Colleges and universities around the country offer Navy ROTC programs to students, sometimes in conjunction with a Marine option or a Navy Nurse option. Navy ROTC at NROTC affiliated colleges includes academic coursework, physical fitness training, and military and leadership skills development. Navy ROTC schools offer a unique opportunity to develop skills like leadership and military skills while earning a traditional secondary degree. This article introduces some of the best NROTC colleges in the United States and describes the unique offerings of each one. The NROTC schools listed below encompass different population sizes, fields of study, and regions of the United States. All academic institutions included in this article are colleges with NROTC scholarships.
Comparison of Navy ROTC Colleges
|School Name||Institution Type||Location||2019-2020 Tuition (in-state)*||Scholarship Options||Graduation Rates|
|The University of Florida||4-year, Public||Gainesville, FL||$6,381||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||87.2%|
|University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill||4-year, Public||Chapel Hill, NC||$8,980||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||91.1%|
|Marquette University||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Milwaukee, WI||$43,936||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||80.3%|
|University of Kansas||4-year, Public||Lawrence, KS||$11,166||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||62.7%|
|The Citadel||4-year, Public||Charleston, SC||$12,620||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||69.4%|
|College of the Holy Cross||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Worcester, MA||$54,740||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||89.4%|
|Oregon State University||4-year Public||Corvallis, OR||$11,715||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||62.5%|
|Tuskegee University||4-year Private not-for-profit||Tuskegee, AL||$22,614||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||44.8%|
|Maine Maritime Academy||4-year Public||Castine, ME||$13,792||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||62.1%|
|San Diego State University||4-year Public||San Diego, CA||$7,510||2-, 3- and 4-year scholarships and/or monthly stipend||83.1%|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
Overview of NROTC Colleges
Public and private universities participate in NROTC and are known as Navy ROTC Colleges. These institutions prepare students across the country for careers as Navy officers. Any student on a two- to four-year Navy scholarship will graduate with a service requirement, and non-scholarship students can participate with or without incurring an obligation to serve. Below is more information on what colleges offer Navy ROTC programs. In total, there are 77 universities offering ROTC scholarships across 63 Navy ROTC units. Of these universities, 14 do not have a unit on site but partner with a nearby unit at another Navy ROTC College.
University of Florida
The NROTC Program within this huge public university, the student population was over 50,000 in 2019, offers a diverse array of academic options to midshipmen including more than 150 undergraduate majors. These options include many of the technical majors within the Navy's Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories, which are those most-preferred by the service selection processes. The four-year program and the College Program options prepare students for a potential Navy career in aviation, surface warfare, submarine warfare, or one of several other areas. The University of Florida Navy RTOC Program also participates in enlisted commissioning programs for prior-enlisted military personnel in either the Navy or Marine Corps.
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
UNC Chapel Hill allows any student from a major program within the Navy's three tier system to participate. In addition to major classes and general electives, midshipmen in the University's NROTC Program take Naval Science classes each semester and participate in the standard physical fitness and leadership laboratory activities. Otherwise, UNC Chapel Hill's midshipmen are able to fully participate in other campus activities. NROTC students can join a sorority or fraternity, a sports team, or on-campus clubs and organizations. Some of the NROTC-affiliated activities open to midshipmen include the Drill Team, Color Guard, and annual blood drive, as well as a variety of recreational events like cookouts, bowling, and obstacle course challenges.
Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI, hosts its own enrolled students as well as those from a few other Milwaukee schools. During the school year, midshipmen in the NROTC Program participate in leadership training, Naval Science classes, and physical training while working toward their choice of major. Marquette University also offers a Navy Nurse Option, for nursing students to participate in NROTC to earn a commission as a Navy Nurse on graduation. In between academic years, midshipmen receive hands-on career and warfare training in a variety of areas through summer training programs. The programs midshipmen can select to attend include nuclear power, mountain warfare, afloat and ashore aviation, and foreign exchange.
University of Kansas
The Navy ROTC Program at the University of Kansas emphasizes camaraderie and a balanced college experience. Midshipmen in the Jayhawk Battalion participate fully in university life, by joining clubs and organizations, attending sporting events, and choosing their own classes and class schedules. The Navy ROTC Program activities typically occupy ten hours per week and include the Navy Lab, which involves guest speakers, leadership training, and other activities. There is also early morning physical fitness training. Finally, every midshipman is required to choose a major competition team to join, such as the Endurance Team, the Rifle/Pistol Team, or the Drill or Color Guard.
The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina is home to the Corps of Cadets, which allows students from across the country to study in a traditional military system that emphasizes leadership and character development. Approximately 30% of all The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina graduates earn a military commission, through the Navy ROTC Program or one of the school's other ROTC branches. Participation in the full NROTC Program is mandatory for scholarship recipients and College Program participants, but other students are encouraged to join the training activities as well. The school also hosts an active duty contingent that is enrolled in the Seaman to Admiral program, or STA-21. Seamen who join the The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina's STA-21 program gain leadership experience commanding The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina's Navy ROTC unit, and graduate with a bachelor's degree in any STEM field, as well as an officer commission in the Navy.
College of the Holy Cross
Holy Cross is a liberal arts college with a small undergraduate population of an average of 3,000 students. Those that participate in the college's Navy ROTC Program receive a liberal arts education and Naval Sciences education simultaneously, with one of the oldest NROTC battalions in the country. Non-midshipmen can also enroll in the Naval Science department's warfare, ethics, military history, and leadership classes. For full program participants, physical fitness training in Holy Cross's athletic facilities complements the academics. Midshipmen also join annual summer training cruises and can attend special training programs like the Mountain Warfare training and Officer Candidates School.
Oregon State University
The NROTC program at Oregon State University features one of the largest groups of Sailors and Marines of any of the Navy ROTC colleges in the United States. The first NROTC Program to commission female officers to serve on submarines, OSU equips its midshipmen to surpass their peers at Officer Candidate School. The Beaver Battalion maintain a GPA of 3.30 at this world-class university. With many of the highest ranked academic programs in the country, OSU is one of only two land, sea, space, and sun grant universities in the U.S. The Navy ROTC Program is strongly connected to the local community of Corvallis, which offers scholarship funds each spring; commitment to both the community and the campus makes OSU's Navy ROTC Program one of the most respected institutions in the West.
Located in Alabama, Tuskegee University is one of the top Historically Black Universities in the United States. The Naval ROTC Program instills the highest levels of honor and loyalty in its midshipmen, and offers an incredible education at the same time. While the program encourages engineering or science majors, it accepts students with any academic interest. Career options once the program is completed include Naval Aviator, Submarine Warfare, Special Warfare (SEAL), and Naval Flight Officer. Military Science and the NROTC Program at Tuskegee University has been a part of the curriculum since 1919.
Maine Maritime Academy
Maine Maritime Academy is one of only two Maritime Academies to offer a NROTC Program. This small, public institution, student populations average around 950 students total, promotes a focus on science, engineering, transportation, and management, while offering students hands-on, international sea-time experience. Following completion of the Navy ROTC Program at the Maine Maritime Academy, Unrestricted Line Officers are commissioned by the Academy or by The University of Maine. The NROTC Program at this institution offers a unique blending of academics and training tailored specifically to the seaman's career.
San Diego State University
The NROTC Program at San Diego State University is affiliated with the NROTC Program at the University of San Diego and contains a Battalion of over 200 students. This institution is incredibly well connected to its large community and students can choose from multiple programs such as the College Program, National Scholarship, or Preparatory Program Scholarship. Unique to San Diego State is the NROTC Program's Project GO which focuses on improving language skills and intercultural communication in the effort to improve future skills of Naval Officers. This particular program offers domestic and international study abroad opportunities in the summer.
Potential NROTC Career Path Options & Average Salaries
- Naval Aviator (Pilot): $99,000/year
- Naval Aviation (Flight Officer): $94,500/year
- Naval Special Warfare Officer (SEAL): $77,400/year
- Submarine Officer: $103,000/year
- Naval Surface Warfare Officer: $93,000/year