Chalky, it is up to you on the degree thing, you spend the time either at Uni then become a Lt at about 23, or you join up and become a Lt at about 23, having been paid for 4-5 years service by then, and having travelled around the world in the interim. I was going to join at 21 post Uni, but opted for the direct non grad route and went travelling with the RN and being paid for it. Have now cracked 71 different countries so far, and get paid a decent wage, with a relatively easy job, so I'd recommend going for RN Officer. I am currently doing my Masters, which isn't bad for a non grad! Good luck!