Air Force ROTC

Aviation Flight Science

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps—ROTC—program, offered in collaboration with Michigan State University, is an educational program designed to give men and women the opportunity to become an Air Force officer while earning a degree. After successfully completing the program, students will be commissioned as a second lieutenant and begin serving as an officer in leadership roles of increasing responsibility and importance in the "active duty" Air Force.

Training to become an officer in the Air Force occurs at over 1,000 institutions throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. The training, which occurs in a four-year or two-year program, is typically comprised of the following:

General Military Course academics

The General Military Course—GMC—portion of the program is usually taken during a students freshman and sophomore years. This program allows students to "try out" Air Force ROTC for up to two years without incurring any obligation (unless a student has accepted an Air Force ROTC scholarship). While attending class, students will learn about the Air Force and the historical development of air power.

Leadership laboratory

As an Air Force ROTC cadet, students will also have up to two hours each week to put into practice the leadership skills and management theories presented in class. Leadership Laboratory is a cadet-centered program taken each year to improve a student's leadership skills. Leadership Laboratory is only offered at Michigan State University and cadets from Western Michigan University will travel to MSU once per week for the Leadership Laboratory class.

Field training

If selected, cadets will usually attend Field Training during the summer before entering the Professional Officer Course—POC—portion of the program. Field Training, which takes place at an Air Force base, offers cadets a first-hand look at the Air Force environment. While there, cadets receive career orientation, junior officer training, aircraft and aircrew orientations, survival training, weapon familiarization and training, physical conditioning, and an overview of the organization and function of an Air Force base.

Professional Officer Course academics

The Professional Officer Course—POC—portion of the program is primarily available to:

  • Cadets who have completed the GMC portion of the program.
  • Community college or junior college transfer students.
  • Students and veterans who have at least two academic years remaining (undergraduate, graduate, or a combination of the two).

The leadership and national defense policy courses are the same for both the two-year and the four-year program.

Students must apply for admission into the POC program. The selection process is competitive, so it is important to apply early (typically in your sophomore year).

Professional development

A select number of cadets are chosen to attend a two-week professional development program on an Air Force base. If you are selected, cadets will be paid to work and learn. This is a great opportunity to see the Air Force in action. Cadets will see officers doing the same work that they will be doing after graduation.


Air Force ROTC offers two-year and three-year scholarships to college students in all academic majors. Scholarship inquiries and applications are made directly through the Professor of Aerospace Studies at Michigan State University's Detachment 380. Submissions are made during a student’s freshman, sophomore, or junior year. Other Air Force scholarship opportunities may be available in addition to the programs discussed here. Check with Detachment 380 for the current status of any other open programs.

Student status

Students can join the ROTC program and remain a Western Michigan University student, although students are required to go to MSU's campus once per week. The majority of students from WMU will ride the bus to East Lansing, but students may also drive themselves. Leadership Laboratory is held on Thursday from 4:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m., although there is an alternate time to attend if you have conflicts. Students will attend a one-credit class as a freshman or sophomore, or a four-credit class as a junior or senior. Students are able to sign-up for the program at WMU at the same time when enrolling for other classes. Give us a call to determine what classes you should be enrolled in.


To qualify for the general military course, students must:

  • Be a full-time student at Western Michigan University.
  • Be a United States citizen (to receive a scholarship).
  • Be at least 14 years old (17 to receive a scholarship appointment).
  • Be in good physical condition.
  • Have good moral character.

To qualify for the professional officer course, students must meet all of the qualifications for the general military course and:

  • Be 18 years of age or 17 years with parent or legal guardian consent.
  • Be in good academic standing.
  • Be interviewed and selected by a board of Air Force officers.
  • Be physically qualified.
  • Be a United States citizen.
  • Complete a four-week field training course (or a five-week course if in the two-year program).
  • Have two academic years remaining (undergraduate, graduate, or a combination of the two).
  • Successfully pass the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test.


After graduating from college and completing all Air Force ROTC requirements, students will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. Non-flying officers serve four years on active duty, navigators serve six years after training, and pilots serve ten years after training.

Career opportunities

The Air Force offers over 100 officer career fields including:

Aircraft Pilot, Navigator, Maintenance
Space and Missile Satellite Operations, Space Warning, Missile Launch Operations, Maintenance
Engineering Research, Development, and Technical Management in various engineering fields
Scientific Mathematics, Nuclear Physics, Metallurgy, Meteorology
Computer Science Programming, Systems Analysis, Development
Law Labor, Claims, International Contracts, Military Justice, Legal Assistance
Health Services Physician, Osteopathy, Nursing
Management Intelligence, Security Forces, Personnel, Air Traffic Control, Supply, Finance, Communications and Electronics, Munitions


  • A monthly, tax free, cash stipend of $250 to $400 a year given during the academic year while on scholarship.
  • Academic credits toward the completion of most degrees.
  • Opportunity to delay entering active duty to pursue a graduate degree.
  • Scholarships pay the majority of college tuition and up to $750 for textbooks.
  • Travel on military aircraft on a space available basis while on scholarship or enrolled in the POC portion of the program.
  • Visits to Air Force bases and orientation flights aboard Air Force aircraft.

Active duty Air Force

Profession Rewarding, meaningful, positions of responsibility
Advancement Promotions based upon job performance
Pay Competitive salary and allowances
Education 100 percent tuition assistance towards an advanced degree
Retirement Opportunity to retire after 20 years with a percentage of base pay
Vacation 30 days of leave with pay each year
Medical Care Furnished at no cost
Dental Care Furnished at no cost
Sick Leave Unlimited: full pay continues
Living Quarters On-base housing available or off-base housing allowance paid.
Shopping Save as much as 25 percent using on-base stores
Social Life Officer's clubs, swimming, golfing, bowling and tennis at reduced rates
Travel Allowance A daily stipend available while on official orders

Information is subject to change. For more information without obligation, visit our web page (email: or visit us at:

AFROTC Detachment 380
104 Bessey Hall
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1033 USA
(517) 355 2168

Also See


Army ROTC is an elective curriculum you take along with your required college classes. It gives you the tools, training, and experiences that will help you succeed in any competitive environment. Along with great leadership training, Army ROTC can pay for your college tuition. Because Army ROTC is an elective, you can participate your freshman and sophomore years without any obligation to join the Army. You will have a normal college student experience like everyone else on campus, but when you graduate, you will be commissioned as an officer in the Army. At that point, you will have a wide range of interest areas that you can specialize in.