Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Tolman discusses all the details of JMU Army ROTC/Military Science.

Watch a recording of our previous livestream: Webex - Army ROTC (recorded)

Army ROTC Frequently Asked Questions




What is Army ROTC?

Army Reserve Officer Training Corps is one of the best leadership courses in the country and is part of your college curriculum. Army ROTC helps pay for college, instills discipline, fosters teamwork and teaches you how to lead. It is the Army’s primary source for future Army officers. It also prepares leaders for our communities, states and nation.

Who can join Army ROTC?

Any JMU student can join Army ROTC by enrolling in the first two years of academic courses, Military Science 101/102 and then MSCI 201/202. Academically sound (minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5), medically qualified and physically fit cadets can later contract for the advance-level program for their third and fourth years.

How do you join Army ROTC?

During course registration for first year fall semester in MyMadison, enroll in MSCI 101, and the Leadership Lab MSCI 100.

What is a normal day / week like for a Cadet?

All cadets have Physical Training (PT) at least twice weekly on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 5:50-7a.m. There is an optional runners clinical offered on Thursday mornings. During the weekdays, cadets have academic classes just like all the other students at JMU. The MSCI 101 classes are Monday noon-2 p.m. or Wednesday 10 a.m.-noon. The MSCI 100 Leadership meets for all four classes on Wednesday 1:30- 3:30 p.m. There are occasional Military Labs on Saturdays, and field training exercises one weekend each semester.

What are the benefits of Army ROTC?

The primary benefit is leadership training, and for some a pathway to commissioning as an officer in the U.S. Army, Reserves or National Guard. There are internship and other paid summer training opportunities. For example, there is the Nursing Summer Training Program that places Nursing Cadets in hands-on clinical settings in Army hospitals worldwide.

The monetary benefit is for contracted scholarship cadets to receive full tuition and fees, or $10,000 per academic year for room and board. All contracted cadets receive a $420 monthly stipend while in school (10 months each year).

Where is Army ROTC located?

At JMU, the offices are located in the rear of Memorial Hall off South High Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard near the JMU baseball and softball facilities. For physical fitness, we train on campus at the track near the Rose Library and at UREC on East Campus.

How do I get more information?

To get general information, you can go to GoArmy.com/rotc.

For specific information about JMU Army ROTC, go to www.jmu.edu/rotc. You can also email rotc@jmu.edu.

Is enrolling in Army ROTC the same as joining the Army? Do ROTC Cadets Go to Basic Training? Once a student starts taking ROTC courses, is he/she obligated to join the Army?

Enrolling in Army ROTC is not, strictly speaking, "joining the Army." You will not be sent to Basic Training. However, the primary purpose of the Army ROTC program is to produce Officers, so young adults must agree to serve as Officers in the Army after graduation in order to go through the entire program, or if they have received an ROTC scholarship. Enrolling in the ROTC Basic Course (the first two years of college) does NOT obligate someone to serve unless they have also received a scholarship.

What kinds of scholarships are available in Army ROTC? Are any of the scholarships retroactive?

Army ROTC offers two-, three- and four-year scholarships, which pay full tuition and fees, include a separate allowance for books, and a monthly stipend of $420 a month during the academic year. Army ROTC scholarships are not retroactive.

What is my Army service obligation to pay back any scholarship benefits, or for enrollment in the ROTC Advanced Course?

Scholarship winners must serve for four years; non-scholarship Cadets who enroll in the ROTC Advanced Course must serve for three years. All who graduate and complete ROTC training are commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

How long do you have to serve in the Army?

Army ROTC students who receive an Army ROTC scholarship or enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course must agree to complete an eight-year period of service with the Army. You can serve full time in the Army for three years (four years for scholarship winners), with the balance in the Individual Ready Reserve. Selected cadets may choose to serve part time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.

What good is Army ROTC for a career outside of the Army?

Army ROTC is one of the only college programs that teaches leadership. This training is invaluable for any career that involves leading, managing and motivating people or fostering teamwork. Young Army Officers are typically responsible for hundreds of soldiers and millions of dollars in equipment; this kind of management experience can be very attractive for post-Army employers. JMU Army ROTC offers a minor in Military Leadership.

Why should I choose Army ROTC over a different branch's ROTC?

The Army offers a wider range of career opportunities, in more places around the world, than any other U.S. military branch.

Are all college majors compatible with Army ROTC?

Army ROTC Cadets are allowed to major in nearly all academic areas.

What are Army ROTC courses like? How will the class work help me? Will ROTC classes interfere with my other studies?

Army ROTC classes normally involve one elective class and one lab per semester. Although the classes involve hands-on fieldwork as well as classroom work, they are standard college classes that fit into a normal academic schedule. These courses can help students with personal and academic decision-making while giving them the tools to exercise leadership in college life, even before graduating and becoming Officers.

How will being an Army ROTC Cadet affect my daily life? Do Cadets experience normal college life and activities?

Army ROTC Cadets have the same lifestyles and academic schedules as any other college students. They join fraternities and sororities. They participate in varsity team and individual sports. They take part in community service projects. But there are two intensive Army ROTC courses that take place on Army Posts, usually during the summer:

ROTC Basic Camp—This four-week summer course at Fort Knox, Kentucky is only for students who enroll in Army ROTC without having taken the first two years of military science classes.

ROTC Advance Camp —All Cadets who enter the Advanced Course must attend this five-week summer course at Fort Knox between their junior and senior years.

Is ROTC considered Active Duty? What are the chances that I will be deployed to support the Global War on Terrorism?

No. Cadets in ROTC are not on active duty. In regards to deployments, it depends on the Army branch the Cadet chooses and the unit to which he/she is assigned. However, Army missions and challenges are always changing, so there's no way to know in advance which specialties and units will be needed where. All Soldiers in the Army or Army Reserve  face the possibility of deployment at some point during their careers. But all Soldiers are fully trained and proficient in the tasks and drills of their units. And Officers are specifically trained to make the right decisions so that missions can be carried out safely and successfully.

Can I go into the Army Reserve or National Guard after graduation instead of the Regular Army?

Yes. Selected Cadets may choose to serve part-time in the U.S. Army Reserve or Army National Guard while pursuing a civilian career.

What is the typical career path for an Army Officer? What career fields are available?

Army ROTC graduates are commissioned as U.S. Army Second Lieutenants. They then receive specialized training in one of 17 different Army branches, or career fields. During their Army careers, they'll receive regular professional training as they advance through the ranks, and they'll have many opportunities for advanced leadership positions and post-graduate education.

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