Courses of Study 2011-2012 
    Feb 26, 2024  
Courses of Study 2011-2012 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Naval Science

Naval Science:

Captain Larry Olsen, United States Navy, Professor of Naval Science and Commanding Officer, Naval ROTC Unit

Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Rizzo, United States Marine Corps

Lieutenant Matthew Zarracina, United States Navy

Lieutenant Douglas Raineault, United States Navy

Lieutenant Matthew Houle, United States Navy

The objective of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Education Program is to prepare students for service as commissioned officers in the United States Navy or United States Marine Corps. This is accomplished by supplementing undergraduate education with instruction in essential concepts of naval science and by fostering qualities of leadership, integrity, and dedication to country. The program is compatible with most undergraduate major fields of study, including five-year baccalaureate degree programs.

The program covers four years and combines specific courses in naval science and specified academic subjects. These courses supplement weekly professional development sessions in which the practical aspects of naval science and leadership procedures are stressed. It also includes at least one summer-at-sea period.

Though the Navy and Marine Corps program has been designed to prepare future officers, naval science courses are open to all students at Cornell as space limitations allow.

Requirements for Enrollment:

An applicant for the Naval ROTC program at Cornell must be a citizen of the United States. Applicants must have reached their 17th birthday by September 1 of the year of enrollment and be less than 27 years of age on June 30 of the calendar year in which they are commissioned. Waivers of the upper age limit may be available for applicants who have prior active duty military service. Applicants must also meet physical and medical requirements. Interested students can visit the Naval ROTC Unit in Barton Hall or contact their local officer recruiter.


There are two programs: the Scholarship Program and the College Program. The two programs differ primarily in benefits given to the student.

Scholarship Program:

The Scholarship Program provides approximately 1,000 scholarships in more than 70 universities nationwide to selected students who want to serve in the Navy or Marine Corps. Financial support is provided to students during college preceding the award of the baccalaureate degree.


The program offers scholarships that provide full tuition and are not need-based. While on scholarship, students also receive money for instructional fees, textbooks, nonconsumable supplies, and a stipend of $250–$400 a month for a maximum of 40 months.

Successful completion of the Scholarship Program leads to a commission in the Navy or Marine Corps. At Cornell University, over 90 percent of NROTC students have a scholarship. Students entering NROTC without a prior scholarship award are entitled to compete for two- or three-year scholarships controlled by the Naval Service Training Command.

Entering the Scholarship Program:

There are three ways to enter the Scholarship Program:

  1. by applying to the national competition each year. This process entails filling out and submitting an appropriate application; being interviewed; having a physical examination; and applying to, and being accepted by, one of the colleges or universities throughout the country that offers an NROTC program.
  2. by enrolling in the College Program at Cornell and being recommended by the Professor of Naval Science for a scholarship after at least one semester in the program.
  3. by entering through the Two-Year Scholarship Program.

College Program:

Two College Programs are available. Both lead to a commission in the Navy or Marine Corps.

Starting in the junior year, each of these programs provides textbooks for naval science courses, uniforms, and a subsistence allowance of $350–$400 a month.

The regular College Program is four years long. Academic requirements for students in this program are somewhat fewer than those for scholarship students, as noted in the curriculum section of this book.

The Two-Year College Program begins the summer before the junior year; students attend a required program, with pay, at the Naval Science Institute in Newport, Rhode Island.

Summer Training:

Each summer, students in the Scholarship Program spend approximately four to six weeks on a Navy ship, or participate in a naval activity that may take place anywhere in the world, for on-the-job training. College Program students attend one summer training session of the same duration between the junior and senior years.

Active Duty Requirements:

Scholarship midshipmen commissioned in the Navy or Marine Corps serve on active duty for a minimum of four years. College Program midshipmen commissioned in the Navy or Marine Corps serve a minimum of three years. In some cases, following commissioning, specialized training such as aviation or nuclear power will add additional active duty requirements.

Choice of Assignment:

Graduates have the opportunity to request the duty they prefer upon graduation. These requests are given careful consideration, and every effort is made to assign newly commissioned officers to their duty of choice.

Among the assignments available are duties in naval aviation as either a pilot or naval flight officer, on submarines, and on surface ships. Other specialties, such as special warfare or medical service corps, may be available on a limited basis.

Marine Corps Options:

The United States Marine Corps is an integral part of the Naval Services and is commanded by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. One-sixth of the NROTC scholarship students may be Marine selectees who will be designated Marine-option midshipmen. Upon successful completion of the program they will be appointed Second Lieutenants in the United States Marine Corps.

Marine-option midshipmen follow the same program as other NROTC midshipmen for the first two years. Beginning with the junior year, Marine-option midshipmen are taught Marine-oriented courses by a Marine Officer Instructor. For First Class summer training (after the junior year), Marine-option students travel to Quantico, Virginia, where they undergo six weeks of intensive training known as the USMC Officer Candidate School. Upon commissioning the following year as Second Lieutenants, they are assigned to the Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. After the Basic School, the Marine officer is assigned duty in a variety of occupational fields. Among the duties available are infantry, aviation, artillery, tracked vehicles, engineering, communications, electronics, supply, administration, and computer science. The officer may serve on board naval vessels or at shore installations of the Marine Corps or Navy, either in this country or overseas.

The Marine Corps has a postgraduate training system similar in objectives and organization to that of the Navy. Marine officers selected for aviation receive flight training at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, along with their Navy counterparts.


A student has three categories of requirements to fulfill as a midshipman. The first of these requirements is a weekly naval professional development session each semester. The second requirement is a naval science course each semester. The last set of requirements consists of further courses prescribed by the Navy to meet the growing need for more and better technically educated junior officers.

Naval Professional Laboratories:

All students in the program participate in a two-hour professional development session each week. The session is held from 2:30 until 4:30 on Wednesday afternoons and consists of drill, athletics, and professional information events. Students gain experience in actual leadership situations and learn the fundamentals of seamanship, military formations, movements, commands, discipline, courtesies, and honors. During information briefings, special emphasis is given to applied leadership as it relates to the  administrative and managerial aspects of a Navy or Marine Corps officer’s duties.

Other Required Courses:

Navy-Option Scholarship Program:

To be eligible for a commission in the United States Navy, midshipmen must successfully complete all the requirements for a baccalaureate degree in any field of study offered by Cornell University, and complete courses in the following subjects (specified courses to be approved by the Professor of Naval Science):

American Military Affairs or National Security Policy (one semester)
English (one year)
Calculus (one year)
Calculus-based physics (one year)
World Cultures/Regional Studies (one semester)

The calculus requirement must be satisfied by the end of the sophomore year and the physics requirement by the end of the junior year.

Although free choice of academic majors is permitted, students are encouraged to pursue majors in engineering and the physical sciences so that they may be best prepared to meet the technological requirements of the modern Navy.

Navy-Option College Program:

Navy-option College Program students must complete college-level study in mathematics (1 year), physical science (1 year), and English (1 year), American Military History or National Security Policy (1 semester), and World Culture and Regional Studies (1 semester) as a prerequisite for commissioning. The mathematics course must be completed by the end of the junior year, the physical science course by the end of the senior year. College Program students who desire entry into the Navy-option Scholarship Program should fulfill all of the requirements applicable to Navy-option scholarship students if they wish to be eligible for a scholarship controlled by the Naval Service Training Command.

Marine Option:

Any midshipman, in either the Scholarship Program or the College Program, who completes all of Cornell University’s degree requirements in any academic major is eligible for a commission in the U.S. Marine Corps or U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Marine-option students take the same naval science courses and naval professional laboratories as Navy-option students for the freshman and sophomore years. During the junior and senior years, Marine-option students have slightly different naval science course requirements than their Navy-option counterparts. One semester (a minimum of 3 hours) of courses in American Military Affairs or National Security Policy is required.

Extracurricular Activities:

The NROTC midshipman at Cornell is offered a broad range of activities, including sail training and a comprehensive intramural sports program. Midshipmen participate in a myriad of social events, including the annual Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball.