Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of NROTC?

Our purpose is to morally, mentally, and physically develop college students for leadership roles as commissioned officers in the Navy and Marine Corps.

What are the benefits of the NROTC scholarship?

The national scholarship covers full tuition and all required educational fees at the University of Minnesota, University of St. Thomas, or Macalester College.  In addition each scholarship student will receive:


Initial travel payment if the home of record is more than 50 miles from the University of Minnesota (only provided for the first time the student reports to the NROTC Unit, subsequent trips are not reimbursed)

Book stipend of $375 for both the fall and spring semesters

Monthly stipend during the school year at the following rates:

  • $250 - Freshman
  • $300 - Sophomore
  • $350 - Junior
  • $400 - Senior

What is the College Program?

The College Program is for students who want to participate in the NROTC program but have not applied or not been selected for a national scholarship.  You can apply to join the College Program as a freshman or sophomore as long as you are a degree seeking student at the University of Minnesota or one of our cross-town affiliates (University of Saint Thomas or Macalester College).  

You will have opportunities to apply for either a two- or three-year "sideload" scholarship, which would cover all tuition and required fees starting the fall after you are selected.  You can also apply for "Advanced Standing," which does not provide scholarship benefits but will guarantee you with a commissioning slot and a monthly stipend during your junior and senior years.  If you are not selected for either a sideload scholarship or Advanced Standing, you will not be able to continue in the NROTC program past your sophomore year.  

Are there any benefits for the College Program (non-scholarship) students?

Yes. Students who enter the junior year in College Program (Advanced Standing) status will begin receiving a $350 per month tax-free subsistence allowance. In addition, during the entire four years, they are given use of the uniforms they need, and their naval science textbooks. They also receive pay during summer cruise between their junior and senior years.

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 through financial aid programs at their respective universities. Many of our NROTC students, and most other students, receive some form of financial aid from the university, either in the form of grants, loans, or work-study jobs on campus.

What is my active duty obligation after graduation?

Our Navy Option students are required to serve a minimum of five years of active military service upon graduation. Additional requirements may be required for specific job assignments. This obligation is accepted at the beginning of the sophomore year.

Marine Corps Option scholarship midshipmen will be required to serve at least four years on active duty.

When is a service obligation incurred?

Scholarship students have until September 1st of their sophomore year to decide whether to remain in the program before incurring a service obligation.  Those who decide to drop from the program before that date may do so without any service obligation or obligation to repay the tuition benefits received for the freshman year.  Those choosing to continue will incur the obligation of service.  After this date, scholarship students who decide to voluntarily leave the program must reimburse the Department of the Navy for all tuition benefits received previously, including the freshman year. 

Current policy requires Active Enlisted Service for those scholarship students who disenroll from the program during their senior year, rather than recoupment of tuition benefits. 

College Program (Basic Standing) students become obligated immediately after receiving either a 3-Year or 2-Year scholarship, or after earning College Program (Advanced Standing) status after their sophomore year.

Will I get the choice of duty I want after graduation?

At the beginning of the senior year, fall semester, our Navy option students state their duty preferences, and many will get their first choice of duty. There are some prerequisites, such as being physically qualified for aviation, and having the right college major and GPA for nuclear powered ships and submarines.  Ultimately, the service assignment is dependent upon the needs of the Navy; students should always be prepared to serve in any capacity required.

Marine Option students receive their duty assignments after successfully completing The Basic School (TBS) post-graduation.   

What about graduate school? Is there any way to go directly to graduate school and postpone my service obligation?

That is a possibility, but highly unlikely. 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 you will be eligible for assignment there after your first three or four years of active duty. This will enable you to obtain a graduate degree in one of the offered courses of study while receiving full pay.

What are the specific courses that I must take if I join the NROTC program?

Navy Option:

  Calculus I & II

  Physics  I & II (calc-based)

  2 writing intensive English courses

  1 American Military History OR National Security Policy course

  1 Cultural Studies course 

  8 Naval Science courses (one per semester)

Note: AP credits can fulfill some of these requirements. However, at least one Calculus and one Physics course must be taken in the collegiate environment.

​Marine Option:

  2 writing intensive English courses

  1 American Military History OR National Security Policy course

  6 Naval Science courses

What types of academic support does the NROTC unit provide?

The NROTC Unit provides professional tutoring in calculus and physics at no cost to the student. Additionally, we require all incoming freshmen and anyone struggling to participate in weekly study hours. Each Midshipman is also assigned to a class advisor. The class advisor is an active duty Lieutenant who also provides advice about school and NROTC while keeping the big picture in mind. The advisor will ensure each Midshipman is on track to complete degree and program requirements.

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 take part in the Officer Candidate School (OCS) training program at 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?

There are three different summer cruises for scholarship students. Third Class cruises take place after freshman year, Second Class after sophomore year, and First Class after junior year. College Program students do not participate in summer cruises; if selected for a 2- or 3-year sideload scholarship or Advanced Standing former College Programmers participate in First Class cruise only. Nurse Corps students take two cruises, one aboard ship after freshman year, and one at a Naval Hospital after junior year.


  • Third Class - Gives students the chance to learn about the four basic "line officer" specialties. The students spend one week at each of four locations to receive indoctrination in aviation, submarine, surface ships, and Marine Corps amphibious operations.
  • Second Class - Aboard either a surface ship or submarine (student's choice) and is geared toward experiencing the Navy from an enlisted viewpoint.
  • First Class -  Provides junior officer training aboard ships, submarines, shore based aviation squadrons OR a chance to try out for the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) or Naval Special Warfare (NSW) communities.


  • Third Class - Gives students the chance to learn about the four basic "line officer" specialties. The students spend one week at each of four locations to receive indoctrination in aviation, submarine, surface ships, and Marine Corps amphibious operations.
  • First Class - 6 week Officer Candidate School in Quantico, VA.

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 universities' admission processes. You must seek admission to the University of Minnesota or one of our cross-town affiliates, the University of St Thomas or Macalester College. Keep in mind that the NROTC scholarship cannot be awarded to you until you have been accepted for admission at an NROTC school. It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to five NROTC host schools to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC host school.

How many cross town students are in the battalion?

The current battalion make-up is 25% University of St Thomas students, 2% Macalester College students, and 73% University of Minnesota students.

If I attend a cross town university where will I take my classes?

Cross town students take all of the courses required for their degree at their respective university. All naval science classes are taken at the University of Minnesota. All cross town students need to be enrolled at the University of Minnesota as non-degree seeking students so they can get credit for their naval science courses.  Department staff will assist those students in getting properly registered for the first semester.