Naval Science

The Navy ROTC program encompasses the science of nautical matters and principles of leadership—both vital to the art of being a naval officer. The program has three interacting and equally important aspects. The first consists of the academic major with subjects taught by the University. For Navy Option students, these subjects must include one semester of regional studies with emphasis on developing countries; (for Scholarship Program and non-Scholarship Program) two semesters of calculus and two semesters of calculus-based physics; two semesters of English composition; and one semester of American military history/national security policy. The second aspect consists of the professional academic subjects taught by the Department of Naval Science. The third aspect consists of naval professional training gained from leadership laboratories (two hours a week throughout the year), indoctrination tours conducted at Navy/Marine Corps facilities, and summer cruises aboard Navy ships.

Freshman naval science academic classes focus on the functions, organizations, and hardware of the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense, providing a primer for military etiquette, customs, and the operational structure of the Department of Defense. Additionally, students will take Naval History and Maritime Affairs. This introductory course is a study in the progression of modern sea power and the evolution of our rich naval traditions. Sophomore classes concentrate on leadership and basic engineering and weaponry. Students will participate in advanced tactics and navigation and ship handling in their junior and senior years, with a capstone Leadership and Ethics course prior to graduation and Commencement.

All Navy and Marine Corps classes meet one-and-a-half hours, twice a week. Complementing the academic classes, a weekly leadership laboratory, typically held on Wednesday morning, will feature leadership lectures, general military training, drill, current affairs, and other relevant topics.

Completion of the Navy ROTC program obligates the service member to a multi-year contractual obligation. The active duty component is five years for surface and sub-surface warfare, six years post-training for NFO, and eight years post-training for pilots. Scholarship midshipmen enjoy a full tuition scholarship, a book and living stipend, and a paid, active-duty summer cruise every summer.

Naval Science Courses

Students in the NROTC program must take the following naval science courses prior to graduation:

  • Introduction to Naval Science
  • Sea Power and Maritime Affairs
  • Naval Ships Systems I and II (Navy Option only)
  • Navigation I and II (Navy Option only)
  • Evolution of Warfare (Marine Option only)
  • Leadership and Management
  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Fundamentals of Maneuver Warfare (Marine Option only)

Certain other courses may be substituted for naval science courses.

Career Opportunities

All Navy midshipmen will be designated as Line Officers, with some commissioning as nurses (not available to Boston University students). Our communities include:

  • Surface Warfare
  • Aviation
  • Submarine Warfare
  • Special Forces
  • Marine Officer


The nurse option is not currently available through Boston University. Please contact the Boston University Recruiting Officer for more information.

Marine Corps

While working closely with the United States Navy, Marine option midshipman take many similar classes to their navy counterparts. Additionally, Marine option midshipman may pursue any degree path while at Boston University. During NROTC, Marine options participate in the unit’s Semper Fidelis Society where they develop physical fitness, field skills, and leadership needed to successfully complete the program. During the summer between their junior and senior years of college, students attend officer candidates school in Quantico, VA where they are screened and evaluated to see if they possess the leadership potential needed to serve as company grade officers in the operating forces. Upon completing their degrees and commissioning as second lieutenants, Marine officers attend The Basic School (TBS) in Quantico, VA. It is here that they learn how to lead a rifle platoon in combat. During TBS, Marine officers receive their military occupational specialty (MOS) and then report to their MOS school or basic flight training. Marine Officers are then assigned to operational units or squadrons where they command and lead teams of Marines and sailors. Any questions may be directed to the Boston University Marine Officer Instructor at 617-353-0478.