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What is ROTC?

photo by Eli Burakian '00

Leadership that Lasts a Lifetime

Army ROTC is an elective curriculum you take along with your required college classes. It gives you the tools, training and experiences that will help you succeed in any competitive environment. Along with great leadership training, Army ROTC can pay for your college tuition. Because Army ROTC is an elective, you can participate your freshman and sophomore years (the ROTC Basic Course) without any obligation to join the Army.

You will have a normal college student experience like everyone else on campus with the addition of leadership/adventure elective. However, when you graduate, should you complete the Advance Course (junior and senior years), you will be commissioned as a U.S. Army Officer. At that point, you will have a wide range of diverse interest areas you can pursue within the individual branches and occupational specialties offered through the Regular Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard.


Who We're Looking For

Those who succeed in the Army ROTC program are students who excel and want something more out of their college experience. Generally, these students are Scholars who keep their grades up, Athletes who are physically and mentally tough, and Leaders who have a great desire to learn to how to be more effective leaders.


Your Commitment

Army ROTC students who either receive an Army ROTC Scholarship or enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course agree to receive a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant at the completion of their training and complete an Initial Entry Military Service Obligation.


Talk to your campus Military Science Department about ways to join Army ROTC and incentives available.
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Interested in other branches of the service?

Descriptions of opportunities with the Marine Corps and the Navy follow below. The US Marines Corps regional Selection Officer is based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Captain Nihart visits the Dartmouth campus regularly to support students who've made the commitment to serve as a Marine officer. Dartmouth students in the Marines program receive training during consecutive summers at the Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia. Three Dartmouth students commissioned as Marines in 2015. See and Contact Captain Jacob Nihart at

Marine Corps Officer Programs

Officer candidates choose from one of several paths to earn their commission, the official authorization that appoints them as a Marine Corps Officer. Whichever path they choose, officers always advance. Both on and off the battlefield, officers lead the way with a sense of purpose and pride. The path to earning a commission begins with your Officer Selection Officer (OSO), your best source of information regarding your specific circumstances. Your OSO will also help you decide which career path is right for you. Once you've completed training and earned your college degree, you'll receive your commission as a Marine Corps Officer.

- Program for College Students: The Platoon Leaders Class (PLC) is just one of the paths that can lead to commissioning as an officer in the Marine Corps. For college freshman, sophomores and juniors, PLC normally consists of two, six-week training sessions taken between consecutive school years, while juniors attend one, ten-week summer training session. Young men and women attending any accredited four-year college or university are eligible for this class. Learn more about PLC at

- Program for College Graduates: Officer Candidate Course (OCC) is designed specifically for college graduates with ambitions to become a Marine Corps Officer. Candidates in this program attend a ten-week course at Officer Candidates School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia. Those who successfully graduate from OCS receive a commission as a Marine Officer and are immediately assigned to active service and begin attending The Basic School. Learn more about OCC at

For more information on Marine Corps Officer Programs, check out the website at or contact your nearest Marine Corps Officer Selection Officer (OSO) using the information page at

Navy Officer Programs

For professional management responsibilities, the Navy looks to its Officer ranks to lead by example at every level of operations and management. If you're a college student or graduate who is interested in exceptional leadership and management opportunities, you may be eligible to become an Officer in the Navy - counting yourself among some of the most respected men and women serving our country.

- Programs for College Students: For students planning to attend college or those already in school, the Navy has several college options programs that allow you finish your degree and enter into Navy service upon graduating. Depending upon the program, you may receive Officer training in between graduation and your first assignment as a Commissioned Officer. Details on these programs can be found at

One such program is the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program. If you are interested in being part of one of the top nuclear programs on earth, look into the NUPOC program. It offers up to $168,300 while finishing your degree, providing a regular monthly income ranging from $3,280 to $5,610 for up to 30 months prior to your graduation. That includes a generous military salary, a food allowance, plus a housing allowance that is based upon the location of the school you attend. You'll also enjoy comprehensive military health-care benefits - with no uniforms, no drilling requirements and no service obligation until you graduate. From there, you'll begin the process of being commissioned as a Navy Nuclear Officer and take on unrivaled training and professional responsibilities. Through this highly competitive program, there are opportunities in any of four career focus areas. Learn more about those areas, the specific qualification requirements and the specific offers related to each at

- Programs for College Graduates: For qualifying college graduates on the way to entering many of the Navy Officer careers, Officer Candidate School (OCS) is the required step before taking on your first assignment as a Commissioned Officer. OCS is a 12-week program located at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. OCS is tailored to train and prepare college graduates to become commissioned Navy Line Officers. During their training period, the candidates are instructed on leadership, physical and military training, and academics related to the command of ships and submarines. Learn more about OCS at

- Programs for Degreed Professionals: If you're a qualifying degreed professional or a graduate who possesses leadership skills and determination, you may be eligible to become an Officer in the Navy through the Direct Appointment Program. Officer Development School (ODS) is the required step before taking on your first assignment as a Commissioned Officer. ODS is a five-week program also located at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. The major difference between the two schools is that ODS trains already-commissioned Officers who are pursuing their careers in a specific field of study, such as nuclear engineering, chaplaincy, medicine or oceanography. ODS offers newly commissioned Officers a comprehensive and intense introduction to their responsibilities as Navy staff corps Officers. Here they learn about the military structure of the U.S. Navy, its rich history of traditions and customs, leadership development, and military etiquette. Learn more about ODS at

For more information on Navy Officer Programs, check out the website at or contact your nearest Navy Recruiter using the locator page at


Last Updated: 8/12/15