Army Senior Reserve Officer Training Program – SROTC

Army ROTC graduates

Ash Carter / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Primarily, the Army Senior Reserve Officer Training Corps (SROTC) program is a college scholarship program (although it is certainly possible to participate in the program without receiving a scholarship), leading to a commission in the United States Army. The overall mission of the Army SROTC Program is to produce commissioned officers in the quality, quantity, and academic disciplines necessary to meet Active Army and Reserve Component requirements.

SROTC Organization

The SROTC Program is conducted at three types of schools:

  • Civilian colleges - These are schools that grant baccalaureate or graduate degrees and are not operated on a military basis.
  • Military colleges - These are institutions that meet the following criteria: (1) Grant baccalaureate degrees. (2) Require a course in military training during the undergraduate course for all undergraduate students who are physically fit (with a few exceptions)
  • Military junior colleges (MJC) - These are military schools that provide high school and junior college education. These schools do not grant baccalaureate degrees but meet all other requirements of military colleges. They administer both the Junior and Senior ROTC programs.

SROTC Programs

There are three types of SROTC programs:

  • A Host Battalion has a formal agreement between the Secretary of the Army (SA) and the academic institution. Host battalions are assigned a Professor of Military Science (PMS), staffed to instruct and recruit cadets; and provide for their own administrative and logistical support. The PMS and staff are specially selected Army commissioned officers.
  • An Extension Center has a formal agreement between the Commander of Army ROTC, and the university or college. Extension centers are assigned an assistant PMS or officer in charge and are staffed to instruct and recruit cadets. These centers receive their administrative and logistical support from their host ROTC Battalion.
  • A cross-enrolled school has an agreement (formal or informal) with a host or extension center that allows for the transfer of academic credit. Cadre (instructors and staff) are not assigned to cross-enrolled schools.

All SROTC activities and functions at an institution are grouped under and organized into the Department of Military Science. In institutional matters, the designated administrative official has the same control over the Department of Military Science as with other departments in the school. At the discretion of the school authorities, the Department of Military Science may be grouped with the Department of Aerospace Studies and/or Department of Naval Science, if present, into a single large academic division.

The Army SROTC program is a cooperative effort, contractually agreed to between the Army and host institution, to provide junior officer leadership training in the interest of national security. The Army cooperates with host schools to produce well-educated young men and women with leadership potential for civilian enterprise and national defense. The Army is willing to receive valid criticism, regardless of source, to maintain a working program. The right of orderly campus dissent is recognized. However, the Army has limited tolerance for anti-ROTC activities that degrade and distort the Army. When a host institution does not support the ROTC Program, the Army will consider disestablishing the ROTC program at that institution.

Army SROTC is currently offered more than 800 colleges and universities.

Types of SROTC Participants

It's not necessary, in all cases, to commit to joining the Army to participate in ROTC. There are several types of ROTC students:

Scholarship Students

The Army ROTC Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to those students who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership potential. The U.S. Army Scholarship Program's purpose is to provide for the education and training of highly qualified and motivated young men and women who have a strong commitment to military service as commissioned officers. The number of cadets in the scholarship program at any one time is limited by law (10 USC 2107).

There are two, three, and four-year scholarships available. Scholarships are awarded at different monetary levels. At some schools, an ROTC scholarship is worth up to $80,000, which goes towards tuition and educational fees. Also, scholarship winners receive an allowance of up to $1,500 a year. ROTC scholarships are not based on financial need. Instead, they're awarded on merit. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government or part-time work.

If you are 17 years of age when you enroll, your parents or guardian must also sign this contract. If you are 18 or older, only your signature is required. This contract contains a requirement to repay the United States Government for all financial aid received if after you begin your sophomore year, you fail to comply with the term of the contract. This repayment may be monetary or in the form of enlisted service. The choice rests with the Army and not the scholarship cadet.

Nonscholarship Students

Even without a scholarship, students can sign an enlistment contract, enroll in ROTC, and (ultimately) obtain a commission. Nonscholarship students incur a service obligation to attend the advanced course, but not the basic course.

Participating Students 

ROTC participating students are students who participate in military science courses but are not fully enrolled in ROTC. They are divided into three categories: auditing students, conditional students, and alien students. Students who are ineligible or become ineligible for enrollment as an ROTC cadet may if desired by school authorities and approved by the PMS, participate in the ROTC program as a "participating student" provided:

  • They are not authorized to access classified instructional material.
  • They are in good standing and attending school full time.
  • There is no loss in the effectiveness of military instruction.
  • Such participation is not otherwise prohibited by law, DOD Directive, or Army Regulation.

Auditing Students

Any student may audit courses in the ROTC program if approved by the PMS and school authorities. This authority is granted to permit the PMS to cooperate with the school in accommodating a student's request for limited participation in the program. Auditing students will not:

  • Participate in drill, marching, leadership laboratories, field training exercises, voluntary programs, or attend basic or advanced camp.
  • Be issued or wear a uniform.
  • Receive credit toward commissioning or enlisted grade status through an audit of ROTC courses, or issued a DA Form 134 for having audited the course.

Conditional Students

Conditional students are those who complete part I of DA Form 597 (Army Senior Reserve Officers' Training Corps Nonscholarship Cadet Contract) but do not complete the enlistment contract. Conditional students in this paragraph refer only to those described in (1) and (2) below. It does not include alien students, or students trying to decide whether they desire to join ROTC and later strive for a commission. Credit toward commissioning cannot be awarded to students who are not officially enrolled as cadets.

The category of conditional students include:

  • Applicants for enrollment in the ROTC Program whose eligibility based on medical, academic, or other criteria has not been finally determined or for whom a waiver request is pending. Students enrolled before being placed in this category will not be disenrolled solely on the basis of a pending request for a waiver.
  • Students who are ineligible or become ineligible for enrollment but whose participation in all aspects of the year of instruction involved has been approved by the PMS or higher authority.

Conditional status must be resolved within a 12-month period from its inception.

Conditional students will not be furnished with Government-issued uniforms. Uniforms for conditional students may be purchased by the school or the student. Conditional students may wear the Army green or utility uniform while pursuing a course for which regularly enrolled cadets are permitted to wear the uniform.

Conditional students are not authorized to attend the basic camp or advanced camp until their conditional status is resolved. If directed by USAROTCCC, an individual may attend advanced camp for further evaluation of an unresolved medical condition by camp Medical Waiver Review Board (MWRB).

Alien Students 

An alien student may voluntarily enroll in the basic course or attend basic camp and may participate in the advanced course. The army does not actively recruit nonimmigrant aliens for ROTC. Each alien applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Possess proper papers establishing his or her status as an immigrant, refugee, or nonimmigrant alien.
  • Be enrolled in and attending full-time a regular course of instruction at a school where SROTC is available.
  • Be recommended by the proper school authority.
  • Be recommended by the PMS.
  • Meet the regular medical fitness requirements for enrollment in ROTC. Expenses incurred by an applicant because of these requirements are not reimbursable by the Government.

Immigrant alien students are briefed, in advance that participation in the advanced course will not result in an appointment as an officer. Should the student attain citizenship before graduating and be qualified in all other areas, he or she must elect to enroll in the advanced course or be released from the program.

Alien students may be disenrolled from the basic course or dismissed from participation in the advanced course for any reason.

Eligibility Requirements

Academic Status

Students must be enrolled in and attending full-time at a regular course of instruction at a school participating in the SROTC Program. At military colleges and civilian schools, the course of instruction must lead to a baccalaureate or advanced degree in a recognized field that is compatible with the student's participation in the ROTC Program. Nursing and other medical specialty students must be enrolled in a program accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education. There are no restrictions on the student's major (except for scholarship cadets). Request for exceptions to the enrolled in and attending full-time requirements may be submitted by graduate students only, and are approved on a case-by-case basis.


Requirements for scholarship applicants are shown below. For nonscholarship applicants:

  • Minimum: Applicants must be at least 17 years old to enroll in the advanced course. Applicants under 18 years old and those who are minors for the purpose of executing contracts under the laws of the State which has jurisdiction where the school is located (even if older than 18) require parental consent for enrolling in the advanced course.
  • Maximum: Applicants must be young enough that they will not be 30 years old or older at the projected time of commissioning.
  • Waiver: The Commanding General of ROTC is the waiver authority for those who will be over the age of 32 at the projected time of commissioning. Applicants must have demonstrated exceptional ability and be recommended by the region commander. Region commanders are authorized to approve waivers for applicants who will be between 30 and 32 years old at the projected time of commissioning.


Applicants must be of good moral character, as normally substantiated by no record of disciplinary problems or civil convictions. Applicants who have been convicted of an offense, that would normally evidence a lack of good moral character when the conviction has not been waived are not eligible for enrollment.


Students must be citizens of the United States (except as provided above).


  • Criteria for determining eligibility:
    • The applicant must have no more than three dependents. Region commander may grant a waiver for a married applicant requesting a waiver.
    • An unmarried applicant who has one or more dependents under 18 years old is disqualified, except as provided in (3) below. No waiver is authorized.
    • A divorced or sole parent applicant may be processed for enrollment without waiver when the child or children of such applicants have been placed in the custody of the other parent, or an adult relative or legal guardian by court order if the applicant is not required to provide child support. If the applicant is required to provide child support, a dependency waiver is required. The region commander has the authority to grant the waiver. In both cases, the applicant must sign a statement of understanding that he or she will be disenrolled if custody of the child or children is regained while the applicant is enrolled in ROTC. An exception to the unenrollment may be granted only in extraordinary circumstances such as the death of the legal guardian, or adult having custody of the child or children.
    • An applicant with a spouse in a military component of any armed service (excluding members of the Individual Ready Reserve( IRR)) who has one or more dependents under 18 years old is disqualified. No waiver is authorized.
    • Husband and wife teams who have one or more dependents under 18 years old are disqualified from enrollment in ROTC as a team. No waiver is authorized. Either the husband or wife may enroll without a waiver subject to other provisions of this paragraph.
  • Change in status: Once an applicant has enrolled in the ROTC Program, a change in the status or number of his or her dependents does not constitute cause for an unenrollment, and does not require a waiver. However, if the number, status, or circumstances of a cadet's dependents adversely affects the cadet's performance of duty to the extent that the cadet fails to fulfill the terms of the ROTC contract he or she may be processed for an unenrollment.
  • Pregnant students: Cadets who become pregnant during the course will not be involuntarily disenrolled solely because of pregnancy.

Medical Qualifications

SROTC students must be medically qualified for entry into the United States Armed Forces.

English Language Aptitude

All applicants must be proficient in the English language. Cadets whose primary language is not English will be given the English Comprehension Level Test (ECLT).

Requirements for the Advanced Course and the Basic Camp

In addition to the general requirements for enrollment, a student enrolled in the advanced course or for the basic camp must meet the following requirements:

Academic and ROTC Status

  • Have an established cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better on a 4.0 system. Exception: Entering freshman at a Military Junior College (MJC) and prior service enlistees who were participants in the Army College Fund Veteran's Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) and are entering freshman as follows:
  • Be enrolled in and attending as a full-time student (according to the school's criteria) a recognized course of instruction producing a baccalaureate degree, advanced degree, or an advanced education program at a fully accredited 4-year degree-granting institution or at a fully accredited associate degree-granting institution that has been recognized as having established formal linkage with a fully accredited 4-year degree-granting institution.
  • Have satisfactorily completed the ROTC basic course, or received credit on the basis of other previous military training or service, or satisfactorily completed basic camp.
    • MJC freshman - 2.0 cumulative high school GPA and a scholastic aptitude test score of 850 or an American college test score of 17.
    • Prior service - score of 110 or higher on the general technical aptitude area of the Army Classification Battery.

Officer Potential

The student must possess the qualifications for becoming an effective Army officer. Leadership potential will be emphasized as an important factor in selection for the advanced course. Applicants must possess officer-like qualifications as evidenced by their appearance, record, personality, scholarship, extracurricular activities, and aptitude for military training.

Eligibility for Scholarships

To be eligible to receive or retain an Army ROTC scholarship, the student must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Enlist in the Army National Guard or United States Army Reserves (USAR) for a period of 8 years.
  • Be at least 17 years old by 1 October of the year of enrollment as a scholarship cadet if enrolled in the fall. Other than fall enrollees must be at least 17 years old by the time of enrollment as a scholarship cadet. No waivers are authorized.
  • Be under 27 years old by 30 June of the calendar year in which eligible for appointment. An extension may be granted to prior service applicants if the applicant will be under 30 years old by 30 June of the calendar year that he or she is eligible for appointment. The length of an extension may not exceed the actual period of active duty service.
  • Be of good moral character as evidenced by home, community, and school activities.
  • Exhibit a strong desire to obtain a commission and pursue a military career in the Army.
  • Will possess the potential to become an effective Army officer. Leadership potential will be emphasized as a very important factor for the selection and continuation of a scholarship. Applicants must possess officer potential as evidenced by - (a) Appearance. (b) Personality. (c) Academic excellence. (d) Extracurricular activities. (e) Physical fitness.
  • Be medically qualified, under the standards of Army Regulation 40-501.
  • Sign an agreement meeting the requirements of Title 10 USC 2107, and 2005.
  • Execute the loyalty oath.
  • Be eligible for a Secret Security Clearance. Although a Secret clearance is not a prerequisite to awarding a scholarship, students must obtain a Secret clearance within 180 days of the award in order to retain the scholarship status. Extensions not to exceed an additional 90 days may be granted by the region commander. Extensions in excess of 90 days must be approved by the Commanding General of ROTC. Scholarship cadets who receive a Letter of Intent to Deny Security Clearance from the Commander, U.S. Army Central Personnel Security Clearance Facility will be processed for termination of scholarship.
  • Be enrolled in an approved degree program.

Scholarships are very competitive. Federal law limits the number of scholarships that can be granted each year. The following items are used to select scholarship winners:

  • Results of a Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or the American College Test (ACT). You must achieve a minimum SAT score of 920 (composite of Verbal and Math) or an American College Test (ACT) composite score of 19 to qualify for the competition. If you take both the SAT and ACT, you must submit the results of both tests - your best score will be used.
  • High school academic standing - your class size and rank are required. You must have a high school GPA of 2.5 or higher.
  • Three school officials' evaluations. These evaluations are to be completed by teachers, coaches, or the principal. If you are attending the United States Military Academy (USMA) Preparatory School, you must have one of these evaluations completed by a USMA Preparatory School Official. Extracurricular participation, athletic activities, and leadership positions held. If you have held part-time jobs during the school year and do not have the time for extensive participation in sports and extracurricular activities, you will be given credit based on the number of hours you worked per week.
  • Personal interview. It is very important that you apply to the schools you list on your application. Your information will only be given to the Professor of Military Science (PMS) at the schools you have listed if you become an interviewee. The PMS will then contact you for an interview.

The following data gave an average leadership, extracurricular and athletic activities profile for a scholarship winner for the 1999-2000 school year: 

  • President of student bodies of the senior class: 6%
  • Other class officers: 39%
  • National Honor Society members: 59%
  • Varsity letter Winners: 79%
  • Varsity team captains: 54%
  • Junior ROTC participants: 27%
  • Club presidents: 18%

In the 1999 school year, the average SAT was 1242 and 28 ACT for scholarship recipients.


All categories of ineligibilities who meet the requirements set by the school authorities may take Army ROTC classes for all 4 years for academic credit only. The following students are ineligible for enrollment in the basic or advanced course:

  • Conscientious Objectors as defined in Army Regulation 600-43.
  • A student who has a pretrial diversion for a felony, any civil conviction, an adverse adjudication, or any type of court-martial conviction even though the record may have been sealed or expunged unless a waiver is granted. These students may be permitted to participate in the basic course without a waiver but must have obtained a waiver prior to attending basic camp or enrolling in the advanced course. No waiver is required for minor traffic offenses resulting in a fine of$250 or less, except when the applicant has accumulated six or more such offenses during any 12 month period. Waivers are not required for disciplinary actions in connection with the provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), Article 15. Such disciplinary actions will be considered when evaluating the applicant's character, however. In requesting a waiver, the student must list all the above proceedings, whether by military or civilian courts.
  • A student who has been discharged from any branch of the armed forces with a waivable or nonwaivable disqualifying reenlistment code, or with one of the following types of discharge:
  • A student who is a commissioned officer, a former officer or who has a certificate of eligibility for appointment as a commissioned officer.
  • A student who will have 10 years or more of active Federal service at the time of commissioning.
  • A student who has demonstrated a pattern of misconduct consisting of discreditable involvement with civil or military authorities or who has committed a serious military or civilian offense, whether it resulted in trial or conviction or not if a punitive discharge would be authorized for the same or a closely related offense under the Manual for Courts-Martial. Waivers may be granted by the Commanding General of ROTC.
  • Any applicant for entrance into the SROTC Program (to include former cadets, prior service members, and current service members) who has previously tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol or cocaine use by a DOD certified drug testing laboratory using procedures established by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, is permanently ineligible for the SROTC commissioning program. Those who have tested positive for alcohol under DOD criteria to include prior service and current servicemembers who have undergone or undergoing rehabilitation are also permanently ineligible for the SROTC commissioning program.
    • Dishonorable
    • Bad conduct
    • Undesirable
    • Under other than honorable conditions
    • General or honorable if the reason and authority for separation preclude reentry into military service without a waiver

Army ROTC in a Nutshell

The Army SROTC program is divided into four phases: the Basic Course, the Basic Camp, the Advanced Course, and the Advanced Camp. The Basic Course generally covers the freshman and sophomore years. If a student completes the basic course, they do not have to attend the "Basic Camp." The basic camp is designed for students who do not complete the basic course, in order to allow them to "catch up," to enter the Advanced Course. The Advanced Course is a requirement to obtain a commission. The Advanced Camp is a requirement for graduation from the Advanced course.

Basic Camp

ROTC Basic Camp is required for all applicants who have not completed or received credit for completing MS I and MS II. It is designed to bring students to a level of military training that will qualify them for enrollment in the advanced course. Nursing majors can elect not to attend basic camp. A training program is provided on-campus to meet the MQS-I required for these nurse majors.

Training at Basic Camp is rugged and intensive. Special emphasis is placed on physical conditioning and practical hands-on work. There is very little classroom work. To the maximum extent, all training is conducted outdoors and consists of exercises that permit the student to be an active participant. Classroom-type instruction is held to a minimum.

Practical training in leadership is stressed throughout the camp period. To develop initiative and leadership and to ensure practical experience, students are rotated in positions of responsibility of command.

Qualified applicants who successfully complete ROTC Basic Camp or the four-semester Nurse Training Program are given credit for the ROTC Basic Course.

Advanced Camp

The advanced camp mission is to train cadets to leadership and Army standards and evaluate their officer leadership potential. Special emphasis is placed on technical and tactical skills and leadership development.

The advanced camp is a mandatory part of the Advanced Course that supplements the campus training with practical experience in a field training environment. The advanced camp is conducted as part of the advanced course, normally between the third and fourth years of school. Special emphasis is placed on leadership training. Successful advanced course completion is a prerequisite for a commission in the United States Army. The Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) may be substituted for the standard camp for cadets with a nursing academic major.

Transferring Between Programs

Army to Air Force

Interservice transfer of ROTC students is limited to justifiable cases. The request for transfer to an Air Force unit must include an endorsement from the Professor of Aerospace Studies of the unit to which transfer is requested, which contains a statement that tentative approval of the transfer depends on the approval of Army authorities. Scholarship students may not transfer after entering their sophomore year.

In the case of a request for transfer to an Army ROTC unit, the PMS will consider the effect the transfer will have on enrollment objectives and existing Army-Air Force relations. Credit may be granted for Air Force ROTC courses completed, except that the cadet must attend the Army ROTC Advanced Camp. The Commanding General of Army ROTC may grant a waiver for attending the Army ROTC advanced camp.

Army to Navy

Transfers between Army and Navy ROTC units are not authorized. If the student has terminated his or her affiliation with the Navy, ROTC credits may be given for periods of Naval training.

Enlistment in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR)

The PMS may unenroll an ROTC basic course cadet for enlistment in the USMCR for the Platoon Leadership Course program. The PMS may approve a request for an unenrollment from nonscholarship advanced course cadets for this purpose. Request from scholarship cadets (MS II and the advanced course) are submitted through channels to the Commanding General of Army ROTC.

Appointment for Commission

Contrary to popular belief, graduating from the ROTC program does not automatically confer an appointment as a commissioned officer. The service must offer an appointment. Cadets are commissioned in either the Regular Army or Army Reserves (or National Guard, if enrolled in ROTC under a specific National Guard program).

Branch Assignment of ROTC Cadets

Branch selection factors Branch assignments are made according to the needs of the Army. Consideration is given to the cadet's area of academic specialty. Army policy is to assign graduating cadets to a branch and specialty code based on the following:

  • Army branch/specialty strength requirements
  • Academic disciplines
  • Personal preference
  • Recommendation of PMS
  • Demonstrated performance and potential
  • Prior military experience
  • Other experience

Army ROTC Green to Gold Program

The Green to Gold program seeks talented young enlisted soldiers who have decided to leave or are considering leaving, active duty to attend college. Quality enlisted soldiers with officer potential who have served at least two years on active duty are allowed to voluntarily request discharge from active duty and enroll in Army ROTC to earn baccalaureate degrees and commissions as second lieutenants.