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About the course

Do you have a passion for engineering and want to take this into designing performance power- and sail-craft? If you’re interested in analysing design for performance craft – from small racing boats to superyachts - Solent’s yacht and powercraft design degree will help build your theoretical and practical knowledge to take the first step in your career as a yacht designer.

Solent’s internationally-recognised yacht and powercraft design course focuses on small craft technology, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and design practice, delivering essential engineering theory and design skills.

Previous students have benefitted from attending guest lectures by speakers from key industry organisations such as the Royal Institute of Naval Architects (RINA), Nigel Gee BMT, Babcock Engineering, Gurit, Sunseeker, Rob Humphries Design and Norbert Sedlacek (Open 60 skipper).

To help build their professional network, students are encouraged to attend local boat shows, including the Southampton Boat Show and Seawork International. Previous students have also been on yard visits, with recent trips including Sunseeker, Green Marine and Solent Refit.

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
If you have an appropriate Level 5 qualification, you can top it up to a degree in just a year.
Top-up option

Teaching is delivered by a team of expert professionals with ongoing industry consultancy expertise.

What does this course lead to?

Course graduates have gone on to various industry roles, including naval architect or design engineer, at companies such as Laurent Giles Naval Architects, Sunseeker Yachts, Humphries Yacht Design, Monaco Marine, Viareggio Shipyards in Italy and Incat Crowther Design in the USA.

Who is this course for?

This course is aimed at those who want to design smaller leisure craft such as sailing boats and powercraft. 

Students learn the fundamentals of yacht design alongside the latest construction methods to gain a solid grounding for roles in yacht design, naval architecture or equipment design.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year are:
UK, EU and Channel Island full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £13,800 per year

Following the UK government's confirmation that EU students will no longer be eligible for home fee status benefits, we've made the decision to keep EU tuition fees the same as UK tuition fees for 2021 entry.

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2021/22 other costs are not yet available. For guidance, previous other costs have been:

Optional costs

  • Minor materials, optional skills swap trip in year 1: approximately £50.
  • Minor materials and field trips to local shipyards in year 3: approximately £60.

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

104-120 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A minimum of two A-levels, including two STEM subjects, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D in a STEM based subject or equivalent, which comply with the minimum entry requirement of 104 UCAS points.
  • A BTEC Subsidiary Diploma will be considered in conjunction with other qualifications.
  • Qualifications equivalent to the above may also be considered.
  • Entry to year two may be offered to applicants holding an HND in an appropriate subject.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Science and Engineering Foundation Year.
  • If you are applying from outside the UK, find information about entry requirements, visas and agents for your country here.
  • For more 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

East Park Terrace

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

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by 15 January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until the end of June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time 3 years Apply

Science and Engineering Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Full-time 4 years Apply
Top-up route:

We welcome applications from students currently studying a Foundation Degree, DipHE, HNC, HND or modules of an undergraduate degree course at another university, who wish to enter directly into Years 2 or 3 of one of our undergraduate degree courses. Please contact our admissions team for more information: contact us

How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Naval Architecture
    Introducing the practice of naval architecture design, you will learn to use and apply geometric parameters which help determine the hull shape for the vessel. You’ll apply design tools used for producing an initial hull form that meet certain design criteria in order to produce a suitable and stable hull.
  • Computer Aided Design
    You’ll focus on the fundamental engineering drawing skills required by yacht design and production students in order to produce a set of 2D design and build drawings for either a sailing yacht or motor vessel and its components.
  • Marine Systems
    You’ll learn about mechanical and electrical marine systems typically installed in small craft and examine the nature and range of marine systems fitted on board, to gain an understanding of the technical aspects considered for the design and installation of small craft marine engineering components.
  • Marine Materials and Production
    This module provides an introduction to the different materials commonly used in the construction of marine craft and other various components found on board. You will also learn the production processes involved in the construction of boats from these materials.
  • Structural Mechanics
    Understanding how to ensure the structural integrity of a vessel is a key element of designing a safe vessel. This module provides an introduction to the fundamental core material on which both structural mechanics theory and marine craft structural design are built.
  • Yacht Engineering Skills 
    Almost all aspects of yacht design are underpinned by a knowledge of mathematics, and you will learn skills for yacht and small craft designers to transpose formulae for problem solving.

Year two

Core modules
  • Resistance and Propulsion
    This module continues to build on the principles covered in the first year, this time concentrating on the prediction of hydrodynamic resistance and powering requirements of small craft hulls.
  • Computer Aided Modelling
    Due to the plethora of design software used in the marine industry, this module will ensure that you develop the ability to transfer design information effectively between different software packages.
  • Sailing Yacht Design
    The focus of this unit is on the practical design of sailing boats, and this module gives you a unique opportunity to gain experience of sailing yacht designs for craft up to 24 metres in length, as well as working on a range of sailing yacht design case studies.
  • Motor Boat Design
    The aim of the module is to develop the student’s technical design skills alongside the CAD design skills as required in a design office for motorboat design. The unit also provides students with authentic ‘real world’ experience close to the typical design office practice associated with motor vessel design practice.
  • Applied Marine Systems
    To refine the marine system integration process, you will gain an overview of regulations applicable to marine engineering systems. You will also acquire an appreciation of marine mechanical systems and finally, you will gain an introduction to the issue of ‘Green Design’ and environmental considerations.
  • Structural Analysis
    Clearly designing a strong but light structure is an essential aspect of developing a small craft design. This module develops your knowledge and understanding of the key principles of structural analysis.

Year three

Core modules
  • Computer Aided Engineering
    This module focuses on modern CAE techniques employed to evaluate the technical and statutory aspects of design. You will draw on your computing skills as well as technical design theory to utilise this knowledge in practical design scenarios, enabling you to make quick, efficient design choices.
  • Project
    Carrying out project work is one of the most critical skills for your future career as an engineerIn this unit, you will carry out a project in a topic area chosen by you. You will be encouraged to undertake project related to real world application that allows you to build upon and expand your knowledge for renewable energy and engineering.
  • Structural Design For Production
    This module develops the application of structural design principles and methodologies to a variety of small craft structures. The module relies heavily on taking a computer assisted engineering approach to calculate structural loads.
  • Advanced Naval Architecture
    The unit provides you with the solid naval architecture theory to a lot of the practical design areas associated with sailing yacht performance and motorboat performance when considering both the resistance and propulsive side in conjunction with the whole boat design.
  • Structural Design Theory
    Looking in detail at the design of specific components this module will illustrate the applications and limitations of theories applied to real marine structural engineering problems.
  • Naval Architecture in the Workplace 
    This Work Based Learning module is to develop a reflective approach to working practice, by experiencing and developing a range of degree-related ideas and concepts for professional working environment, to prepare you for industry.

Please note: Not all optional modules are guaranteed to run each year. 


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

Students' work


To aid learning, students have full access to the University’s specialist facilities, including industry-standard CAD and drawing offices, as well as a fully-equipped specialist composite workshop a 60m towing tank and static four-metre stability tank.

The course has good links to the yacht industry and previous students have benefitted from guest lectures by industry leaders.

Your future

Careers in leading yacht design and production offices, naval architects, equipment design companies, and classification societies. Graduates from Solent’s yacht and powercraft design degree have gone on to work as naval architects and design engineers at companies such as Sunseeker, Laurent Giles Naval Architects, Ben Ainslie Racing, Rob Humphries Design, Incat Crowther Design in the USA, VPLP in France and Viareggio Shipyards in Italy.

Industry links

The course’s international reputation for yacht and small craft design is founded on many years of experience and on its well- qualified teaching staff, who have strong links to industry and are active in consultancy and design.

During your studies you’ll benefit from guest speakers from companies such as Nigel Gee BMT, Babcock Engineering and Structural Polymers. Yard visits are also possible, with recent visits including Sunseeker International and Solent Refit.

Students are encouraged to attend local industry events, including the world-famous Southampton International Boat Show and Seaworks International. A full programme of RINA Southern Joint Branch lectures is also supported.


Whilst there are no requirements for work experience, students are encouraged to gain summer work placements where possible. The nature of the yacht design industry means that opportunities for work experience come on a case-by-case basis, but many design offices and builders are willing to give students short work experience places over the summer.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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