Prospective Students

Welcome to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Unit. If you are interested in pursuing an exciting profession as a Navy or Marine Corps officer through our NROTC Program, then this webpage will help answer your questions and guide you through the process.


Schedule a Visit

NROTCURPI offers both a brief officer interview as well as a more in depth Midshipman shadowing experience. We offer the officer interview for students applying to the NROTC national scholarship. The interview will be approximately one hour long.

For students interested in NROTC at RPI, we also offer a Midshipman shadowing program. This flexible itinerary can be adjusted to fit your interests.

To schedule an officer interview or shadow a Midshipman for a day, please click here: Schedule Officer Interview or Midshipman Shadowing Day 

Our Administrative Staff may also be contacted at (518) 276-6251 or email

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What is NROTC?

The NROTC Program was established to educate and train qualified young men and women for service as commissioned officers in the unrestricted line Naval Reserve or Marine Corps Reserve. As the largest single source of Navy and Marine Corps officers, the NROTC 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. Selected applicants for the NROTC Scholarship Program are awarded scholarships through a highly competitive national selection process, and receive full tuition, books, fees and other financial benefits at many of the country's leading colleges and universities. Upon graduation, Midshipmen are commissioned as officers in either the Navy or Marine Corps as active duty officers.

The NROTC Scholarship Program is available to qualified students who graduate from high school before August 1st of the year they intend to start college. Students selected for the NROTC Scholarship Program make their own arrangements for college enrollment and room and board, and take the normal course load required by the college or university for degree completion. Additionally, scholarship midshipmen are required to follow specific academic guidelines. Additional information concerning the NROTC Scholarship Program is available from any of the colleges and universities with NROTC units or from Navy and Marine Corps recruiters.

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Current RPI Students: Why Join NROTC?

If you are starting to consider joining NROTC, see below for a number of reasons why our students say they are glad to be a part of the NROTC program.





How Can I Apply?

Prospective students have two options to apply to the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Naval ROTC program: Scholarship Program or College Program.  High school students and first year college students may apply for a National Scholarship between April 1st and December 31st.  Prospective students who did not apply for, or were not awarded, a National Scholarship may still apply to join RPI Naval ROTC via the College Program.  Much like a “walk-on” in athletics, the College Program allows students to participate in Naval ROTC and affords them the opportunity to earn a three or two year scholarship.

National Scholarship

Naval ROTC Scholarship benefits include full tuition, mandatory fees, a book allowance, uniforms, and a monthly stipend to students wishing to become a commissioned officer and serve on active duty for at least five years in the United States Navy and Marine Corps.  The NROTC scholarship is merit based and, once activated, minimum levels of academic, aptitude, and physical fitness performance are required to maintain the scholarship.  Application and program requirements can be found at A summary of steps to applying for NROTC are listed below:

  1. Apply for the National Scholarship online.
    If you are a high school or college student with less than 30 college credits apply for the National Scholarship by visiting
  2. Schedule Officer Interview

    As part of the NROTC application, each student must interview with an NROTC Staff Officer. This can be arranged by your recruiter, or simply scheduled at any NROTC unit desired. To schedule and Officer Interview at RPI, click here. 

  3. Apply to NROTC affiliated Institutions
    The National Scholarship application requires prospective students to list 5 of the NROTC affiliated college universities. At least one of theses schools must be "in-state" for the student. Note that an application to the NROTC program does not constitute an application for the listed schools. A prospective NROTC student must apply to each of their requested schools through the school's university admissions process. It is highly recommended to apply to these universities as early as possible.

    For informaiton on how to apply for admission to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, please visit the RPI Admissions page. 

  4. Complete DODMERB Medical Qualification
    In order to participate in NROTC, you must become medically qualified. Once you receive confirmation that you have been awarded an NROTC scholarship, instructions for completing your DODMERB physical will be sent. It is highly recommended that you start this process as early as possible. 

If you are a high school student or college student who was already awarded a National Scholarship, congratulations!  The nation-wide selection process is highly competitive, so you should be justifiably proud.  We want you to be a part of NROTCURPI!

The College Program

If you did not apply for, or were not awarded, a National Scholarship, it is still possible for you to attend RPI as a Naval ROTC midshipman. If accepted, you will become a member of the Naval ROTC program and receive many of the same education and training opportunities as Scholarship midshipmen. College Program students receive uniforms and Naval Science textbooks at no cost. You will not incur a service obligation for joining as a College Program midshipman unless you are awarded a scholarship or “advanced standing.”

College Program midshipmen have the opportunity to compete nationally for a three or two year Naval ROTC Scholarship or for College Program “advanced standing.”  Both provide a path to commissioning as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps.  Students not selected for a scholarship or “advanced standing” before their junior year are not normally allowed to continue in the program.     

To Apply to Be a Part of the College Program:

Schedule and Officer Interview or Contact the Freshman Class Advisor.


What will Life Be Like as a MIDN?

Naval ROTC provides education and training for young men and women in preparation for commissioning as officers in the United States Navy or Marine Corps. Students are designated as midshipmen and receive extensive academic, physical, and leadership training while pursuing a degree in a field of their choice from the university. RPI NROTC also provides many opportunities for midshipmen to participate in the unit and the community. These activities provide leadership opportunities and create a positive, experiential learning environment. Emphasizing sustained strong academic performance along with leadership and physical fitness training, the goal of NROTC is to develop each midshipman mentally, morally, and physically in preparation for assuming a position of high trust and responsibility as a commissioned officer in the naval service.

Degree Courses

Students are required to complete academic requirements consisting of three parts: the institution's baccalaureate degree program of a selected academic major, NROTC-specified courses (offered by the institution), and Naval Science courses. Normal loading for NROTC students should be between 15 and 19 semester hours per term, including all NROTC-required course work.

Navy Option Scholarship Midshipmen: Students are encouraged to pursue majors in engineering, mathematics, or the physical sciences to meet the requirements of the modern Navy, though they may elect to pursue any academic major.

Marine Corps Option Midshipmen: Although there are no restrictions, the Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) shall guide the students to select a field benificial to the Marine Corps.

In addition to Naval Science and degree requirements, midshipmen must complete the courses listed below. Note that many of the NROTC required courses are inclusive in degree programs at RPI. 

  • Calculus:  Two semesters by end of sophomore year (not required for Marine option midshipmen).
  • Physics:  Two semesters of calculus-based physics by end of junior year (not required for Marine option midshipmen).
  • English Grammar and Composition:  Two semesters, at least one course writing intensive.
  • National Security Policy/American Military Affairs: One semester.
  • World Culture and Regional Studies: One semester.

Naval Science Courses

Midshipmen take 3 credits of Naval Science each semester, in addition to 12 or more credits per semester of classes required for their bachelor’s degree. Naval Science classes are specifically intended to help midshipmen become proficient in basic naval officer skills and knowledge. They are also aimed to help midshipmen decide which Naval Community they would like to serve in upon graduation. See the table below for further information and a description of each course. 

USNA-1010 Introduction to Naval Science Freshman All MIDN Introduction to the structure, principles, and practices, lines of command and control, and functions of the various components of the Naval Service.
USNA-2020 Sea Power and Maritime Affairs Freshman All MIDN Analysis of U.S. Navy development and campaigns, evolution of strategic, tactical, and maritime doctrines, interaction of naval affairs with national security and domestic policies.
USNA-2030 Leadership and Management I Sophomore All MIDN Principles of human relationships, principles of decision-making and management at the junior officer level, and theory and techniques of leadership.
USNA-2050 Navigation Sophomore Navy MIDN

The principles and procedures of ship navigation, movements, and employment. Course includes piloting, mathematical analysis, spherical triangulation, navigational aids, tides and currents, electronic navigation, and rules of the nautical road.

USNA-2040 Naval Ships Systems I Junior Navy MIDN

A familiarization course in naval engineering. Study of types, structure, and purpose of naval ships. Elements of ship design to achieve safe operations and ship stability characteristics are examined. Ship compartmentation, propulsion systems, auxiliary power systems, ship control systems, and elements of damage control are included.

USNA-2070 Naval Ships Systems II Junior Navy MIDN

The study of weapons systems and the theoretical concepts underlying the design and operation of those systems. Includes sensor and detection subsystems, tracking systems, propulsion and guidance systems, launching systems, fire control problem solutions, and systems integration. In-depth analysis of representative, state-of the- art weapons systems in use today.

USNA-2060 Naval Operations Senior Navy MIDN

An introduction to the complexities of modern naval operations. Course emphasis includes fleet communications and communication security, naval tactics, relative motion, maneuvering board, and ship operations and control.

USNA-4190 Naval Leadership and Ethics Senior All MIDN

The capstone course of the NROTC academic syllabus, providing a study of personal and professional military ethics and Navy/Marine Corps junior officer leadership and administration. Presents leadership and ethical dilemmas in case study and small group discussion format. The course also exposes the student to a study of counseling methods, military justice administration, human resources management, directives and correspondence, personnel management, and career development.

USNA-2150 Evolution of Warfare Sophomore/Junior Marine Option MIDN

Causes and practice of warfare from ancient times, impact of changes in strategy, tactics, and technology, modern revolutionary warfare, global conflict, and politico-military relationships.

USNA-2170 Fundamentals of Maneuver Warfare Sophomore/Junior Marine Option MIDN

Broad aspects of warfare and their interactions with maneuver warfare doctrine. Focus on the United States Marine Corps as the premier maneuver warfare fighting institution. Historical influences on current tactical, operational, and strategic implications of maneuver warfare practices. Case studies.

USNA-0010 Naval Science Laboratory All years All MIDN

Consists of one period each week lasting approximately two hours. The periods are spent conducting various activities, including military drill, athletics, lectures, and discussions on various topics of naval interest. Operating within a battalion organizational structure, students are given additional opportunities for leadership training and hands-on experience.

Naval Science Drill/Labratory

Each week, midshipmen participate in Naval Science Drill/Laboratory. These drills last for two hours and are geared to help MIDN develop their leadership skills and professional competency. Drill periods are widely varied but past drills have included community guest speakers, close order drill and inspection, professional development practice, public speaking, and navigation simulation.

Physical Training (PT)

All midshipmen participate in two days of Physical Training (PT) each week, conducted for one hour before class in the morning. PT sessions are meant to be a supplement to a midshipman’s own fitness plan, but generally focus on ensuring each midshipman passes their Physical Readiness Test (PRT) each semester.  Midshipmen who have not yet met minimum fitness standards participate in Fitness Enhancement Program (FEP) training. Midshipmen on FEP are required to attend an additional PT session each week, and are given additional support to ensure they meet fitness standards.

Additionally, many midshipmen participate in intramural or varsity athletics. Our NROTC intramural sports teams, called Skeleton Kru, are a great way that our midshipmen stay fit while building bonds with their classmates.

Command and Leadership Training

Midshipmen have the opportunity to demonstrate officer command and leadership qualities prior to commissioning.  NROTCURPI is structured to simulate an operational unit, allowing midshipmen to stress time management, personal accountability, management decision making, and command leadership. Typically, midshipmen learn followership as freshmen. From this time, they have a high degree of freedom to implement events or changes that they believe will benefit the unit. As they class up, they are afforded opportunities to plan and coordinate major unit functions, community volunteer activities, lead drill/color guard and inter/intra-unit competitive military exercises, and to practice unit management and administration.

Summer Cruise Training

Midshipmen participate in 4-6 weeks of professional training each summer before commissioning.  See the summer cruise training link for details.

Social Events

Midshipmen take part in annual social events that build camaraderie and esprit de corps.  They also teach midshipmen about the customs and traditions of the naval service.  These events include the Birthday Ball in celebration of the Navy and Marine Corps birthdays, and the Joint Service Ball. Additionally, the MWR division plans events for midshipmen to enjoy on weekends.

Study Hours

In order to maximize opportunities for academic success, all freshmen are required to complete ten hours of tutoring or monitored study hours each week.  Midshipmen taking calculus and physics are required to attend two hours per week. Midshipmen who are not meeting academic standards may be placed on additional study hours, at the discretion of their advisor. Study hours are open each week, with hired tutors and volunteer midshipmen tutors available. Additionally, midshipmen can complete study hours with their course TAs or at the Advising and Learning Assistance Center (ALAC).

Student Lifecycle

See below for a graphic description of what an NROTC Student will experience throughout their time at RPI. 

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Union College

Midshipmen from NROTC can also attend Union College, our Cross-Town Affiliate. Life as a union midshipman is similar to that of an RPI midshipman. Union students will still attend PT, drill, and Naval Science courses at RPI, but will complete the rest of their undergraduate courses at Union College in Schenectady. Additional information about the academics at Union College can be found at


Russell Sage College


Midshipmen from NROTC can also attend Russell Sage College, while pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) . High school students that are interested can apply for the scholarship and, upon being accepted into the program, you will receive all the same benefits as other midshipmen at RPI including full tuition and fees, totaling over $135,000. Life as a Russell Sage midshipman is similar to that of an RPI midshipman. Russell Sage students will still attend PT, drill, and Naval Science courses at RPI, but will complete the rest of their undergraduate courses just a mile away at Russell Sage College in Troy, or at their Albany campus. Additional information about the academics at Russell Sage College can be found at   After four years of participation in the program, Russell Sage students will receive commission as regular officers into the Navy Nurse Corps. Questions about the application process and details about the NROTC program can be answered at More details about the Navy Nurse Corps can be found at If you are interested, reach out to our active duty staff members with any questions at