Army ROTC Program & Courses

Army Academics

Army ROTC classes take no more of your time than most other college courses and count as credit towards your college diploma. All courses for the program at VMI fall under the Department of Military Science. Topics include leadership, warfighting functions, and training management. Details regarding each course topic can be found in the academic catalog.

Four-Year Program

The traditional Four-Year Program is made up of two years of basic courses and two years of advanced courses.

The Basic Course

You can enroll in the Basic Course without making any commitment to the military. The basic course teaches principles of leadership and fundamental military skills while introducing you to the U.S. Army and officer career opportunities. VMI instructors introduce cadets to common soldier tasks. These tasks function as the basic building blocks on which all soldiers build their Army knowledge. Cadre instruct cadets on land navigation, map reading, weapons assembly, and disassembly, rifle marksmanship, first aid, rappelling, patrolling, and more.

The Advanced Course

In the Advanced Course, cadets put the knowledge that they acquired in the basic course to work. This course focuses on leadership development. Instructors assess cadets' ability to perform under pressure situations. During classroom and field training exercises, instructors assess cadets on numerous leadership dimensions, including decision – making skills, time management, troop leading procedures, and much more.

Cadet Alexander Lee, Virginia Military Institute, 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, practices his prone supported firing position during the Preliminary Marksmanship Instruction at Fort Knox, Ky., July 15, 2023. Photo courtesy of US Army Cadet Command
Eight rising 2nd Class VMI Army ROTC cadets pose with flag after completing Air Assault School training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Photo provided by Bryson Minear ’24
Cadet Dylan Palmer, Virginia Military Institute, 10th Regiment, Advanced Camp, provides coordinates on a radio during the Tactical Combat Casualty Care training at Fort Knox, Ky. Photo courtesy US Army Cadet Command

The Two-Year Program

Cadet Initial Entry Training Course (CIET) is an intensive 28-day training experience for college students unable to meet the basic course requirements on campus and is the Army’s 2-year ROTC Program entry point.

Through CIET, students without ROTC Basic Course experience can examine the Army without incurring an obligation, and qualify for Advanced Course entry. The Army observes these students and determines their officer potential in a leadership-oriented, challenging, and motivating 28-day training program.

More information is available on the CIET website.


You may attend the Cadet Initial Entry Training Course if you:

  • Have not completed all four semesters of Military Science I and II.
  • Are medically qualified to attend.
  • Are transferring from a school that did not have ROTC.
  • Are a junior or community college transfer entering an ROTC school and have no prior active or Reserve component military experience.
  • Are a graduate student, starting a two-year program.
  • Are a high-school graduate entering a military junior college.

Students with prior military service, or who have taken JROTC, may be given credit for Basic Course completion and would not be required to attend CIET. Pay and allowances are covered for CIET attendees.

Scholarship Opportunities:

Students who attend the Cadet Initial Entry Training Course may compete for a Two-Year Army ROTC scholarship while at camp. These merit scholarships are awarded to the most qualified students who apply. For more information on the requirements and benefits from a Cadet Initial Entry Training Course scholarship, see the Three and Two Year Scholarship Page.


When it comes to intense leadership training, VMI’s Army ROTC department has excellent resources at its disposal. On post, VMI features a 180-foot rappelling cliff, indoor 9mm range, outdoor rifle range, obstacle course, land navigation course, and much more. In addition to training areas in and around VMI’s campus, Army ROTC utilizes Fort A.P. Hill and Fort Pickett, VA for its numerous filed training exercises.

Army ROTC cadets on obstacle course on campus, called Post at VMI, a military college in Virginia.
Army ROTC cadets hold rifles above water in a pool on campus, called Post at VMI, a military college in Virginia.


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