Courses of Study 2023-2024 
    Jul 21, 2024  
Courses of Study 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Naval Science

Naval Science:

Captain Scott A. Hardy, United States Navy, Commanding Officer

Major Edwin Powers, United States Marine Corps, Executive Officer

Lieutenant Brandy Kinnunen, United States Navy

Lieutenant Tyler Durst, United States Navy

Gunnery Sergeant Sean Rummel Green, United States Marine Corps


The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Education Program’s objective 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 fostering leadership qualities, 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 or eight semesters and combines specific naval science courses and 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 training period provided by the United States Navy or Marine Corps.

Though the Navy and Marine Corps program have been designed to prepare future officers, naval science courses are open to all students at Cornell as space limitations allow. Please contact the professor for admission into an individual course.

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 Naval officer recruiter.


There are two programs through which students can participate in Naval ROTC: the Scholarship Program and the College Program. The two programs differ primarily in benefits given to the student.

Scholarship Program:

The Scholarship Program is awarded annually across the nation and provides nearly 800 scholarships for use at 166 universities nationwide associated with one of the 77 NROTC host universities including over 160 total universities to selected students who want to serve in the Navy or Marine Corps. Full tuition and other financial benefits are provided to students during college leading to a baccalaureate degree.


The program offers scholarships that provide full tuition and are merit-based. While on scholarship, students also receive money for instructional fees, textbooks, non-consumable supplies, and a stipend of $250–$400 a month for a maximum of 40 months or 50 months with approved fifth-year benefit.

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 the available two- or three-year scholarships as controlled by the Naval Service Training Command.

Entering the Scholarship Program:

There are three ways to enter the Scholarship Program:

  1. Apply to the national competition each year. This process entails filling out and submitting an appropriate application, being interviewed by an NROTC officer, having a physical examination, applying to, and being accepted by, one of the colleges or universities throughout the country that offers an NROTC program.
  2. Enroll in the College Program at Cornell and earn a recommendation from the Professor of Naval Science for a scholarship after at least one semester in the program.
  3. Enter through the two or three-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 less strict than those for scholarship students, as noted in the curriculum section.

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 four to six weeks on a Navy ship or participate in a naval activity that occurs 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 serve on active duty for a minimum of five years; Marine Corps commissioners serve a minimum of four years. College Program midshipmen commissioned in the Navy serve a minimum of three years; Marine Corps serve three and a half years.  In some cases, following commissioning, optional specialized training such as aviation or nuclear power schools will add additional active duty requirements.

Service Assignment:

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

Among the assignments available are communities in naval aviation as either a pilot or naval flight officer, on submarines, and on surface ships. Other specialties, such as special warfare (SEALs) 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 (following the completion of 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 and administration.

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 four 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. Midshipmen are also expected to maintain Navy and Marine Corps physical fitness standards throughout the NROTC program. 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, as referenced below.

Naval Professional Laboratories

All students in the program participate in a two-hour professional development session each week. The session is held from 2:40 until 4:40 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 related to the administrative and managerial aspects of a Navy or Marine Corps officer’s duties.

Naval Science Course Sequence

All Navy and Marine midshipmen take one naval science course each semester during their first and sophomore years. Navy-option students continue to take a naval science course each semester during their junior and senior years. Marine-option students have slightly different curriculum requirements for their junior and senior years. In addition to their naval science courses, each student must participate in the naval science Professional Laboratory each semester.

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

Navy-Option College Program:

As a prerequisite to commissioning, Navy-option College Program students must complete college-level study in:

Mathematics (one year)
Physical Science (one year)
English (one year)
American Military History or National Security Policy (one semester)
World Culture and Regional Studies (one semester)

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:

In either the Scholarship Program or the College Program, any midshipman 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 first and sophomore years. Marine-option students have slightly different naval science course requirements during the junior and senior years, than their Navy-option counterparts: American Military History or National Security Policy (one semester).

Extracurricular Activities:

The NROTC midshipman at Cornell is offered a broad range of activities, including an intramural sports program. Midshipmen participate in a myriad of social events, including the annual Navy/Marine Corps Birthday Ball and formal ceremonies. Students are encouraged to pursue engagement in the Cornell community through varsity sports, student organizations, clubs, and Greek Life as well, on a not-to-interfere basis with their NROTC requirements.