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The Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) plays an important role in the national defense framework of our nation. The American tradition of military instruction on civilian college campuses began in 1819 when a former superintendent at West Point established the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy, which later became Norwich University. Military instruction soon spread to other institutions—Virginia Military Institute in 1839, the University of Tennessee in 1840, and The Citadel in 1842.
In 1862 the U.S. Congress, foreseeing the dual necessity of creating additional institutions of higher learning as well as providing a means of schooling in the military arts, passed the Morrill Land Grant Act. This act provided money from the sale of government lands to establish colleges and universities and specified that courses in the military arts should be offered at these institutions.
The University of Minnesota opened its doors in 1869 through the benefits made available by the Morrill Act. One of the original nine faculty members was the University’s first professor of military science, Major General Richard W. Johnson. For 70 years, on-campus military training and, after 1916, ROTC programs at the University prepared students to enter the Army. In 1939 a Naval ROTC unit was established, and in 1949 an Air Force ROTC program began.
For more than 150 years, on-campus military training and ROTC programs have provided intelligent, well-educated leaders for the nation’s defense. In keeping with the typical American concept of the citizen-soldier and civilian control of military forces, the programs produce military officers from all geographic and social strata whose leadership is characterized by initiative, ingenuity, and flexibility. ROTC officers may return to civilian status when they have fulfilled their military obligation or choose to serve as reserve officers. ROTC programs provide leadership resources not only for national defense but also for civilian enterprise.
At the University of Minnesota, ROTC programs are offered by the U.S. Army, Navy-Marine Corps, and Air Force. ROTC coursework is completed concurrently with degree work so that participants qualify for officer commissions in one of the four military services—Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force—as they complete requirements for a University degree. ROTC coursework offers students the opportunity to widen their perspective; sharpen their sense of responsibility; develop their ability to organize, motivate, and lead others; and acquire a maturity of judgment that can be a source of strength and self-confidence throughout their careers.
Four- and two-year programs are available, each offering a different approach toward earning a commission for students who meet selection requirements. Four-year programs consist of a basic course and an advanced course. The basic course is taken during the freshman and sophomore years and the advanced course normally comprises the junior and senior years. Two-year programs consist of the advanced course only. Scholarship students entering their sophomore year incur a service commitment; nonscholarship students are obligated to a service commitment once they enter the advanced course. Programs are open for undergraduate and graduate students.
ROTC courses prepare students for military service as junior officers. Students learn to exercise self-discipline, organize time and effort efficiently, perform effectively under stress, analyze and react quickly and with good judgment, and consistently exhibit exemplary military bearing and appearance. Juniors and seniors are placed in positions of command and apply the leadership skills they have developed during their preceding years of ROTC training. Following the final year of practical experience, these men and women are well prepared to assume leadership responsibilities as commissioned officers.
ROTC curricula are administered by the University’s Offices of the Executive Vice President and Provost and the Departments of Military Science (Army ROTC), Naval Science (Navy-Marine ROTC), and Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC).
ROTC scholarship programs provide up to four years (five years under specific circumstances) of subsidized education, paying all tuition costs, instructional fees, and providing a $300 per-semester allotment for textbook expenses. Additionally, scholarship students receive a subsistence allowance on an upward scale between $250 to $400 per month. Nonscholarship students in their junior and senior years receive the subsistence allowance for a maximum of 20 months. While attending summer training, all ROTC students receive approximately $700 plus housing, travel, and allowances. Students attending summer training to qualify for a 2-year program receive the same pay and allowances as ROTC students (see Scholarships in this section).
Students who complete all requirements are commissioned as Second Lieutenants (Army, Air Force, and Marines) or ensigns (Navy). Upon commissioning, Naval ROTC scholarship students incur a 4-year active duty service obligation; nonscholarship students incur a 3-year active duty service obligation. Extended commitments to active duty are required for all pilots (8 years after qualification), naval flight officers (6 years after qualification), and Nuclear Propulsion Program officers (5 years after commissioning). Air Force pilot and navigator program students incur a commitment of 10 and 6 years, respectively, after completing their training; all other Air Force students incur a 4-year active duty service commitment (students who receive 5 years of scholarship incur a five-year commitment). Army students selected for active duty serve for 3 years; Army scholarship students selected for active duty serve 4 years. Army students commissioned into the National Guard or Army Reserve serve on active duty for initial schooling and then assume reserve obligations of varying durations.
The three ROTC programs are open to all students. Young men and women are selected on the basis of their own merits. Certain qualifications and eligibility criteria for enrollment and commissioning must be met, as set forth in the laws and regulations that govern the programs. Students who do not meet these criteria may enroll in a course for its educational value but do not receive financial benefits or an officer’s commission.
To be eligible for admission to a University ROTC program, applicants must
Transfer Students—Students who have participated in ROTC training at another college or university may request transfer if they were honorably released by the first institution and are accepted by a University of Minnesota ROTC program.
Advanced Standing—Students who have participated in ROTC training at another institution may be granted advanced standing for military courses successfully completed.
Veterans—Veterans may take advantage of their military service and experience by seeking advanced placement in a ROTC program. G.I. Bill educational benefits and ROTC benefits may be received concurrently. Army students may receive advanced standing for membership in the National Guard or Army Reserve through the Simultaneous Membership Program. After commissioning, veterans can count their prior service for longevity pay and retirement.
Scholarships are available through national or regional selection systems. High school seniors may compete for four-year scholarships. Completed applications must be submitted no later than November 15 (Army), December 1 (Air Force), or January 1 (Navy-Marine) for enrollment the following fall semester. College freshmen and sophomores may compete for three- and two-year scholarships.
Students accepted into one of the ROTC nonscholarship programs are normally eligible to compete for the scholarship program after one or two semesters of enrollment. Aptitude for military service and academic performance are major considerations for acceptance. For more information about particular/special scholarship programs, contact the appropriate department.
Each ROTC department offers a wide range of activities for its students. A variety of local and nationally affiliated organizations offer interested and qualified students the opportunity to participate in activities, both on and off campus, that develop their leadership and managerial skills. Social events and athletic competitions, scheduled throughout the school year, round out the activities available.
Military Science (Army ROTC)
112 Armory Building
15 Church Street S.E
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Naval Science (Navy-Marine ROTC)
203 Armory Building
15 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC)
3 Armory Building
15 Church Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
General Information and Programs (463 K PDF)
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◊» Department of Military Science Web site.
◊» Department of Naval Science Web site.
◊» Department of Aerospace Studies Web site.