The Basic Course is a four-course series, usually taken in the freshman and sophomore years. Freshman and sophomore courses are 2 credits each. The Basic Course trains the student in a variety of topics, including the national defense structure, leadership theory and principles, land navigation, small-unit operations and tactics, military history, and basic military skills and knowledge. The student incurs no military service obligation while enrolled in the Basic Course, and may dis-enroll at any time (except for sophomores on Army ROTC scholarships). Enrollment in the Basic Course is open to all Penn State full-time students. Also, uniforms, textbooks, and most equipment are furnished at no charge by the government to all enrolled students.
The Army ROTC program is much more than just taking classes. Each semester, the Army ROTC program consists of five activity segments: classroom lectures (one or two fifty-minute classes per week), a 100-minute Leadership Laboratory, Physical Training sessions, day trips and field training exercises, and extracurricular activities that include numerous clubs and social events. While the latter three activities are generally optional for enrolled Basic Course students, most students become progressively involved to enhance their training, develop esprit de corps, and take part for the social and fun aspects of the program.
The Advanced Course consists of a series of four courses, each for 3 credits. The Advanced Course instructs and evaluates in such areas as leadership and management, tactical operations, strategy, personnel administration, logistics, military justice, and ethics. Advanced Course students incur a service obligation when contracted, after which they receive a cash stipend of up to $400 per month (tax free) up to $4,000 per academic year. Normally, in the summer between the junior and senior years, students attend a five- to six-week National Advanced Leader's Course, for which salary and travel expenses are paid for the student. National Advanced Leader's Course is a critical hurdle that students must pass to receive a commission. In addition, students must complete at least one University course in each of five areas prior to commissioning: written communications, human behavior, computer literacy, mathematical reasoning, and American military history. These courses may also fulfill the student's General Education or academic major curriculum requirements.
Three-year Army ROTC scholarships are available to students on a competitive basis. These merit scholarships pay full tuition, a book allowance ($600 per year), and a tax-free subsistence stipend of up to $400 per month up to $4,000 per academic year. Four-year scholarships are available only through competition in the high school senior year. Army ROTC scholarships are awarded in five major categories: engineering, analytic/physical sciences, nursing, technical/management, and generalists (all other majors except theology). In particular, Army ROTC has a strong program for Nursing majors with numerous scholarship and enrollment options.
Entrance to Army ROTC
Students may enter Army ROTC during their baccalaureate studies up until the start of their junior year via several lateral entry methods. These methods include compressing the Basic Course into one year (for sophomores), attending a four-week summer training program called Army ROTC Leader's Training Course, or by receiving constructive credit for prior military service. Entry after this time is possible only when an enrolling student will be continuing his/her education after baccalaureate graduation. Contracted students who wish to continue their education at a graduate level may request an education delay before starting their service obligation.
University Park and Altoona
Scholarship and Enrollment Officer
208 Wagner Building
University Park, PA
Army ROTC Cadets compete to serve on Active Duty, or elect to serve part-time in the US Army Reserve (USAR) or Army National Guard (ARNG). Career fields are wide ranging, including: Administrative Support, Intelligence/Combat Support, Arts/Media, Legal/Law Enforcement, Combat, Mechanics, Computers/Technology, Medical/Emergency, Construction/Engineering and Transportation/Aviation. Nearly any civilian professional career has an equivalent in the US Army. Graduates’ salaries are above the national average for college grads, with regular raises and promotions in the first few years of service. Life and Health insurance are provided or available for both Active Duty and the Reserve Components (USAR/ARNG).
Opportunities for Graduate Studies
Army ROTC Cadets pursuing graduate degrees in certain professional fields (medical, legal) can seek an ‘Educational Delay’ to complete their subsequent education. Upon completion, those individuals practice their respective career fields as US Army Officers. Additional scholarship funding may be available through the US Army Health Professions Scholarship Program (HPSP).