Naval ROTC

Students interested in attending Virginia Military Institute with a four year NROTC scholarship must apply for an NROTC scholarship and be accepted by the VMI Admissions Office. Applications for both should be started at the end of one's junior year in high school. Cadets can apply for three or two-year scholarships once enrolled at VMI.

Virginia Military Institute is unique in its military requirements. Institute Regulations require that all Cadets complete four years of ROTC training in one of the three ROTC programs: Army, Navy/Marine, or Air Force. The VMI system is designed to prepare qualified Cadets for a military commission upon graduation, but there is no requirement that Cadets seek a commission.

The Naval ROTC Unit provides two programs in which Cadets may enroll. Successful completion of the Naval ROTC curriculum will satisfy VMI's military requirements for graduation and may lead to a wide variety of career and reserve opportunities in the Navy and Marine Corps.

The Naval ROTC Unit was established at VMI on 1 July 1974. NROTC classes commenced with the beginning of the school term in August 1974.

The establishment of the VMI NROTC Unit is a continuation of the long-standing tradition of mutual respect and service between VMI and the Naval service, especially the U.S. Marine Corps. Many VMI alumni have attained flag rank in the Navy and Marine Corps. Among those who have had distinguished careers are Generals Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. and Randolph M. Pate, both former Commandants of the Marine Corps, and Lieutenant General Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, a famous Marine combat commander and five time recipient of the Navy Cross. Another former Commandant of the Marine Corps, General John A. Lejeune, served as VMI’s superintendent, as did Major General George R. E. Shell, USMC.

The NROTC Unit at VMI is one of four NROTC units in Virginia and 58 nationwide, merging the finest traditions of VMI and the Naval Service. This Unit is creating many special opportunities for VMI Midshipmen. The purpose of this document is to outline the goals, requirements and opportunities of the Naval ROTC program at VMI.

The basic purpose of VMI is "to provide academic study of the highest possible quality, conducted in, and facilitated by a rigorous system of military discipline."

The assigned mission of the Naval ROTC Unit is to "develop midshipmen mentally, morally, and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty in order to commission them 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 and are prepared to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government."

The NROTC students, called Midshipmen, are fully integrated members of the Corps of Cadets, participating in all Cadet academic, military, athletic, and social functions. They wear the prescribed Cadet uniforms throughout their Cadetship. During summer training with Navy and Marine Corps units, they wear their distinctive Midshipmen uniforms.

Officer commissions are attainable in both the Navy and Marine Corps. The professional choices available to NROTC Midshipmen are extensive and varied in both the Navy and Marine Corps.

Upon successful completion of the program, Navy Option Midshipmen are commissioned as Unrestricted Line Officers. They may request service selection as a Surface Warfare Officer, a Submarine Officer, a Naval Aviator, a Special Warfare Officer (SEAL), a Special Operations Officer (Diving/EOD), or a Medical Service Corps Officer (doctor or dentist). The Navy Nuclear Propulsion Training Program is another desirable option for those interested in surface or submarine duty.

Marine officers may serve with either ground or aviation forces. This can include duty, for example, as a Marine infantry, armor, artillery, communications, or engineer officer. A Marine aviator may choose to fly helicopters, fixed winged fighter/attack aircraft or multi-engine transportation aircraft.

Midshipmen are exposed to many aspects of the Naval service before they make their professional choice. The Naval Science academic program, trips to Navy and Marine Corps facilities, and summer training expose Midshipmen to many types of duty in both services.

Postgraduate educational opportunities are also available to the NROTC graduate in both military and civilian institutions. Normally, postgraduate programs are undertaken after an initial period of active duty, although there are a limited number of opportunities for very highly qualified candidates immediately upon graduation.

Scholarship Program: 

The VMI Naval ROTC Unit participates in the national Navy-Marine Corps Scholarship Program. In this annual program, high school seniors are selected by a national competition for scholarships. These four-year scholarships offer the following benefits:

  • all academic tuition and certain fees
  • $375 per semester book stipend
  • Navy/Marine Corps Uniforms
  • $250 per month in subsistence pay for a maximum of 10 months each year. This pay increases by $50 each year, so that as seniors, Midshipmen make $400 per month.

Applications for this program are available from the Naval Education and Training Command website at Prospective students may begin to apply for this program as early as the second semester of the high school junior year. Applications are typically due on 31 January of the year that the student intends to matriculate.

In addition to the four-year national scholarships, the Professor of Naval Science is authorized to nominate candidates for a number of three-year and two-year scholarships from among those students already enrolled in Naval Science at VMI. A limited number of scholarships are awarded to candidates who have proven by their academic, physical, and aptitude record that they have the potential to become Navy or Marine Corps Officers. NROTC Unit VMI typically enjoys a high success rate, but the number of scholarships available is purely decided by the "needs of the Navy and Marine Corps". Midshipmen commissioned through the scholarship program will enter the Naval service of their choice as a line officer. They will incur obligations of eight years of commissioned service, of which five years will be on active duty.

College Program: 

The Navy also offers a two-year subsidized College Program for Cadets who want to serve their country in leadership roles as officers in the Navy or Marine Corps. Applicants for the College Program are selected from students already enrolled in Naval science. Prior to beginning their junior year, College Program Midshipmen with at least a 2.5 GPA will be considered for advanced standing. If selected, Midshipmen receive a monthly subsistence allowance throughout the school year, totaling $5000 for the junior year and $4000 for the senior year.  Midshipmen enrolled in this program receive the same Naval Science education as their counterparts in the scholarship program. After graduation, College Program Midshipmen are commissioned as Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. They incur obligations of eight years of commissioned service, of which three years will be active duty.

The Navy Nuclear Power Program: 

The Navy Nuclear Power Program is one of the highest priorities in the NROTC Program, and since its inception, the NROTC Unit at VMI has been among the nation's most productive units. This program seeks the most qualified and motivated young men and women to serve on the submarines and aircraft carriers of today's Nuclear Navy. Applications for this program are highly competitive and are founded upon demonstrated excellence in Calculus and Physics. There is a very strong interaction between the engineering disciplines at VMI and the Navy Nuclear Power Program. The Navy Nuclear Power Program is not restricted to engineering majors but is open to any curriculum as long as the individual student has the dedication and academic potential to excel in this very technically demanding program of study.

Upon completion of schooling, the nuclear power trained officer will serve aboard a broad variety of surface combatants or submarines. The obligation incurred for this program is five years of active service from the date of commissioning.

The Navy nuclear-trained officer enjoys the benefits of an unexcelled technical post-graduate education, the opportunity to serve aboard and command the most sophisticated and modern ships in the world, and significant pay bonuses at various points in training and service.

Navy and Marine Corps Aviation: 

The Navy and Marine Corps each operate one of the world's largest and most capable air forces. As a Naval Aviator, one has the opportunity to fly aircraft ranging from helicopters to air superiority fighters, from both land bases and off the decks of carriers. All Navy and Marine Aviators receive initial aviation training together at Pensacola, Florida.

Navy Aviation 

Selection for Navy Aviation occurs during the senior year at VMI. The obligation incurred is from the date of designation as a pilot or Naval Flight Officer. Obligation time begins upon completion of flight school. For the specific number of years, contact the Aviation Representative. Requirements are:

  • Pass a flight physical, to include meeting vision requirements. These requirements change. For the latest information contact the NROTC Unit Aviation Representative.
  • Achieve a qualifying score on a Navy/Marine flight aptitude test.
  • Maintain a competitive grade point average of a 2.5 or higher.

Marine Corps Aviation 

Marine Option Midshipmen can compete for a flight guarantee as early as their sophomore year. The process is competitive and is based on the following requirements: 

  • Pass a flight physical, to include meeting vision requirements.
  • Achieve a qualifying score on a Navy/Marine flight aptitude test.
  • Maintain a competitive grade point average.
  • The obligation incurred is six to eight years (depending on the aircraft) from the date of designation as a pilot (completion of flight school).


VMI has two professional organizations in which all midshipmen are encouraged to become involved. These organizations have been developed around a three pronged agenda:

  • Professional: Functions such as guest lecturers and base visits designed to enhance the midshipmen's professional development.
  • Service: Active community service programs that include projects such as "Adopt a Highway" and "Toys for Tots."
  • Social: Provide intermittent functions that allow midshipmen to socialize and to get away from the daily rigors of VMI. Such events include field meets and picnics.

The two organizations at VMI are the Trident Society, geared towards the professional development of prospective Navy Officers, and the Semper Fi Society which is oriented towards the professional development of prospective Marine Corps Officers.

Introduction trips are offered at various times throughout the year for NROTC Midshipmen interested in submarine warfare, aviation, surface warfare, and Marine Corps specialties. These trips are to such places as Charleston, SC, Pensacola, FL, Norfolk, VA, Washington, D.C., and Camp Lejeune, NC.

The Navy and Marine Corps Birthdays are celebrated each year in accordance with the tradition of the Naval service. The Midshipmen Battalion holds this events annually.

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Meet the academic standards as set forth by the Secretary of the Navy (See Note 1)
  • Be medically qualified in accordance with the standards set forth by the Naval Medical Command, U.S. Navy (See Note 2)
  • Be at least 17 years of age on or before 30 June of the year of enrollment and be less that 25 years of age on 30 June of the calendar year in which commissioned.
  • Be morally qualified and possess officer like qualifications. Midshipmen convicted of a tort or crime will not normally be accepted into the program.
  • NOT have any moral obligations or personal convictions that will prevent you from conscientiously bearing arms and supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
  • Meet Department of the Navy requirements concerning the use of narcotics and/or related drugs.

NOTE 1: 

The academic requirements for initial enrollment and subsequent maintenance of good standing in NROTC are a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and academic credit hours satisfactory to VMI. Programs of "probation" and "leave of absence" are used to assist a midshipman who may have academic problems. However, if a midshipman cannot overcome his/her academic difficulties within a reasonable number of semesters, he/she will no longer be enrolled.

The Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit, VMI, who is also the Professor of Naval Science (PNS), determines who will be enrolled, placed on probation, leave of absence, or no longer enrolled.

NOTE 2: 

Detailed physical requirements are contained in Chapter 15, Manual of the Medical Department, U.S. Navy. Following is an outline of the major physical requirements and common problem areas

  • In general, a midshipman must be in excellent health with no recurring or chronic ailments, diseases or handicaps.
  • Height: Marine: 64 inches to 78 inches Navy: 62 inches to 78 inches
  • Weight: in proportion to height. Generally, body fat should not exceed 22%
  • Eyes: Marine: waivers granted for defective vision up to 20/200 if visual acuity corrects to 20/20 in each eye by a standard lens. The Marine Corps can also waive defective color perception. Navy: waivers granted under most conditions, but not color perception.


At VMI, the NROTC program provides to each enrolled midshipman different financial assistance and monetary allowances dependent on whether he/she is in the scholarship or college program. The following assistance is provided for the:

Scholarship Program: 

  • Tuition: Type I Scholarship (100%) both resident and nonresident.
  • Comprehensive Fees: (yearly) 100%
  • Diploma: 100%
  • Textbooks: $375 per semester book stipend
  • Subsistence: A subsistence allowance of $250 per month for 10 months a year (maximum of 40 months). This amount increases by $50 each academic year.
  • Uniforms: An annual uniform commutation allowance of $815 is provided to help defray the cost of naval uniforms. Naval uniforms required for summer training are provided by the NROTC Unit.
  • Summer Training: During summer training midshipmen are paid approximately $500 per month.
  • Travel: Travel expenses for Midshipmen are paid in conjunction with NROTC training.

College Program:

  • Subsistence: A subsistence allowance of $5000 for the junior year and $4000 for the senior year (advanced standing only).
  • Uniforms: An annual uniform commutation allowance of $815 is provided to help defray the cost of naval uniforms. Naval uniforms required for summer training are provided by the NROTC Unit.
  • Summer Training: During summer training midshipmen are paid approximately $500 per month.
  • Travel: Travel expenses for Midshipmen are paid in conjunction with NROTC training.

The NROTC academic program consists of three parts. Both Scholarship and College Program Midshipmen are required to complete the entire program as a prerequisite for commissioning.

  1. VMI academic fields of study.

Midshipmen in the Navy Scholarship program are strongly encouraged to pursue majors in engineering and hard science curricula in order to meet the technical demands of today's Navy. The process of selecting potential Navy scholarship winners is oriented towards the selection of cadets pursuing technical degrees.

There is no requirement that Marine Option Midshipmen either on scholarship or seeking a scholarship pursue a technical major.

  1. Other courses taught by VMI professors:

The Navy specifies the following courses, taught by VMI faculty, as a part of the Naval Science academic curriculum:

Course Title 

Year Taken 

Who Must Take 

Semester Hours 





College Mathematics 




Physics (Calc. Based) 




Physical Science 




Foreign Cultures 








Basic Swimming 




American Military History or National Security Policy 




NROTC Courses 




SCN:  Navy Scholarship; CPN:  Navy College Program
SCM:  Marine Scholarship; CPM:  Marine College Program

All NROTC Midshipmen must take the courses listed in the courses link according to their option.

Scholarship program midshipmen are trained for approximately four to six weeks during each summer between academic years. During the first summer, midshipmen are briefly exposed to the varying career options in Naval Aviation, Surface, Subsurface, and the Marine Corps at various bases in the United States. The second summer's training is a cruise aboard an operational ship in the fleet, located anywhere in the world. During the third summer, candidates for Navy commissions cruise aboard fleet operational ships, at home and abroad, serving in the capacity of junior officers. Marine Corps candidates are evaluated and screened for commissioning at Quantico, Virginia. Summer training is a critical facet of the four year NROTC curriculum, continuing at sea the lessons introduced in the classroom. This opportunity to participate in current operations around the world is unparalleled. Few midshipmen return from cruise without having had several eye-opening experiences.

Midshipmen who successfully complete the NROTC program and earn the recommendation of the Professor of Naval Science are commissioned during graduation ceremonies at VMI. They are entitled immediately to the pay and allowances of their status as Navy Ensigns or Marine Corps Second Lieutenants. For Navy Ensigns, the initial active duty assignment is determined by their service selection during senior year and will include professional schooling such as flight or nuclear power training, or service aboard ships, posts or stations throughout the world. All Marine Second Lieutenants will be assigned to The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia for their initial training.

Currently a complement of three Marine Officers, one Marine Gunnery Sergeant, and four Navy Officers are assigned to the Naval ROTC staff at VMI.

If you want to know more about the NROTC Unit, Scholarships, or how Midshipmen fit into the VMI Corps of Cadets, read our Fact Book. If you cannot find the information you are seeking within the fact book, then please contact us, either by phone or by email, at the links on the left of this page.

The mission of the NROTC Program is to develop midshipmen mentally, morally, and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty in order to commission them 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 and are prepared to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship, and government.