What is an Army ROTC Degree?

The Army ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) program combines a university undergraduate or graduate degree curriculum with the Army ROTC (AROTC) curriculum. It is offered at more than 1,100 accredited colleges and universities throughout the US. Cadets who pursue and receive an AROTC scholarship must fulfill the requirements of both their selected degree program and the military studies and leadership labs administered by the Army.

To be eligible for an Army ROTC scholarship, applicants must be US citizens between the ages of 17 and 27, must start their studies in their freshman year, must demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and leadership qualities, and must agree to serve at least four years of active duty as an army officer following college graduation.

Program Options

The standard part of the Army ROTC training program – the part that does not vary from cadet to cadet – is the Army ROTC basic course and advanced course. These classes are taught by military faculty and qualified guest speakers. Here is a snapshot of the AROTC curriculum:

Army ROTC Basic Course
This course takes place during the first two years of college. Its focus is threefold: basic military skills, the fundamentals of leadership, and laying the foundation to become an Army leader.

Freshman Year: The Role of the Army

  • Roles and Origins of the Army
  • Army Customs and Traditions
  • Branches of the Army
  • Military Operations and Tactics

Sophomore Year: The Role of an Officer

  • Role of the Officer and Non-commissioned Officer
  • Communications
  • Code of Conduct
  • First Aid
  • Principles of War
  • Military Operations and Tactics

Army ROTC Advanced Course
This course takes place during the last two years of college. Its focus is on advanced military tactics and organization, planning, and decision-making in Army environments.

Junior Year: Small Unit Training

  • Command and Staff Functions
  • Nuclear, Biochemical, and Chemical Warfare
  • Law of War
  • Weapons
  • Human Behavior
  • Math Reasoning
  • Computer Science
  • Military Operations and Tactics

Senior Year: Transition to Becoming an Officer

  • Military Justice
  • Intelligence and Electronic Warfare
  • Army Personnel Management
  • Army Logistics
  • Post and Installation Support
  • Military Operations and Tactics

As noted, in addition to completing the above Army components of the AROTC program, cadets must earn a college degree. While there are no restrictions as to the major in which cadets can apply for a scholarship, the Army does maintain a list of academic disciplines to help AROTC candidates with their application process.

Bachelor’s Degree in an Academic Discipline – Four Year Duration

Master’s Degree in an Academic Discipline – Two Year Duration (for most majors)
The Army ROTC program is commonly structured around a bachelor’s degree. However, enlisted soldiers can earn a master’s degree through the AROTC Green to Gold program.

The following are the Army’s academic discipline mixes. The specific disciplines listed in each mix are only a small sample of the many subject areas that make up the full mix.

Academic Discipline Mix 1 – Generalist

  • Administration – Public
  • Arabic – Egyptian / Jordanian / Libyan / Saudi / Syrian / Lebanese / Iraqi
  • Bengali
  • Criminal Justice
  • Criminology
  • Forensic Science
  • International Relations
  • Italian
  • Library Science / Archives
  • Mortuary Science
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Photography
  • Political Science
  • Public Affairs
  • Public Relations
  • Religion / Theology
  • Russian
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

Academic Discipline Mix 2 – Technical

  • Accounting / Auditing
  • Advertising
  • Anatomy
  • Archaeology
  • Audiology
  • Aviation Business Administration
  • Business Administration
  • Dairy Science
  • Economics – General
  • Finance – General
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychology (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Public Health

Academic Discipline Mix 3 – Physical Science / Analytical

  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Bacteriology
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry – General
  • Immunology
  • Mathematics – General
  • Medical Microbiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Pre-Med
  • Statistics
  • Toxicology
  • Virology
  • Zoology

Academic Discipline Mix 4 – Engineering

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Architecture – General
  • Architectural Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cartography
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Naval Architecture Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Robotics Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • Urban Planning

Academic Discipline Mix 5 – Nursing

  • Nursing – Administration
  • Nursing – Anesthesia
  • Nursing – Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Nursing – Flight
  • Nursing – General
  • Nursing – Maternal and Child Health
  • Nursing – Medical / Surgical
  • Nursing – Mental Health
  • Nursing – Neuropsychiatry
  • Nursing – Obstetrical
  • Nursing – Operating Room
  • Nursing – Pediatric
  • Nursing – Public Health

Degrees Similar to Army ROTC

Because of their distinct nature, only other ROTC programs, such as Air Force ROTC and Navy or Marine ROTC, are truly similar to the Army ROTC degree/curriculum. The information below, however, summarizes some of the majors that the Army lists in its academic discipline mixes:

Degree programs in advertising are made up of courses that demonstrate how to develop a brand and communicate it through the various advertising channels of print, television, radio, and online media.

Astronomy degree programs teach students about celestial bodies and the energy and forces exerted by their interaction. This means that the curriculum is concerned with the study of objects in space, from the smallest neutrinos to planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, asteroids, comets, and black holes.

Criminal Justice
Criminal justice is concerned with society’s response to crime. Degree programs in the field teach students about the agencies and processes that governments have created to control crime and punish those who violate laws. At the heart of training are the five components that make up the criminal justice system: law enforcement, prosecution, defense, courts, and corrections.

Economics asks wide questions about world economies, how governments should respond to financial crises, how stock prices and exchange rates are set, and how to help people living in poverty. Students of the field learn how to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world issues.

Foreign Languages and Literatures
Foreign languages and literatures degree programs teach students how to speak, read, and write foreign languages. Some programs focus on the linguistic structure of the studied language and others on its major written literary works. Many programs cover both of these components.

International Relations
Degree programs in international relations are concerned with looking at how states/governments relate to one another. These relations include trade, cooperation, disputes, conflicts, and war. The principles of diplomacy and foreign policy, international law, and organizations like the United Nations are also studied.

Mortuary Science
Mortuary science degree programs prepare students to work as morticians, funeral directors, and undertakers. The curriculum combines instruction in the scientific, counseling, legal, and business aspects of the field. Topics covered include microbiology, mortuary anatomy, chemistry, embalming, restorative art, counseling, and funeral services management, merchandising, and sales.

This degree program is designed to give students the knowledge and experience for safe, compassionate, evidence-based, competent, and ethical nursing practice.

Public Administration
Students who enrol in a degree program in public administration learn about the process of implementing policy at the various levels of government and within non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and non-profits. As part of their studies, they typically investigate a variety of public issues, from environmental protection to crime fighting, homelessness, unemployment, and drug abuse.

Public Health
Students who enter degree programs in public health look at how access and lack of access to healthcare, health education, and funding affect the spread, treatment, and prevention of disease. Epidemiology – the science concerned with the spread and control of diseases and viruses – is the science at the heart of public health.

Computer Software Engineering
Degree programs in software engineering teach students how to apply engineering principles to software development. Students learn how to design, build, test, implement, and maintain computer operating systems, as well as applications that allow end users to accomplish tasks on their computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices. The typical curriculum includes several programming languages, operating systems analysis, and website design. Most programs begin with core engineering classes like mathematics, chemistry, and physics.

The degree field of statistics is focused on the study of probability theory and sampling theory. Students use techniques like sample survey theory and variance analysis (the quantitative investigation of the difference between actual and planned behavior) to examine the relationships between groups and measurements. In simple terms, statistics is about collecting data, organizing it, analyzing it, and interpreting it in practical ways that guide decision making in both business sectors and politics.

Urban Planning
Degree programs in urban planning teach the processes involved in designing communities, towns, and cities. Students learn how to make decisions about the need for and placement of infrastructure like roads, highways, tunnels, bridges, airports, railroads, dams, utilities, parks, and other urban projects. Coursework includes environmental planning, which considers environmental, social, political, and economic factors.

Zoology is the study of animals. Students in these degree programs learn about the anatomy, behavior, habitats, and evolution of animals.

Skills You’ll Learn

Experience in the military leaves ROTC grads with an impressive set of transferable skills:

  • Leadership
  • Budgeting / financial management / resource allocation
  • A sense of responsibility
  • Communication
  • Honor / trustworthiness / dependability
  • Technology skills
  • Teamwork
  • Capacity to perform under stressful circumstances
  • Ability to adapt and shift priorities
  • Ability to think quickly and solve problems
  • Physical fitness

What Can You Do with an Army ROTC Degree?

The answer to this question depends on the degree earned within the Army ROTC education program. Also, potential roles and jobs available outside the military, in civilian life, will likely be somewhat or significantly different from related positions inside the military. Here are some of the occupational categories in that may be open to ROTC graduates during and/or after their service in the Army:

  • Allied Health
  • Arts and Humanity
  • Computers and Computer Science
  • Dentistry
  • Electronics and Electrical
  • Emergency Management and Response
  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Facilities
  • Future Technologies
  • Ground Vehicles
  • Health and Medicine
  • Health Administration
  • Health Technicians and Specialists
  • Intelligence
  • Law and Enforcement
  • Logistics and Transportation
  • Maintenance and Repair
  • Mental Health
  • Missile and Space
  • Natural Science
  • Nursing
  • Operations and Administration
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Special Warfare
  • Weaponry and Military Materials & Equipment


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