Why study a deck officer cadetship at Solent University
Start your maritime career in one of the UK’s busiest ports, at training facilities that are among the best in the world – combining the hands-on training of a cadetship with a full academic degree.
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Fully sponsored by one of a huge range of shipping and maritime companies, and developed to meet the specific needs of the shipping industry and the Merchant Navy Training Board, your degree cadetship combines rigorous academic study at our dedicated cadet training centre in Southampton – one of the UK’s busiest ports – with extensive practical training at sea.
Shipping out as a deck officer cadet on a range of vessels owned or operated by your sponsoring company, you will develop the essential skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to become a deck officer in the Merchant Navy. As well as developing your personal, interpersonal and leadership skills, you will learn to work competently and responsibly as an individual and as part of a team.
Using theoretical knowledge, practical experience and professional skills and judgement informed by study and experience in the workplace, you will acquire a strong understanding of the fundamental principles and interrelationships of the three main shipboard functional areas – navigation, shipboard operations and management – and learn to anticipate, identify and generate timely and workable solutions to a wide range of problems and issues.
As part of your degree cadetship, you will gain your first qualification as an Officer of the Watch – and be equipped with all the knowledge and understanding to you need to undertake tasks as detailed in the industry-based onboard training – and with academic exemptions for further professional qualifications under the internationally recognised Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) regulations.
And with a full academic honours degree, you will also be well placed for a range of senior, shoreside and management roles later in your career – making this the perfect course for a long and lasting career in maritime command.
This course has access to specialist facilities
Who is this course for?
This course is for students who want to achieve a higher level academic qualification whilst training for a professional qualification in nautical science.
What does this course lead to?
This exciting course will allow you to gain your first qualification as an Officer of the Watch, opening up a wide range of opportunities within the maritime sector. With further study and sailing experience, you will be able to rise to become a ship’s master.
And should you wish to move back onshore at some point in your career, this course will give you the skills and knowledge to move into a range of land-based careers such as shipping and port operations, marine surveying, marine superintendent, marine insurance, law, chartering and more.
Meet the team
The University cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.
Warsash Maritime School has a full range of industry-leading training facilities including bridge simulators and ECDIS suites where deck cadets can learn and develop their passage planning skills and navigate ships in an environment that closely resembles the equipment and layouts found on a modern ship’s bridge. Practical maritime safety training takes place at our Warsash campus at our fire training ground, medical training centre, and pier head.
Away from studying, why not try out the gyms, fitness studios and sports halls in our £28 million Sports Complex, or watch a blockbuster film at our student-run cinema with Dolby Atmos audio.
Ship Stability and Construction
Work Based Learning (Operations)
How you will learn and be assessed
You will learn by:
You may be assessed by a combination of:
- Project work
- Practical classes and workshops
- Practical exams
- In-class tests
Solent’s curriculum framework builds on our unique, creative and applied approach to teaching. The transformation of students’ lives is at the heart of our mission as a university, and our curriculum – informed by the latest theory – reflects this shared educational vision.Find out more
The student achievement team are on hand to help you succeed during your studies at Solent. They aim to contact you at key times during your time here with personalised information, advice and guidance, by email or phone.
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All students can access Succeed@Solent, Solent's online guide to getting better grades. It offers extensive, practical information and advice on topics such as academic writing, research and presentations.
Why choose the industry?
Maritime and shipping is a huge, thriving industry – the backbone of international trade, and a fundamental part of modern global commerce. As a ship’s officer you will be a key part of this, keeping vessels of all kinds, from tankers to container ships – or even ferries, cruise liners or superyachts – running effectively, efficiently and safely.
Officer cadet training is fully sponsored by shipping companies.
- 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.
Extra course costs
While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bursaries, scholarships and financial support
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.
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 is currently £15. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
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Key entry requirements
104-120 UCAS points
Plus GCSEs at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in the following subjects:
- Science (with significant Physical Science content)
All cadetship programmes welcome applications from UK and International applicants as long as they meet the academic and PSRB requirements. Warsash Maritime School welcomes a diverse range of students and the school is committed to delivering a uniform experience to all students.
Entry to this course is through a sponsored cadetship; see the Warsash Maritime School website for details.
For further information about UK qualifications, please contact admissions.
Key entry requirements
As a general guide, we look for qualifications that are equivalent to the British high school A-levels.
British shipping companies will normally accept applications from candidates from the EU. Candidates should apply directly to the shipping companies for sponsorship.
For further information about UK, EU and international qualifications, please refer to our course entry requirement statement.
Key entry requirements
As a general guide, we look for qualifications that are equivalent to the British high school A-levels. However, MCA certificates of competency may be awarded to people of any nationality and the training programmes are open to all.
British shipping companies will normally only recruit UK or European Union nationals. If you're a potential international candidate from outside the UK and EU, you should research shipping companies from your own country (that are approved by the MCA) to secure sponsorship.
Note to all international students requiring a visa
All international applicants need to be aware that the English language requirements to attend Solent University, and the English language requirements to obtain a visa from the Home Office, may be different. This means that if you meet the Solent University language requirement to gain a place on the course, you may still have to meet additional requirements to be granted with a visa by the Home Office.
We strongly advise all applicants to visit the Home Office website which outlines all the requirements for a successful visa application and to take a look at our 2023 course entry statement document.
How to apply
To apply for this course, you must meet the academic entry requirements as stated.
The next step is to find a company to sponsor you so 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 nationals as officer cadets to work in the various shipping sectors of the merchant navy (for example, 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.
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 - 115 overall with minimum of 95 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.
Warsash Maritime School
Warsash Maritime School is the home of seafarer training and maritime studies, building on the history and tradition of the world-renowned Warsash Maritime Academy.
The School provides high-quality education and training for the maritime and offshore industries to meet the international demand for crew, officers and captains who are trained to the highest professional standards.
Navigation, marine engineer and marine electro-technical officers benefit from our internally recognised certification programmes, from initial entry as an officer cadet to Master and Chief Engineer.
Our STCW safety training is delivered by technical specialists with many years' experience in their field.
We will prepare you for your future
Suitable roles for graduates include
- Ship’s officer
- Ship’s captain
- Master mariner
- Harbour Pilot
- Marine Surveyor
- Commercial Manager
- Operations Manager
We will help you start your career
The Solent Futures team is committed to getting students into great careers.
While you are studying, the team can help you with finding work experience or placements, link you with a mentor, check your CV, or offer one-to-one guidance.
If you're in your final year, we also have graduate job opportunities just for Solent graduates.Find out more
Support at Solent
All students at Solent University have access to a range of specialist support services. Whether you are having financial difficulty, need additional help with academic skills or want advice on setting up your own business you'll find that help is always on hand.
Most of our specialist support services are based around the Student Hub, a central space where you can access all the information and support you may need during your time at University. The Student Hub is the first point of contact if you have any queries relating to your course, including questions about your timetable, options, and assessments and extenuating circumstances.