What It Takes to Succeed

ROTC solders carrying flags

You must be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student. See Admissions.

Students who bring the following attributes to the ROTC program have the highest rate of success:

  • Scholar (3.0 or higher GPA)
  • Athlete (physical fitness is critical. See below for info on the Army Physical Fitness Test)
  • Leader (elected or appointed leadership positions in extracurricular organizations)

Remember that any area that you don't fulfill can be corrected while in college. There are always opportunities to lead in campus organizations, improve your GPA, and increase your level of fitness.

  • Students will prepare for and take an Army Physical Fitness test that evaluates ability to accomplish three exercise tasks.
  • Push-ups (in two minutes)
  • Sit-ups (in two minutes)
  • Two-mile run (score based on completion time)
  • The scoring of each event is determined by your age and gender. Army APFT Standards.

Volunteering is always encouraged and is a key part in the life of any leader. MSUB's ROTC program routinely logs more volunteer hours than any other campus organization. Remember – in addition to helping your community, volunteering looks great on scholarship applications and resumes!


Each semester you will have a classroom course for ROTC. Below is the breakdown and the structure through all four years of your college career.

BASIC COURSE - MS I and II (No military obligation required)

MS I Freshman Year

This year serves as the Cadet's introduction to the Army. These courses are open to all students at MSU and there is no military obligation required for enrollment. Subjects covered:

  • Role and Organization of the Army
  • Customs and Traditions of the Army
  • Military Leadership, Ethics, and Values
  • First Aid
  • Basic Map Reading Skills
  • Basic Small Unit Tactics
  • Marksmanship

MS II Sophomore Year

The second year is an expansion of the topics taught in the first year of the program, with a new focus on hands-on leadership opportunities. As with the freshmen year, these courses are open to all MSU students without obligation. Subjects covered:

  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Advanced Map Reading Skills
  • Small Unit Tactics
  • Battle Drills
  • Practical Leadership Training
  • Marksmanship

ADVANCED COURSE – MS III and IV (Military Obligation upon Commissioning)

MS III Junior Year

The third year marks the beginning of the Advanced Course. While any MSU student may take the first two years with no military obligation, third and fourth year cadets must sign a contract to serve as an officer following graduation. Cadets who enroll must have academic Junior, Senior, or graduate status with four semesters remaining. The subjects covered:

  • Advanced Small Unit Tactics
  • Advanced Land Navigation
  • Advanced Practical Leadership Training
  • Develop Students' Ability to Organize, Prepare, and Conduct Training
  • Marksmanship

MS IV Senior Year

The final year of the ROTC Program is to prepare Cadets to become successful Lieutenants in The Army upon graduation. Senior Cadets apply for their branch choice of interest in the fall and receive branching results the following semester. Cadets are assigned battalion staff positions and are responsible for evaluating and counseling underclass cadets. Subjects covered:

  • Command and Staff Operations
  • Written and Oral Communication
  • Role and Responsibilities of Armed Forces in American Society
  • Military Justice System/International Military Law
  • Preparation from Student to Officer

Course Requirements

ROTC students participate in a training lab
ROTC is an entirely cadet-led organization. This means that all training, meetings, and plans are made by cadets. The MS-IVs (senior cadets), plan the labs and events or help an MS-III (junior) to do the same. The cadre (instructors) are there to make sure everything is done smoothly, safely, and to the Army standard. This is a learning environment! Although it may seem challenging at times, you will not be set up for failure! The tools and resources are available to help you succeed!

Training Labs

Each week cadets participate in a training lab that requires applying what they have learned in the classroom to real-world situations. These labs start on an individual level with subjects like Land Navigation and Individual Movement Techniques before moving on to fire team and squad level movement techniques, Special Teams, and full squad and platoon-level missions. These labs also serve to evaluate the MS-III cadets in 17 different leadership dimensions when they serve as Squad or Platoon Leader.

Physical Training

Cadets participating in Physical Training
Cadets participate in Physical Training (PT) at least three days a week. Each semester you will enroll in MSG 106, a 1-credit class that meets at 0600 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. PT plans are developed by MS-II and III cadets and are always different. Since these PT sessions are just as much about leadership experience as they are about improving fitness levels, they are formal – you will wear the proper uniform (IPFU) and be standing in formation by 0555.

Working out for 3 days a week will only maintain your current fitness level. To improve, you can participate in HOOAH! PT Tuesday and Thursdays. This less-formal workout entails wearing your civilian workout clothes and doing CrossFit-style workouts at Alternative Athletics. Other PT options are also available.

All cadets are expected to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) each semester. This test measures your fitness by through 2 minutes of pushups, 2 minutes of sit-ups, and a 2-mile run. You must score at least 60 points in each event to pass and exceeding the standard is not only encouraged but expected of officers. You must also meet height and weight standards for the Army, or make progress towards those goals each semester.

Army APFT Standards

Classroom Training

Each semester you will enroll in a 3-credit classroom course (1 credit for freshmen) that covers Army doctrine.

For MS-I cadets, these courses serve as an introduction to Army leadership, teaching the seven Army values, proper military bearing, rank structure, customs and courtesies, as well as covering the tactical areas of orienteering, elements of a fire team and rifle squad, and an introduction to map reading.

The MS-II courses focus on team-building, different leadership styles, pre-combat inspections and checks, and introducing battle drills. Included are the Army doctrinal concepts of Offensive and Defensive Operations, patrol bases, and patrolling. The MS-II year also introduces material specifically tailored to Army leaders, including Troop Leading Procedures, the Principles of War, time management techniques, Army Writing and Briefing styles, and operational orders. The map reading and orienteering techniques from the MS-I year are expanded upon with terrain analysis, route planning, and advanced land navigation techniques.

MS-III cadets examine team dynamics, peer evaluations, and leadership behaviors in greater depth than in the MS-II course. The Warrior Ethos, cultural awareness, suicide prevention, and Army Briefing Techniques are also looked at in detail. MS-III cadets learn more about battle drills, including attacks, raids, ambushes, recons, defenses, and more at both squad and platoon levels. During this year cadets also learn to write OPORDs and PT plans, execute their plans, and review and improve on their methods for their future careers as Army leaders.

MS-IV cadets are less than a year away from commissioning as officers in the United States Army, and in their class they cover material essential to actually leading Soldiers. Counselings, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Military Decision Making Process, Ethics, Rules of Engagement, NCOERs/OERs, and other applicable tasks are taught and evaluated so these future officers are prepared when they become Second Lieutenants.