used, in line with aim 5. Seminars are used to develop understanding and application of the knowledge delivered in lectures. As such students may expect to undertake a range of activities within seminar sessions. Such activities may include case study analysis, group discussions, individual or group presentations, problem solving and exercises related to the subject. The teaching and learning plans will provide guidance on the activities to be undertaken both within and prior to the seminar. Specific seminar briefs may also be used to provide further details of activities. The smaller size of group in seminars enables students to benefit from formative feedback given during the seminar sessions. Workshops are utilised, where appropriate, to develop understanding and application of Information Technology in relation to the module being studied. As with seminars, workshops involve smaller group sizes and will utilise a range of activities to develop the skills required.


5.Tutorials are used to give one-to-one support for projects and dissertations.


6.Increasingly, modules make use of ICTs in their teaching and learning approaches. A number of modules provide students with electronic resources made available via internal networks or the Internet.


7.Independent and directed learning is incorporated within each module and supports aim 2. This Increases as students’ progress.

8. Work related activities such as simulated port management tasks and group learning such as simulated board meetings.


9. In support of aim 5, a range of assessment methods, linked to the module learning outcomes, is used to support, inform and motivate students' practical and Intellectual development. This includes, where appropriate, the development of personal and interpersonal skills.


10. The use of VLE Moodle and other IT related learning and on-line resources.


  1. Retention strategy.  

The marine industry relies heavily upon seafarers leaving seagoing employment to work ashore in related professions such as harbour masters, superintendents, surveyors and lecturers. A degree in Marine operations would prepare seafarers for such roles and provide them with an academic qualification that would make them more attractive to potential employers.


The Merchant Navy Training Board, has an interest in providing shore based staff and any additional qualification that would enhance the potential of a ship’s officer to achieve a shore based post would obviously be welcomed by industry.


STC has been approached by a number of existing clients regarding a degree programme for current and past students and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and P&O, major UK shipping companies, have also expressed an interest in placing students on a degree programme. A considerable number of individual students currently studying on HND courses have also approached staff concerning enrolment on a degree programme.


Student personal development planning is embedded within the programme to ensure integration of the transferable skills. Students will be informed of this development via the student handbook, and this is reinforced / updated during the tutorial support sessions.


A support mechanism network is in place and established to aid students with their personal and academic issues. Should further support be required by the student, permanent personal counsellors are available, as well as an established support mechanism for academic support and advice.



  1. Any other information




  1. What is the programme about?


The main purposes of the programme are to:

         To develop an understanding of the inter-relationships of the operational areas comprising the marine industry.

         To prepare students for a higher level professional role in the marine industries, at sea or ashore.

         To cultivate a confident, imaginative and responsible attitude towards problem solving especially within the context of the marine industry.

         To provide graduates with learning skills necessary for further personal development.

Provide high quality teaching and learning and monitor practice through student feedback programme questionnaires, supported through personal contact and guidance tutorship.

         To provide a physical environment that is conducive to effective learning.

         To provide appropriate learning resources through teaching staff and learning resource specialists e.g. Library and IT providers, to support teaching and learning and ensure adequate resource is always available.

         To maintain the appropriate standards to allow the student to obtain professional accreditation with professional bodies, thereby enhancing the professional standing of the graduate.

         To provide an appropriate learning environment by incorporating effective support and guidance.


  1. What will I know or be able to do at each Stage of the programme?


Learning Outcomes BSc Stage 3 – Knowledge 

By the end of the Stage successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


A1. Evaluate the legal framework and associated commercial practices used relating to the maritime industry and the operation of ships.

A2. Recognise the key operational issues and systems in a service organisation in relation to the maritime industry and shipping.

A3. Realise issues in human Resource Management, International Human Resource Management and the importance of Strategic Human Resource Management to business

A4. Appraise subjects with regards to shipping surveys, inspection and the role of the nautical surveyor.

A5. Analyse the scope and complexity of maritime economics and trade.


Learning Outcomes BSc Stage 3 – Skills

By the end of the Stage successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:


Intellectual skills


B1 The ability to apply theoretical knowledge in a variety of marine related situations


B2 Gather information from a variety of sources.


B3 Analyse situations and draw appropriate conclusions and recommendations.


B4 Demonstrate cognitive skills necessary to plan and conduct a report of original research.


B5 Recognise the implications of professional and ethical responsibilities of the maritime industry.


Professional practical skills


C1 Draw together and integrate disparate data from a variety of sources, analyse the information and apply to marine operations.



Transferable/ key skills


D1 Communicate effectively in written, verbal and visual forms to a variety of audiences and circumstances.


D2 Manage time and work to deadlines.


D3 Work as a member of a team to formulate solutions to complex problems.


D4 Effectively use Information Technology (IT) for a variety of maritime and business tasks.


D5 Utilise problem solving skills in a variety of theoretical and practical situations.


  1. What will the programme consist of?


Each undergraduate programme consists of a number of Stages from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 4, each of which is equivalent to a year’s full-time study. The summary below describes briefly what is contained in each Stage. Most programmes have a mixture of core (ie compulsory) modules and optional ones, often with increasing choice as you move through the programme and gain in experience. In some programmes the choice of optional modules gives you particular ‘routes’ through the programme. The programme structure including a detailed list of modules can be found in the programme regulations.


Stage 3: The programme consists of 120 credits and 120 credits must be attempted in order to achieve an award; i.e. students may only achieve an ordinary degree if they have attempted to complete 120 credits.


STC351 Shipping Law, 20 credits


This unit provides an in-depth analysis of the topics of UK Law, Admiralty Law, International Law and the legal issues of the operation of ships and the carriage of goods.


STC352 Operations management, 20 credits


Operations management is concerned with managing the resources that directly produce the maritime industries service and products.


STC 353 Human Resource Management, 20 credits


This module analyses the function within the maritime industry and shipping that focuses on recruitment of, management of, and providing direction for the people who work in the organization.


STC354 Ship Survey & Inspection, 20 credits


This unit considers nautical surveying and inspection in relation to national and international requirements.


STC355 Shipping Economics & Trade, 20 credits


To develop a critical awareness of the economic environment in which ships are financed, traded and operated and to analyse a range of managerial issues in the maritime industry.


STC356 Undergraduate Dissertation, 20 credits


The support lecture programme will include such topics as title selection, information sources, literature review, research approaches, analysis and interpretation of data, and writing up etc.[TD1]


How will I be taught?

Scheduled teaching activities

Lectures. Workshops. Seminars

Independent study

Self study. Directed reading. Open learning. Preparation for assessment. Project work.




Teaching includes scheduled classroom based lessons, seminars and workshops with guided and independent learning. In the initial stages where new theory and concepts are developed there is a greater emphasis on directed learning. As the course progresses there becomes greater emphasis on individual and peer group learning culminating in an undergraduate dissertation.

A list of the modules in each Stage of the programme can be found in the Programme Regulations.


A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.


  1. How will I be assessed and given feedback? 

Written examinations

Closed book Short and long answer questions.

Data interpretation.


Project work. Problem based learning.

Formative assessment

Formative assessment will take place within the contact sessions and may take place through tasks set and theory / practice related discussions


A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.


The generic assessment criteria which we use can be found here. Some programmes use subject-specific assessment criteria which are based on the generic ones.


This programme uses the Generic University Assessment Criteria



This programme uses the Subject Specific Assessment Criteria




The University regulations can be found here.




As part of an ongoing strategy of improvement you will be invited to provide feedback on your course at monthly feedback tutorials with your group tutor and also to provide feedback through questionnaires at various points during your course.

A start and end course survey will be available through moodle which students are invited to complete.

In addition module tutors will issue you with module feedback forms for each of your modules.

You will also be invited to complete the National Student Survey.


In addition to this a group representative will be invited to Feedback Sessions with the Head of School which will occur twice per term.


Furthermore the college will hold Head of School Rep Meetings


DateTime Location



It is important you should know that these surveys are analysed by the right people and given to your tutors via your curriculum leader for any action identified. The college takes note of all students’ feedback and will endeavour to implement it where feasible/practical[TD2]. The curriculum leader will also feed back to you regarding any comments you make.


  1. Teaching, learning and assessment matrix


  1. How does research influence the programme? 


Students are encouraged to include their employer and colleagues in the project module in order to undertake extensive investigative research during the stage. At this stage the student will possess the professional and analytical skills required to an in depth study to a chosen field. There are a number of examples where current research is drawn upon in the programme design,  e.g. within module reading lists, the provision of seminars, and research of latest professional practices through established industrial links. Furthermore, the dissertation provides a particularly strong link to applied research associated with industry need. The College also ensures the curriculum is research informed in that tutors draw on published research to inform teaching delivery.





  1. How will the programme prepare me for employment?


The programme gives you the opportunity to develop skills which you can use in the future. Some skills are more specific than others to the subject area, or to a particular type of activity, but all skills can be applied in a range of employment situations, sometimes in quite unexpected ways. The skills which this programme is designed to develop are listed below.


Skills acquisition is an important focus of the programme and its aims are:

  • To provide a programme which provides the academic integrity and professional focus for Senior management in the maritime engineering industries.
  • To provide a rewarding and supportive environment where students can develop not only knowledge and practical abilities in specific areas, but also key transferable skills.
  • To produce graduates with the specific knowledge, analytical ability and design skills appropriate for a professional marine officer and who can apply these skills in the diverse range of maritime industries in which they are employed.
  • To produce graduates who can work responsibly and as a professional seafarer in accordance with the requirements of the professional bodies.
  • To produce graduates with a range of key transferable and intellectual skills that can be applied to the role of professional Marine Seafarer.


Employability is the key feature of this programme and the development of transferable skills including teamwork, problem solving, IT skills, oral & written communication, analytical & critical thinking as well as the essential marine skills form a fundamental part of the programme.


Increased recent demand from the sector, particularly from Nigerian shipping companies, DFDS Seaways and other shipping companies for employees equipped with higher-level skills and knowledge has identified the need for a cognate BSc.  Furthermore, Middle-East shipping companies no longer holding HNDs in such high regard now demand employees with a relevant BSc.


There are also opportunities for on-campus students outside your programme of study.


For information about other opportunities available to our students who study on campus, click here.

Additional opportunities to develop your experiences more widely will vary if you study at one of our partner colleges. For information about the extra-curricular activities available in any of our colleges please contact the college direct. 


  1. Particular features of the qualification (optional)

The University of Sunderland issues parchments and maintains oversight and approval of the transcripts generated by the college following ratification of student marks at the Programme Assessment Board Chaired by the College.


  1. Professional statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) accreditation. 


PSRB accreditation is not relevant to this programme 


PSRB accreditation is currently being sought for this programme


This programme currently has PSRB accreditation




      There are no programme-specific regulations applicable to the programme.


The modules to be studied


Pass-marks for some or all modules and/or parts

(elements) of modules 


Requirements for progression between one Stage and another


Placement requirements


Attendance requirements


Professional practice requirements


Degree classification  







Interim or exit awards are not accredited. 




Use Programme Regulations Form, for questions 39 and 40




  1. What are the admissions requirements?


The University’s standard admissions requirements can be found in the university regulations. Programme-specific requirements which are in addition to those regulations are given below. 

  • Foundation Degree in Marine Operations


Students who apply with other qualifications such as an STCW Master or Class 1 (Deck) Certificate of Competency or HND in Nautical Science will be assessed for entry using the University’s standard APL processes available on its website.


Can students enter with advanced standing?




  1. What kind of support and help will there be?

South Tyneside College is committed to meeting the needs of individual learners, anticipating reasonable adjustments and promoting non- discriminatory practices within the organisation. This includes ensuring the availability of a range of services and aids to meet the needs of learners with a learning difficulty and/or disability through the provision of additional learning support (ALS)


Additional Learning support (ALS) is available to any disabled student on this course. The definition of a disabled person is:


“ a person who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial, adverse and long term effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities “


To ensure that the appropriate support is put in place as swiftly as possible it is essential to encourage disclosure from potential students and to refer the student to the ALS team.


The programme leader is the first port of call. If they are unable to help, they can direct students to the relevant services in the college.


  1. in the university as a whole:

The University provides a range of professional support services including health and well-being, counselling, disability support, and a Chaplaincy. Click on the links for further information.


  1. in a partner college:

Various support services are available within the college including counselling, financial advice, dyslexia support, college nurse, etc. All are accessible via Student Services. University guidelines on Inclusive Programme Design were consulted during programme development.


  1. What resources will I have access to?


On campus


In a partner college


By distance learning




On campus

Tick all that apply

General Teaching and Learning Space












Performance space


Other specialist


Technical resources 




Information about the University’s facilities can be found here.

College students may access print-based resources located in the Sunderland libraries for reference purposes but as Validation module students do not have borrowing rights.



Please see the relevant college prospectus or website for details of college learning resources if you are planning to study in one of our partner colleges.


  1. Are there any additional costs on top of the fees?


No, but all students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials.


Yes (optional) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are additional costs for optional activities associated with the programme (see below)


Yes (essential) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are essential additional costs associated with the programme (see below)




  1. How are student views represented?

All taught programmes in the University have student representatives for each Stage (year-group) of each programme who meet in a Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) where they can raise students’ views and concerns. The Students’ Union and the faculties together provide training for student representatives. SSLCs and focus groups are also used to obtain student feedback on plans for developing existing programmes and designing new ones. Feedback on your programme is obtained every year through module questionnaires and informs the annual review of your programme. Student representatives are also invited to attend Programme and Module Studies Boards which manage the delivery and development of programmes and modules.  Various Faculty committees, particularly Faculty Student Success Committee, Academic Development Committee and Quality Management Sub-Committee also have student representation. This allows students to be involved in higher-level plans for teaching and learning. There is a parallel structure at university level on which students are represented by sabbatical officers who are the elected leaders of the Students’ Union.

The University’s student representation and feedback policy can be found here.


Undergraduate programmes only: Final-year students are also invited to complete a National Student Survey (NSS) which asks a standard set of questions across the whole country. The results of this are discussed at Programme Studies Boards and at Faculty Student Success Committee to identify good practice which can be shared and problems which need to be addressed. We rely heavily on student input to interpret the results of the NSS and ensure that we make the most appropriate changes.


Students will be invited to attend two different learner forums during their studies. The Higher Education Learner Forum is a college forum for all HE courses and meets termly. There are also programme specific learner forums, chaired by the programme leader, and these are also held termly.




  1. National subject benchmarks


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education publishes benchmark statements which give guidance as to the skills and knowledge which graduates in various subjects and in certain types of degree are expected to have. These can be found here.


Are there any benchmark statements for this programme?




The subject benchmark(s) for this programme is/are:


There are no benchmarks for this programme.


The QAA also publishes a Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) which defines the generic skills and abilities expected of students who have achieved awards at a given level and with which our programmes align. The FHEQ can be found here.


  1. How are the quality and standards of the programme assured?


The programme is managed and quality assured through the University’s standard processes. Programmes are overseen by Module and Programme Studies Boards which include student representatives. Each year each module leader provides a brief report on the delivery of the module, identifying strengths and areas for development, and the programme team reviews the programme as a whole.  The purpose of this is to ensure that the programme is coherent and up-to-date, with suitable progression from one Stage to another, and a good fit (alignment)  between what is taught and how students learn and are assessed - the learning outcomes, content and types of teaching, learning and assessment. Student achievement, including progress between Stages of the programme and degree classification, is kept under review. The programme review report is sent to the Faculty Quality Management Sub-Committee which in turn reports issues to the University’s Quality Management Sub-Committee (QMSC) and Academic Development Committee (ADC).


External examiners are appointed to oversee and advise on the assessment of the programme. They ensure that the standards of the programme are comparable with those of similar programmes elsewhere in the UK and are also involved in the assessment process to make sure that it is fair. They are invited to comment on proposed developments to the programme. Their reports are sent to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as well as to the Faculty so that issues of concern can be addressed.


All programmes are reviewed by the University on a six-yearly cycle to identify good practice and areas for enhancement. Programmes are revalidated through this review process. These reviews include at least one academic specialist in the subject area concerned from another UK university. The University is subject to external review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education on a six-year cycle. Their review reports for Sunderland can be found here.


Further information about our quality processes can be found here.


The Programme/Module Studies Board (Marine Programmes) mentioned above is located at the College and Chaired by the College. The Programme/Module Assessment Board (Marine Programmes) is located at the College and Chaired by the College.



Please also complete the SITS form.