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About the course

Do you dream of designing race-winning yachts or multi-million-pound superyachts? Take the first step to fulfilling your ambition by studying on Solent’s unique and highly-regarded yacht design and production course, delivered right in the heart of the south coast’s marine industry.

Solent’s yacht design and production course has an international reputation and has been developed in conjunction with the industry to ensure essential skills in both the design and production of yachts and commercial craft are covered.

Students on this modern course will study the engineering science underlying great design, along with the fundamental principles of naval architecture, construction methods and high-tech fibre reinforced composite materials. Planning and management processes for the efficient, effective production of racing sailing yachts, RIBs, motor yachts, cruising yachts, patrol boats and commercial craft are also key elements in the syllabus.

A strong practical emphasis is present throughout the course, allowing students to gain valuable knowledge of hands-on examples, design applications and workshop experience in production methods and materials.

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
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
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 handled by a team of expert professionals with ongoing industry consultancy expertise.

What does this course lead to?

The course maintains close links with previous graduates, some of whom have gone on to work as naval architects, design engineers and yacht designers at companies such as Dubois Yachts, Laurent Giles Naval Architects, Ker Yacht Design, Sunseeker Yachts, Monaco Marine and Viareggio Shipyards in Italy.

Who is this course for?

This popular course is perfect for aspiring designers of racing yachts or luxury superyachts.

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 management of new builds and refits.


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 one STEM subject, 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.
  • Entry to year two may be offered to applicants holding an HND in an appropriate subject.
  • A BTEC Subsidiary Diploma will be considered in conjunction with other qualifications.
  • Alternative entry 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 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

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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 gives you an introduction to the key principles of applied mechanics and their relationships with the structural components and structural arrangements in yachts and small craft.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Marine Production Technology
    This module addresses the detailed aspects of how you manufacture cored Fibre Reinforced Composite (FRC) structures specific for marine production. This involves a theoretical knowledge which is backed up with practical experience of how to manufacture a comprehensive range of sample panels in controlled environments.
  • 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.


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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Yacht Surveying
    Professional surveyors rely on a mix of practical experience acquired over a number of years and in depth understanding of yacht construction methods and materials. This module provides a practical in-depth study of the techniques and methodologies of surveying a range of construction methods for Yachts and Small Craft.
  • Marine Production Management
    You will learn about modern production management theory, covering issues including resource allocation techniques including critical path analysis, lean manufacturing, earned value analysis and the project office environment.
  • Applied Yacht Manufacturing 
    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

Meet the course team

Jonathan Ridley academic profile Jonathan Ridley Head of Subject View profile

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.


The University provides excellent learning resources and facilities to its students, from campus-wide wireless to extensive library services and dedicated student working spaces with plenty of laptop points. To aid learning, students have full access to the University’s specialist facilities, including our composite construction workshop, yacht drawing office and modern CAD office, which is equipped with the latest commercial marine design and production software, as well as a fully-equipped specialist composite workshop a 60m towing tank and static four-metre stability tank.

A strong emphasis is placed on practical design and production methods throughout the programme.

Your future

As a graduate you’ll be well placed for careers in leading yacht design offices and yacht production yards, naval architects, equipment design, project management and classification societies.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Yacht design
  • Positions in naval architects' offices
  • Technical management of new construction
  • Design and production engineering
  • Project management
  • Marine equipment design and manufacture
  • Project build management.
  • The course had a very good balance between theory and a vocational outlook, which provided me with useful knowledge and skills that made me attractive to potential employers. Learning about industry practice can sometimes be more interesting than just doing the theory.

    Alan Sjuve, graduate now designer at Sunseeker International

  • The degree, or an equivalent, was essentially a prerequisite for the job, as Simon Rogers was a graduate of Solent’s yacht and powercraft design course a decade ago. I particularly benefited from the short practical design exercises on the curriculum, which related back to other theoretical areas of the course, especially the structures, aero and hydrodynamics sections.

    Tim McDowell, graduate now designer at Rogers Yacht Design

Industry links

The course’s international reputation for its yacht and powercraft design and its yacht design and production is founded on many years of excellence, as well as on the highly qualified course team’s strong links with industry and ongoing work in both consultancy and design.

During the course you will benefit from a full programme of RINA Southern Joint Branch lectures, as well as guest speakers from industry companies such as Nigel Gee BMT, Babcock Engineering and Gurit.

You’ll be encouraged to attend local boat shows, including the Southampton International Boat Show and Seaworks International. We also organise yard visits, with recent trips including Sunseeker International and Solent Refit.


There is an optional work-based learning unit in the final year, and you’ll be encouraged to develop practical hands-on experience wherever possible. Many local boat builders are willing to give Solent students short work experience opportunities, and the course team has close links with larger employers (such as Sunseeker) who frequently offer summer work experience positions to second-year students.

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, Rob Humphries, Sunseeker and Gurit.

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 and Solent Refit.

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