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The Naval ROTC program at UNC-Chapel Hill offers students the opportunity to experience life at a four-year university while working towards a commission in the US Navy or Marine Corps. Midshipmen will balance life as a student with the requirements of a rigorous training pipeline meant to prepare them for military service. NROTC offers midshipmen a blend of civilian and military life, it is not meant to mirror life at a service academy or corps of cadets school. If you choose to enter into the NROTC program you will become a part of a motivated community of midshipmen and active duty students and staff who will help develop you into an officer. This community will extend far beyond your time at Chapel Hill and the relationships you build will carry on into the fleet. 

UNC-NROTC is also a part of the Piedmont Consortium that includes North Carolina State University and Duke University. All three schools fall under a single Commanding and Executive Officer. Each school is guided by their own staff and midshipmen from each battalion create a training plan for their university. There are a few times throughout the semester when the consortium will meet together to train, compete, and learn together. The traditional rivalries between the schools often bring out the best in midshipmen during consortium events.

First, let’s cover the basic expectations of you as a midshipman:


The Naval Science minor emphasizes the core principles of each service, mastery of nautical skills in navigation, weapons, and engineering, and building leadership and followership skills. A full explanation of the Naval Science minor course requirements can be found on the Registrar’s Naval Science Minor Page. Example course plans, core requirements, and scholarship requirements can be found on their page. 

The most basic academic requirements of the NROTC program are to graduate in four years while maintaining a minimum 2.5 GPA. 

In addition to a 1-4 hour Naval Science (NAVS) course most semesters, NROTC Scholarship students must take: 

  • Two English courses (ENGL 105 satisfies one of these courses)
  • One course in American history or national security policy
  • One course in world culture and regional studies
  • Navy option ONLY: Two courses in Calculus (MATH 231, 232, 233 is required if placed out of 232) completed before the end of one’s sophomore year
  • Navy option ONLY: Two courses in Calculus-based Physics (PHYS 118 and 119) completed before the end of one’s junior year

The registrar’s page provides a sample course plan for both Navy and Marine option midshipmen, factoring in the courses required for each type of scholarship. Your Lieutenant advisor will help you to create and review a four-year degree completion plan to ensure you meet all requirements on time.

Marine and Navy option midshipmen take different core courses specializing in their warfare communities. To satisfy the minor courses, a midshipman of either option must take 14 hours of course work from the core requirements.

Navy Option NAVS Core Courses Marine Option NAVS Core Courses
Fall Freshman Spring Freshman Fall Freshman Spring Freshman
NAVS 101 (1hr) HIST/PWAD 212 (3 hrs) NAVS 101 (1 hr) HIST/PWAD 212 (3 hrs)
Fall Sophomore Spring Sophomore Fall Sophomore Spring Sophomore
NAVS 301 (3 hrs) NAVS 201 (3 hrs) NAVS 201 (3 hrs)
Fall Junior Spring Junior Fall Junior Spring Junior
NAVS 202/L (4 hrs) or NAVS 402 (3 hrs) NAVS 302 (3 hrs) NAVS 311 (3 hrs)
Fall Senior Spring Senior Fall Senior Spring Senior
NAVS 202/L (4 hrs) or NAVS 402 (3 hrs) NAVS 401/L (4 hrs) NAVA 402 (3 hrs) NAVS 411 (3 hrs)
Total Credit Hours: 24 Total Credit Hours: 16


One of the academic opportunities offered through the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is the Russian Flagship Program, a National Security Education-sponsored program created to provide resources to undergraduates studying Russian language. The Russian Flagship Program aims to address the need for future U.S. Military officers with linguistic and cultural fluency by increasing the number of ROTC students achieving professional-level proficiency in languages critical to national security. The UNC Russian Flagship (UNCRFP) curriculum comprises three components: four years of US-based Russian language coursework, a summer of intensive Russian language study in a Russian-speaking country, and a Capstone academic year in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Midshipmen, MECEPs, and STA-21 may participate in both the NROTC program and Flagship program during their time at UNC.

More information on the Russian Flagship Program can be found on their website.


Excellent physical fitness is a requirement for every midshipman. Officers are expected to set the standard for their sailors and Marines and exceed minimums on physical fitness tests. Hour-long physical training sessions are held in the morning at 6 a.m. and are led by fellow midshipmen. Workouts are largely running and calisthenics based. 

Midshipmen are tested three times a semester on physical fitness. The Navy physical fitness test consists of a timed plank, push-ups, and a 1.5 mile run. The Marine Corps physical fitness test consists of max-effort sit-ups and pull-ups, and a 3-mile run. You will be required to workout with NROTC once a week. Remedial physical training sessions will be scheduled for those who do not meet NROTC physical standards. 


When a student becomes a midshipman, they swear into the U.S. Navy Reserve and are no longer a civilian. While they are not considered to be on active duty, there are still several behavioral expectations of midshipmen. UNC-CH NROTC is a professional organization, members are expected to behave in a way that reflects that. Professional greetings will be used to address fellow military personnel and military customs and courtesies will be given when appropriate.

All federal, and state statutes and local ordinances will be observed and followed by midshipmen. This includes laws governing underage drinking. Furthermore, the U.S. Navy has a zero tolerance policy for the illegal use of controlled substances. UNC-CH NROTC conducts a program-wide urinalysis once a semester, as well as random urinalyses throughout the semester, and any midshipman found to be in violation of this policy will be promptly dis-enrolled from the program. This can leave a former contracted midshipman with either mandatory enlisted service in the U.S. Navy or the financial burden of paying back all expenses the U.S. Navy has incurred.


Midshipmen have the opportunity to engage in extracurricular activities outside of NROTC. The battalion has midshipmen who work for campus recreation or as research assistants, are members of greek life, and play on club and intramural sports teams. This allows midshipmen to develop relationships beyond NROTC and participate in activities they enjoy while developing as well-rounded individuals. It is each person’s responsibility to balance their extracurricular commitments with NROTC responsibilities.


As with any organization, there will be mandatory events that midshipmen are expected to attend. Most weeks midshipmen are required to attend NROTC Lab, morning PT, and NAVS classes. As midshipmen rise in rank they will take on more responsibility within the program that place more demands on their time. Additionally, freshmen will go through a Personnel Qualification Standard meant to familiarize them with the Navy and Marine Corps during their first semester. Midshipmen do have some control over how involved they choose to be in the program.


All midshipmen are required to wear a uniform once a week. You are not required to pay for any of your initial uniform items; the U.S. Navy will supply them all to you. You will wear it from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, which is the same day as the mandatory NROTC Lab. 

You will be taught how to properly iron and wear your uniform, shine your shoes, wear a cover and groom yourself. There are specific regulations that govern hairstyles and what you can and cannot wear in uniform. This will most likely require incoming freshmen males to get a haircut, but U.S. Navy regulations allow for a variety of different hair styles.