Jun 21, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog 
2024-2025 Undergraduate Catalog

Military Science

Army ROTC at NIU is specifically designed to give college students training and experience in the art of organizing, motivating, and leading others, while completing their studies for a baccalaureate degree in an academic discipline of their own choice. Completion of the program leads to a commission in the U.S. Army. The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) is open to all eligible full-time students, both male and female. A total of 28 semester hours of academic credit is available and is applicable to graduation requirements as elective credit. The curriculum is centered on an applied leadership training program which is designed to develop personal traits and qualities essential to successful leadership in civilian life as well as the military environment. Students who enroll in the first two years (basic course) of Army ROTC have no military service obligation. Those who complete the advanced program and are commissioned serve in the active Army, Army National Guard, or U.S. Army Reserves.

Army ROTC Programs

Basic Course. The basic course, normally completed during the freshman and sophomore years, provides the student with a general knowledge of the military’s role in society and the missions of the Army. Subjects include leadership, land navigation, marksmanship, military history, and basic military skills. Students enroll in one military science course each semester. Additionally, a weekend field training exercise is required each semester. It is possible for a sophomore to complete the basic course in one year through prior arrangement with the department.  The basic course consists of the first two years of Army ROTC classes including MILS 101, MILS 102, MILS 201, and MILS 202. Non-scholarship students who participate in or complete the basic program have no military service obligation. 

Advanced Course. The advanced course is the professional phase of the ROTC program. Upon satisfactory completion of the required ROTC courses and the professional military education (PME) component, the student is eligible for a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the active Army, the Army National Guard, or the U.S. Army Reserve. The professional phase includes courses in leadership skills, training, personnel management, ethics, military justice, and military tactics. During the two years of the advanced course, students enroll in one military science course per semester. Additionally, a weekend field training exercise is required each semester. The advanced course consists of the final two years of Army ROTC classes including MILS 301, MILS 302, MILS 401, MILS 402, HIST 379, and attendance at the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (Advanced Internship in Military Science, MILS 350).

Placement into the advanced course requires credit for the basic course, but this requirement can be satisfied several different ways. Completion of the basic course classes (MILS 101, MILS 102, MILS 201, and MILS 202), or completion of the Basic Internship in Military Science (MILS 325), or completion of an armed services basic training course, or credit for JROTC satisfies the requirement for up to two years of basic course credit. Additionally, a student must have a minimum of 60 semester hours.

Leadership Laboratory. Leadership laboratories are taught in conjunction with military science classes. Each laboratory is two hours long; the first hour and a half consists of basic military skills training and the last 30 minutes is the orders process. The primary objective of leadership labs is to serve as a vehicle for leadership development. During leadership labs, MSIV and MSIII cadets perform respective supervisory roles as officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs), while MS I and II cadets perform hands-on tasks that complement classroom instruction.


Stipend. Cadets who have contracted (agreed to receive a commission in active Army, Army National Guard, or U.S. Army Reserves), or have received a federal scholarship will receive a monthly tax-free stipend for up to 10 months a school year. Contact department for current stipend amounts.

Cadets will receive pay for attending the Basic Internship in Military Science (MILS 325) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and the Advanced Internship in Military Science (MILS 350) at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Veterans are permitted to receive G.I. Bill benefits and state benefits as well as the monthly subsistence allowance while enrolled in the advanced course.


Four-, three-, and two-year Army ROTC scholarships are available and awarded on a competitive basis. These scholarships will pay graduate and undergraduate student tuition, fees listed in the course catalog, and provide an allowance each semester for textbooks, supplies, and equipment. Scholarship students must meet university admission criteria, pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), and pass a Department of Defense (DOD) medical exam. All federal scholarship students will incur a military service obligation. Students desiring to apply for a scholarship should contact the department chair. Any student selected for a federal scholarship may request assignment with the U.S. Army Reserves, National Guard, or Active Duty after commissioning. Typically, federal scholarship students receive Active Duty assignments.

Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarships are available for two- or three-year terms for a student or active reservist. A GRFD scholarship allows a student to request assignment with the U.S. Army Reserves or National Guard after commissioning. With rare exception can a student with a GRFD scholarship request Active Duty. The advantage to this scholarship is that the student will serve in a drilling reservist status in a location and unit of their choosing. Cadets commissioned into the Reserves can maintain a civilian profession and military profession. These scholarships will pay graduate and undergraduate student tuition, as well as required fees, and provide an allowance per semester for textbooks, supplies, and equipment. Students who are awarded this scholarship are required to serve in the Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP), and incur an eight-year service obligation in the Army National Guard or Army Reserves.

Simultaneous Membership Program (SMP)

Any nonfederal scholarship advanced course cadet may participate in the SMP by enlisting in the Army National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve. The purpose of the SMP is to provide an off-campus officer training experience and familiarize advanced course cadets with opportunities for commissioned service in Reserve Component units. Soldiers participating in the SMP will attend drill one weekend per month and two weeks per year (typically in the summer) with a respective reserve unit as a cadet, and are entitled to pay in the grade of sergeant (E-5) for drill attendance. 

Illinois Tuition And Housing Waivers

Army ROTC offers 40 tuition waivers and 20 housing waivers each semester. These waivers are available on a competitive basis to students without incurring a military obligation. The tuition waiver is offered by the State of Illinois and exempts the holder from payment of full tuition and limited fees. Similarly, the housing waiver exempts the holder from payment of room costs based on standard double room occupancy rates. To be eligible for the waiver, a student must be: a resident of the State of Illinois, a full-time student, at least 17 and not more than 29 years old at time of graduation, and have a 2.50 GPA (male applicants must be registered for the selective service). The waiver applications are available at the department office in the Chick Evans Field House. Waivers must be reapplied for each semester and will be granted on merit.


To enroll in the military science basic program leading to an officer’s commission the student must be

  • a citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence under applicable provisions of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, and at least 17 years of age. Parental consent is necessary if a student is under 17.
  • a full-time enrolled student at NIU.
  • able to complete the ROTC program and receive a baccalaureate degree prior to reaching 30 years of age. The age requirements may be waived in some cases, especially for those with prior military service and those majoring in nursing.
  • physically and mentally qualified and of good moral character.

Interested personnel should contact the department chair for more information concerning the eligibility requirements, as waiver requests will be accepted on a case-by-case basis.

Students who do not meet the above criteria, and cannot receive a waiver, may enroll in military science classes for academic credit but will not be eligible for appointment as commissioned officers. Entering freshmen should register for MILS 101 at the same time they register for other classes. Sophomores with no previous ROTC experience may register for both the freshman and sophomore courses and become eligible to enter the advanced course at the beginning of the junior year. Juniors and seniors who wish to register for the basic program are requested to confer with the chair of the Department of Military Science prior to enrollment.

Air Force ROTC

NIU students may enroll in Air Force ROTC through the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). The four-year and two-year programs allow qualified men and women the opportunity to earn commissions as Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation and completion of Air Force ROTC. Federal scholarships are available to qualified students and pay up to full tuition and fees and a monthly subsistence allowance. Illinois State Tuition Waivers are also available to qualified students. All members of the professional officer course also receive the monthly subsistence allowance. The Air Force ROTC courses are taught at IIT. For more information on Air Force ROTC, call (312) 567-3525/3526 or stop by the Stuart Building (IIT campus) in Chicago. The IIT detachment website is http://www.afrotc.iit.edu/.

Military Science Faculty

Lieutenant Colonel, Andrew J. Spring, M.A., University of Louisville, Higher Education Administration, Professor of Military Science
Major Jared Budenski, Assistant Professor of Military Science
Master Sergeant Eric Chappel, Senior Military Instructor
Jonathan Cruz, Assistant Professor of Military Science
Sergeant First Class Ethan Wade, Military Science Instructor