What is Army ROTC?

The Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program is a 4 year college curriculum which produces over 70% of the Officers for the Regular Army, the Army Reserves and the Army National Guard. Admission is open to all college students who meet the mental, moral, and physical qualifications who attend James Madison University, or one our crosstown unit schools (Blue Ridge Community College or Bridgewater College). Education goes beyond the classroom as it is designed to provide students with the basic concepts and principles of military art and science while developing the student's leadership, personal integrity, honor, responsibility, and appreciation for national security. These objectives establish a sound basis for future professional development and effective performance as commissioned Officers in the U.S. Army.

The JMU Army ROTC program is dynamic, exciting and challenging, yet still flexible enough to accommodate your college requirements and schedule. All aspects of a student's environment are addressed including the academic, physical, extracurricular, social and interpersonal. The Army ROTC program at JMU is one of the finest in the nation and has consistently been in the top 10% of the 275 ROTC programs in the nation.  From year to year, the enrollment ranges from 130-170 students, 60 percent male, 40 percent female.  With the ever changing global environment and Department of Defense needs, the Military Science Department is constantly adapting to the requirements by the Department of the Army.

Students participating in Army ROTC have the opportunity to join clubs and organizations around campus to broaden their experiences during college. As a member of the Duke Battalion, you can also participate in the Color Guard, Ranger Group, Cannon Crew, Cyber Club and the Army 10 Miler Team.

Your academic course of instruction is our primary concern. We offer a 43-hour minor program (if enrolled all four years) in addition to lots of other exciting training. Students may choose any academic major, and participate in ROTC in conjunction with that program. The military science courses are in addition to the student’s normal academic program of study which is usually 120 credits. Many departments offer elective credit for taking military science courses. The Army ROTC program at JMU has been an integral part of campus life since January 1974. In December 1979, the ROTC program achieved full-time status and has been growing stronger ever since. Come join us and discover why!

CADETS are students who have been determined eligible for and are enrolled in the ROTC program (class and lab).  CADETS must complete the ROTC enrollment paperwork (as listed below under 'Required Documentation for ROTC Enrollment'), and can contract into the program upon meeting all contracting requirements. CADETS must be contracted to move into the Advance Course (300-400 level).  Once a student is enrolled in the military science courses, they can apply for and compete for any scholarship opportunities available (which change from year to year based on the fiscal budget). 

PARTICIPATING STUDENTS are those who are in the military science classes but are ineligible to contract. A PARTICIPATING STUDENT may be deemed ineligible to contract because they refuse to fill out the ROTC enrollment paperwork, they do not meet the medical standards to commission, or just want to take the classes for extra electives and leadership training to help them in their civilian careers. PARTICIPATING STUDENTS (as defined in this paragraph) cannot enroll in the Advanced Course (MSCI 300 or 400 level courses).

How to Join the Duke Battalion

The 100 and 200 level Military Science courses (Basic Course) are open to Freshmen and Sophomore students (and select Juniors/Seniors by exception) at James Madison University and at our crosstown unit schools. If you are not currently enrolled in a military science course, and want to enroll for the upcoming semester, contact the Recruiting Operations Officer for information about which classes are appropriate for you based on your current academic status.  Typically, incoming Freshman students will enroll in MSCI 101 (2 credit lecture) and MSCI 100 (2 credit leadership lab).  This begins the progression through the Professional Military Education curriculum needed in order to complete the requirements to commission.  There is no military obligation by enrolling in the 100 or 200 level classes.

You must be contracted in order to enroll into the Advanced Course (300 and 400 level military science classes).

The Military Science 300 and 400 level courses are limited to contracted CADETS only, who have completed the basic course requirements (or equivalent, ie. prior service, basic camp, etc.) and are contracted in ROTC according to Army regulations.

Crosstown Unit Schools - Our crosstown unit schools include Bridgewater College and Blue Ridge Community College. Students attending Bridgewater College can enroll in ROTC through the JMU Outreach and Engagement office as a non-degree seeking student. These classes are paid for by the students at JMU rates.  Students attending Blue Ridge Community College can enroll in MSC 111 and MSC 196 through the BRCC enrollment system.  You can view these course offerings at https://www.brcc.edu/academics/programs/leadership . These classes correspond to the JMU Military Science basic courses offered on the JMU campus.  Crosstown unit school students attend all training on the JMU campus while attending their respective college. BRCC students can transfer to JMU after their sophomore year, and BWC students graduate from BWC and commission from JMU.  Because each student is different depending on their academic level, contact the Recruiting Operations Officer for more information about which enrollment option is best for you.  The most important aspect of enrolling in ROTC is making sure that you are aligned correctly with the required military science classes and your academic plan based on your major. 

There is no military obligation for taking the 100 and 200 level courses.


JMU Freshmen

If you are an incoming freshman (not on an Army ROTC scholarship), all you need to do is enroll in the MSCI 101 and MSCI 100 classes for the FALL semester.  If you are an ROTC scholarship winner, you will be notified by the ROTC department regarding enrollment in classes, in addition to working collectively with your academic advisor to ensure your schedule works for you.  CURRENT JMU FRESHMAN - Enrolling in the basic military science classes is the first step in joining ROTC.  You can enroll in the Spring semester, even if you didn't take an military science courses the previous Fall.  All you need to do is register for MSCI 102 and MSCI 100 for the Spring.  You must meet all other eligibility criteria in order to contract prior to your junior year of college.

JMU Transfer Students

If you're planning on transferring from another college to JMU (whether you've taken any military science courses at your current school or not), you need  to contact the Recruiting Operations Officer for information about which classes to enroll in upon entering JMU based on your academic level.  It's very important that we correctly align you with the correct military science classes based on your academic level coming in.

JMU Nursing Students

JMU’s nursing program develops the skills and inner- strength necessary to succeed in today’s health profession.  Army ROTC enhances your undergraduate or graduate nursing education by providing the unique leadership and management training, along with the practical experience needed for success. In doing this, we increase that inner-strength while also developing the outer strength necessary to provide outstanding health care to service members and their families, at home and abroad, in times of peace and war.

Based on our well established relationship with the JMU School of Nursing, the Army has charged our program with a Nurse Commission mission which reflects the quality and professionalism of the Duke Battalion and the Nursing Cadets who graduate from JMU, providing the Army with well training and confident Army Nurses who serve in the Nurse Corps around the world.

ROTC and the School of Nursing has established a guaranteed entrance program for nursing Cadets who meet the required entrance standards into the upper level nursing division. 

JMU Army ROTC Nursing presentation

Nursing Scholarships are available to those who qualify.  Find out more information about the Army ROTC Nursing Program.

Basic Camp (2 Year Lateral Entry Option)

If you're a current sophomore (or graduate student with at least 2 years remaining in college) and have not taken any of the basic course military science classes, there is a 2 Year ROTC Option.  Eligible applicants can apply to attend Basic Camp during the summer prior to your junior year.  The course is 29 days long at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  Basic Camp exposes college students to the individual military and leadership skills which will help them integrate into the Advanced Course for the MS III year (300 level).   If you're interested in learning more about Basic Camp, contact the Recruiting Operations Officer, or go to http://www.cadetcommand.army.mil/basic.aspx to find out more.  Based on performance and scholarship availability, Basic Camp scholarships may be offerd, plus a $5,000 incentive bonus may be awarded to those students who complete the course and commit to contracting into ROTC. Basic Camp slots are limited to selected qualified students.  Contact us for more information and to see if you have what it takes.

Documentation for ROTC Enrollment (Not required until first day of class)

Once a student is enrolled in the military science courses, certain enrollment documents must be completed. These documents will be provided to you on the first day of class.  The enrollment documents are required in order to properly document all Cadets within Cadet Command, and to legally allow Cadets to participate in the various types of training conducted within ROTC.

  • Cadet Enrollment Record (Cadet Command Form 139-R)
  • Authorization for Access to Student Records (Cadet Command Form 137-R)
  • Briefing on Government Sponsored Benefits (Cadet Command Form 136-R)
  • Medical Fitness Statement (Department of the Army Form 3425-R)

Additionally, CADETS must provide proof of citizenship or immigration. The Commanding General of Cadet Command must approve enrollment for any non-immigrant alien desiring to sign up for Military Science courses, prior to attending class.

Contracting Requirements

Contracting means that a Cadet accepts the committment of completing all requirments that Cadet Command and the Army mandate in order to commission as a 2LT in the US Army.  Once contracted, a Cadet obligates a minimum of 8 years of service (Regular Army, Army Reserves, or National Guard) upon commissioning.  In order to contract with the United States Army ROTC Duke Battalion, you must meet all eligibility requirements and provide proof of citizenship (or application for citizenship), pass an Army physical examination, undergo a criminal background check, and complete all required paperwork. Enrolled Cadets desiring to contract with ROTC must contact the ROTC Recruiting Operations Officer to begin the process to discuss eligibility and requirements. You can also check out the information brief (below) for a list of general eligibility requirements for scholarships and contracting. Here are the basic requirements for contracting:

  • Be a US Citizen
  • Be at least 17 years old, but not older than 31
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 (2.5 for scholarship eligibility)
  • Pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (with 180 of 300 points - 270 to be competitive)
  • Pass the Army's medical exam (DODMERB)
  • Complete the 100 level Basic Course (exceptions: 4 year scholarship winners will contract at the start of the Fall semester as long as they have met the medical and physical fitness standards)

***CONTRACTING is not automatic or guaranteed.  You MUST meet the standards in order to fill the ranks of the Duke Battalion. 

Phyical Requirements

In order to contract into the ROTC program, you must not only be mentally fit, but physically fit as well.  Our phyical fitness program consists of mandatory training 2 days a week (M/W) from 0550 to 0700 each morning (contracted Cadets only).  Enrolled students are encouraged to attend PT (Physical Training) to improve their fitness level and get to know how the Army Physical Fitness Program works and get to know the other Cadets and Cadre better.  If you want to excel in the program and be competive for scholarhips and other training opportunities, physical fitness participation is highly encouraged.

Army Physical Fitness Test - The APFT consists of the push up, the sit up, and the 2 mile run.  Each event is scored on a 100 point scale, for a total of 300 points maximum (standard scale).  You are required to pass the APFT with a minimum score of 180 (60 points in each event).  You will tested by performing the push up and sit up events for 2 minutes each, then execute the 2 mile run.  The minimum passing scores for each event (for a 17 to 21 year old) is:

Male: push up - 42; sit up - 53; 2 mi run - 15:54 or better

Female: push up - 19; sit up - 53; 2 mi run - 18:54 or better

 See what it's like to be in ROTC while in college.  

Already a member of the Virginia Army National Guard or Army Reserves?  Learn how to become a Duke Battalion Cadet through the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP).

Simultaneous Membership Program

Want to learn more about how to apply for an Army ROTC High School Scholarship?  Click on the link below to visit the Army's ROTC website for further information.

Scholarship Information

There are 2 or 3 year Scholarship opportunities for current college students.  These scholarship opportunities are merit based and are limited by Army funding.  Ask the Recruiting Operations Officer about our current scholarships available, to include GRFD (Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty) scholarships.  GRFD Scholarships are for Cadets who commit to serving in either the National Guard or Army Reserves upon commissioning for a period of 8 years.

Scholarship information for current high school seniors can be found here.

If you are a high school Army ROTC scholarship winner, you will be contacted by the Recruiting Operations Officer for more information about military science class enrollment and other requirements prior to starting school.

Find out more detailed information in the Duke Battalion Cadet Handbook

Cadet Handbook


*** AIR FORCE ROTC (UVA) - The Air Force ROTC program offers JMU students the opportunity to join the UVA AFROTC Detachment and enroll in classes held at UVA.   If you're interested in the Air Force ROTC program, contact the UVA AFROTC Detachment POC at 434-924-6832 or afrotc@virginia.edu.  You can visit their website at http://www.virginia.edu/afrotc/ or http://www.virginia.edu/afrotc/?p=contact

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