The ROTC selects and prepares young men and women, through a program of instruction coordinated with the student's normal academic curriculum, for commissioning and service as officers in the regular and reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

For more than a century, military training has been offered at Oregon State University. Fulfilling a provision of the Morrill Act of 1862, which gave Corvallis College its first public support, an Army Cadet Corps was organized in 1873.

ROTC at Oregon State is made up of the departments of Military Science, Naval Science, and Aerospace Studies. In 1917, the Department of Military Science became responsible for all military training under the National Defense Act of 1916. This act expanded and standardized the training of Army officers by colleges and universities and established the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). During World War II, OSU became known as the “West Point of the West” for commissioning more officers than any other nonmilitary academy in the nation.

At the end of World War II, the secretary of the Navy commissioned the Department of Naval Science (NROTC) on September 17, 1945 to provide the training of both Navy and Marine Corps officers. On July 1, 1949, the U.S. Air Force activated an AFROTC unit that today is called the Department of Aerospace Studies. OSU is now one of approximately 75 colleges and universities that offer education for all three military departments.

Originally, two years of military science and tactics were required of all able-bodied male students, but since 1962, ROTC has been voluntary. 

As opportunities for women to serve as officers in the armed forces grow, opportunities for women to participate in ROTC programs expand. Women have long been eligible to take ROTC course work for credit. Since 1970, they have been enrolled as cadets in Air Force ROTC and, since 1973, have also been enrolled as cadets and midshipmen in the Army and Navy ROTC programs.

Uniforms and Allowances

Students in each of the units receive uniforms to be worn at drill periods and on special occasions. Travel to and from any summer camps or cruises is paid. While at camp or on a cruise, the members receive food and quarters at government expense in addition to basic pay. (See the individual sections for further information on the various camps and cruises.) Those selected for the scholarship programs receive tuition, books, and fees plus $250 to $400 a month subsistence pay for up to 40 months.

Flight Training

Eligible Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force ROTC students may be selected for flight training upon their successful completion of the program and commissioning.

For more information about the Army, Navy, or Air Force, please visit the Reserve Officer Training Corps section of the catalog for more details. All three departments have staff available throughout the year during normal school hours to answer any inquiries regarding the ROTC programs.