The foundations of the Nicola Vaptsarov Naval Academy were laid in 1881. Today, the Naval Academy trains officers for the Navy, masters and chief engineers for the Merchant Marine and other trained specialists for the maritime industry. The course of education in the school is 5 years for cadets, and 4 years for students. Upon successful completion of the course of studies graduates receive a "B. Sc. Degree". Masters and Doctoral degrees are also offered.
The Bulgarian marine education was established on January 9th, 1881 when the Machine School for the Navy, the first technical school in Bulgaria, was founded. It used to train only engine-room ratings for the Navy, merchant vessels, workshops and plants. On 03.12.1904 it was promoted us a secondary technical school. It trained technical personnel trained technical personnel for the Navy and for the Merchant Marine, the state railways, the industrial plants, the coal-mines, the electric power stations, the aviation, etc. The first attempt to train navigation officers was introduced in 1913, but the first course of study to train navigation officers for the Navy and for the Merchant fleet began in 1919. During the years learning processes had been improved. Navigation faculty and Technical faculty were created only in 1929. In 1942 the school was promoted as ‘His Majesty's Naval Academy’. It started to train deck officers with a higher maritime education (bachelor degree) and one year later - ship power-plant specialists with higher maritime technical education (bachelor degree). In 1949 Naval Academy was renamed into ‘Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy’ (NVNA). It was given the name of one of the school graduates, a world famous poet, who was shot down by the fascists as a head of antifascist military organization in Bulgaria. Since 1956 the graduates of the NVNA have been given the qualification degree ‘engineer’. In the early 1960s the Republic of Bulgaria became a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which audits maritime education all over the world. Since then NVNA has been a higher educational institution, recognized by ship owners all over the world. Traditionally the Bulgarian Naval Academy has also trained foreigners. This began in 1953 when the first cadets from Albania and the former Czechoslovakia were admitted. Till 1993, cadets from 12 nations had been trained in the NVNA, both for the navy and for the merchant fleet. Nowadays we continue to offer all opportunities to train foreigners. In 1974 a new dormitory, a sports complex, a summer camp and other facilities were built at NVNA. Most of the old buildings were transformed into training facilities. Many new simulators and laboratories were put in operation. The Planetarium being used as an astronavigation laboratory was opened in 1986. At present the Planetarium is the biggest on the Balkan Peninsula and it offers opportunities to train cadets and students to sail using the sky luminary. In 1992, a civilian faculty was founded in the Academy. It trains future officers for the Merchant Marine as students. After graduation most of them sail as officers under foreign flags. The training traditions of NVNA are old and well established. As a result of more than one century-old experience ‘N.Y.Vaptsarov’ Naval Academy has become an institution for training the marine way of life. Since the beginning of the 20th century it has trained moral and commanding skills. The psychological criterions for selection and control of the cadets and students are widely used. The discipline is one of the main criteria for the final score that is calculated by means of special evaluation system. The whole educational process is carried out under special conditions that are close to ships’ relationships and routines. As a rule the trainees are obliged to obey the regulations that have very much in common with ships’ standing orders. The future mariners are brought up to respect all peoples and cultures, which is of utmost importance for the normal contacts on board a ship and in the ports of the world. Traditionally, NVNA integrates the education of the officers both for the Navy and for the Merchant Marine. This elegant combination gives an opportunity to train naval officers integrated educational of the merchant marine and gives them a civilian specialty as well. This system provides military training to the officers for the vessels that are necessary for sailing in dangerous regions (areas of terrorists, pirates, military operations, peacekeeping operations etc.). Furthermore, the future deck officers have an opportunity to learn how to manage the crew according to old marine traditions and be loyal to the ship-owners. Traditionally, theory and practice have been closely connected in NVNA. Since the beginning, the course of study was divided into 3 years theoretical and 3 years practical training. For more than a century NVNA has had its own training ship, boat base and summer camp. Besides, all in the training process are used Bulgarian navy ships, Bulgarian and foreign merchant vessels. Most of the simulators required by IMO are provided as training facilities at the NVNA. Many laboratories and computer simulators are widely used in every department. Practically every student or cadet starts with rowing, swimming and sailing as well as boat steering. They also double the duties of the different positions during the practice on board the Navy ships and Merchant vessels. At the end of the educational process they practice as third officer. Besides, they take part in naval exercises and sailing competitions. NVNA is the center of marine education in Bulgaria. It was created as a school for engine-room ratings navy staff, but during the years step-by-step it become marine science, education and post gradate institution both for the Navy and for the Maritime personnel. Close adherence to the international standards is the rule for the Naval Academy. Since the beginning of the 30-s it has appliance of the best tradition of training process in Maritime education. Our education in Navigation and Ship power plants was approved by IMO and NVNA was included in the ‘White List’ as an educational institution with ‘approved education’. Since then the NVNA has been a higher educational university recognized by ship-owners all over the world without any additional exams. Nowadays NVNA trains officers for the Bulgarian Navy and the Merchant Marine according to world-acknowledged standards. Bulgarian Navy officers are well prepared for their duty at sea and they take part successfully in many exercises in close cooperation with NATO’s ships. Officers for the merchant fleet graduated our Naval Academy are captains and ship power-plant engineers in many foreign companies in the USA, England, Japan, France, Germany, Norway, Italy, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Philippines, Arabic countries and many others states.
University website: Varna Naval Academy - N.J. Vaptsarov