Academic Majors

Tor the purpose of balancing the educational backgrounds of the officer corps, the Navy divides undergraduate academic majors into three tiers, in order of preference. 

NROTC Tiers of Academic Majors at Columbia

All majors not listed in Tiers 1 and 2 are considered Tier 3.

The Navy has a particular interest in expanding expertise in language, regional studies and cultural awareness. Students interested in pursuing Tier 3 academic majors should examine the opportunities available in the Navy’s Language Skills, Regional Expertise, and Cultural Awareness (LREC) Program which is offered annually to 20-30 students. Attainment of a specific level of language proficiency at the time of application is not required by the NROTC LREC program.

The Navy will activate scholarships upon the satisfactory development of a degree plan with the host NROTC unit and university and upon enrollment in the assigned academic major. 

NROTC midshipmen may lose their scholarship if they request a change from Tier 1 or Tier 2 major to a Tier 3 major.  Similarly, Tier 3 LREC majors may lose their scholarship if they depart their course of study prior to graduation. Students should, therefore, consult with the NROTC staff before changing academic tiers.

Some of the academic majors in the three tiers may not match exactly the majors offered at Columbia. Students with questions about how a major at the University fits into the NROTC academic major tier categories should contact Columbia University's NROTC office in 116 Lerner Hall, call 212-851-9959 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, they can contact the SUNY Maritime NROTC unit at at (718) 409-7241 or [email protected]

  • Aerospace, Aeronautical, Astronautical Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Naval Architecture & Marine/Naval Engineering
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Systems Engineering
  • Agricultural/Biological Engineering & Bioengineering
  • Architectural Engineering/Architectural Engineering Technologies
  • Astrophysics
  • Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology
  • Biomathematics & Bioinformatics
  • Biomedical/Medical Engineering
  • Biotechnology
  • Cell/Cellular Biology & Anatomical Sciences
  • Ceramic Sciences & Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Programming
  • Computer Science/Info. Tech.
  • Construction Engineering
  • Electronics & Comm. Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Engineering Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Materials Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Metallurgical Engineering
  • Microbiological Sciences and Immunology
  • Mining & Mineral Engineering
  • Nuclear & Industrial Radiologic Technology
  • Oceanography
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Physics
  • Physiology, Pathology & Related Sciences
  • Polymer/Plastics Engineering
  • Quantitative Economics
  • Statistics
  • Textile Sciences & Engineering


The curriculum for NROTC varies by program. Please visit the program page for more details on the curriculum.

In order to meet the challenges created by the rapid pace of technology change, the Navy awards approximately 85% of its scholarships to students interested in completing a Tier 1 or Tier 2 academic major. 

The Marine Corps does not give preference to any area of study in distributing financial aid to students in the Marine Option of the Scholarship, College and MECEP programs.

Regardless of major, students in the Navy Scholarship Program must complete at least one year of Calculus, one year of Physics, one year of English, a semester of Computer Science and a semester of American History.  College Program Midshipman who are given Advanced Standing are required to take at least a semester of College Algebra, Physical Science, Computer Science, and one year of English. These courses are taken at Columbia. Students in both tracks are also required to take one Naval Science class per semester at SUNY Maritime College.

 For those midshipmen attending college and NROTC on an NROTC Scholarship, the following military service obligations apply:

  • Navy Option midshipmen (does not include Nurses or Marines) starting their freshman year of college in the Fall of 2010 or later will be required to serve a minimum of five years of active military service. Additional requirements may be required for specific job assignments.
  • Marine Corps Option midshipmen will be required to serve at least four years on active duty.
  • Navy Nurse Corps Option midshipmen will be required to serve at least four years on active duty.

Midshipmen who pay their own educational expenses or have a non-Navy source of educational funding may participate in NROTC through the NROTC College Program. Upon graduation and commissioning, this individual will be required to serve at least three years on active duty.

For further information, please see