NROTC FAQ

Can I join the NROTC program even if I do not want a naval career?
  • Certainly. Very few people of high school age, or even college age, will know what they want to do for an occupation for the rest of their lives. Some of our students may decide to make the naval service their career after they are in it for a while, but there is no long-term obligation to do so beyond the normal commitments each designator mandates.
What is the purpose of the NROTC program?
  • The purpose of the Navy ROTC Program is to educate and train qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the Navy’s unrestricted line and in the Marine Corps. As the largest single source of Navy and Marine Corps officers, the Navy ROTC Scholarship Program plays an important role in preparing mature young men and women for leadership and management positions in an increasingly technical Navy and Marine Corps. The Navy ROTC Program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, and loyalty, and with the core values of honor, courage and commitment in order to commission college graduates as naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
What are the NROTC scholarship benefits?
  • The scholarship covers full tuition and mandatory school fees. In addition each scholarship student receives all educational fees paid, uniforms, $375 towards books each semester, and up to a $400 per month subsistence allowance based on time in the program. The NROTC scholarship pays for scholarship students’ initial transportation from home to school and from home to summer cruise training.
Does the scholarship cover room and board expenses?
  • No. Those expenses must be borne by the individual families. Students who find that room and board payments represent a financial hardship should investigate financial aid programs.
What is my active duty obligation after graduation?
  • We have two categories of students. Our scholarship students are obligated for a minimum of five years of active duty after graduation and varies based on the designator. They accept the obligation at the beginning of the sophomore year. Our College Program (non-scholarship) students are obligated for three years of active duty after graduation. They accept the obligation at the beginning of their junior year if accepted to Advanced Standing status.
What is Advanced Standing?
  • This is the title of the status for which College Program students must apply so that they can commission after graduation. This status ensures that College Program students will graduate with all NROTC requirements met and can be service assigned a designator.
Does that mean there is no obligation incurring by incoming freshmen when they join the program?
  • Correct. Scholarship students have a year and College Program students have two years to experience the NROTC program before they have to decide whether to remain in the program and to incur the obligation or to leave the program without obligation.
If I join the NROTC program, what kind of military duties should I expect after graduation?
  • Most of our students, male and female, will graduate as “unrestricted line officers.” That means that they will be expected to go on to further training in aviation, submarines, or conventional or nuclear-powered surface ships. Those who choose (and are accepted for) the Marine Corps can go into aviation or a variety of ground officer assignments.
What is a designator?
  • This is what the Navy calls an officer’s occupation. All unrestricted line designators are open for NROTC students. Designator choices for NROTC include:
    • Naval Aviator (Pilot)
    • Naval Flight Officer (NFO)
    • Surface Warfare Officer
    • Surface Warfare Officer (Nuclear Option)
    • Submarine Officer
    • Naval Special Warfare (SEAL)
    • Special Operations (EOD)
    • Naval Reactors Engineer (restricted line, but open to very few select students each year)
    • Surface Warfare Officer (restricted line option)
      • Oceanography
      • Engineering
      • Intelligence
      • Information Professional
      • Cryptologic Warfare
Do scholarship and non-scholarship students receive identical assignments after graduation?
  • Yes. Assignments are made on the basis of the student’s choices, qualifications, performance, and needs of the Navy. Scholarship status is not a factor in the assignment process. 
Would I get the choice of duty I want after graduation?
  • Most likely. At the beginning of senior year, our students state their duty preferences, and most will get their first choice of designator. There are prerequisites for each designator, such as being physically qualified for aviation and having adequate grades for nuclear-powered ships and submarines.
Can I be guaranteed flight school after graduation?
  • The Navy does not give such a guarantee. However, experience has shown that a solid academic performance and high scores on the aviation aptitude exam will give a Midshipman an excellent chance of being selected for aviation. The Marine Corps does offer flight guarantees, which can be granted by meeting the requirements any time up to 90 days before graduation.
What about graduate school? Is there any way to go directly to graduate school, and to serve the obligated military service after graduate school? Morehouse College has this great dual BS/MS degree I’ve heard all about, can I participate in this?
  • That is a good possibility if you have an exceptional record of undergraduate academic work. A few top students are selected each year to go on to graduate school, but the vast majority of Midshipmen are expected to enter the military after graduation. Keep in mind, though, that the Navy and Marine Corps have their own Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and students could be eligible for assignment thereafter their first operational tour of duty. This will enable you to obtain a graduate degree in the field of your choice while receiving full pay.
It looks like Morehouse College will take me 9 or 10 semesters to graduate and this is a four-year scholarship. How does this work out?
  • This is a common occurrence among Morehouse College engineering students. Historically, if students have a solid academic record and have completed an average of  18 credits per semester, then they have been awarded Fifth Year Benefits. Students may apply for Fifth Year Benefits early in their tenure here.
Can I study abroad?
  • Yes. The unit has had students study in Latvia, Ireland, Korea, and China recently.
Will studying abroad affect my ability to get a security clearance in the future?
  • No.
Can I go from the NROTC program directly into medical school, and then serve my obligated time as a Navy doctor?
  • The NROTC program is not designed to educate and produce medical doctors.

    At this time, the NROTC program has a possibility of placing 0 to 15 Midshipmen nationwide into medical school each year. The Naval Academy, by comparison, has a goal of 3 to 15. Interested applicants must apply to medical school. If admitted to medical school, they attend immediately following graduation. Under this program, students begin to serve their obligation following their residency. Outstanding academic performance or lack thereof will be the greatest enabler or barrier for this goal.
Do I have to major in some particular subject if I join the NROTC?
  • No. Any of the available majors at Morehouse College, Spelman College, or Clark Atlanta University are allowable. We encourage our students to pursue some form of technical major, but that is not a requirement. Keep in mind that Naval Service Training Command will favor technical majors when awarding scholarships. NSTC’s goal is to award 80% of the scholarships to incoming freshmen who major in STEM programs. An up-to-date list of majors can be found here. Those who major in non-technical subjects will have to take a few technical courses, namely calculus and physics, to prepare them for the technological environment that they will encounter in their military service. These technical courses, even for non-tech majors, will usually count toward degree requirements because all majors require some math and science course work.
Would I be allowed to change my major once I am in the NROTC program?
  • It depends. If you desire to attempt a more technical major or move laterally, then you will be able to change majors without issue. Examples of the above would be Physics changing to Mechanical Engineering (move up) and an Electrical Engineer becoming a Mechanical Engineer (lateral move). A few students each year will be allowed to change majors to a less technical major. An example would be a Nuclear and Radiological Engineering major moving to Management. Selection boards are held twice a year to determine which students will be approved for a change of major to a less technical degree.
What happens if I can’t change my major? Do I get kicked out?
  • Probably not. The student will have the choice of remaining on scholarship in their assigned major or changing majors and transferring to college program status.
What are the specific courses that I must take if I join the NROTC program that I would not otherwise have to take?
  • NROTC students take, on average, two Naval Science courses per year, one each in the Fall and Spring semesters (plus the one credit-hour Naval Leadership Lab each semester). All Navy/Marine option scholarship students must take one course in American Military History/National Security Policy. All Navy option students are required to take two courses in English Composition. Additionally, scholarship students (not including Marine option students) must take two semesters of calculus and two semesters of calculus-based physics.
What types of academic support does the NROTC unit provide?
  • The NROTC unit directs students to utilize tutoring services provided by each school in calculus and physics for any NROTC student who would like a little help with these difficult subjects. Morehouse College, Spelman College, or Clark Atlanta University all provide these tutoring services free of charge. Additionally, we require all incoming freshmen and anyone struggling academically to participate in weekly study hours. Each Midshipman is assigned to a class advisor. The class advisor is an active duty Navy Lieutenant or Marine Corps Captain who also provides advice about school and NROTC while keeping the big picture in mind. The advisor will make sure Midshipmen are tracking along in their majors and NROTC requirements. 

FAQ (section 2)

How does the Marine training differ from Navy training?
  • In most respects, it is the same. Marine option students are not required to take calculus and physics courses. Marine option students take different Naval Science courses in their junior and senior years, and in the summer after their junior year they must complete Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia. Our Marine Officer Instructor guides them in their development, and upon graduation, they are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Marine Corps.
What will I do on summer training cruises?
  • Midshipmen are required to attend various training programs during the summer. Some of these programs include:
    • NROTC Indoctrination Program: Summer BEFORE Freshman year. Basic militarization and training program REQUIRED for all midshipmen entering program.
    • Nuclear Power: Midshipmen can be assigned to nuclear submarine or nuclear surface vessels
    • Marine Corps 6-Week Course: First class Marine Option midshipmen are assigned to Marine units for summer training
    • CORTRAMID: Navy ROTC second and third-class scholarship midshipmen assigned to this training. Training consists of surface, submarine, aviation, and Marine Corps Orientation
    • Afloat Aviation Option: Selected midshipmen train aboard a carrier; training includes flight time on navy aircraft if feasible
    • Ashore Aviation Option: Selected midshipmen train with a Navy aviation squadron, including flight time if feasible
    • Foreign Exchange Training of Midshipmen (FOREXTRAMID) and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Exchanges: Selected midshipmen train with Navies of other countries
    • Sea Trials: Professional military training and evaluation prior to Junior year.
Where do we go during summer cruise, and who pays for our transportation?
  • Our students travel all over the world on cruises. The Navy pays for travel expenses from school or your home to the cruise site and your return to home each summer. Our juniors have many options available to them. They can request Aircraft Carrier or Patrol Squadron cruises and special training with Navy SEALs. They may also request a foreign exchange cruise for their final summer. Each year, several of our students take summer cruises aboard ships of a foreign Navy. Last summer students had the opportunity to visit Norfolk, VA, Mayport, FL, Pensacola, FL, King’s Bay, GA, San Diego, CA, Everett, WA, Pearl Harbor, HI, Yokosuka, Japan, Guam, Saipan, Singapore, and Panama.
You mentioned that you have women in the NROTC program. How does their training differ from that of the men?
  • It is identical except for the physical fitness standards.
Do NROTC graduates have the same opportunities as Naval Academy graduates when it comes time for duty assignments after graduation?
  • Yes. NROTC and Academy graduates have identical opportunities to go into the fields of their choice. When it comes time to state duty preferences and to be selected for duty assignments, students with higher academic and aptitude rankings, regardless of where they go to school, will be most likely to receive their first choice of assignments.
I’ve heard I have a better chance of getting Aviation if I receive a commission through OCS. Is this true?
  • This is absolutely false. OCS, NROTC, and USNA all commission about 1000 officers per year. Each commissioning source has the same number of billets for all communities. You have an equal chance of gaining your preferred service selection from each commissioning source.
Do NROTC Midshipmen wear uniforms to classes every day like they do at the Naval Academy?
  • No. NROTC Midshipmen are required to wear the uniform on Tuesdays and Thursdays for classes and leadership lab. Lab, otherwise known as drill, may consist of military formation, classroom sessions, general briefings, guest speakers, or swim training.
Are NROTC Midshipmen housed together on campus?
  • No. Each student makes his or her own arrangements with the university for housing. Students may live in university dormitories, or in fraternities or sororities, at their option. Some upperclassmen choose to live in, and share the expenses of, nearby apartments.
How do I go about applying for an NROTC scholarship?
  • Start the process before your high school senior year. The NROTC application opens on April 1 at the end of your junior year. The Navy Recruiting Command and Headquarters, Marine Corps accept and process all NROTC scholarship applications. Go to nrotc.navy.mil to start the application process. The Navy Recruiting Command or Headquarters, Marine Corps will notify you of the results of the scholarship selection board.

    If you didn’t take the above route and are already in college, you can apply for the NROTC College Program. By entering NROTC as a College Program student, you can apply for a three-year scholarship at the end of your freshman year. The staff at the NROTC will assist you in preparing the application. If you receive a scholarship and accept it, you incur the same obligation as a four-year scholarship student entering their sophomore year.
Will my scholarship selection be held up if I have trouble passing the medical exam?
  • The scholarship selection process is completely independent of the medical examination. Scholarship selection is based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated leadership potential. You can be selected as a scholarship nominee even before you take the medical exam, but, of course, it cannot be awarded to you until you have passed the medical exam. The importance of completing and passing the medical exam cannot be over-emphasized. It is up to you to do all you can to complete the medical exam in a timely fashion. If follow-on exams or inputs from your local doctor are required, then you must ensure you meet these requirements.
If I am notified that some physical problem will disqualify me from scholarship eligibility, is there anything I can do?
  • That depends on the nature of the problem. Some problems, such as minor eye corrections, can be waived. Some problems, such as having had certain childhood diseases, or a family history of diabetes, can cloud your medical record to the point that additional medical evidence may be required to substantiate your qualification. Unless you are told that your condition is absolutely disqualifying, you should do all that you can to obtain medical certification. Letters from family doctors or your local specialists can help to show that your condition should not be disqualifying. When in doubt, ask for a medical waiver. These issues should be addressed with DoDMERB and the NSTC medical board. DO NOT send medical documentation to the local unit.
In addition to the medical exam, is there a physical fitness exam required for scholarship selection?
  • Marine Option students are required to pass a physical fitness exam to be eligible for scholarship selection. Navy Option students do not take this exam as a prerequisite to selection. Once in the NROTC program, all Midshipmen are required to pass a semi-annual physical fitness assessment, which, for Navy option students, consists of push-ups, sit-ups, and a 1.5-mile run. All Midshipmen are encouraged to seek excellence in their physical fitness, and to do more than the minimums in their fitness tests. Marine Option students take a slightly different test that consists of pull-ups, sit-ups, and a three-mile run.
If I missed the deadline for the National four-year scholarship application, is there any way that I can still obtain an NROTC scholarship?
  • Maybe, but not through the process that I just described. Students can become eligible for the award of a scholarship by joining their NROTC Unit in the College Program (non-scholarship) status. After one academic term, the student may be recommended for scholarship status to the Chief of Naval Education and Training, who is empowered to award scholarships to promising College Program students. In general, if you can earn better than a 3.0 GPA in your first academic term, achieve a “B” or better in Calculus, and demonstrate a high aptitude for Naval Service, you will have a good chance for an NROTC scholarship. The availability of these “side-load” scholarships is also dependent on the officer production needs of the Navy and NROTC budget. 

FAQ (section 3)

How much of my time at school will be tied up in NROTC activities?
  • As much as you want, but at least six hours a week. Your Naval Science courses meet three hours per week and replace other electives, so those courses should not be thought of as extra requirements. In addition, there are two one-hour leadership lab sessions each week, and you may be asked to devote about two nights per month in required activities. The battalion conducts unit-level physical fitness training on one morning per week for one hour. Additionally, Marine option students conduct physical fitness training on Mondays and Fridays. There are a number of NROTC extracurricular activities available to you if you are interested in them. We sponsor formal and informal dinners, parties, picnics, and other get-togethers. Many of these activities are purely voluntary.
If I join the NROTC program, am I in the military, or am I still a civilian?
  • NROTC Midshipmen are given the same status as “inactive reservists.” You will get a “reserve” military ID card, but you will be a civilian during all but the summer training cruise periods of your curriculum. The summer training is performed in an active duty “reserve” status.
How are tuition payments and book purchases handled for scholarship students?
  • The NROTC unit will pay your tuition and fees directly to the university. Incoming freshmen are required to pay a deposit before school starts. You must pay these deposits. The deposit is applied toward your housing bill. Since the Navy will pay the tuition bill, your initial deposit can be applied to your housing bill. The Navy will provide a basic book stipend of $375, independent of the amount you actually spend on books.
If I am given an NROTC scholarship, does that guarantee that I will be admitted?
  • No. The scholarship selection process is totally independent of the admission processes at each school. You must seek admission to Morehouse College, Spelman College, or Clark Atlanta University, or some other NROTC host university. Remember that the NROTC scholarship cannot be awarded to you until you have been accepted for admission at an NROTC host school. It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to more than one NROTC host school to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC host school.
Are NROTC scholarship selectees given any preferential treatment in the Morehouse College admission process?
  • No. The same personal characteristics and academic credentials are considered in scholarship selection and in Morehouse College admission. Selection for a scholarship is a good indication that you may be selected for admission, but it is neither guaranteed nor implied. The NROTC scholarship committee might place more emphasis on leadership potential as evidenced in extracurricular athletics or school government activities. The university might place more emphasis on academic achievement.
Can you offer any hints regarding what the scholarship selection board looks for in making its selections?
  • Yes. The NROTC scholarship selection board holistically evaluates students using criteria including College Board scores, grades, class standing, athletics, participation in extracurricular activities, recommendations, interview results, and perceived potential. We are looking for future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps. We want well-rounded students who are intelligent enough to excel in academics, athletic enough to meet the physical challenges of military service, and who are personable and dynamic enough to assume roles as military leaders. It is not enough to be only bright, or only athletic, or only personable; it takes a combination of the three qualities to be a successful Naval Officer. Officer candidates must also be of high moral character. Students with criminal records or who have gone beyond experimentation with illegal drugs are not likely officer candidates. Take care in selecting those who will provide written recommendations for you. If a candidate is depicted as being an average run-of-the-mill student, it will detract from the board’s assessment of the individual. The application interview with your local recruiter is also vitally important. Look sharp and present yourself well. College Board scores can be a positive factor for the student, but only insofar as they are supported by actual academic achievement. A student with high SAT or ACT scores, but mediocre grades and class standing, is less desirable than a student with moderate scores and high grades and standing. One is coasting and the other is a hard-working achiever.
If I want to change my first-choice school, who do I tell?
  • You should wait until after you are notified of selection as a scholarship nominee, and then write to the Naval Education and Training Command (Code N1/081), Naval Air Station, Pensacola, FL 32508 advising them of your new first-choice school. The instructions for this will be included in your scholarship award letter. NETC is very much dedicated to placing scholarship recipients in their schools of choice, afforded, of course, that the students are admitted to their schools of choice.
I am trying to decide which university to attend. Are there any differences among the various NROTC Units?
  • The naval science curriculum at each school is identical. If there are any apparent differences among NROTC units, they are due to the customs and traditions of the Units, and the personalities of the Unit Staffs, and even the Midshipmen in those Units. The exceptions to this rule are military schools (e.g. SUNY Maritime, Maine Maritime, Texas Maritime, The Citadel, VMI, etc.) and schools with a “corps of cadets” (e.g. Texas A&M and Virginia Tech). My advice would be to choose your university on the basis of its overall reputation in the major of your choice. Look at the reputation of the graduates of the school. You should narrow your choices down to a few, and then visit those campuses (and their NROTC Units) to help you make the final decision.
Who teaches the Naval Science courses?
  • The NROTC staff is composed of active-duty Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel. The Naval Science courses are taught by the staff officers. These same officers will double as your NROTC class advisors, providing guidance and assistance, as necessary, in your academic and military pursuits.
What will happen if I decided not to continue in the NROTC program after I have started the sophomore year and incurred an obligation for active duty?
  • There are several reasons and circumstances for leaving the NROTC program. There is no obligation at all if you quit before the sophomore year. If, after the start of the sophomore year, you decide to quit, you will either have to pay back tuition expended or go on active military service in enlisted status immediately if you drop out of college or upon graduation if you stay in college. If a medical problem develops that would preclude you from commissioning, then the obligation would most likely be erased. If you drop from the program because of your own misconduct or aptitude, you could be required to reimburse the Navy for your tuition and book expenditures at the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy.
If I start out as a Marine Option student, can I switch to be a Navy Option student or vice versa?
  • You can attempt to change from one option to the other, but it is not automatic. You must request the change, and both Navy and Marine Corps officials must approve it. The change of option has become increasingly difficult in recent years. Even though it may be a difficult decision right out of high school, students are encouraged to do their research and decide on the option they feel best suits their personal interests and professional goals upfront, rather than attempt to change options later on.
Is the freshmen orientation like a boot camp?
  • Up-to-date information on New Student Indoctrination can be found here. We stress the need for discipline and teamwork, and some people have to adjust their attitude a bit. Orientation is certainly less stressful compared to a real boot- camp, the thirteen weeks of officer candidate school, or to what the service academy freshmen go through for their entire first year. With that said, orientation is not easy. It is physically and mentally demanding. After the initial trauma of the discovery of discipline, most students find orientation to be very rewarding. It is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your freshmen classmates before school starts.
Can you describe how a Midshipman fits into the university?
  • An NROTC Midshipman is a civilian, pursuing his or her own academic degree in a normal university environment, in the same manner as a non-Midshipman would. The only difference is that Midshipmen take a series of Naval Science courses and wear a uniform to class twice a week. Midshipmen are free to join fraternities or sororities and enjoy all aspects of campus life. Our offices and classrooms are just like all other offices and classrooms on campus. You will blend in with and participate in the campus activities of your choice. When you graduate, you will serve with pride as a Navy or Marine Corps officer.
I have no experience with the military; how do I know if I will fit in?
  • You do not know, and neither did any of us who are in the military now. You have to join the program and experience it for yourself. That’s why the first year is without obligation. We are looking for intelligent and physically fit men and women of high moral character who can be trained to assume positions of leadership and great responsibility in the Navy and Marine Corps. If you fit that description, and if you prefer to be a leader rather than a follower, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try.
I’ve heard great things about Project GO. Can I participate in the Morehouse College NROTC Unit?
  • Absolutely. There is an application and selection process each Midshipman or ROTC cadet must complete. Project GO slots are highly competitive, and there are more applicants than there are openings for students. Students can study abroad in many different countries, however, this is usually in lieu of attending valuable Midshipman summer training. The link is here: https://www.rotcprojectgo.org