Ready for FdSc

Nautical Science

4 years full-time with year in industry

If you have a sense of adventure and you’re looking for a career that’s more than the usual ‘9 to 5’, training to become a navigating officer in the UK’s merchant navy will provide you with the opportunity to broaden your horizons and travel the world while you work.

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.

Why choose this course?

Our Warsash Maritime School has over 70 years' history of maritime education, and an international reputation for quality.

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 major hub in the UK and European maritime and shipping industry

Shipping companies normally recruit cadets for either a September or January start.

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.

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.

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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