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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

FdScNautical Science

How to apply
Campus: St Mary'sView on Google Maps

Why study a deck officer cadetship at Solent University

If you have a sense of adventure and looking for a career that’s more than the usual ‘9 to 5’, you could train as a navigating officer in the UK’s merchant navy and travel the world while you work.

  • £0m
    investment in our campus and industry-standard facilities
  • 0years
    of providing maritime training to seafarers
  • 0th
    in the top 20 best student cities (StudentCrowd, 2023)
  • Seafaring experience included - time at sea is built into the course, offering real-world experience.
  • Cadetships are fully sponsored by shipping or maritime companies.
  • International maritime alumni network: graduates from our Warsash Maritime School can be found throughout the maritime industry worldwide, in every role from shore-side management to senior positions at sea.
  • Our maritime training facilities are among the world's best: with a UK-leading simulation centre that allows for digital twinning of specific vessels or ports; a dedicated fire training school; and the UK's only manned model ship handling centre.
  • A world-class hub of maritime excellence: our Warsash Maritime School has over 70 years' history of maritime education, and an international reputation for quality.
  • Study in the heart of Southampton: a major hub in the UK and European maritime and shipping industry.
  • Pursue and build world-leading science and engineering research: opportunity at postgraduate level to get involved in environment and engineering research, to be a leader in the creation, sharing, and application of insight, innovation, and knowledge for a safe and sustainable maritime future.

Course overview

Studying at the world-renowned Warsash Maritime School on a fully-sponsored three-year officer cadet training programme, you’ll combine the necessary skills and knowledge with work-based learning on board ship to leave you well-prepared to begin your career as a qualified ship’s officer in the Merchant Navy.

Officer cadet training schemes typically last for around three years and are split into five phases which alternate between academic studies, practical 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.

During training at Warsash, deck cadets are taught the necessary academic underpinning knowledge, allowing them to develop a detailed understanding of the safe operation of a modern merchant vessel, as well as the activities of the maritime industry, both at sea and ashore.

This course is part of the South Coast Institute of Technology (IoT), a partnership of colleges, universities and industry-leading employers to create new career opportunities in the technology sector. IoT courses like this one are precisely tailored to the needs of employers in the maritime, engineering and digital industries – industries which are hungry for talented new engineers, technologists, technicians and creatives like you.

Award-winning cadets

Two cadets on the FdSc Nautical Science programme have recently won prestigious maritime awards in recognition of their achievements during their cadetship. Daisy Jarvis won the MCA Officer Trainee of the Year 2022 Award and Molvipa Takhiansok won the UK Maritime 2023 Bevis Minter Award. Read Daisy's and Molvipa's stories to find out about their cadetship journey and what winning the awards meant to them.

Any questions?

Contact UK admissions

Email: 023 8201 5066

Contact international admissions

Email: +44 (0)23 8201 5066

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Course features

  • Professional accreditation

    This course has been accredited by a professional body

  • Additional qualification

    This course offers additional qualifications for you to obtain with your degree

  • January start available

    This course has an option to start in January

  • Specialist facilities

    This course has access to specialist facilities

  • Further studies

    After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent

Who is this course for?

This fully-sponsored training programme is a must for those who wish to become a deck 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 strong mathematics and physical science skills.

What does this course lead to?

This programme will lead you to employment as a certified bridge watchkeeping officer on board a commercial (merchant) ship.

Solent stories

Hear from Solent alumni about where their careers have taken them and how studying at Solent prepared them for their future.

Read more stories

Meet the team

Teaching is delivered by experienced academic staff with a strong maritime background, most of whom have previously served at sea or are current seafarers. 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.

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.

Solent is an Adobe Creative Campus, meaning all students also have free access to Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes the full suite of Adobe professional software, including Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, Premier Pro, and more. 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.

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