Intended Major not offered by colleges?

Discussion in 'ROTC' started by hopefulcandidate, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. hopefulcandidate

    hopefulcandidate Member

    Jul 5, 2014
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    I'm in the process of finishing my NROTC application. I picked Nuclear Engineering as my intended major. I just have one question:

    What if the colleges I picked do not offer Nuclear Engineering? Only my 1st choice college offers that major. The rest of the colleges do not. Can I still pick that as my major on my NROTC app or do I have to pick another one. I plan to commission into the submarine warfare community upon graduation, so I thought this major would be helpful.

    Thank you.
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    The link below may be of interest:

    For context, USNA mids service select submarine warfare out of a variety of engineering majors, as well as pure science and liberal arts. All get a B.S. degree because of core courses in engineering and the sciences. See link:

    Of course, NROTC guidance rules in your case.

    The key is if you want to be an engineering major of some kind other than nuclear, and that Navy likes, that's perfectly fine, if you have an interest in one. The Navy wants to see that you have the brainpower to master an engineering discipline that will form a good foundation for post-commissioning training in the roughly two-year nuclear power pipeline. Excel in your major, excel professionally as a mid, express interest early, and the path to subs gets firmed up.

    The Nuclear Power School in Charleston is the first pit stop, where new ensigns from every commissioning source are taught Navy nuclear engineering from the ground up. Those ensigns have a wide variety of majors, I would suspect predominantly engineering of some type, but all have in common proven STEM skills and strong undergraduate academics. Then there is a stint at "prototype," and other schools as noted below.

    Take a look at this: brief with faculty slides (20NOV07).pdf

    It's an older ref, but the bits about the training pipeline still apply. I am on the fly on my phone, but if you do some digging, I am sure you can find more current on "Navy Officer Nuclear Propulsion Training."

    Of the many USNA midshipmen we have sponsored over the years who have gone subs, they have majored in: Mech E (a lot), EE, Systems E, Ocean E, Aero (thought they might want pilot, changed mind to subs), and some Nuke, etc. There were also a handful who majored in pure science or something like History, but as noted above, USNA gives everyone a good dose of STEM, enough to prepare any grad for the nuke pipeline.

    Bottom line, IMPO, if there's an engineering major you prefer and the Navy says it likes, why not choose one you will enjoy? That makes working harder to get the top grades easier. You have flexibility here. You will be an attractive sub candidate if you are clearly delivering top grades, not struggling with STEM courses, and developing good leadership and professional skills through ROTC training.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
  3. Dckc88

    Dckc88 Member

    Dec 10, 2015
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    Totally a side comment, I am on the west coast. Oregon State University has Nuclear engineering and NROTC, and University of Arizona also has both. Not sure they are on your radar. UA actually had a functioning nuclear reactor on campus that was decommissioned in 2010 after being there since 1958. Just kind of cool, makes me think University of Arizona might know a thing or two about nuclear power.
  4. 5Day

    5Day Member

    Nov 18, 2015
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    To answer your specific question. As long as your major is within Tier 1 there should be no issue at all. In fact there may be no differentiation between tier 1 and tier 2. Switch from tier 1 to tier 2 is very easy. As long as your major is within Tier 1, the specific major will not have any bearing on your NROTC application.

    What would you major in at the other schools? Mechanical Engineering? You may want to list that as your major and then change it after you get accepted to both NROTC and your first choice school.
    Capt MJ likes this.
  5. USMAROTCFamily

    USMAROTCFamily Member

    Jan 11, 2013
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    If you WANT to major in Nuclear Engineering, then you should put colleges on your NROTC application that offer that major, that you can get into and would like to go to. What good would it be to get a scholarship to a school that does not have the major you desire? Now, if you really don't care if you major in Nuclear Engineering and would be happy to major in any Tier 1 major, then by all means, list whatever colleges you like and are able to get admitted to. If you get the scholarship and their are no more slots to your #1 school choice, then the placement folks will just go straight down your list and assign your scholarship to your top choice that does still have space.
  6. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Oct 21, 2010
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    The Navy will teach you everything you need to know about nuclear engineering.
    Dckc88 likes this.

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