NROTC Medical School Request Process


New Member
Dec 19, 2022
Good morning,
Please pardon the brevity of this message but I'm wondering if anyone on here knows the process to request to go to medical school directly out of college through NROTC??
Good morning,
Please pardon the brevity of this message but I'm wondering if anyone on here knows the process to request to go to medical school directly out of college through NROTC??
There is no process. NROTC commissions unrestricted line officers (SWO, Sub, Aviations, SPECWAR) and isn't designed for medical school. You'd be better off taking one of the following routes in my opinion:

Option 1: If you receive an NROTC scholarship, complete a major that would be a strong pre-med option. Complete your service obligation, which would make you a more distinct medical school applicant anyway, and then pursue medical school. While in medical school you can of course pursue options describe in option 2 below.

Option 2: Complete your pre-med undergrad as a civilian and then get into medical school, possibly USU, but any civilian school works just as well. Then each year you're in med school, even into residency, you can apply for any number of medical commissioning programs the Navy offers. For example: PA 132 (HSCP), though there are of course others.

You're describing a 10+ year process. It won't be easy and it requires planning, but nothing worth doing is typically easy.
Good morning,
Please pardon the brevity of this message but I'm wondering if anyone on here knows the process to request to go to medical school directly out of college through NROTC??
It would be an eye-of-nano-needle path. As noted above, NROTC is designed to produce unrestricted line warfare officers, not staff corps (Medical Corps is a staff corps) and most restricted line warfare officers.

But - on several NROTC unit websites, the FAQ section notes up to 25 NROTC graduates each year may be allowed to go direct to medical school. Similarly, USNA allows 13 or so. Sample FAQ link below. I have never been able to find the actual governing instruction that covers the process.

You would have to get extraordinarily good grades, score well on MCAT, get the water-walking endorsement from your PNS and get accepted to a U.S. medical school or the School of Medicine at USUHS, the military medical campus in Bethesda, MD, co-located with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. There would be years and years of obligated service, both for your NROTC ADSO plus ADSO incurred for medical training. Those ADSO periods run consecutively, as I recall, AND do not start until after residency is completed.

You also have to be fully prepared to go to a regular warfare community path, if the needs of the Navy dictate. The Navy gets most of its doctors via civilian colleges and med school, often through the HPSP scholarship. If the commissioning yield in your year is running particularly low due to unexpected attrition out of NROTC, USNA and OCS, you may be needed more in a warfare path.

If you just want to get med school paid for and don’t want to be a Navy doc, go be a warfare officer, serve your ADSO for NROTC plus another 36 months to earn your full VA Post-9/11 GI Bill generous educational benefits, and use that for med school.

Paging @GWU PNS for more accurate insight and correction on what I have posted. I see the same FAQs everywhere on unit sites, but am unsure as to when they are universally reviewed and updated.

Your questions are in good hands from the posters above. I'll just add some context about med school applications and timing today, since I'm learning as one of my kids is working through this (not rotc).

It’s not uncommon today for an in-college undergrad student to be active in a variety of pre med school activities in order to be competitive for medical school admission – clinical experience, research/working in a lab with a goal to get published, structured/ awarded research fellowships, volunteering, teaching (TA) undergrad courses, shadowing for more clinical exposure. It’s a bit of a grind. Not a lot of extra time to be prepping for the MCAT- you'd have to be a master of time management to tackle all that and ROTC, college.

After college- different paths for different folks, but not uncommon to take a gap year to add to or round out the checklist activities mentioned above, prep for the MCAT exam, and to complete med school applications. Then, there is a May to March-May cycle of taking the MCATS, applying to colleges, getting your scores, visiting/ interviewing with schools if selected for an interview, visiting various cities/ finding options on where to live, and then start med school 2 years and 2-3 or so months after graduating (if graduating in May). it’s not uncommon to graduate say in 2024, have a gap year, apply from May 2025 – 2026, then start 4 years of med school in the summer of 2026.
Service, then med school, residence, internship, fellowship? I don't know if ROTC and med school are a great match unless you were a child prodigy because who wants to start practicing medicine at age 40. Alternatively having the military pay for med school then serving as an MD in the military? I'd check that out.

If it were me I would find a reasonably priced undergrad school (after merit/ all aid) connected with a hospital – probably a university research hospital – Rutgers, Pitt, NC State, U Maryland, Ohio State, Purdue where you get in-state tuition, be able to walk to the hospital, and tackle undergrad without military training. But you do you - good luck.
I am not sure I can much to the conversation, but I do know that whether or not a person is permitted to study any graduate specialization depends on each individual community. So the SWO folks would say yes or not for their selectees, as would the Aerdales, Sub folks, etc. In a round-a-bout way, each community spends money for a certain number of new accessions each year.

Most of them want their service payback up front. There are some cases that due to over-accessing, a community manager may offer graduate studies as a way of relieving pressure on accession schools.

For example, Pensacola aviation schools had significant backlogs for a variety of reasons and they were offering aviation new accessions chances to pursue graduate studies. But the rub is may not get a chance to go straight to a commission as a doctor.

So I would manage expectations that you will not go straight to med school but if your unit supports it and your community doesn't mind giving you the time to get through the grad school, then perhaps you have found the unicorn amongst the herd of regular horses.
Good morning,
Please pardon the brevity of this message but I'm wondering if anyone on here knows the process to request to go to medical school directly out of college through NROTC??
I don't believe you can go straight to medical school from college if you're NROTC.

When my DD was applying to SAs and ROTCs, she looked at the NROTC website FAQs of a couple schools. One of the school FAQ sections stated NROTC allowed a certain number (I think it was 25) of mids to go directly to medical school each year.

I happened to know someone at NETC so I emailed him about it. I told him "x" university's NROTC website said mids can go directly to medical school. He said the website is wrong and he will contact the NROTC det to update the website. He said the mission of NROTC is to produce unrestricted line officers.
As an aside, with the Army you can go from AROTC directly to med school with an ED Delay. I have seen it done quite a few times. You serve your time after with residency and beyond.

If your goal is to be a MD, there really isn't a huge difference between branches.

I am an AMEDD officer by the way.
I'm totally open to the fact that I may not get the educational delay for NROTC. I'm more than happy to serve my obligations - never and will never have a problem with that. However, seeing as I am still in my unit, I'd still like to try my hand at getting the delay. So I'm just trying to figure out the process.
So I'm just trying to figure out the process.
Step 1. Speak with your unit academic advisor.

Step 2. If required, ask to meet with unit XO or PNS to discuss further.

There is no established means by which a person on NROTC scholarship is guaranteed or generally available for graduate studies following their commission. It is driven by each warfare community based on their needs at the time. There have been some extremely helpful posts by Stem and CAPT MJ.

I appreciate your desire for greater clarity. You should understand that the clarity you seek can be obtained principally through your unit chain of command. Everyone else will be guessing or telling you stories from their past or the past of their children.
As a retired Navy Medical Corps officer and a USNA graduate, I would suggest commissioning as a line officer and then coming into the Medical Corps via the HPSP scholarship to any accredited medical school or going to USUHS in Bethesda. That is the most clear path and allows you to gain "life experience" with the line Navy which I believe is very valuable to military physicians. I wouldn't bank on the VERY small chance of a deferral to go direct is just too Iffy and I think the known is a better option IMO.