Military Science

Military Science offers a two, three, and four-year Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) program designed to develop future officers in the areas of leadership, management, foreign policy, national security, military history, and military skills. The Army ROTC program also offers a series of optional adventure outings and on-campus activities during the school year. These include orienteering, rappelling, sports programs and social activities. Enrollment in the Army ROTC program is not a requirement for taking military science courses. Military Science offers a varied class schedule to meet students’ requirements. The Army ROTC program consists of one course per semester along with scheduled leadership laboratories and field training.

Four-Year Commissioning Program

The four-year program is divided into two parts: the basic course and the advanced course. The basic course is usually taken in the freshman and sophomore years. No military commitment is incurred during this time, and students may withdraw at any time through the end of the second year. The first year consists of 2 unit introductory courses each semester. The second year consists of 2 unit courses with instruction on organizational leadership theories. Uniforms, necessary military science textbooks, and materials are furnished without cost.

After completing the basic course, students who have demonstrated officer potential, have met physical and scholastic standards and agree to contract are eligible to enroll in the advanced course. This course is normally taken in the final two years of college and consists of outlined military science and designated enrichment courses that include communication skills, military history, and computer literacy.

In addition, the advanced course consists of a paid five-week leadership assessment course held during the summer between the junior and senior years. This course permits students to put into practice the leadership principles and theories acquired in the classroom. All students in the advanced course receive uniforms, necessary military science textbooks, pay for the leadership assessment course, and a living allowance of up to $4,000 each school year.

Upon completion of the advanced course, students are commissioned Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Army. The available options after commissioning are active duty for a minimum of three years or three months active duty for training followed by part-time participation in the U.S. Army Reserve or U.S. Army National Guard.

Several special programs are available for students who have previous ROTC training or active military service. These programs allow for part- or full-placement credit for the basic course. In addition, a program is available for simultaneous participation in both Army ROTC and the Army Reserve or Army National Guard.

Two-Year Commissioning Program

This program offers students the opportunity to be commissioned officers after two years of Army ROTC instead of four years. The two year program is designed for community and junior college graduates and students who did not take Army ROTC during their first two years or who have prior military experience. The five-week summer Cadet Training Course (CTC), Military Science 221, provides the military skills and leadership training normally taught during the freshman and sophomore on-campus courses. CTC is conducted at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and a paid salary, transportation, meals, and lodging will be furnished. CTC graduates enroll in Military Science 301 to enter the advanced course and complete the advanced program at the San Diego State University campus as described above.

Applying for the Program

USD students enroll in military science courses by signing up during registration in the same manner as for other university classes. There is no advance application needed for the freshman or sophomore classes. However, students enrolling in Military Science courses need to contact USD Military Science to receive information on lab schedules, equipment, materials and activities.



Units: 3

This course introduces cadets to the personal challenges and competencies that are critical for effective leadership. Cadets learn how the personal development of life skills such as critical thinking, goal setting, time management, physical fitness, and stress management relate to leadership, officership, and the Army profession. The focus is on developing basic knowledge and comprehension of Army leadership dimensions while gaining a big-picture understanding of ROTC, its purpose in the Army, and its advantages for the student. Relative examples and discussions are used to relate leadership to not only the military, but also to Corporate America.


Units: 3

This course overviews leadership fundamentals such as setting direction, problem-solving, listening, presenting briefs, providing feedback, and using effective writing skills. Cadets explore dimensions of leadership values, attributes, skills, and actions in the context of practical, hands-on, and interactive exercises. The principles discussed in this curriculum can be used to prepare managers for Corporate America by building a solid foundation for the understanding of leadership.


Units: 3

This course explores the dimensions of creative and innovative tactical leadership strategies and styles by examining team dynamics and two historical leadership theories that form the basis of the Army leadership framework (trait and behavior theories). Cadets practice aspects of personal motivation and team building in the context of planning, executing, and assessing team exercises and participating in Leadership Labs. Focus is on continued development of the knowledge of leadership values and attributes through an understanding of Army rank, structure and duties, and basic aspects of land navigation and squad tactics. Case studies provide tangible context for learning the Soldier’s Creed and Warrior Ethos as they apply in the Contemporary Operating Environment (COE).


Units: 3

This course examines the challenges of leading tactical teams in the complex Contemporary Operating Environment (COE). The course highlights dimensions of terrain analysis, patrolling, and operations orders. Further study of the theoretical basis of the Army leadership framework explores the dynamics of adaptive leadership in the context of military operations. Cadets develop greater self-awareness as they assess their own leadership styles and practice communication and team building skills. COE case studies give insight into the importance and practice of teamwork and tactics in real-world scenarios.


Units: 3

Military Science 301 will develop leadership and organizational skills, time management, and technical competence in military-related subjects. Students concentrate on the practical application of the leadership fundamentals and techniques learned in the ROTC Basic Course and prepare for success at the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Lewis, Washington, and as future commissioned officers in the U.S. Army. The course consists of both classroom instruction and practical field application where cadets are placed in leadership roles.


Units: 3

MSL 302 uses increasingly challenging situational leadership challenges to build Cadet proficiency and skills in leading tactical operations. Having learned squad-level tactics in MSL 301, cadets will now learn to effectively lead up to platoon level. Cadets will review aspects of combat, stability and support operations. They will also conduct military briefings and develop proficiency in garrison operations orders. The focus is on exploring, evaluating and developing skills in decision making, persuading and motivating members of a team to accomplish a common mission. MSL 302 Cadets are evaluated on what they know and do as leaders as they prepare to attend the Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: MILS 301 and MILS 302

This course 401 transitions the focus of student learning from being trained, mentored, and evaluated as an MSL III Cadet to learning how to train, mentor, and evaluate underclass Cadets. MSL IV Cadets learn the duties and responsibilities of an Army staff officer and apply the Military Decision Making Process, Army Writing Style, the Army’s Training Management Cycle and METL Development processes during weekly Training Meetings. Cadets learn to safely conduct training by understanding and employing the Deliberate Risk Management Process. Cadets learn how to use the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program to reduce and manage stress. At the conclusion of this course, you will be capable of planning, coordinating, navigating, motivating, and leading a cadet platoon, company, and/or battalion in the execution of a Leadership Lab, Ranger Challenge Exercise, and a Leadership Development Exercise (LDX).


Units: 3 Repeatability: No

Prerequisites: MILS 301 and MILS 302 and MILS 401

This is an academically challenging course were you will study, practice, develop, and apply critical thinking skills pertaining to Army leadership, officer skills, Army Values and ethics, personal development, and small unit tactics at platoon level. This course includes reading assignments, homework assignments, small group assignments, briefings, case studies, practical exercises, mid-term exam, and a Capstone Exercise in place of the final exam. For the Capstone Exercise, you will be required to complete an Oral Practicum that you will be evaluated on your knowledge of the 20 Army War fighting Challenges (AWFC) covered throughout MILS401 and 402 coursework. In addition, you could be assessed on leadership abilities during classroom PE, Leadership Labs, or Leader Training Exercises (LTX). You will receive systematic and specific feedback on your leader attributes, values, and core leader competencies from your cadre, PMS and other MSL IV Cadets.