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About the course

Do you want to work with the latest electrical engineering technology? Training as an marine electro-technical officer cadet in the UK’s Merchant Navy will offer you the chance to gain valuable academic and practical electrical engineering knowledge and put your specialist skills into practice while away at sea on a fully sponsored three-year marine electro-technical officer cadet programme at the world-renowned Warsash Maritime School.

Officer cadet training schemes typically last for around three years and are split into five phases which alternate between academic studies, practical experience and safety training at Warsash Maritime School and seagoing periods to gain practical shipboard experience.

To enrol on an officer cadet training scheme, candidates apply directly to shipping companies, not through UCAS. This is because officer cadet training is fully sponsored by the shipping company, covering course fees and also providing the means for gaining the mandatory work-based learning on board ship. Cadets will often also receive a small salary or living allowance while they are training.

Marine electro-technical officers take particular responsibility for the maintenance of on board control engineering and electronic systems, including propulsion control, radio communications and electronic navigation aids. During their training , METO cadets are taught the necessary academic underpinning knowledge, as well as gaining practical training, providing them with the confidence and know how to maintain a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment to maximise the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel.


This course has been accredited by a professional body.
Professional accreditation
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
This course has an option to start in January.
January start available
You can apply direct to Solent University for this course.
Apply direct
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies

Officer cadet training is fully sponsored by shipping companies and candidates should apply directly to shipping companies for sponsorship. The training scheme is accredited by the UK Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and administered by the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB).

What does this course lead to?

This course will lead you to employment as a certified watchkeeping marine electro-technical officer on board a commercial (merchant) ship.

Who is this course for?

This fully-sponsored training programme is a must for those who wish to become a marine electro-technical officer in the Merchant Navy. The course is suited to those who are looking for an interesting and varied career, and is ideal for those with a strong interest in electrical engineering and technology.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

Successful applicants will have their course fees paid and be provided a training allowance by the UK sponsoring companies throughout their training.

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

  • Numerate subject or National Engineering Award at Level 3.
  • GCSE grade 4 or above in at least mathematics, English and science, plus one other (previously grade C).
  • Entry to this course is through a sponsored cadetship; see the Warsash Maritime School website for details.
  • For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 20 in each individual component
  • Duolingo English Language Test - 100 overall with minimum of 90 in each component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

Pre-Sessional English programme

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Study location

Industrial Placement

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Solent team:

If you are a UK, EU or EEA applicant please contact 023 8201 5066 If you are an international applicant please contact 023 8201 5066

How to apply

To apply for a foundation degree in marine electrical and electronic engineering, you must undertake a three year electro-technical officer cadet training programme (officer cadetship) approved by the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), and meet the academic entry requirements as stated.

The next step is to find a company to sponsor you so that you can complete the sea service elements of the training programme. You should apply direct to the sponsoring companies for details of their recruitment policies and the availability of sponsorship.

There are a number of UK sponsoring companies that recruit UK/EU nationals as officer cadets to work in the various shipping sectors of the merchant navy (eg, cargo, container, cruise, tanker etc.), either individual shipping companies recruiting to fulfil their own staffing needs or training organisations that recruit on behalf of their clients.

Companies normally start the recruitment process around January each year for entry in the following September or January.

How to apply 

What you'll study

Year one

  • Marine Engineering Principles for ETOs
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering Science
  • Marine Electrics with work-based learning
  • Electrical Power Systems
  • Introduction to Electronics, Instrumentation and Controls
  • Electrical Legislation and Management
  • Marine Auxiliaries
  • Electro-Mechanical Plant Operation and Diagnostics

Year two

  • Electronic Principles and Systems
  • Further Mathematics
  • Advanced Marine Electrics
  • Work-based Electrical Engineering Project
  • Electrical Machines
  • Instrumentation and Control Systems Maintenance with work-based learning 
  • Electronic Navigation Systems
  • Navigation Systems Fault Diagnosis
  • Radio Communication Engineering


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support


Warsash Maritime School has a full range of industry-leading training facilities including an ETO lab for electronic navigational systems operations and maintenance of items such as radars, navigational aids and control systems. Electrical workshop facilities enable cadets to practice electrical maintenance and operational and fault finding procedures.

The programme is built around work-based learning with cadets spending time away at sea during their training, on two sea phases. Officer cadet training schemes lead to an academic (Foundation Degree in Marine Engineering) and professional (MCA Certificate of Competency) qualification. The foundation degree can be topped up to a full honours degree.

Your future

Upon successful completion of the training programme cadets will be eligible to take their MCA oral exam to qualify for the Marine Electro-Technical Officer Certificate of Competency, which allows them to work on any type and size of vessel.

Suitable roles for graduate include:

  • Merchant Navy electro-technical officer
  • Project management
  • Electrical engineering technical assistant
  • Field support engineer
  • Plant operator/supervisor
  • Shore-based ship operations
  • Maritime administration.

Industry links

Warsash Maritime School is a world leader in maritime education and training, with close links to the marine industry. The extensive professional experience of academic staff ensures that the course draws on real-world case studies and equips you with practical, readily applicable knowledge and skills.

Get ready to find your place

You can still experience life at Solent at a virtual open day! Hear from course tutors, take virtual campus and accommodation tours, and chat to us live.

Register for a virtual open day