How to Join the NSA Cadet Scholarship Program

by | Last updated Nov 24, 2023 | Career Guide, How-to Guide, Scholarships | 2 comments

One of the most prestigious maritime scholarships in the Philippines or even abroad is the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) Philippines Cadet Program famously known as the NSA Scholarship.

If you want to pursue a career at sea, applying for a scholarship is your best course of action. But before that, you must also meditate deep within yourself if this career is what you really want.

The seafaring industry in our country is very difficult for fresh graduates. You need to have backers within the manning agencies in order to board your first ship. Otherwise, you will be losing a great deal of unemployed time.

Since most of us don’t have that kind of connection, a scholarship/ sponsorship grant is a must. Since maritime courses are very costly nowadays, you will save a great deal of time, money, and effort once you become an NSA Cadet.

The beauty of the NSA Program is that they don’t require a backer for every applicant. Meaning, that everyone is open to joining provided that you meet the qualifications.

Entry Requirements

  • 17 – 23 years old on or before April 30
  • Graduates of Senior High School (K-12)
  • Existing college students/ tertiary-level graduates
  • Physically and mentally fit
  • Filipino Citizen
  • Single
  • No derogatory records or was convicted/ accused of any crime or moral turpitude

How to Apply for the NSA Maritime Scholarship

For your information, taking the exam is FREE of charge. Watch out for their announcements when they will open the screening process. It usually opens sometime in the fourth quarter of the year and ends in the middle of January the next year.

But it’s best to always check their website or Facebook Page to be up to date with their screening process. Joining a cadetship program is one of the best ways to jumpstart your career. Here are simple steps for joining the NSA Scholarships program.

1. Online application

If you think you qualify with those entry-level requirements, visit It will take you to their online application portal. Fill in the required information honestly and click submit once finished.

They will review your application and if they deem you qualified, they will send a series of text blasts informing you to proceed to the next step.

2. Written exam

Since their screening process is nationwide, the written examination will also be conducted in various places around the country. You should receive an invitation via a text message that you qualify for the written exam including the date and place of the examination.

These are the cities where they will be holding the exams. Take note that the venues may change so better visit their FB Page or website, or watch out for their text blast for updates.

  • Mauban, Quezon
  • Pangasinan
  • Davao City
  • Masbate
  • Cebu
  • Iloilo
  • Bacolod
  • Manila

The exam covers Math, Science, English, and Inductive Reasoning.

Materials to Bring

  • Pencil (Mongol 2 pencil only)
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
  • Sharpener
  • Snacks and lunch

3. Computer-based Exam

A half-day exam that covers IQ Tests and Ability Profiling.

You may also need these requirements soon if you pass the series of exams.

  • 1 pc 2×2 picture with white background
  • Photocopy of Birth Certificate (NSO Certified)
  • Photocopy of recent grades (this may be partial)
  • Photocopy of Transcript of Records or class card (if with college background)
  • The fourth and final tests come next.

4. Oral Interview

A one-on-one interview with the facilitators and/ or big shots who are running the program. This exam measures your English speaking skills, confidence, motivation, and your background.

Some questions asked here will be personal like your age, address, studies, why you want to work on board, and the like.

5. Medical Examination

Focuses on your audiovisual acuities which means that the applicant should not be color blind or hearing impaired. Additionally, he must not be suffering from any communicable diseases.

If you pass all these exams, CONGRATULATIONS! You are now closer to your dreams of becoming a seaman.

What if you fail?

Since the program filters out the best among the rest with its series of exams, many cadets will eventually fail. But fear not. This actually opens you to a whole new path to choose from.

The NSA scholarship is not the only scholarship program available. Yes, they are very famous and that’s why just the mere mention of “NSA cadets” sparks awe and respect. If you fail here, you can always try again next year.

But if this sounds too long for you, you can try other opportunities. Some shipping companies that do not belong to the Norwegian Shipowner’s Association also want to take a piece of the pie.

This means they are also offering their version of cadetship programs for deserving cadets.

They may have screening requirements but it’s worth a try. As long as you don’t fail the medical examination, you have a shot at availing of these programs.

NSA Scholarship Program Selection process for applicants.
Selection Process.

NSA Accredited Partner Schools

Out of the 83 maritime schools and colleges in the country, the Norwegian Training Center has partnered with only three maritime institutions. These schools house the NSA scholars during their academic years of first, second, and fourth years.

If you are near the area you can also visit any of these partner schools. Ask whatever you want to know more about the scholarship program including the selection process and benefits. They will be very glad to help you.

  • University of Cebu – Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue (UCLM) – A. C. Cortes Ave, Mandaue City, 6014 Cebu, Philippines
  • Davao Merchant Marine Academy (DMMA) – College of Southern Philippine – Tigatto Road, Buhangin, Davao City, 8000 Davao del Sur, Philippines
  • Lyceum of the Philippines University – Batangas Campus – Brgy. Cuta, Batangas City, Philippines

As I mentioned earlier, these are also the accredited schools that you will study in once you pass all the series of tests.


There are only two courses offered by the scholarship. These are the following:

  • Bachelor of Science in Marine Transportation – Deck Officer. The highest rank is Captain.
  • Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering – Engine Officer. The highest rank is Chief Engineer.

What the Scholarship Program Covers

These are the benefits of being an NSA Scholar.

  • FREE tuition fee, dormitory, and meals for the first two years (1st and 2nd year)
  • FREE training and seminars
  • FREE Leadership Training and Development
  • Shipboard familiarization onboard T/S Kapitan Felix Oca
  • Supply subsidy of books, training equipment, etc.
  • Web-based Training Record Book (Global MET)
  • Sponsored Daily Journal
  • Guaranteed shipboard training (apprenticeship/ OJT with allowance)
  • Guaranteed employment

There are also other advantages of being an NSA Cadet aside from the ones listed above.

What’s NOT Included

The Scholar must pay for the following:

  • Uniform
  • Toiletries and other personal needs
  • Your 4th year expenses which include tuition fee, food, and dormitory (you must use your Apprenticeship allowance.)

NSA Cadets Program Structure

The Scholarship’s structure is different from the regular students. While the regular (non-scholar) cadets practice the 3-1 academic structure, a 2-1-1 program is implemented for the scholars. This means that NSA Cadets have two consecutive years in academics.

In your 3rd year, you will be having your apprenticeship or OJT on board international vessels for twelve months. You will use this time period to study, learn, and practice the job of an Officer or Engineer. And yes, your company will pay you real dollars.

After finishing your apprenticeship, you must go back to your respective schools to continue your studies. You will be in your fourth year by then. But this time, you will pay for the tuition, dormitory, and other expenses you used to have for free.

NSA Cadet Program Structure: Selection. Full Scholarship. Sea service or Apprenticeship. Final year.
Program structure for NSA Cadets.

You will use the money you earned during your apprenticeship. This is the last segment of your scholarship that you must finish in order to graduate.

Program Overview

  1. School Pre-selection
  2. NSA Final Selection
  3. 1stYear Academic (Full Scholarship)
  4. 2ndYear Academic (Full Scholarship)
  5. 3rdYear Sea Service apprenticeship (12 Months)
  6. 4thYear Academic (Final Year)
  7. Job Guarantee

Why The 2-1-1 Structure?

The 2-1-1 structure is designed to transform you into a competent, highly skilled, and top-caliber Officer or Engineer.

Your first and second year in school tackles the theoretical aspect of your career. Here, you will learn from the book with a little bit of the practical side.

But nothing beats the real thing. Apprenticeship is where theory comes to life that’s why it’s part of the program. You will understand more about COLREGs, main engines, cargo operations, scavenging, mooring operations, chart works, and many others.

Exposure to the actual jobs on board will give you a better perspective on your work once you return for the fourth year.

More importantly, you will receive a bachelor’s degree upon graduation. One of the requirements for this is to complete a 3-year academic studies and a 12-month apprenticeship.

Sounds a bit complicated? Let’s compare the 3-1 and 2-1-1 structure.

3-11 Versus 2-1-1

After finishing your three straight academics in the 3-1 structure, you will graduate with an associate degree. You still have to complete 12 months’ worth of apprenticeship in order to get a bachelor’s degree. This is a requirement from CHED for filing the licensure examination.

Whereas in the 2-1-1 structure, you will graduate with a bachelor’s degree. It’s because you already finished 3 academic years and a 12-month apprenticeship.

You can get your diploma and Transcript of Records (TOR) after graduation. And when you are ready, you can also file for a licensure examination.

A 12-month sea service experience is needed before you qualify for the board exam. The 2-1-1 structure is very advantageous for the scholars. You can be a Junior Third Officer or Fourth Engineer after passing the licensure examination.

This is the typical career path for NSA Cadets. Your company’s goal is to transform you into an Officer or Engineer once they pass the licensure exam. They see a shortage of competent officers and engineers that’s why they are securing their fleet.

If you still have queries, you may contact them at Please note that they will not entertain questions and calls via mobile number.

Good luck with your application and

May the winds be in your favor.



  1. Josephine Mape

    What is the name of your school here in the Philippiness.

    • Gibi

      Hello maam. I graduated from the University of Cebu – METC 12 years ago.


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