The Indian Maritime University is the long cherished dream of the maritime community in India.

The Indian Maritime University (IMU), which was established through an Act the Parliament on November 14 last year, has been playing a vital role in the development of the human resource required in the maritime sector. The first of its kind in the country, the IMU, which has a sprawling campus about 25 km from Chennai on the East Coast Road, aims meet the educational requirements of the maritime fraternity.

The IMU is all set to celebrate its first anniversary on November 14. Vice Chancellor Dr. P. Vijayan spoke to Education Plus about the university, the programmes it offers, and its future plans.

“India is traditionally a maritime nation and has a rich maritime heritage. Though India has the longest coastline (7517 kilometers), transports 95 per cent of volume of goods transported by sea, we still lack adequate manpower. By 2010, the country requires 27,000 nautical science and marine engineering graduates and another 40,000 seamen. The IMU, a central university, was created to meet this requirement and produce quality workforce,” says Mr. Vijayan. There are 12 major ports and 187 non-major ports in India and the demand for marine engineers is increasing. “The job market is stable and Indian marine engineers are widely accepted globally,’ he adds.

“The IMU may be only a year old, but the maritime institutions that come under it are well known worldwide,” he says. He was referring to premier maritime institutions such as the National Maritime Academy, Chennai, the T.S. Chanakya, Mumbai, the Lal Bahadur Sastri College of Advanced Maritime Studies and Research, Mumbai, the Marine Engineering Research institute, Mumbai, the Marine Engineering Research Institute, Kolkata, the Indian Institute of Port Management, Kolkata and the National Ship Design and Research Centre, Vishakapatnam, which were merged to create the IMU last year.

The IMU follows a syllabus recommended by the World Maritime University, Sweden, which functions directly under the International Maritime Organisation, United Kingdom. It offers various certificate, diploma, degree, engineering, management and revalidation courses. “Selection of candidates is based on the CET-IMU or the IIT-JEE scores. As the demand for the course is very high we have two intakes in one academic year, and therefore, those who fail to secure admission in the April intake can apply again with the same score for the December intake,” says Mr. Vijayan. Students who are selected have the freedom to choose the campus where they wish to pursue their course if it is offered on that campus.

The IMU has eight departments. These are the departments of Nautical Science, Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture, Port Management, Marine Biology (course to be offered from next academic year), Maritime Law, Inland Waterways Development and a Business School. The intake for each course is 40.

Courses offered

The IMU offers a three-year B.Sc. course, a four-year engineering course and a two-year Master of Business Administration. The degree course in Nautical Science aims to prepare students to face with fortitude the hardships of life at sea. There is a six-month on-board training as part of the course during which students are exposed to the real sea conditions. A pass in Plus Two from a recognised Board with not less than 55 per cent marks in physics, chemistry and mathematics is required. Alternatively, students can take up a one-year diploma course in nautical science and undergo onboard training at sea for 18 months during which they would be paid a good salary. Then they can complete their degree course through the distance learning mode.

The engineering programme in marine engineering aims to facilitate the all-round development of the students so that they become highly motivated and competent marine engineers in the future. The eligibility criteria are the same as they are for the degree programme. Another course in engineering offered is a B.Tech in Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering. Engineering degree holders in any branch can opt for IMU’s one-year Postgraduate Diploma in Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture and qualify themselves as full-fledged marine engineers and naval architects. This is also known as a conversion course.

Another unique course, B.Sc Polyvalent, with a duration of four years, is offered on the IMU Mumbai campus. A candidate can specialise in either marine engineering or nautical science at the end of third year.


The IMU Business School offers two much sought-after management programmes in Shipping and Port Management and Logistics Management and International Transport. “Management courses such as these are most suitable for seamen who prefer to sail any longer. In other words, MBA courses facilitate re-settlement of seamen,” notes Mr. Vijayan. CAT, MAT and CET scores are taken into consideration for admission to the MBA programmes. “For the port management programme we will be collaborating with Shanghai Maritime University, China and for logistics management, we will work closely with University of Antwerp, Belgium by way of faculty and student exchange,” he says.

Maritime Law

“For the first time in the country, a two-year postgraduate programme in maritime law will be offered at the IMU from the next academic year,” Mr. Vijayan says.

For those who have passed Class X, there is a six-month certificate course which will provide them with a certificate of competency. With this qualification one can get entry level jobs in shipping industry. There are many re-validation and upgradation courses, which are essential for seamen for their promotion.

New campus

The IMU’s new 300-acre campus in Chemmancheri, near Chennai is getting ready and until then the university will function from the National Maritime Academy campus in Uthandi.

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Women prefer to sail too

“In the recent times, we have many women students who join the marine engineering and nautical sciences programme and they show great interest in the maritime career,” says Mr. Vijayan. As Gayathri M. a second-year nautical science student at IMU Chennai campus says, “It was the adventure aspect of the career that pulled me in to this course.” According to her, shipping is a very attractive career and even during recession the job market was stable. Sricheta Patra, a marine engineering student, says that shipping industry provides vast career opportunity and is a high paying job. “I think it is a safe and secured career for women and, when they do not want to sail, there are many career options for them on the shore as well.”