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About this course

This fully-sponsored cadet training programme leads to an FdEng Marine Electrical and Electronic Engineering, as well as the award of a UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Certificate of Competency (STCW A-III/6 OOW) and a GMDSS radio maintenance certificate and an electronic navigation equipment maintenance (ENEM) certificate. 

Marine electro-technical officers take particular responsibility for the maintenance of on board control engineering and electronic systems, including propulsion control, radio communications and electronic navigation aids. During your training at Warsash, you'll be taught the necessary academic underpinning knowledge, as well as gaining practical training, providing you with the confidence and know-how to maintain a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment to maximise the operational safety and efficiency of the vessel.

You'll complete your academic and mandatory safety training with us. This training is complemented with work-based learning on board ship. You'll also do some practical training during your sea phases, which includes completing a MNTB Training Record Book. This will enable you to develop the professional competency needed for the initial MCA certification as an Officer of the Watch


Officer cadet training schemes typically last for around three years and are split into five phases which alternate between academic studies and practical and safety training, and seagoing periods to gain shipboard experience.

The education and training programme consists of four distinct but complementary elements.

  • Academic education in conjunction with work-based learning on board ship
  • Engineering workshop skills training to MNTB-approved standard
  • Practical training on board ship, including completion of an MNTB Training Record Book. This enables officer cadets to develop the professional competency needed for initial certification by the MCA
  • In addition to the academic studies, the MCA requires officer cadets to take a number of safety and survival courses during their cadetship. 
  • What you'll study

    Phase 1

    • 26 weeks (this is approximate and subject to change)
    • Engineering Mathematics
    • General Engineering Science
    • Marine Electronics and Control Systems
    • Marine Electrical and Electronic Principles
    • Marine Engineering Systems
    • Work-based Engineering Operations
    • Engineering Workshop Skills
    • Basic Safety Training Week (BSTW) (STCW short course)
    • Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (STCW short course)

    Phase 2

    • 28 weeks at sea (sea phase lengths are approximate and are subject to change)

    Phase 3

    • 22 weeks (this is approximate and subject to change)
    • Electronic Navigation Systems
    • Marine Power Systems
    • Marine Engineering Management
    • Navigation Systems Fault Diagnosis
    • Radio Communication Engineering
    • Work-based Engineering Project
    • Engineering Workshop Skills
    • Human Element, Leadership and Management (Operational) (STCW short course)
    • High Voltage (Operational) (STCW short course)

    Phase 4

    • 32 weeks at sea (sea phase lengths are approximate and are subject to change)

    Phase 5

    • 23 weeks
    • Engineering Workshop Skills
    • Proficiency in Medical First Aid (STCW short course)
    • Training in Advanced Fire Fighting (STCW short course)
    • Proficiency in Survival Craft and Rescue Boats (STCW short course)
    • Award of Foundation Degree (FdEng) in Marine Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • MCA orals preparation
    • Successful completion of the MCA oral examination leads to award of initial Electro-Technical Officer MCA Certificate of Competency and end of cadetship.
    • IAMI Engineering Knowledge

    How you'll study

    31% Course work
    67% Written exams
    2% Practical exams

    Where you'll study

    Electro-technical cadet repairing some machinery

    The classroom teaching and workshop instruction for this course is delivered from Solent University's St Mary's campus, located in Southampton city centre. All mandatory STCW maritime safety training courses are delivered from the Warsash campus.


    Eningeering cadet and lecturer in the Marine Engineering Workshop

    Marine engineering workshops

    Purpose-built and fully-equipped for teaching the use of machine tools, welding and electrical maintenance for marine engineers.

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    Cadets training at the fire school in full gear

    Fire school

    Our purpose built fire school provides a realistic but safe environment in which seafarers can learn the vital techniques of fighting fires at sea.

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    A cadet practicing CPR on a dummy in the medical training centre

    Medical training centre

    The medical centre uses the same type of equipment found on board ships for mandatory medical training for ships' officers.

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    Lifeboat suspended at the end of the pier by the Hamble River

    Pier head and survival craft

    The pier head is used for maritime safety training for seafarers and safety training for those working on offshore installations.

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    How to apply

    Entry requirements

    • A minimum of 48 UCAS tariff points (for engineering, including a numerate subject)

    Plus GCSE at grade 9 to 4 (A* to C) in the following subjects:

    • Mathematics (preferably Higher Tier)
    • English
    • Science (with significant Physical Science content)

    Medical requirements

    Officer cadets must be in good health and capable of passing the Merchant Navy Medical Examination (ENG1). 

    Anyone contemplating a career as a ship’s officer would be well advised to take a medical examination and sight test as soon as possible to find out if there are any physical bars to their career aspirations.

    The MCA holds a list of approved doctors throughout the UK who are able to provide ENG1 seafarer medical examinations. This list can be found here.



    British shipping companies will normally only recruit UK or European Union nationals. However, the MCA certificates of competency may be awarded to people of any nationality and the training programmes are open to all.

    A potential international candidate from outside the UK and EU should secure sponsorship from a suitable shipping company that will be able to provide appropriate sea service as part of the cadetship programme.

    International students should also hold a formal International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate of at least 5.5, as a good knowledge of written and spoken technical English is required to commence the programme.

    Application and sponsorship

    To apply for a foundation degree in marine electrical and electronic engineering, you must undertake a three year electro-technical officer cadet training programme 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 (eg, 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.

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