How Does the ARMY ROTC Program Work?


Basic Course: For Freshmen or Sophomores

During the academic year, you’ll learn basic Army skills and the fundamentals of leadership as you start your journey towards being a respected leader in the Army.

  • An elective that anyone can take without making a military commitment
  • It normally involves one elective class and lab each semester, along with the required physical training and field training exercises

Basic Camp: For Sophomores or Transfers

Practice leadership roles in a team dynamic, and get helpful feedback so you can grow as a leader. Graduate prepared to lead others as a second lieutenant in the Army.

  • An accelerated alternative to the Basic Course that qualifies you for enrollment in the Advanced Course
  • A 32-day intensive training event, in the classroom and on the field, held during the summer at Fort Knox in Kentucky
  • This is for you if you’re transferring after two years at a different college or community college, or if you’re joining as a sophomore

Advanced Course: Junior or Senior Year

During the academic year, you’ll learn advanced military strategies and practice working as a team in a classroom setting to prepare for Advanced Camp.

  • Must complete the Basic Course or Basic Camp to qualify
  • By entering the Advanced Course, you’re committing to serve as an Army Officer after graduation

Advanced Camp: Between Junior and Senior Year

It is designed to train and test all Army ROTC cadets through leadership development exercises in real-world scenarios.

  • All ROTC cadets that enter the Advanced Course must attend Advanced Camp
  • A 35-day rigorous field training event during the summer
  • The most significant training and evaluation event in your ROTC journey
  • You must pass Advanced Camp to qualify to be an Army Officer

Take Army ROTC for a semester, 1 year, 2 years, or all 4 years

Traditionally, Army ROTC is a four-year program. The first two years are taken in your freshman and sophomore years (Basic Course). Keep in mind, you can take the Basic Course on a trial basis for up to two years (unless, of course, you're on an Army ROTC scholarship or contracted).

The second two years are taken in your junior and senior years (Advanced Course). During the summer between your junior and senior years, you will attend the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC), which will give you hands-on training and the confidence you can't learn in a classroom. It's a four-week summer course to evaluate and train all Army ROTC Cadets.

Classes and Curriculum

Army ROTC students take classes like any other college student. You attend your weekly MSL (Military Science and Leadership) class as well as the weekly leadership lab. The weekly leadership lab is where you put into practice the knowledge that you have gained from your MSL class and to learn common tasks that all soldiers need to know.

The MSL classes that are taught in each grade level are as follows:

Introduction to the Army and Critical Thinking (2 credit hours)

Cadets will learn how the personal development of life skills such as cultural understanding, goal setting, time management, stress management, and comprehensive fitness relate to leadership, officership, and the Army profession. The focus is on developing basic knowledge and comprehension of Army leadership dimensions, attributes and core leader competencies while gaining an understanding of the ROTC program, its purpose in the Army, and its advantages for the student. No military obligation or prerequisites.

Introduction to the Profession of Arms (2 credit hours)

Cadets will learn how Army ethics and values shape the Army and the specific ways that these ethics are inculcated into Army culture. Cadets can expect to explore the seven Army Values, Warrior Ethos, explore the Profession of Arms, Army Leadership and critical communication skills. No military obligation or prerequisite.

Leadership and Decision Making (2 credit hours)

MSL 2010 primarily is drawn from the Adaptability ALA. The outcomes are demonstrated through Critical and Creative Thinking and the ability to apply Troop Leading Procedures (TLP). Comprehension of the officer's role in Leading Change by applying Innovative Solutions to Problems in concert with the Principles of Mission Command. The Army Profession is also stressed through leadership forums and a leadership self-assessment. No military obligation. Prerequisite: MSL 1000 or MSL 1010.

Army Doctrine and Team Development (2 credit hours)

MSL 2020 begins the journey to understand and demonstrate Cross-Cultural Competencies as they relate to Army doctrine and how they apply in a combatant commander's Engagement Strategies. Army Values, Teamwork, and Warrior Ethos and their relationship to the Law of Land Warfare and philosophy of military service are also stressed. Students are then required to apply their knowledge outside the classroom in a hands-on performance-oriented environment during Leadership LABs (team building exercises, LTXs, VBS exercises). No military obligation. Prerequisite: MSL 1000 or MSL 1010 or MSL 2010.

Training Management and the Warfighting Functions (3 credit hours)

MSL 3010 challenges cadets to study, practice, and apply the fundamentals of Army Leadership, Officership, Army Values and Ethics, Personal Development, and small unit tactics at the platoon level. Cadets receive systematic and specific feedback on their leadership attributes values, and core leader competencies from instructor, ROTC cadre, and MSL IV Cadets using the Cadet Officer Evaluation System (OES). Prerequisites: department permission and completion of one of the following: ROTC basic course; ROTC Basic Camp at Fort Knox, KY; prior active duty service; Army Reserve or Army National Guard basic training.

Applied Leadership in Small Unit Operations (3 credit hours)

MSL 3020 builds on the lessons learned and leadership attributes gained and developed during MSL 3010. This is an academically challenging course where Cadets will study, practice, and apply the fundamentals of Army Leadership, Officership, Army Values and Ethics, Personal Development, and small unit tactics at the platoon level. At the conclusion of this course, Cadets will be capable of planning, coordinating, navigating, motivating and leading a squad and platoon in the execution of a mission during a classroom PE, a Leadership Lab, or during a Leader Training Exercise (LTX). Prerequisite: department permission.

The Army Officer (3 credit hours)

MSL 4010 develops cadet proficiency in planning, executing and assessing complex operations, functioning as a member of a staff, and providing performance feedback to subordinates. Cadets assess risk, make ethical decisions, and lead fellow Army ROTC cadets. They identify responsibilities of key staff, coordinate staff roles, and use situational opportunities to teach, train and develop subordinates. Prerequisite: department permission.

Company Grade Leadership (3 credit hours)

MSL 4020 explores the dynamics of leading in the complex situations of current military operations in today's operational environment. Cadets examine differences in customs and courtesies, military law, principles of war and rules of engagement in the face of international terrorism. They also explore aspects of interacting with nongovernmental organizations, civilians on the battlefield and host nation support. The course places significant emphasis on preparing cadets for their first unit of assignment. Prerequisite: department permission.

Updated: 10/19/2022 12:57PM