Virginia Tech

Updated: December 24, 2022
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    Virginia Tech (VT) is a public land-grant university located in Blacksburg, Virginia. VT was founded in 1872 and sits on 2,600 acres in the heart of town. With nearly a 150 years of military training history under its belt, Virginia Tech is one of the nation’s six Senior Military Colleges. VT is committed to academic excellence and its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), and prepares its students to be leaders in their disciplines, the military, and their communities.

    Virginia Tech’s Corps of Cadets has produced military and public leaders since 1872. The Corps of Cadets trace their history to the founding of Virginia Tech. If you join the Corps of Cadets you will have two paths to choose from: the Military-Leader track or the Citizen-Leader track.

    In the Military-Leader track, you’ll train to earn a commission as a military officer after graduation through one of the three ROTC programs. If you choose the Citizen-Leader Track, there is no military obligation, and you’ll apply the leadership skills you’ve learned directly to your first job in the civilian world. If you are in the ROTC program, you must join the Corps, but you don’t have to be in ROTC to join the Corps. You’ll live in one of the Corps’ two residence halls and participate in the Corps’ 24/7 leader development program. The Corps integrates cadets from all ROTC programs and the civilian-leader track into the Corps of Cadets.

    VT Corps of Cadets by the Numbers

    • Year Established: 1872
    • Number of Cadets: 1,100
    • Cadets Commissioned in 2019: 270
    • ROTC Programs: Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps

    What Kind Of Degree Programs Are Offered At Virginia Tech?

    From Aerospace Engineering to Wildlife Conservation, Virginia Tech offers hundreds of programs for every level of learning — from certifications to doctoral degrees. With more than 110 undergraduate majors and options to choose from, you’ll experience a matchless education at Virginia Tech.

    Am I Eligible To Join The Corps Of Cadets?

    As long as you have been accepted to Virginia Tech, you have the option to join the Corps of Cadets. If you join an ROTC program, you have to join the Corps.

    How Do I Apply To Join The Corps Of Cadets?

    On the Coalition or Common Application, choose Virginia Tech. You’ll see the question: “Do you wish to enroll in the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets?” If you select yes, your application to the Corps is recorded, the application is waived, and you’ll also automatically be considered for the Emerging Leader Scholarship.

    You can learn more about the Corps of Cadets, military ROTC programs, and the Citizen-Leader track by viewing the following recorded sessions on each program.

    What Branches Of The Service Have ROTC Programs On Campus?

    If you want to earn a commission as an officer in the U.S. armed forces, Virginia Tech offers all ROTC programs. Read on to see if ROTC is the right path for you.

    Army ROTC

    Army ROTC at Virginia Tech develops Leadership Skills and prepares you for a life as a military officer. After graduation, you’ll earn a commission as an Army second lieutenant on active duty or as part of the reserves. You’ll experience an exciting career in fields including Combat Arms (Aviation, Armor, Artillery, Infantry, or Engineers), Combat Support, and Combat Service Support branches.

    Air Force ROTC

    AFROTC program at Virginia Tech educates and trains cadets for service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Air Force and Space Force. Detachment 875 strives to uphold their motto of being the Best Alive in everything they do. Whether it be academics, physical fitness, leadership positions, or career choice, you’ll find purpose through providing service to your nation.

    Navy and Marine ROTC

    Welcome to Navy ROTC at Virginia Tech! NROTC educates young men and women like you for service as commissioned officers in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. You’ll serve as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps in specialties such as Surface Warfare, Naval Aviation, Submarines, Special Warfare, Combat Arms, Communications, or Logistics.

    What Scholarships are Available?

    There are several scholarships available to ROTC cadets. Some are school-wide, and some are specific to each of the ROTC programs.

    Project Global Officer (Project GO)

    Project GO provides scholarships to ROTC students to study in critical languages needed by the military. Project GO focuses on the languages and countries of the Middle East, Central Asia, Asia, South America, and Africa.

    Emerging Leader Scholarship

    All students admitted as cadets are considered for the Emerging Leader Scholarship. The Emerging Leader Scholarship provides $8,000 over four years for qualified in-state cadets and $12,000 over four years for qualified out-of-state cadets. Make sure you have indicated you wish to enroll in the Corps of Cadets when applying to Virginia Tech. Each year, at least 200 first-year cadets will be offered the Emerging Leader Scholarship, based on available funding.

    Commandant’s Scholarships

    Once you complete your first year, you’re eligible to compete for additional scholarships through the generosity of Corps alumni. These scholarships range from $1,000 to $3,000 annually. All cadets are eligible for a Commandant’s Scholarship, and they are given based on need.

    Army ROTC Scholarships

    You can compete for an Army ROTC scholarship that pays full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend for two, three, or four years. In return, you will earn a commission as an Army officer in either the Active Duty Force, the Army Reserves, or the National Guard.

    Air Force ROTC Scholarships

    You can compete for a two-, three-, three ½-, and four-year Air Force ROTC scholarships that pay full tuition, book allowance, and a monthly stipend. In return, you will earn a commission as an Air Force or Space Force officer. Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Meteorology, Nuclear Physics, and Nuclear Engineering are highly desired majors. If you select one of these majors, you might receive priority in the scholarship selection process.

    Navy and Marine ROTC Scholarships

    The Navy and Marine Corps offer two-, three-, and four-year Navy and Marine ROTC scholarships through their NROTC program. Scholarships are awarded each year through the Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET). They are available if you want to seek a commission in the Navy as an Ensign or in the Marines as a second lieutenant. Benefits include tuition, books, required fees, uniforms, and a monthly stipend.

    What Is My Service Commitment After Graduating?

    Once you get your degree, your military service begins. You’ll begin military life as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Marines, or an ensign in the U.S. Navy. Most ROTC graduates have a service commitment of four years.

    If you receive an Army ROTC scholarship or enter the Army ROTC Advanced Course, you agree to complete eight-years of service with the Army. If you enroll in the Army ROTC Basic Course, you are not committed to service in the Army unless you are on an Army ROTC scholarship.  All scholarship students will be required to serve in the military for eight years. You may fulfill your obligation by serving three years on active duty and five years in the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR). If you are on a four-year scholarship, then you’ll serve four years active and four years in the IRR.

    If you are accepted into special programs like as a pilot, your commitment will be longer. After you complete your service obligation, you can leave the military or continue your military career. Many officers stay on for 20 years and retire from the military.

    What Is Life Like As A Virginia Tech Cadet?

    New Cadet Week

    Your life at VT begins one week before school starts. It’s very structured, and you’ll learn how to march, rifle drill, and all about military customs and courtesies. As a first-year cadet, your training will follow three phases: Red, White, and Blue.

    Red Phase

    During the Red Phase, you’ll continue to master military drill, customs and courtesies, and begin to learn about leadership concepts. Learning to be an excellent college student is just as important as military training. If you don’t graduate, you can’t earn your military commission. The Red Phase will teach you all about time management and goal setting, both vital to getting good grades. You’ll also take part in the Caldwell March. In the fall, all first-year cadets and their training cadre honor complete the first half of the 26-mile journey Addison Caldwell, Virginia Tech’s first student, made in 1872. You’ll complete the second half in the spring.

    White Phase

    During the White Phase, the intensity of training levels out. You’ll attend cadet leader school where cadets learn about “Fire Team Leader” positions (Sophomore leadership position). The military ball takes place in February, one of the highlights of the academic year.

    Blue Phase

    During the Blue Phase, you’ll reflect on followership lessons you’ve learned, interview for a Fire Team Leader position, and shadow a cadet that you’ll replace in the fall. You must also prepare to shuffle to a new company for the following fall semester. The Blue Phase and your first year end with the second half of the Caldwell march and the Change of Command Parade.


    The Corps is modeled after the Army Regiment and is led by a Regimental Staff. The regiment is broken down into three battalions of 350 cadets each. Each battalion is led by seniors and is broken down into four companies of 80 cadets from all tracks—Army, Navy/Marine, Air Force, and the civilian-leader track. The Cadet regiment, battalions, and companies are all mentored by active duty military staff cadre.

    About The AuthorJim spent 22 years on active duty, climbing the ranks from Airman Basic to a decorated Air Force Major. Stationed all over the world, he held many high-level posts, including Chief of Foreign Military Sales at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jim earned his Ph.D. through the Montgomery Era GI Bill and spent 13 years teaching African Studies in Pennsylvania. Jim is also an award-winning travel writer.

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