As the undergraduate college of our country’s naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Naval Academy students are midshipmen on active duty in the U.S. Navy. They attend the Academy for four years, graduating with Bachelor of Science degrees and then commissioning as Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps.
Naval Academy graduates serve at least five years in the Navy or Marine Corps.
Around the Yard
The scenic Naval Academy campus, known as the Yard, is located in historic Annapolis, Md., where the Severn River flows into the Chesapeake Bay. With its combination of early 20th-century and modern buildings, the Naval Academy is a blend of tradition and state-of-the-art technology that exemplifies today’s Navy and Marine Corps. Throughout the Yard, tree-shaded monuments commemorate the bravery and heroism that are an inherent part of the academy’s heritage. Buildings and walkways are named for Naval Academy graduates who have contributed to naval history and their nation.
The Naval Academy also is the final resting place of Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones, whose words, “I have not yet begun to fight,” have inspired generations of naval officers. His crypt is located beneath the Academy Chapel. A National Historic Site, the Naval Academy hosts more than one million tourists every year from all over the United States and around the world. They come to enjoy the natural beauty of the Yard, to recall some of this country’s naval history and to marvel at the traditions carried on in midshipmen parades and military formations. Tourists and midshipmen also appreciate downtown Annapolis, which lies just outside the gates of the Academy. With its colonial charm and busy waterfront, Maryland’s state capital provides a pleasant, diverse setting for one of America’s premier colleges, the United States Naval Academy.
Founded in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft, the Academy started as the Naval School on 10 acres of old Fort Severn in Annapolis. Since then, the history of the Naval Academy has reflected the history of the United States. As our country has changed culturally and technologically, so has the Naval Academy. In only a few decades, the Navy has moved from a fleet of sail and steam-powered ships to a high-tech fleet with nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships and supersonic aircraft. The Academy has changed, too, giving midshipmen the up-to-date academic and professional training they need to be effective naval officers in their assignments after graduation.