Penn State Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC)
Navy and Marine Corps
Penn State's Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) programs help develop officer candidates with high ideals of duty, honor, and loyalty for service in the U.S. Army, Navy/Marine Corps, and Air Force. Qualified students may compete for ROTC scholarships and other financial support while at Penn State. Graduating cadets and midshipmen qualifying for commissions serve within the various branches of their respective component. Navy, Marine, and Air Force commissionees complete at least three to four years of active military duty, while Army ROTC cadets are selected by a national board to serve on active-duty or in the Army Reserve or National Guard. The ROTC experience at Penn State will also produce a "family" of lifelong friends with an emphasis on leadership, success, and reaching one's full potential.
The first year emphasizes academics, including a study hall with tutors in calculus, physics, and chemistry. Active-duty assignments after graduation place second lieutenants and ensigns in challenging and often technically oriented leadership positions, with important responsibilities in acquiring, managing, and operating state-of-the-art systems. The practical experience gained by leading people and managing money and equipment place them far ahead of other college graduates competing for jobs that lead to top management positions.
Four-year scholarships can be worth more than $80,000 to an out-of-state student or $40,000 to an in-state student.
The ROTC program helps candidates develop self-confidence, discipline, poise, and leadership abilities. They achieve this through classroom instruction in communicative skills, management techniques, and leadership concepts, as well as practical application of this knowledge in leadership laboratory, where students practice and demonstrate what they've learned. Penn State cadets and midshipmen evaluate military service through interaction with their instructors, direct observation, and practical experience during summer active-duty training programs.
Army ROTC commissions officers into more than twenty specialties, including Nursing, Infantry, Armor, Corps of Engineers, Military Intelligence, and Aviation. Naval ROTC places officers into the Marine Corps, nuclear-powered submarines, naval aviation, surface ships, Special Warfare (Navy SEALS), and the Nurse Corps. Air Force officer career fields are open to ROTC graduates in every major. Postgraduation assignments include pilots, navigators, air battle management, engineering, nursing, intelligence, logistics, security forces, medical, and numerous other fields.
High school seniors compete for three-year (Army and Air Force) and four-year (all services) ROTC college scholarships that cover some or all of tuition, up to $500 monthly subsistence, uniforms, lab fees, and textbook costs. Students who enter the Penn State ROTC program without scholarships can compete for additional scholarships based on the needs of the service. All scholarships are awarded on merit rather than financial need. Nonscholarship cadets and midshipmen can receive as much as $500 monthly allowance during their junior and senior years.
One-, Two-, Three-, or Four-Year Program
ROTC may offer one-, two-, three-, or four-year programs, depending on the service. Students may enroll in the four-year program during their first year, and upper-level students may apply for the three-, two-, or one-year program. Active-duty military service obligations vary for each service, depending on scholarship monies paid, type of commission, or specialized training after commissioning. Contact the appropriate ROTC unit for complete details.
The typical ROTC program, regardless of service, consists of a 2- or 3-credit academic course and leadership training laboratory each semester, and a variety of summer active-duty training opportunities. Active-duty officers and enlisted personnel provide service-specific instruction in military history, current forces, national security issues, communicative skills, management, leadership, and officership.
Each ROTC department offers a variety of extracurricular activities. Drill and rifle teams, color guards, Scabbard and Blade Honor Society (tri-service), Air Force Arnold Air Society, Army Ranger Club, intramural sports, and physical fitness clubs are a few samples of available activities.
Ranked as one of the most viable programs in the country, based on size, quality, academic disciplines, cost per commission, and minority commissions. Approximately 330 students participate in Army ROTC.
All Army scholarships cover full tuition and fees for both in-state and out-of-state students. Scholarships can be applied to either tuition and fees or room and board. Varieties of scholarships are offered and can be applied to more than 150 majors. We also give $600 in book money and a monthly stipend.
Students who do not receive active duty scholarships prior to entering the University may compete for four-year, three-year, or two-year scholarships. Traditionally, more than 75 percent of juniors and seniors are on scholarship, with more than 40 percent of first-year students and sophomores on scholarship.
Opportunities for airborne, air assault, and northern warfare training are available beginning in the freshman year. In addition, nursing students can attend a summer internship at an Army Hospital after their junior year.
Students can apply for summer internships in the engineering, aviation, and military operations career fields.
University sophomores or graduate students not affiliated with Army ROTC may apply to enter a two year program.
Students may apply for a medical school or physical therapy scholarship in their junior year.
In addition to University Park, Army ROTC first-year and sophomore instruction is currently available at Penn State Altoona and Penn State Hazleton. In addition to University Park, Army ROTC is offered to juniors and seniors at Penn State Harrisburg through Dickinson College and Penn State Behrend through Gannon University; Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Penn State Worthington through the University of Scranton; Penn State Abington and Penn State Brandywine through Widener; Penn State Mont Alto through Shippensburg; Penn State Lehigh Valley and Penn State Berks through Lehigh University; and Pennsylvania College of Technology through Bucknell University.
Navy and Marine Corps:
Navy graduates enter active duty with full pay and benefits on the day of commissioning; Marines do so on the day they report for training at Quantico, usually within several weeks of commissioning.
Penn State is considered a major source of technically trained officers, with a significant proportion of graduates entering technical fields such as aviation, nuclear propulsion, or surface warfare.
Midshipmen compete to participate in a special NROTC Undergraduate Honors Program, a research-oriented, work-study internship conducted with the University's Applied Research Laboratory.
Scholarships are available in the Navy, Navy Nurse, or Marine option programs. Midshipmen not on scholarship may be recommended for a full scholarship by their NROTC instructors during their freshman and sophomore years.
Nearly all midshipmen spend four to six weeks on active duty with the fleet for summer training. Hands-on training with aviation units, submarine and surface ships, and marine units is available. Opportunities exist for foreign exchange cruises with other navies.
Physically qualified Marine-option midshipmen may be guaranteed aviation training as early as the sophomore year.
Penn State has one of the top Air Force ROTC programs in the country and continually rates high in officer production.
Air Force ROTC graduates all enter active duty with full pay and benefits. Our graduates have been placed in every Air Force job to include Pilots, Navigators, Special Operations, Judge Advocate General, Remote Vehicle Pilots, Intelligence, Office of Special Investigations, and Air Battle Managers.
Approximately 200 students participate in Air Force ROTC, with approximately 65 percent on various types of scholarships in all majors.
Students who do not receive scholarships prior to entering college may compete for a three- or two-year scholarship.
A monthly stipend (ranging from $450-$500) is paid out to juniors and seniors who have successfully completed summer field training.
There are several social, service, honor, and special-interest organizations associated with this unit: Arnold Air Society, a national service organization; the Honor Guard, a drill team/color guard that performs at Penn State events and competes in trick drill/rifle competitions; and Scabbard and Blade, an honor society for ROTC students in their junior and senior years.
Students can register for Air Force ROTC at the University Park campus or through crosstown agreements with other universities at Penn State Abington, Altoona, Brandywine, Hazleton, New Kensington, Wilkes-Barre, and Worthington Scranton.
Voluntary summer programs are available in nursing, research and development, space studies, and foreign language studies.
For More Information
Call, write, or visit the units at Penn State's University Park campus:
Army ROTC -- 814-863-0368
POC: Jim Grassmyer
The Pennsylvania State University
211 Wagner Building
University Park, PA 16802-3801
Naval ROTC -- 814-865-6289
The Pennsylvania State University
315 Wagner Building
University Park, PA 16802-3893
Air Force ROTC -- 814-865-5453
POC: Major Matthew Heckman
The Pennsylvania State University
109 Wagner Building
University Park, PA 16802-3800