Naval ROTC Auburn University


What is the purpose of the NROTC program?

Our mission at Auburn Naval ROTC is as follows: "To develop future officers morally, mentally, and physically and to instill in them the highest ideals of duty and loyalty, and the core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment in order to commission college graduates as naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service, and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government."

What are the NROTC scholarship benefits?

The scholarship covers full tuition and mandatory school fees. In addition, each scholarship student receives all educational fees paid, uniforms, $375 towards books each semester, and up to a $400 per month subsistence allowance based on time in the program. The NROTC scholarship pays for scholarship students' initial transportation from home to school and from home to summer cruise training.

Does the scholarship cover room and board expenses?

No. Those expenses must be borne by the individual students. Students who find that room and board payments represent a financial hardship should investigate financial aid programs.

What is my active duty obligation after graduation?

We have two categories of students. Our scholarship students are obligated for a minimum of five years of active duty after graduation and vary based on their designator. They accept the obligation at the beginning of the sophomore year. Our College Program (non-scholarship) students are obligated to three years of active duty after graduation. They accept the obligation at the beginning of their junior year if accepted to Advanced Standing status.

What is Advanced Standing?

This is the title of the status for which College Program students who have not already been selected for a sideload scholarship must apply so that they can commission after graduation. This status ensures that College Program students will graduate with all NROTC requirements met and can be service assigned a designator.

Does that mean there is no obligation for incoming freshmen when they join the program?

Correct. Scholarship students have a year and College Program students have two years to experience the NROTC program before they have to decide whether to remain in the program and to incur the obligation or to leave the program without obligation.

If I join the NROTC program, what kind of military duties should I expect after graduation?

Most of our students, male and female, will graduate as “unrestricted line officers.” That means that they will be expected to go on to further training in aviation, submarines, conventional or nuclear-powered surface ships, Special Warfare (SEALs), or Special Operations (EOD). Those who choose (and are accepted for) the Marine Corps can go into aviation or a variety of ground officer assignments.

What is a designator?

This is what the Navy calls an officer’s occupation. All unrestricted line designators are open for NROTC students. Designator choices for NROTC include:

Do scholarship and non-scholarship students receive identical assignments after graduation?

Yes. Assignments are made based on of the student’s choices, qualifications, performance, and needs of the Navy. Scholarship status is not a factor in the assignment process.

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

Most likely, but there is no guarantee. At the beginning of senior year, our students state their duty preferences, and many will get their first choice of designator. There are prerequisites for each designator, such as being physically qualified for aviation and having adequate grades for nuclear-powered ships and submarines. Ultimately, however, the needs of the Navy take precedence over a student's preference.

Can I be guaranteed flight school after graduation?

The Navy does not give such a guarantee. However, experience has shown that a solid academic performance and high scores on the aviation aptitude exam (ASTB) will give a Midshipman an excellent chance of being selected for aviation. The Marine Corps does offer flight guarantees, which can be granted by meeting the requirements any time up to 90 days before graduation.

Can I go from the NROTC program directly into medical school, and then serve my obligated time as a Navy doctor?

The NROTC program is not designed to educate and produce medical doctors.

At this time, the NROTC program has a possibility of placing 0 to 15 Midshipmen nationwide into medical school each year. The Naval Academy, by comparison, has a goal of 3 to 15. Interested applicants must apply to medical school. If admitted to medical school, they attend immediately following graduation. Under this program, students begin to serve their obligation following their residency. Outstanding academic performance or lack thereof will be the greatest enabler or barrier for this goal.

Do I have to major in some particular subject if I join the NROTC?

An up-to-date list of majors accepted by NROTC can be found on the Naval Service Training Command Program Information website.

Would I be allowed to change my major once I am in the NROTC program?

It depends. If you desire to attempt a more technical major or move laterally, then you will be able to change majors without issue. Examples of the above would be Physics changing to Mechanical Engineering (move up) and an Electrical Engineer becoming a Mechanical Engineer (lateral move). A few students each year will be allowed to change majors to a less technical major. An example would be a Nuclear and Radiological Engineering major moving to Management. Selection boards are held twice a year to determine which students will be approved for a change of major to a less technical degree.

What are the specific courses that I must take if I join the NROTC program that I would not otherwise have to take?

NROTC students take, on average, two Naval Science courses per year, one each in the Fall and Spring semesters (plus a Naval Lab each semester). All Navy/Marine option scholarship students must take one course in American Military History/National Security Policy. All Navy option students are required to take two courses in English Composition. Additionally, scholarship students (not including Marine option students) must take two semesters of calculus and two semesters of calculus-based physics.

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 must complete Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia. Our Marine Officer Instructor (MOI) 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?

Midshipmen are required to attend various training programs during the summer. Some of these programs include:

Where do we go during summer cruise, and who pays for our transportation?

Midshipmen travel all over the world on cruises. The Navy funds travel expenses from school or your home to the cruise site and your return home each summer. Rising 1/C Midshipmen (i.e., rising seniors) have many options available to them. They can request air, surface, submarine, or special training with Navy SEALs or EOD. They may also request a foreign exchange cruise for their final summer.

You mentioned that you have women in the NROTC program. How does their training differ from that of the men?

It is identical except for the physical fitness standards.

Do NROTC graduates have the same opportunities as Naval Academy graduates when it comes time for duty assignments after graduation?

Yes. NROTC and Academy graduates have identical opportunities to go into the fields of their choice. When it comes time to state duty preferences and to be selected for duty assignments, students with higher academic and aptitude rankings, regardless of where they go to school, will be most likely to receive their first choice of assignments.

I’ve heard I have a better chance of getting Aviation if I receive a commission through OCS. Is this true?

This is absolutely false. OCS, NROTC, and USNA all commission about 1000 officers per year. Each commissioning source has the same number of billets for all communities. You have an equal chance of gaining your preferred service selection from each commissioning source. The difference, however, is that OCS applicants are able to apply to a specific warfare community at the exclusion of others. For instance, an applicant may submit an OCS package specifically to become an Aviator without the possibility of being involuntarily assigned to a different warfare community. If selected, he or she will know immediately what warfare community they will be assigned to upon successful completion of OCS, assuming they meet all other requirements.

Do NROTC Midshipmen wear uniforms to classes every day like they do at the Naval Academy?

No. NROTC Midshipmen are required to wear the uniform on Wednesdays for classes and lab. Lab may consist of military formation, classroom sessions, general briefings, or guest speakers.

Are NROTC Midshipmen housed together on campus?

No. Each student makes his or her own arrangements with the university for housing. Students may live in university dormitories, in fraternity housing, or live off-campus.

How do I go about applying for an NROTC scholarship?

Start the process before your high school senior year. The NROTC application opens April 1st at the end of your junior year. The Navy Recruiting Command and Headquarters, Marine Corps accept and process all NROTC scholarship applications. Go to to start the application process. The Navy Recruiting Command or Headquarters, Marine Corps will notify you of the results of the scholarship selection board.

If you didn’t take the above route and are already in college, you can apply for the NROTC College Program. By entering NROTC as a College Program student, you can apply for a three-year scholarship at the end of your freshman year. The staff at the NROTC Unit will assist you in preparing the application. If you receive a scholarship and accept it, you incur the same obligation as a four-year scholarship student entering their sophomore year.

Will my scholarship selection be held up if I have trouble passing the medical exam?

The scholarship selection process is completely independent of the medical examination. Scholarship selection is based on academic performance, extracurricular activities, and demonstrated leadership potential. You can be selected as a scholarship nominee even before you take the medical exam, but, of course, it cannot be awarded to you until you have passed the medical exam. The importance of completing and passing the medical exam cannot be over-emphasized. It is up to you to do all you can to complete the medical exam in a timely fashion. If follow-on exams or inputs from your local doctor are required, then you must ensure you meet these requirements.

If I am notified that some physical problem will disqualify me from scholarship eligibility, is there anything I can do?

That depends on the nature of the problem. Some problems, such as minor eye corrections, can be waived. Some problems, such as having had certain childhood diseases, or a family history of diabetes, can cloud your medical record to the point that additional medical evidence may be required to substantiate your qualification. Unless you are told that your condition is absolutely disqualifying, you should do all that you can to obtain medical certification. Letters from family doctors or your local specialists can help to show that your condition should not be disqualifying. When in doubt, ask for a medical waiver. These issues should be addressed with DoDMERB and the NSTC medical board. DO NOT send medical documentation to the local unit. For specific medical-related questions, please send your question in an email to Individual units are not equipped to answer specific medical questions directly.

In addition to the medical exam, is there a physical fitness exam required for scholarship selection?

Marine Option students are required to pass a physical fitness exam to be eligible for scholarship selection. Navy Option students do not take this exam as a prerequisite to selection. Once in the NROTC program, all Midshipmen are required to pass a semi-annual physical fitness assessment, which, for Navy option students, consists of push-ups, planks, and a 1.5 mile run. All Midshipmen are encouraged to seek excellence in their physical fitness and to do more than the minimums in their fitness tests. Marine Option students take a slightly different test that consists of pull-ups, sit-ups, and a 3 mile run.

If I missed the deadline for the National four-year scholarship application, is there any way that I can still obtain an NROTC scholarship?

Students can become eligible for the award of a scholarship by joining their NROTC Unit in the College Program (non-scholarship) status. College program students are eligible to reapply for the National Scholarship by December of their Freshman year of college. If selected, the scholarship will be activated as a three year scholarship the following Fall.

How much of my time at school will be tied up in NROTC activities?

As much as you want, but at least six hours a week. Your Naval Science courses meet three hours per week and replace other electives, so those courses should not be thought of as extra requirements. In addition, there is one 90 minute lab session each week, and you may be asked to devote about two mornings/nights per week to required squad activities. Additionally, Marine option students conduct physical fitness training together.

If I join the NROTC program, am I in the military, or am I still a civilian?

NROTC Midshipmen are given the same status as “inactive reservists.” You will get a “reserve” military ID card, but you will be a civilian during all but the summer training cruise periods of your curriculum. The summer training is performed in an active duty “reserve” status.

How are tuition payments and book purchases handled for scholarship students?

The NROTC unit will pay your tuition and fees directly to the university. Incoming freshmen are required to pay a deposit before school starts. You must pay these deposits. The deposit is applied toward your housing bill. Since the Navy will pay the tuition bill, your initial deposit can be applied to your housing bill. The Navy will provide you a basic book stipend of $375, independent of the amount you actually spend on books.

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 admission processes at each school. You must seek admission to Auburn or some other NROTC host university. Remember that the NROTC scholarship cannot be awarded to you until you have been accepted for admission at an NROTC host school. It is a good idea for NROTC scholarship applicants to apply to more than one NROTC host school to ensure acceptance to at least one NROTC host school.

Can you offer any hints regarding what the scholarship selection board looks for in making its selections?

Yes. The NROTC scholarship selection board holistically evaluates students using criteria including College Board scores, grades, class standing, athletics, participation in extracurricular activities, recommendations, interview results, and perceived potential. We are looking for the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps. We want well-rounded students who are intelligent enough to excel in academics, athletic enough to meet the physical challenges of military service, and who are personable and dynamic enough to assume roles as military leaders. It is not enough to be only bright, or only athletic, or only personable; it takes a combination of the three qualities to be a successful Naval Officer. Officer candidates must also be of high moral character. Students with criminal records or who have gone beyond experimentation with illegal drugs are not likely officer candidates. Take care in selecting those who will provide written recommendations for you. If a candidate is depicted as being an average run-of-the-mill student, it will detract from the board’s assessment of the individual. The application interview with an NROTC Officer is also vitally important. Look sharp and present yourself well. College Board scores can be a positive factor for the student, but only insofar as they are supported by actual academic achievement. A student with high SAT or ACT scores, but mediocre grades and class standing, is less desirable than a student with moderate scores and high grades and standing. One is coasting and the other is a hard-working achiever.

If I want to change my first-choice school, who do I tell?

If you have been awarded a Navy ROTC scholarship and have questions about placement or if you have a school change request, contact the Navy NROTC Unit Placement Office via email at

I am trying to decide which university to attend. Are there any differences among the various NROTC Units?

The naval science curriculum at each school is identical. If there are any apparent differences among NROTC units, they are due to the customs and traditions of the Units, and the personalities of the Unit Staffs, and even the Midshipmen in those Units. The exceptions to this rule are military schools (e.g. SUNY Maritime, Maine Maritime, Texas Maritime, The Citadel, VMI, etc.) and schools with a “corps of cadets” (e.g. Texas A&M and Virginia Tech). We recommend choosing your university on the basis of its overall reputation in the major of your choice. Look at the reputation of the graduates of the school. You should narrow your choices down to a few, and then visit those campuses (and their NROTC Units) to help you make the final decision.

Who teaches the Naval Science courses?

The NROTC staff is composed of active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlisted personnel. The Naval Science courses are taught by the staff officers. These same officers will double as your NROTC class advisors, providing guidance and assistance, as necessary, in your academic and military pursuits.

What will happen if I decided not to continue in the NROTC program after I have started the sophomore year and incurred an obligation for active duty?

There are several reasons and circumstances for leaving the NROTC program. There is no obligation at all if you quit before the sophomore year. If, after the start of the sophomore year, you decide to quit, you will either have to pay back tuition expended or go on active military service in enlisted status immediately if you drop out of college or upon graduation if you stay in college. If a medical problem develops that would preclude you from commissioning, then the obligation would most likely be erased. If you drop from the program because of your own misconduct or aptitude, you could be required to reimburse the Navy for your tuition and book expenditures at the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy.

If I start out as a Marine Option student, can I switch to be a Navy Option student or vice versa?

You can attempt to change from one option to the other, but it is not automatic. You must request the change, and both Navy and Marine Corps officials must approve it. The change of option has become increasingly difficult in recent years. Even though it may be a difficult decision right out of high school, students are encouraged to do their research and decide on the option they feel best suits their personal interests and professional goals upfront, rather than attempt to change options later on.

Is the freshmen orientation like a boot camp?

Up-to-date information on freshman orientation can be found on the New Student Indoctrination website. We stress the need for discipline and teamwork, and some people have to adjust their attitude a bit. Orientation is certainly less stressful compared to a real boot-camp, the thirteen weeks of officer candidate school, or to what the service academy freshmen go through for their entire first year. With that said, orientation is not easy. It is physically and mentally demanding. After the initial trauma of the discovery of discipline, most students find orientation to be very rewarding. It is also an excellent opportunity to get to know your freshmen classmates before school starts.

Can you describe how a Midshipman fits into the university?

An NROTC Midshipman is a civilian, pursuing his or her own academic degree in a normal university environment, in the same manner as a non-Midshipman would. The only difference is that Midshipmen take a series of Naval Science courses and wear a uniform to class once a week. Midshipmen are free to join fraternities or sororities and enjoy all aspects of campus life. Our offices and classrooms are just like all other offices and classrooms on campus. You will blend in with and participate in the campus activities of your choice. When you graduate, you will serve with pride as a Navy or Marine Corps officer.

I have no experience with the military; how do I know if I will fit in?

You do not know, and neither did any of us who are in the military now. You have to join the program and experience it for yourself. That’s why the first year is without obligation. We are looking for intelligent and physically fit men and women of high moral character who can be trained to assume positions of leadership and great responsibility in the Navy and Marine Corps. If you fit that description, and if you prefer to be a leader rather than a follower, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

What if I have additional questions?

Most additional questions can be answered by visiting the Naval Service Training Command FAQ website.

Last updated: November 04, 2021