Victor Moussa /

Navy ROTC is unique in that students can choose to join either the Navy or the Marines following the completion of the program. As of 2017, there were 182,000 active duty Marines and more than 324,000 individuals serving on active duty in the Navy. Participating in a Navy ROTC program can lead to a promising career as an officer. College-aged students and currently enlisted individuals hoping to earn their commission are eligible to participate, and many scholarships are available to help students achieve their dreams.

Traditional Navy ROTC

Navy ROTC (NROTC) programs are open to students interested in joining the Navy, the Navy Nursing Corps, or the Marine Corps. Fewer institutions offer NROTC programs than Army or Air Force ROTC programs. You can learn more about where NROTC programs are offered here or scroll over the map to find the NROTC school closest to you. After graduating, midshipmen will commission either as ensigns in the Navy or second lieutenants in the Marine Corps.

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Students who choose the Navy option have several career choices:

  • Surface Warfare: Individuals serve on one of the ships within the Navy’s fleet and defend the Navy’s assets from enemy aircraft, submarines, mines, missiles, and ships. They may also perform search and rescue tasks, transport other sailors to and from land, or board and inspect other ships to prevent smuggling or piracy.
  • Naval Aviator: Individuals serve as pilots.
  • Naval Flight Officer: Individuals serve on an aircraft but do not act as pilots. Instead they act as aircraft systems operators and tactical coordinators.
  • Submarine Officer: Individuals serve on submarines.
  • Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer: Individuals will be tasked with detecting, identifying, and safely disposing explosive devices found in the water (mines, for example). They will also be trained in biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons disposal.
  • Special Warfare Officer: Individuals are trained to be Navy SEALs.

Midshipmen must attend at least one summer training session on a boat in either Norfolk, VA or San Diego, CA. Navy midshipmen commission as ensigns and must serve five years on active duty.

Midshipmen who choose the Navy Nursing option must be pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at one of 32 Navy Nursing ROTC-affiliated universities, which are also shown on the map above. Nursing midshipmen are required to complete the following classes: Introduction to Naval Science, Seapower and Maritime Affairs, and Leadership and Management I and II. Additionally, they must attend two four-week summer training sessions and participate in weekly ROTC activities. Upon commissioning, midshipmen will become ensigns in the Navy Nursing Corps, which falls under the Department of the Navy Bureau of Medicine. They must serve for four years on active duty.

The Marine Option is available at over 100 colleges and universities in the United States. Students will spend their first two summers learning about the Navy and Marine Corps. The third summer involves spending six weeks at Marine Officer Candidates School in Quantico, VA. Midshipmen must take one year of English grammar and composition, National Security Policy and American Military Affairs, and one semester of world culture and regional studies. Each semester, midshipmen are also required to enroll in a naval science course. Job opportunities after commissioning as second lieutenants are in one of three areas: ground, aviation, or law. Marines must serve four years on active duty.

National NROTC Scholarship

Students can choose to join the Navy, the Marines, or the Navy Nursing Corps. By accepting their scholarship, students are agreeing to complete additional courses that are required by the Navy, participate in weekly drills, train for four to six weeks each summer, and accept a commission upon graduation.

  • Award amount:
    • Four-year scholarship: This program provides full tuition at an approved college or university, coverage of all mandatory fees, $750 for books, uniforms, three summer cruises, and a monthly living allowance (between $250 and $400 depending on the student’s year in school).
    • Two- and three-year scholarships: These provide full tuition at an approved college or university, coverage of all educational fees, uniforms, Naval Science textbooks, one or two summer cruises, $750 for other textbooks, and a monthly living allowance for the duration of the scholarship.
    • Neither scholarship covers room and board.
  • Eligibility: The student must be a U.S. citizen between 17 and 23 years old and possess a high school diploma or the equivalent. Additionally, the student must not be a conscientious objector or have tattoos or body piercings that violate Navy policy. The student’s height and weight must fall within Navy or Marine Corps standards and the student must be medically qualified to serve.
    • Navy and Nursing Programs: The student must achieve minimum SAT scores of 540 math and 550 evidence-based reading and writing AND at least 1200 overall. Students who choose to submit their ACT scores instead of their SAT scores must earn minimum scores of 21 in math and 22 in English AND at least 47 overall. Navy midshipmen will be required to serve five years on active duty; Navy Nurse midshipmen will be required to serve four.
    • Marine Programs: A student must achieve a minimum SAT score of 1000 combined math and evidence-based reading and writing, a minimum composite ACT score of 22, or a minimum score of 74 on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Future Marines will also be required to complete a fitness test which consists of a three-mile run, sit-ups, and pull-ups. Marines will be required to serve four years on active duty.

Specialized NROTC Programs and Scholarships

Frederick C. Branch Leadership Scholarship (Marine-option Only)

Named after the first African American Marine Corps officer, this scholarship is open to Marine-option NROTC midshipmen who are attending or planning to attend a Historically Black College or University. This scholarship lasts between two and four years. Contact a recruiter for more information.

General Pedro Del Valle Leadership Scholarship (Marine-option Only)

Named after the first Hispanic officer to achieve the rank of lieutenant general, this scholarship is available to Marine-option NROTC midshipmen who are attending one of three Hispanic Serving Institutions: California State University at San Marcos, San Diego State University, or the University of New Mexico.

  • Award amount: This scholarship has two-, three-, and four-year options. Contact a recruiter for more information.
  • Eligibility: Applicants must be U.S. citizens in possession of a high school diploma or the equivalent who are at least 17 years old by the time they begin college. Additionally, they must be physically fit, have no criminal record, and earn a qualifying score on the SAT or ACT or score at least 74 on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test.

Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program

This program offers enlisted Marines the chance to return to college full-time while remaining on active duty. Applicants must complete Officer Candidate School and finish college to earn their commission. Marines will participate in an NROTC program while in school. Following completion of their bachelor’s degree, they will commission as second lieutenants in the Marine Corps.

  • Award amount: Marines will remain on active duty while attending college, thereby remaining eligible for full military pay and benefits.
  • Eligibility: Marines must be U.S citizens with an enlisted rank of sergeant or higher. Marines must be at least 21 to participate, but younger than 30 upon commissioning. Marines must have a minimum of three years of service and have completed 12 college credits (at least 3 math or science and 3 English). Minimum scores on college entrance tests must be achieved: 1000 on the SAT (math and evidence-based reading and writing), 22 on the ACT, or 74 overall on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test. Additionally, Marines must achieve minimum scores on both a physical fitness test and a combat fitness test.
    • Marines serving in the Reserves must apply for a position on active duty to be eligible.

Minority Serving Institution Scholarship Program (Navy-option only)

This scholarship is available to students who are attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities, High Hispanic Enrollment institutions, or other minority institutions.

  • Award amount: This scholarship will cover tuition, provide a $375 stipend for books each semester, and provide a monthly living stipend between $250 and $400 depending on the student’s year in school. This scholarship can be awarded for up to four years.
  • Eligibility: Applicants do not have to be minority students but must be attending or have been accepted to an eligible university. Applicants must be Navy-option NROTC (Marines and Navy Nursing are ineligible). Additionally, applicants must be able to pass an NROTC Applicant Fitness Test and have scored at least 21 math and 22 English on the ACT or 540 math and 550 evidence-based reading and writing on the SAT.

NROTC College Program

This program is available to midshipmen who have an external source of funding and do not need a national NROTC scholarship to help fund tuition and fees. Applicants must be accepted to or already attending an institution with an NROTC program. Midshipmen will be required to serve at least three years on active duty following commissioning.

  • Award amount: This program will provide midshipmen with uniforms and Naval Science textbooks for two to four years. Additionally, midshipmen who receive “advanced standing,” which is available starting their junior year, can receive a stipend between $350 and $400 for up to 20 months.

Seaman to Admiral-21 Commissioning Program

This program is available to currently enlisted, active duty sailors in the Navy who want to return to college to receive their education before commissioning as ensigns. While at college, service members will remain on active duty, receive their current pay and benefits, and participate in the institution’s NROTC program. The time spent in school cannot go toward fulfilling a service commitment.

  • Award amount: Sailors will receive up to $10,000 annually for tuition, fees, and books, but any costs that exceed this amount must be covered by the sailor. Sailors may use Montgomery GI Bill benefits to pay for additional courses.
    • Tuition Assistance may not be used to cover any additional costs.
  • Eligibility: Service members must be U.S. citizens with a high school diploma or the equivalent who are serving on active duty in the Navy. To be admitted, sailors must score at least 1000 on the SAT (combined math and evidence-based reading and writing) or 21 math and 20 English on the ACT. Additionally, sailors must be able to complete their bachelor’s degree within 36 months and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.5 while enrolled in the program.

Page last updated: 09/2017