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 Academy 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 Academy 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.
To apply for a foundation degree in marine operations, you must undertake a three year deck officer cadet training programme (officer cadetship) approved by the Merchant Navy Training Board (MNTB), and meet the academic entry requirements as stated.
The next step is to find a company to sponsor you so that 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/EU 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.
- GCSE grade 4 or above in at least mathematics, English and science, plus one other (previously grade C).
- Entry to this course is through a sponsored cadetship; please see the Warsash Maritime Academy website for details.
- 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 19 in each individual 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.
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.