The Department of Military Science offers a program of leadership development through study and practical application open to male and female students, to be taken in conjunction with the curricula established for the academic majors. Upon completion of the ROTC program and fulfillment of all requirements for a baccalaureate degree, the student may receive a commission as a second lieutenant and is eligible for assignment with the Active or Reserve Forces of the U.S. Army.

For a detailed description, see the Widener Undergraduate Catalog under the Army ROTC and Military Science sections.

You can participate in the Army ROTC as a:

  1. Participating student. Students register for the Military Science classes only (MS 101 through MS 202). Since they are not enrolled as cadets, they are not covered for any liability beyond that of the university and therefore DO NOT participate in activities outside the classroom (e.g., physical training, leadership labs, and field training).
  2. Enrolled cadet (the most common way). Students fully participate in ROTC by taking the Military Science classes, physical fitness training, leadership labs, and field training. Enrolled cadets are covered by the government for any injuries occurring during ROTC sanctioned training. They wear the Army uniform to all ROTC functions and must adhere to military customs and standards. Unless under contract, enrolled cadets are NOT obligated to future military service.
  3. Contracted cadet. Contracted cadets fully participate like other enrolled cadets, but they are also under obligation to future military service. Scholarship winners must contract to receive benefits. Non-scholarship cadets must contract by the MS III/junior year in order to continue in the program.

Basic Course (Freshmen/Sophomores)

Students may enroll in the ROTC Basic Course without incurring any financial or military obligation. The basic course introduces students to self development tools and basic military instruction. Sophomore students who did not participate in ROTC during their freshman year may enroll during their sophomore year. ROTC is a leadership development program. Its focus is on management techniques and leadership assessment. Students develop their leadership abilities by learning critical thinking, the value of character, competence and courage, self discipline, and team building.

Students also challenge themselves through participation in activities such as physical fitness, orienteering, rappelling, small unit tactics, marksmanship, and leadership reaction courses. MS 101, 102, 201, 202.

Advanced Course (Juniors/Seniors)

Students who have either completed or received completion credit for the Basic Course are eligible to apply for the Advanced Course. Basic Course completion credit may be awarded for participation in JROTC in high school, completion of the four-week Leader's Training Course (LTC) at Fort Knox, Kentucky, enrollment in another service's ROTC program, or completion of Army Basic Training.

Enrollment in the Advanced Course is dependent upon availability of positions within each year group, and ability to meet Army officership contracting standards. Upon acceptance, students are required to take one military science course each semester and participate in the full Leadership Development Program, which includes physical training, leadership labs, and off-site field training exercises. During this period, the students are paid a $450-500 per month subsistence allowance for each month enrolled in school. In addition, students must attend a five-week ROTC Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) located at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Students are paid approximately $850 plus travel expenses while attending this course. MS 301, 302, 401, 402.

Army ROTC Two-Year Program

 Widener University offers the Two-Year Army ROTC Program for those students transferring from junior colleges or other institutions at which ROTC was not offered or who were previously unable to enroll in an ROTC program. To participate in the two-year program, a student must receive credit for the Basic Course, as explained in the Advanced Course section above, or attend a four-week Army ROTC Leader's Training Course (LTC), prior to the start of the junior year (or first year of graduate school). Students are paid approximately $750 plus travel expenses while attending LTC.

Students interested in entering the two-year ROTC program must apply to the professor of military science prior to March 1 of their sophomore year. Students may compete for two-year Army ROTC scholarships, depending on availability of funds. Entry into the two-year program is also dependent upon availability of positions within each year group, and ability to meet Army officership contracting standards.

Army ROTC Scholarship Program

High school students may apply for a national 4-year or 3-year Advanced Designee Army ROTC scholarship at www.armyrotc.com; the application window is between June of the junior year and January 10th of the senior year. University students may apply for campus-based Army ROTC Scholarships for up to 3.5 years of tuition, fees, and books. All scholarships are very competitive and contingent on available funding per year group.

Widener University offers generous incentives to augment the value of awarded Army ROTC Scholarships.
All Army ROTC Scholarships pay up to 100% tuition and general fees. ROTC scholarships include an annual tax-free book allowance of $1,200 and a tax-free monthly stipend of $300, $350, $450, or $500 - based on academic level - for every month that school is in session. All Widener University Army ROTC Scholarship winners receive FREE ROOM AND BOARD (basic double room and gold meal plan). Widener University will also consider 3-year Advanced Designee scholarship winners for room and board during the freshman year, provided they meet Army standards for contracting.

University incentives are contingent upon filing a federal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For additional information about FAFSA requirements, review our Financial Services page.

Simultaneous Membership Program 

Students who are already members of or intend to join a U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) or Army National Guard (ARNG) unit may qualify for this program as early as their sophomore year. If accepted, students become officer trainees and are paid as sergeants (E-5) during reserve training assemblies until they have completed ROTC and are commissioned.

During the years in ROTC, students are paid $350-500 per month in addition to Army Reserve or National Guard pay. Students cannot have a scholarship and be in the Simultaneous Membership Program unless they have a Guaranteed Reserve Forces Duty or Dedicated USAR/ARNG Scholarship, in which case they are committed to serving in the Reserve Component upon commissioning. As members of the USAR or ARNG, students may also qualify for other financial programs, such as federal tuition assistance, state education assistance programs, and the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve.

Service Obligation

 Once under contract, students incur a service obligation. Cadets commissioned as second lieutenants are required to serve for a period of eight years. How this obligation is fulfilled is determined by whether the student was a scholarship or non-scholarship cadet, and whether the student serves on Active Duty or in the Reserve Component. Those selected for Active Duty will typically serve 3 to 4 years full time, with the remaining 5 or 4 years in the inactive reserve (available for recall).

Those choosing or selected for the Reserve Component typically serve for 6 to 8 years part time in a drilling status (one weekend a month plus two weeks per year, other than periods of active duty for training or mobilization); their remaining years of obligation, if any, can be served in the inactive reserve.

Misconceptions about ROTC

  • ROTC instruction is not the same as Army Basic Training. Cadets receive training in basic military skills such as rifle marksmanship and small unit tactics, but the emphasis is on applied leadership development and the practical aspects of managing resources and sustaining operations in dynamic organizations. 
  • ROTC cadets do not enlist in the active Army. They remain full-time college students. Their service commitment begins shortly after graduation.
  • ROTC cadets cannot be sent to war. They must obtain their four year academic degree before they can receive a commission, and then must complete their branch-specific officer basic course before assignment to a troop unit.
  • Cadets do not major in ROTC. Military science courses are taken for elective credit. Cadets are free to major in any accepted academic discipline.
  • ROTC training does not take priority over academics. ROTC activities are kept to a minimum to allow cadets to focus on academics. Each cadet's college cumulative GPA constitutes 40% of his/her total evaluation while in ROTC.

Nursing Students

Our School of Nursing is one of the most respected in the metropolitan area. Coupled with the 8:1 student to faculty ratio, it is an excellent choice for those in the ROTC. Traditionally, Widener's ROTC program is among the top producers of Army Nurse Corps lieutenants.

Dauntless Battalion

The Dauntless Battalion traces its roots back through the Freedom and Pioneer Battalions and the Pennsylvania Military College. We are made up of students from eight diverse institutions in the greater Philadelphia area:

  • Widener University (Headquarters and A Company)
  • Villanova University (B Company)
  • Penn State University-Abington (C Company)
  • West Chester University (D Company)
  • Cheyney University
  • Penn State University-Brandywine
  • Neumann University
  • Immaculata University 

Students at these schools may enroll in Military Science classes at their respective institutions and train with the Dauntless Battalion. Classes are currently being offered on campus at Widener, Villanova, Penn State-Abington and West Chester. Follow us on our Dauntless Battalion facebook page.