10 US Colleges with ROTC Programs in 2023

Students interested in ROTC often use it to pay for college and advance professionally and personally. Almost 2,000 colleges and universities offer ROTC programs that prepare students to become officers in the Army, Navy, or Air Force.

Junior ROTC programs (JROTC) are available at many high schools, so students can join this program earlier. In addition to teaching leadership and soft skills, these programs allow you to land military positions after graduation. You can use these skills in almost any field, even if you do not plan to be a lifelong military person.

US Colleges with ROTC Programs - fact

What is ROTC?

Featured Programs

For those unfamiliar with what ROTC stands for, it means “Reserve Officer Training Corps.” ROTC was rooted way back when the National Defense Act of 1916 was drafted. This act had a lot of shortcomings but somehow enabled the nation to mobilize in time for war with Germany in April 1917.

The Reserve Army was expanded, the National Guard was integrated as a more responsive reserve, and cooperation between the Reserve and Regular Armies improved. Today’s Total Force Army is based on the framework established by the law.

Colleges and high schools could get funding and instructors from the ROTC organization. ROTC trains college students for future military service. Every branch of the armed forces has its ROTC program.

At the high school level, JROTC programs are offered to students interested in serving in the US Armed Forces at an early age. And as for college levels, ROTC programs are widely available, often offered with ROTC scholarship programs.

Top US Colleges with ROTC Programs

Our list of the colleges offering top ROTC programs does not include the federal government-designated six Senior Military Colleges that have consistently commissioned officers to the US military via ROTC.

Cameron University

Cameron University

An ROTC program offers young men and women a chance to start on a solid note. Cameron University structured this program to provide unrivaled leadership training for undergraduate and graduate students at all levels. As an officer, you can find a place for your passion in the Army and get the training you need to pursue it. By joining ROTC, you can become an officer in the Army whether you are in high school, college, graduate school, or already serving.

If you’re a high school student and want to learn what it takes to become an Army officer while attending college, ROTC will give you valuable discipline, leadership, and military training. Scholarships are also available to ROTC members for tuition and other expenses.

For college and graduate students, Army ROTC offers classes and field training that prepare you for becoming an Army Officer without interfering with your studies. In addition to enhancing your college experience, ROTC provides discipline and money for tuition.

Finally, the school has launched Green to Gold, a two-year program that allows enlisted soldiers to earn an Army officer commission while completing a baccalaureate or graduate degree.

University of Florida

University of Florida

Air Force ROTC

Undergraduate students should meet the Air Force ROTC curriculum requirements to prepare for a career as an officer in the armed forces. Following graduation, their students are well ahead of their non-ROTC peers in achieving management-level positions within the Air Force. 


The Army ROTC offers one great leadership course in the country at the University of Florida. To become a US Army officer, individuals must attend Army ROTC. Their Fightin’ Gator ROTC Battalion has been a pillar in the development of tomorrow’s leaders.

The Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps or Navy ROTC program offered at the University of Florida continues the fine tradition of training future naval officers. In addition to midshipmen and officer candidates, NROTC offers a variety of outstanding programs that integrate the coursework used in training sailors and the Marine Corps.

Jacksonville State University

Jacksonville State University

You can offset the cost of college by applying for scholarships offered by JSU ROTC. On campus, JSU ROTC offers a 35-foot rappel tower, a zodiac tactical boat, and paintball guns, making it a challenging, exciting experience you’ll never forget. Leadership, management, and motivation skills can be learned through JSU ROTC courses. Civilian agencies will be very interested in this type of leadership experience.

Earning a degree from Jacksonville State University does not provide you with the same advantages as ROTC. The US Army will accept you as a Second Lieutenant after you complete both college and JSU ROTC courses. US Army Officers are leaders, problem solvers, evaluators, and key who lead Soldiers in all situations.

Officers in the Army have the opportunity to manage, travel, and advance their careers. 

The range of fields you can choose from includes communications, computers, combat arms, and nursing. Besides receiving excellent medical and dental benefits, you can also take advantage of housing and retirement benefits. You can apply here now.

Cornell University

Cornell University

Since the Morrill Act of 1862, Cornell has had a long and distinguished military history. New York State Land Grant University, Cornell’s founding, and designation conferred on it the responsibility to provide military education and training.

The ROTC unit at Cornell was formally established in 1917. Every major conflict since the Spanish-American War has been fought by Cornell graduates with distinction.

In ROTC, college students are trained to become competent leaders in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). While studying full-time at colleges and universities, cadets work part-time to earn a commission in the Army while still enrolled in school full-time.

As a primary source of officers for the Army Reserve and National Guard, ROTC augments the US Military Academy at West Point (USMA). Check their ROTC schedules here.

Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University

About 100 cadets in Cadet Wing are pursuing various degrees and aiming for Air Force careers. In addition to preparing young students for leadership positions in the Air and Space Forces, NAU’s ROTC program offers much more. By participating in this course, you will develop lifelong friendships as well as grow as a person. Developing strong leadership skills will benefit you in the Air Force and Space Force and the corporate world.

With this program, you will be able to fund your education through scholarships and become an officer in two of the world’s top high-tech organizations upon graduation.

Air Force ROTC offers several opportunities for scholarships, including book allowances and monthly stipends, which can cover the total cost of tuition. Cadets in the ROTC program may apply for the In College Scholarship Program, while high school students may apply for the High School Scholarship Program.

Radford University

Radford University

Radford University prepares college students for leadership roles in the US Army through its exciting and challenging college program. The Army ROTC is easy to join. If you are a Radford University freshman, consider adding Military Science (MSCI) 111 to your schedule. QUEST first-year orientation usually includes this. Adding the appropriate military science course will require an override if you are a sophomore.

The ROTC detachment of their school is small. The community is close-knit and takes care of each other. The ROTC team at Radford University ensures that your body is treated well while you are also training your mind. In the end, you will feel much better despite feeling sore at first.  

After finishing the ROTC program, you are commissioned as a member of the US Army. If you choose to join the Active Army, you will have a steady job for at least four years, and you can continue serving for as long as you like. During the week, you can pursue the profession of your choice while serving your country in the Army Reserve or National Guard.  

Syracuse University

Syracuse University

By earning both an officer’s commission and a college degree through Syracuse University’s ROTC program, you will have a step up on your future. Consider the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) if you want both certainty and flexibility in your future career and are highly competitive. Both military and civilian careers will be prepared for you through leadership training and a regular academic major.

The AFROTC-Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps has produced leaders at Syracuse University since 1918. As a cadet in Syracuse’s AFROTC program, you will be able to prove your abilities as a leader and student. Various scholarship programs and camaraderie, and valuable leadership experience are offered.

The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) offers college students proven leadership training. There is more to Army ROTC than just classroom learning. During the first and second years, students take a fundamental management and leadership development course that does not require military service. Advanced courses in leadership, management, and ethics are offered during junior and senior years.

Samford University

Samford University

Samford University offers an ROTC, an educational program that offers commissions in the US Air Force and Space Forces to young men and women pursuing a degree in any academic field. The AFROTC program aims to prepare individuals for leadership and officer careers once they enter the Air or Space Force.

Students who graduate from the AFROTC program can pursue diverse career paths, including aviation, law, law enforcement, medical sciences, intelligence, computer science, engineering, and more.

This unique opportunity is available to first- and second-year college students without military commitment for up to two years. Afro-Rotary Training comes in two forms: General Military Course (GMC) & Professional Officer’s Course (POC). First- and second-year students participate in the program’s GMC portion and can try out AFROTC without committing.

A basic understanding of the history and organization of the Air and Space Forces will be taught to cadets during the GMC period. Cadets will compete for field training allocations during their sophomore year. To be admitted to the POC, you must complete field training. During your junior and senior years in the program, you will take the POC. 

Duke University

Duke University

In addition to your college requirements, you can enroll in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). You will benefit from these tools, training, and experiences in any competitive environment. The ROTC program is an elective course, so you are not obligated to join the Army during your first and second years.

As a college student, you will have an average experience on campus, but after graduation, you will receive a specialty in the Army and be commissioned as an officer. In some branches, admission is more competitive than in others, but you will have the opportunity to specify your preference during your senior year.

Army ROTC is designed for students who excel in college and want to achieve more. These students are generally scholars who maintain good grades, athletes who are physically fit, and leaders who are passionate about helping others.

You will enroll in Military Science Classes and Labs as an ROTC member. You will be issued a permission number from the department, along with uniforms and equipment. This will allow you to learn more about the military and explore whether it is the right path for you.

Drexel University

Drexel University

Since 1918, Drexel University has been home to the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. As part of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program, students complete academic and military studies simultaneously. Upon graduation, they are commissioned as lieutenants in the Army, Army Reserve, or Army National Guard.

During their academic major, ROTC Cadets take military sciences courses at Drexel University and participate in leadership training labs. Military science courses and military history courses are required for ROTC Cadets. Military science courses offered by the Army ROTC are open to all students, and enrollment alone is not a military obligation. Faculty members from the Army and the civilian sector teach the courses.

Basic and advanced course series are offered in the Military Science program, with the primary course series aligned with the first two years of college. Applicants must have completed the two-year introductory course or apply to skip the basic course with relevant experiences, like attending Basic Camp at Fort Knox the summer before junior year.  

Life in ROTC

As part of the ROTC program, students learn leadership skills, critical thinking skills, and the values of the military to become better citizens and individuals. A higher standard is set for ROTC students. In ROTC, students must take a few special classes combined with physical education exercises.

Many students feel that ROTC provides structure and camaraderie that they cherish. In addition to combining military strength with faith-based learning, ROTC programs can enhance the college experience by combining discipline and leadership. Participating students attend the ROTC-specific class on some days of the week, while there are also days when you need to participate in physical training. But the schedule would have to depend on the institution you enroll in.

Lifetime Benefits of ROTC

A wide range of benefits is available to Army ROTC students, making it a leader in the country. Here are some lifetime benefits to taking advantage of:

Serve a Higher Cause

Soldiers in the Army are not just employees; they will be part of something much bigger and more meaningful. By taking part in campus activities and volunteering in the community, you will be trained for the workforce. And you will discover a higher purpose.  

Be A Leader

By joining Army ROTC, you will learn to lead by example, not just give orders. Officers in the US Army are counselors, strategists, and motivators. The role is similar to that of a business leader or manager. An Officer’s role involves leading other Soldiers in all circumstances and adapting to changing environments. Your leadership skills will be brushed when you enroll in ROTC programs.

Get Physically Fit

Many people hire personal trainers or buy gym memberships to stay in shape. Instead of joining a gym, join ROTC to get fit. The fitness programs they offer are usually challenging and robust, designed to help people who have never exercised before getting in shape. Those who need extra personal instruction can get it from our cadre during set times each week, offering workouts tailored to their needs.

Earn A Fun Experience

The ROTC program provides a much different college experience than other programs. Meet fantastic people, push yourself beyond your limits, and achieve goals you never thought possible. These programs also provide Cadets with recreational activities such as rafting trips, Spartan races, boot camps, and intramural athletics teams. You can enjoy all these fun memories and events with your genuine ROTC friends. 

Increase Pay

It can be stressful for graduates to find a well-paying job after graduation. Fortunately, graduates of ROTC who commission as active duty officers after graduation are not affected by this. An incoming Second Lieutenant earns a good salary per year after college.

Their pay is accompanied by a housing allowance based on the local cost of living. The Army also pays officers total health and dental coverage, provides life insurance, grants them base privileges, and offers a generous retirement plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ROTC count as military service?

An ROTC member’s years of service do not count towards retirement. During your first two years, ROTC programs count as college electives, not military service. If you accept a scholarship for your final two years of the program, you will also be committing to the military.

What is the GPA you need for ROTC?

You must have a 2.5 high school GPA to qualify for ROTC scholarships. In addition, you must maintain a GPA of 2.5 in college. Besides your GPA, you should be mindful of your ACT or SAT scores. 

Why do students join ROTC?

Former cadets listed several reasons on Army and ROTC websites for joining the program. College affordability, leadership, decision-making skills, mentorship, making the most of the college experience, and service to the country after graduation are a few factors.

Key Takeaways

The primary purpose of ROTC is to prepare students to become officers in the military, such as the United States Army or Air Force. As an ROTC participant during college, you can gain advanced rank in the reserves or active duty forces. Furthermore, ROTC pays for college tuition. Therefore, ROTC is often chosen by students as a way to pay for their college education while serving their country.

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