Academics  

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To prepare midshipmen as Naval officers, the Naval Academy’s curriculum blends professional subjects with required and elective courses similar to those offered at leading civilian colleges. Our curriculum has three basic elements:

  • Core requirements in engineering, natural sciences, the humanities and social sciences, to assure that graduates are able to think critically, solve increasingly technical problems in a dynamic, global environment, and express conclusions clearly.
  • Core academic courses and practical training to teach the leadership and professional skills required of Navy and Marine Corps officers.
  • An academic major that permits a midshipman to explore a discipline in some depth and prepare for graduate level work.

Degree Awarded

Upon graduation, a bachelor of science degree is awarded regardless of major, by law, due to the technical content of the core curriculum. Those in the top 10 percent of their class graduate with distinction. Those who have completed special honors programs in one of eight selected majors graduate with honors.

Educational Philosophy

It’s hard to get lost in the classroom at the Naval Academy. Our philosophy of education stresses attention to individual students by highly qualified faculty members who are strongly committed to teaching. Classes are small, with an average size of about 18 students. Even the core courses required of all midshipmen are taught in sections about this size, so that midshipmen receive individualized attention from their instructors. In science and engineering courses, the same professor who lectures in the classroom supervises experiments in the lab. This practice contrasts sharply with many universities, where senior faculty address their students in huge lecture halls, but direct contact with undergraduates in labs or discussion sections is delegated to graduate assistants. All courses at the Naval Academy are taught and graded by faculty members, not by graduate assistants.

Faculty

Our faculty is an integrated group of nearly 600 officers and civilians in roughly equal numbers. This composition is unique among service academies, and dates from the earliest days of the Naval School when three civilian teachers joined four Navy officers in the first faculty in 1845. Officers typically rotate to the Academy for two-to-three-year assignments, bringing fresh ideas and experiences from operational units of the Navy and Marine Corps. They can also explain how studies at the Academy apply in the fleet and the field. A cadre of officer faculty with doctorates adds another dimension to the teaching staff as Permanent Military Professors. The Academy’s civilian faculty members give continuity to the educational program and form a core of professional scholarship and teaching experience. All career civilian faculty members have doctoral degrees, and many of them are leading scholars in their fields. Working together, our military and civilian instructors form one of the strongest and most dedicated teaching faculties of any college or university in the United States.

Academic Advising

Midshipmen receive ample assistance in planning their academic programs. The academic advising system has two stages. During their first summer at the Academy, each company of new midshipmen is assigned two faculty members as their academic advisers. Each plebe receives academic counseling—and basic study skills instruction—before the start of the academic year. Advising continues as often as necessary throughout the year. After academic majors are selected in the spring of plebe year, midshipmen are assigned permanent faculty advisers in the academic department of that major. Professors and company officers are essential and helpful resources in providing academic counseling and advice to midshipmen.

Core Curriculum

In four years at the Naval Academy, midshipmen are required to take certain core courses to make sure they are well prepared for the principal career choices available to Navy and Marine Corps officers. Through required courses in engineering, natural sciences, social sciences, the humanities, professional military subjects and physical education, the Naval Academy gives midshipmen a balanced education for virtually any career path in the operating forces of our country’s naval services.

During the first year at the Academy, all courses are part of the required core curriculum. These required courses form the foundation for the more advanced courses, core and major, chosen by upperclass midshipmen. Some core requirements in the upperclass years have alternative courses from which to choose, depending on your academic background, abilities and major. Courses in your academic major also prepare you for advanced professional training and postgraduate education, which are expected of nearly all naval officers.

Advanced Placement

More than half the midshipmen entering the Naval Academy validate one or more courses. Each of the Academy’s academic departments sets its own validation standards and considers one or more of the following:

  • Transcripts.
  • Department validation tests, administered at the Naval Academy.
  • College Entrance Examination Board Achievement and Advanced Placement tests.

Majors Program

At the Naval Academy, the academic program is focused especially on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in order to meet the current and future highly technical needs of the Navy. Graduates who are proficient in scientific inquiry, logical reasoning and problem solving will provide an officer corps ready to lead in each warfare community of the Navy and Marine Corps.

While the majority of midshipmen will choose their majors, the needs of the Naval Service take precedence. For the Naval Academy Class of 2013 and beyond, at least 65% of those graduates commissioned into the U.S. Navy must complete academic majors in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics disciplines. This institutional requirement applies as well to NROTC programs at other colleges. At the end of plebe year, midshipmen choose a major course of study with counsel from academic and military advisors.

Twenty-four majors are offered:

Special Academic Opportunities

Students who excel at the Naval Academy have many opportunities to challenge and advance themselves through several special programs.

Trident Scholars

The Trident Scholar Program provides an opportunity for some exceptionally capable midshipmen to engage in independent study and research during their first class (senior) year. Following their selection to the program at the end of their junior year, Trident Scholars conduct year-long independent research in an area of their interest, working closely with a faculty advisor who is an expert in the area that the Scholar has chosen to investigate. Trident Scholars carry a reduced formal course load to give them sufficient time for in-depth research and for preparation of a published thesis. Trident Scholars often report their findings of national conferences related to their field. Current Trident Scholars come from many different majors and research topics that range from “Analysis and Optimization of Vortex Oxidizer Injection in a Hybrid Rocket Motor System,” and “Search for Galactic Asymmetry: Developing a Star Count Model of the Galaxy,” to “Design, Synthesis and Testing of Anti-malarial Compounds Based Upon a Novel Chemical Lead.” 

Honors Program

Midshipmen with excellent academic and leadership performance can apply for honors programs offered in history, English, political science, mathematics, oceanography, systems engineering, and economics. Honors students complete a thesis or research project and orally defend it before a panel of faculty members. Successful participants graduate with honors.

Voluntary Graduate Education Program (VGEP)

Midshipmen who have completed Academy course requirements early through any combination of validation and overloading can compete for selection and begin work toward master’s degrees at nearby civilian universities, such as the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Up to 20 midshipmen can participate annually, starting graduate work during their first class year and completing their master’s degree programs within seven months after graduation from the Naval Academy. Fields of study are selected from Navy-approved graduate education programs leading to Navy subspecialty qualification.

Naval Academy International Program Office

Developing foreign language and regional knowledge skill sets is the third core competency the Naval Academy seeks to instill in its graduates, along with ethical leadership and a strong technical foundation in science, mathematics, and engineering. The International Program Office (IPO) helps provide a focused approach to developing midshipman international awareness. The IPO is the principal point of contact, central coordinating office, and source of expert assistance for all international engagement. This includes foreign travel, visitor coordination, and student and faculty exchanges. The IPO focuses especially on developing midshipman opportunities that reinforce their capabilities in foreign languages and regional knowledge—particularly when these can be combined with Navy and Marine Corps theater security cooperation activities. Examples include semester study abroad at foreign military academies and civilian universities, summer education and cultural immersion opportunities, professional training aboard foreign navy vessels, sail training ships, and short-duration orientation visits. At least one quarter of each graduating class can expect to have a significant language or cultural awareness experience during their four years at the Academy.

Facilities

From wind tunnels to state-of-the-art chemistry labs, the Naval Academy has outstanding facilities and equipment in every phase of its program. Classrooms, labs and athletic facilities provide modern, well-equipped areas for learning and recreation. The following are only some of the special academic facilities available:

  • propulsion lab
  • wind tunnels, both subsonic and supersonic
  • 120-foot and 380-foot towing tanks
  • coastal engineering basin
  • environmental chamber facilities
  • oceanographic research vessel, field laboratory and weather station
  • 16-inch Cassegrain reflector telescope
  • fully-equipped laboratories for chemistry, physics, engineering, oceanography and foreign language courses
  • 12-meter satellite earth station
  • computer network defense and attack facilities

Nimitz Library

The Nimitz Library includes a collection of more than 615,000 volumes of books and bound periodicals, plus government documents, microforms, audiovisuals, extensive holdings of manuscripts and archival materials in Special Collections and Archives, and a growing array of electronic resources. Special emphasis is on naval science and history. The Library’s website (www.usna.edu/Library), including its web catalog and an extensive number of electronic journals, books and databases, is accessible via the Academy’s network from the midshipmen’s dorm rooms and faculty offices. Comfortable reading and study areas can accommodate more than 800 students. The Library also contains seminar and group-study rooms, as well as two electronic classrooms, and a coffee bar.

In close collaboration with other academic departments, Nimitz Library conducts a vigorous program of information literacy, educating students about how to obtain, use, and evaluate recorded knowledge as part of the research process.

Resources Afloat

The fundamentals of seamanship, navigation and naval operations are taught in laboratories afloat on the Academy’s many sail and power craft. The Robert Crown Center on the Severn River supports many of these activities, as well as recreational, intercollegiate and offshore sailing. The Naval Academy’s large and varied fleet includes:

  • 20 44-foot sloops;
  • eight 30’ to 52’ foot offshore racing yachts;
  • one J/22; one J/24: one Sonar;
  • 22 420 dinghies, three Interclub dinghies, three Vanguard 15s;
  • 21 FJ dinghies;
  • 30 Navy 26 keelboats; and
  • 50 Lasers

The Naval Academy’s sailing program is comprehensive. It ranges from basic instruction to advanced intercollegiate dinghy and international-level, open-ocean racing. All midshipmen participate in sailing during Plebe Summer receiving sailing instruction in sloop-rigged keelboats.

After Plebe Summer, midshipmen may try out for either the Intercollegiate Dinghy Team or the Varsity Offshore Sailing Team. Both racing programs are highly competitive and are consistently top-ranked nationally. Midshipmen may also participate in the Academy’s Offshore Sail Training Squadron (OSTS). OSTS qualifies midshipmen to sail one of the Academy’s 44-foot sloops offshore during summer cruise. Those who master the skills required will qualify as a Coastal Skipper or Senior Offshore Skipper (the Navy “D” Qual).

Professional Courses and Training

Professional courses and training are an important part of the Naval Academy’s integrated program. Required courses in such areas as naval science, engineering, navigation and weapons systems promote a working knowledge of modern naval operations and technology. Courses in leadership, ethics and military law help prepare for leadership responsibilities as an upperclass midshipman and a commissioned officer. Physical education teaches the value of physical fitness and staying fit for life. Eight weeks of annual summer training introduces you to operational units of the Navy and Marine Corps, life at sea and the responsibilities of a junior officer.

Courses available as electives include leadership, psychology, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, ethics and military law.

Physical Education Training

The Physical Education Department is tasked with accomplishing one third of the mission of the Naval Academy, to prepare midshipmen physically to become professional Navy and Marine Corps officers. This mission is accomplished through a thorough and rigorous course of instruction in the fundamentals of swimming, personal defense, lifetime fitness and recreational sports, and through the regular administration of the Physical Readiness Test. Midshipmen must meet physical education requirements during their four years at the Naval Academy in order to graduate. Plebes are graded in:

  • Swimming — 100-meter crawl stroke; 50 meters using the breaststroke and elementary backstroke (seven to 11 strokes per 25 meters); 5-meter tower jump; 40-foot underwater swim; 200-meter swim (five minutes, 12 seconds maximum).
  • Boxing, Wrestling, Martial Arts, electives such as golf, water polo, racquetball, squash, tennis, volleyball, kayaking, gymnastics, weight training, advanced martial arts, swim conditioning, an introduction to climbing, and advanced climbing. All physical education subjects are graded.

In addition to the above requirements, all midshipmen are regularly required to pass the Physical Readiness Test. The PRT consists of push-ups, curl-ups, and a 1.5 mile run. The PRT is administered each semester all four years.

  • 1.5 mile run — maximum time for men: 10:30. Maximum time for women: 12:40.
  • Push-ups and curl-ups

    • Men: minimum to pass in two minutes; 45 push-ups, 65 curl-ups.
    • Women: minimum to pass in two minutes; 20 push-ups, 65 curl-ups (sit-ups).

Summer Courses and Training

Summer training events are specifically sequenced into the Naval Academy’s four-year education and training plan and reinforce your experiences in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in Bancroft Hall. The focus of your summer training is Fleet alignment. Each summer you will spend approximately four weeks immersed in the Fleet, maximizing your exposure to Navy and Marine Corps personnel, operations, and training.

Third Class Summer

Your cruise onboard a surface ship or submarine provides you a snapshot of a “day in the life” of Fleet enlisted personnel. You will become part of the crew, taking part in ship’s operations and drills and standing underway watches. This opportunity allows you to experience the lives of the men and women that you will lead after commissioning.

Second Class Summer

You will complete Professional Training of Midshipmen (PROTRAMID), a program introducing you to the missions, equipment, and people of the major Navy branches and the Marine Corps. In one action-packed summer, you fly in Navy aircraft, dive in a nuclear-powered submarine, drive Navy ships, and participate in Marine Corps combat training.

First Class Summer

In the final summer, you get a chance to act as a division officer in training, interacting with a Wardroom and the Chief Petty Officer. Warfare cruise options are surface, submarine, aviation, Special Warfare (SEAL), and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) cruises, as well as Marine Corps training (Leatherneck and Marine Air-Ground Task Force). This cruise experience will help you decide upon your warfare community preferences prior to service assignment during your final fall semester.

Other Summer Training Opportunities

In addition to a Fleet training event, you will complete another four-week summer training event providing you professional development as a future officer. These opportunities include:

  • Demonstrating leadership ashore with assignment to Naval Academy and Naval Academy Preparatory School instructional details or Naval Academy Summer Seminar detail.
  • Demonstrating afloat leadership and mariner skills on USNA Yard Patrol craft or Navy 44-foot sailboat cruises.
  • Overseas (international) training, such as language studies, cultural studies, and exchange cruises with foreign navies.
  • Academic summer school to make up previous unsatisfactory performance in the classroom or to get ahead in curriculum requirements for your major. Summer school is normally done in lieu of taking summer leave and is not designed to replace the Fleet or professional development training events.

Leadership Development

The purpose of the United States Naval Academy is to grow, shape and motivate leaders of character for the naval service who will serve the nation in peace and war. The Academy has a deep and abiding commitment to the moral development of its midshipmen and to instilling the naval service core values of honor, courage and commitment. The ultimate goal is to develop leaders by integrating the moral, ethical and character development of midshipmen across every aspect of the Naval Academy experience. The integrated leadership development program is the single most important feature that distinguishes the Naval Academy from other educational institutions and officer commissioning sources. The the four-year developmental program produces graduates who:

  • possess fundamental knowledge of human behavior and the dynamic science and art of leadership in the military;
  • understand midshipman/junior officer leader role responsibilities and values;
  • demonstrate analytical and critical thinking related to leadership in the military;
  • apply elements of personal character, ethics and the responsibilities of military officership;
  • exercise essential individual, interpersonal and organizational leader skills and abilities; and
  • express motivation for continued leader development and military officership.

Grading

Grades have an added dimension at the Naval Academy in that they affect your status and privileges as a midshipman. As the major determinant of class rank, they also influence ship selection or advanced training scheduling following service assignment and seniority upon graduation and commissioning.

We use a letter grading system with these values, called quality point equivalents, or QPE:

  • A = 4.0 (Excellent)
  • B = 3.0 (Good)
  • C = 2.0 (Satisfactory)
  • D = 1.0 (Marginally passing)
  • F = 0.0 (Failing)
  • I = No Value (Incomplete)
  • W = No Value (Withdrawn)

Grades are averaged using a weighted semester hour system called the quality point rating or QPR. The QPR is figured by multiplying the QPE received in each course by the semester hours of credit for the course. That total is divided by the total number of hours completed in the semester. You earn semester QPRs and a cumulative QPR (CQPR) based on all of your grades.

Midshipmen must maintain a cumulative QPR of 2.0 or above or they risk academic probation or dismissal. As required by law, the Academic Board reviews the records of academically deficient midshipmen. Midshipmen subject to academic discharge are those who fail two or more courses; have a semester QPR below 1.5; fail to remove academic probation; are two or more courses behind in the matrix of the assigned major; do not fulfill a requirement previously assigned by the Academic Board; or do not complete all graduation requirements by the end of the first-class year.

Grades in military performance, conduct, physical education and summer professional training are not included in the QPR, but they are figured into class standing. Satisfactory performance in professional areas is required.

Recognition of Excellence

Three honor categories recognize midshipmen with outstanding academic and professional records:

Superintendent’s List — midshipmen with a semester SQPR of at least 3.4 with no grade of D, F, I in any course; grades of A in conduct and A in military performance, and A or B in physical education and A or B in the Physical Readiness Test.

Dean’s List — midshipmen not on the Superintendent’s List with semester SQPR of 3.4 with no grade of D, F, I in any course; grades of at least a B in conduct and B in military performance, and a C or better in physical education and C or better in the Physical Readiness Test.

Commandant’s List — midshipmen with a semester QPR of at least 2.9, grades of at least B in military performance, A in conduct and A or B in physical education and A or B in the Physical Readiness Test.

Honor societies

A number of national scholastic honor societies are represented at the Naval Academy. Midshipmen who excel academically may be recommended for membership in these societies:

Omicron Delta Epsilon — international honor society for economics. Midshipmen candidates for election to the Naval Academy chapter need not be economics majors but must have an overall scholastic average of B and at least twelve credits in economics with a B average or better.

Phi Alpha Theta — international honor society for history. Membership includes both faculty and students who participate in forums and seminars, also hosting guest speakers and regional meetings of the society.

Phi Kappa Phi — for superior scholarship in all fields of study. Up to six percent of the midshipmen of each class may be chosen to join, half during their second-class year and half in first-class year.

Pi Sigma Alpha — national honor society for political science. To be eligible for membership, midshipmen must stand in the upper one-third of their class with a B or better average in at least 15 hours of political science courses.

Phi Sigma Iota — international honor society for foreign languages. To be eligible for membership, midshipmen must have an overall B average, a B average in foreign language courses and have completed advanced courses in foreign languages.

Pi Tau Sigma — national mechanical engineering honor society. Midshipmen majoring in mechanical engineering who stand in the upper third of their class as seniors or the upper fifth as juniors are eligible for membership.

Sigma Pi Sigma — physics honor society, affiliated with the American Institute of Physics and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Midshipmen candidates for membership must have completed three semesters of physics with at least a B average and must be in the upper one-third of their class in general scholarship.

Sigma Tau Delta — national English honor society. To be eligible for membership, midshipmen must be in the upper third of their class with at least a B average in advanced English courses.

Sigma Xi — scientific research society that encourages original investigation in the fields of pure and applied science. The Naval Academy chapter includes members from the professional staffs of the academy and the Annapolis laboratory of the Naval Surface Warfare Center.

Tau Beta Pi — national engineering honor society. The top fifth of senior engineering majors and top eighth of junior engineering majors are eligible for membership.

Upsilon Pi Epsilon — international honor society for the computing sciences. To be eligible for membership, midshipmen must have a minimum of a 3.0 QPR overall and a 3.25 QPR in computer science or information technology courses.

Graduation Requirements

To be eligible to graduate, you must:

  • complete at least 137 academic credit hours, including core requirements in engineering, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences;
  • complete the courses required in your chosen major;
  • achieve a final cumulative quality point rating (CQPR) of at least 2.0, a C average;
  • meet required standards in professional studies and at-sea training;
  • meet required standards of military performance, conduct, honor and physical education;
  • accept a commission in the Navy or Marine Corps, unless one is not offered.

In addition, the midshipman’s major is designated on the degree for earning a CQPR of at least 2.0 in the major.

Awards

Outstanding midshipmen are recognized publicly during Commissioning Week. A number of organizations and individuals sponsor more than 200 prizes and awards honoring midshipmen for excellence in academics, professional studies, leadership, and athletics.

Advanced Education

Postgraduate education is encouraged for all naval officers and is virtually a requirement for professional advancement in the changing, complex world of today’s Navy and Marine Corps. Naval Academy graduates can earn advanced academic degrees in several areas besides the Voluntary Graduate Education Program (VGEP). Most officers are automatically considered for graduate school when they complete their first duty assignment. If selected, they can enter master’s degree programs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, or at an approved civilian university.

Midshipmen with outstanding academic records can compete for a number of scholarships for postgraduate school right after graduation from the Naval Academy or after an initial operational assignment. There’s also a program for up to 15 graduates a year who want to combine careers in medicine and the Navy; to prepare for this program, midshipmen usually major in chemistry and then enter civilian or armed forces medical schools soon after graduation and commissioning.

The following graduate education programs are currently available:

Naval Academy graduates may qualify for a number of immediate scholarships awarded for study at civilian colleges and universities. These graduate studies can be pursued in various fields while graduates receive pay as commissioned Navy and Marine Corps officers. Up to 20 members of each class can begin postgraduate studies under these scholarships immediately after graduating from the Naval Academy. Such scholarships include:

Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships for two years of graduate study in any field leading to a master of arts or master of philosophy degree — at Oxford for the Rhodes Scholarship or at any university in the United Kingdom for the Marshall Scholarship. Forty-eight midshipmen have won the Rhodes Scholarship since 1930, when Navy participation began. There have been 27 Marshall scholars since 1981.

Navy Burke Program (Junior Line Officer Advanced Educational Program) — open to 15 qualified graduates in each class for study toward a master’s degree in science or engineering. These studies, usually at the Naval Postgraduate School, begin after one operational tour of two to four years.

Marine Corps Burke Program — open to 15 graduates from each class who enter the Marine Corps. Graduate study begins approximately two years after commissioning. Selectees may choose their field of study from an extensive list of disciplines.

Olmsted Foundation Scholarships — established by the George and Carol Olmsted Foundation in cooperation with the Department of Defense. These scholarships support two years of graduate education at foreign universities, using foreign languages,for Navy and Marine Corps officers. Two Naval Academy graduates who have served between three and eleven years of active duty are eligible each year.

Gates Cambridge Scholarships for two years of graduate study at Cambridge Univ., England.

Truman Scholarship for graduate study in any major, with emphasis on public service. Up to four midshipmen are nominated during their junior year.

William H.G. FitzGerald Scholarship — supports two years of graduate study at Oxford University in England for one Naval Academy graduate each year.

Thomas Pownall Scholarship supports two years of graduate study at Cambridge University in England for one Naval Academy graduate each year.

Otto A. Zipf Scholarship — supports two years graduate study at the Ruprecht-Karl University of Heidelberg, Germany, for one Naval Academy graduate of each class.

Hertz Fellowship (Fannie and John Hertz Foundation) for graduate study in the applied physical sciences at a choice of 27 universities.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship leading to a master of science or a master of arts degree in the mathematical, physical, biological, engineering, and social sciences and in the history and philosophy of science.

Draper Laboratory Fellowships for graduate study in technical majors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University or Northeastern University.

Immediate Graduate Education Program (IGEP) — 14 submarine officers in the Bowman Scholar Program each year, starting in June or July following graduation from the Naval Academy. Graduates selected for IGEP complete a one-year technical master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School.

Midshipmen may apply for other scholarships at civilian universities in aerospace engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, and physics.

Division of Engineering and Weapons

Aerospace Engineering Department

The Aerospace Engineering Department offers one of the most exciting and challenging academic programs at the Naval Academy. The program is structured to produce naval officers who will serve in the forefront of the inception, development and employment of naval air and space assets. The curriculum provides a background in engineering fundamental through courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering mechanics, thermodynamics and electrical engineering. With these subjects as a base, students study aerospace engineering topics in aeronautics or astronautics tracks infused with airplane or spacecraft design studies. The aerospace engineering major is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Department

Electrical Engineering Major: Electrical Engineering is one of the cornerstone disciplines that will shape many aspects of the Navy for the foreseeable future. The major offers a solid grounding in the fundamentals of electrical engineering, as well as the opportunity to investigate advanced topics in communication systems, digital computers, fiber optic systems, microwaves, digital signal processing, and instrumentation. The Navy needs officers trained in these electrical engineering subspecialties to lead in the development, integration, and operation of advanced warfare systems. The electrical engineering major is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, and leads to a bachelor of science in electrical engineering.

Computer Engineering Major: Computer engineering is a fairly recent, but highly significant and relevant sub-discipline of electrical engineering. Smaller, faster, and cheaper are words that describe the revolutionary changes associated with computer engineering. The computer engineering major closely follows the electrical engineering major for the first year, but diverges thereafter. A solid grounding in the fundamentals of electrical and computer engineering is followed by the opportunity to investigate advanced topics in computer interfacing, computer networking, operating systems, fiber optic systems, and digital signal processing. The Navy is certain to need officers trained in computer engineering to lead in the development, integration, and operation of advanced computer-based systems. The computer engineering major leads to a bachelor of science in computer engineering. The Department is seeking to be accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, at the earliest permissible time.

Mechanical Engineering Department

Mechanical Engineering Major: The mechanical engineering major, fully accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org, is the most broad-based of all engineering programs available at the Naval Academy. Current fleet examples of mechanical engineering include the structural mechanics of ships and aircraft; performance of gas turbine engines; conversion of nuclear energy; and advanced weapons systems such as electromagnetic railguns and directed energy weapons. These areas of interest require a fundamental understanding of the subjects covered by the mechanical engineering curriculum: solid mechanics, material science, energy conversion, fluids mechanics and the engineering design process. As part of the core curriculum, mechanical engineering majors also take a number of courses in electrical and systems engineering.

General Engineering Major: The general engineering major provides a basic technical education in mathematics, science, engineering and naval professional subjects. It offers a broad engineering background for future naval service. Midshipmen completing the general engineering major receive a designated bachelor of science degree.

Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering Department

Naval Architecture Major: One of the oldest engineering disciplines, naval architecture focuses on unique and complex end-products, vessels to travel the world’s vast oceans, lakes and rivers. A special combination of knowledge and experience is needed to design and build these vessels. Variety exists not only in the work involved (research, design, fabrication, and management), but also in the types of craft from sailboats to aircraft carriers, hydrofoils to catamarans, submarines to surface-effect ships and tugs to supertankers.

Ocean Engineering Major: Ocean Engineering holds the key to the last frontier on earth, the ocean depths. While marine scientists provide us with a basic knowledge of the ocean environment, the ocean engineer enables us to use this environment more effectively. By blending the fundamentals of mathematics, physics, chemistry and oceanography with knowledge of the engineering sciences, including ocean materials and wave mechanics, the ocean engineer plans, designs and builds a variety of coastal, harbor, and offshore structures; unmanned underwater vehicles and diver-support equipment; underwater acoustic systems; ocean energy and other marine-related environmental systems. Multi-disciplinary in nature, ocean engineering will appeal to civil, electrical, environmental and mechanical engineers who wish to practice in the ocean realm.

Weapons and Systems Engineering Department

Systems Engineering Major: Modern engineering designs, from automobile and spacecraft to missiles and robots, are complex systems of components such as motors, microcomputers, and sensors. Using these diverse components, the Systems Engineer designs a functional whole that meets given specifications and whose behavior is characterized by automatic decision-making. The scope of such designs necessitates that students of the major learn a breadth of topics encompassing electronics, mechanics, and computer programming.

Division of Humanities and Social Sciences

Economics Department

The major in economics provides an opportunity to study both microeconomic theory (the study of individuals or firms) and macroeconomic theory (the study of economies as a whole) in a supportive and engaged environment. Economics coursework encourages critical thinking and involves problem-based assignments, writing projects, presentations, and data analysis. Midshipmen with keen analytical skills, including mathematics and logic, in addition to strong writing and communication skills can be expected to perform very well in the economics major.

English Department

The majors program in English offers study of the most significant and influential writings of civilization from ancient times to the present as well as the opportunity for independent study and for creative writing projects. A bachelor of science degree is awarded.

Majoring in English complements the highly technical training required for the Navy and Marine Corps. Good officers must be able to think independently, solve problems creatively, understand cultural differences, and, most importantly, communicate effectively. Studying literature develops these skills while, crucially, exposing students to the range of the human condition to prepare them for the challenges of leadership.

An honors program with a designated honors degree is available for selected students. Built on the premise that students wishing to excel will do so within the framework of the regular major, the honors program requires concentration in literary period courses and participation in seminars focusing on literature and the fine arts and on advanced literary topics.

History Department

The major in history provides an opportunity to examine the evolution of past civilizations and to evaluate and understand the institutions, achievements, ethics and values of mankind through the ages. History majors learn to evaluate ideas critically: to sift evidence, to draw conclusions and to express their conclusions clearly and concisely. A clear understanding of the events of the past provides a more acute awareness of contemporary issues and problems, as well as a context and a process for evaluating those problems. The program includes introductory courses on the values and ideas of western civilization in a global context and on the history of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. A bachelor of science degree is awarded. The Honors program in history offers students with superior ability in history the opportunity to pursue a more challenging course of study and graduate with Honors in History at Commissioning. Those students accepted for the program will work closely with a faculty adviser and develop a major research paper (HH509) in the fall of first class year. The History department also requires Honors History majors to take two special seminars, HH507 (Honors Historiography) and HH508 (Honors Colloquium).

Language and Cultures Department

The department offers courses at all levels in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Midshipmen majoring in economics, English, history or political science must complete or validate a total of four semesters of a given language and may continue their study of a foreign language at the advanced levels or begin a new language. The department also offers minors in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. In French, German and Spanish the minor consists of 12 credit hours at the 300/400 level taken or validated at the Naval Academy.

The department offers majors in Arabic and Chinese. The Arabic and Chinese majors consist of ten three-credit courses in Arabic or Chinese language and culture, taught completely in the language, and four three-credit collateral courses, two of which must be outside the major. The Language Study Abroad Program offers extraordinary opportunities for summer overseas language study in all of the languages taught at USNA.

Political Science Department

The Political Science major provides prospective naval officers with theories and approaches to understanding domestic and international politics. This wide-ranging, interdisciplinary program develops analytical skills through required introductory courses and advanced electives. The mandatory foundation sequence includes courses in United States Government, International Relations, Political Science Research Methods and a Capstone Research Seminar. Midshipmen select from three concentrations: International Relations and National Security, Comparative Politics or American Government and Law.

Upper level courses explore law, political theory, political institutions, policy analysis, foreign policy and international security as well as key regions – Europe and Russia, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia. The major is enhanced with courses in foreign languages and electives in history and economics. Summer internship programs in Washington D.C. and overseas and the possibility of graduate work in intelligence or national security affairs expand educational opportunities.

Each spring, the Political Science Department and the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences sponsor the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference (NAFAC), which is run by midshipmen. NAFAC has become one of the foremost undergraduate conferences in the country, drawing students from more than 140 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. Students hear the ideas of elected officials, policy makers, senior diplomats, military leaders and journalists. The bachelor of science degree is awarded. An honors program with a designated honors degree is available for selected students.

Division of Mathematics and Science

Chemistry Department

The chemistry major at the Naval Academy provides midshipmen with training in all of the discipline’s traditional fields, leading to a bachelor of science degree certified by the American Chemical Society.

All chemistry majors take required courses in organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry and biochemistry. In addition to the required courses, midshipmen may take advanced courses in each of these subject areas along with related areas such as polymer chemistry, explosives and propellants, forensics and environmental chemistry. Senior capstone or research projects enable midshipmen to investigate topics of particular interest to them under the guidance of a faculty member.

Computer Science Department

The Computer Science major provides a strong foundation in the main areas of the discipline and leads to a bachelor of science in computer science.

The academy’s computer science program affords an exciting and challenging curriculum that meets the needs of newly appointed naval officers serving in the fleet’s operational forces. The program includes core courses in programming, data structures, computer organization, and networks. It also incorporates courses focused on program performance and efficiency, programming languages, as well as applications in artificial intelligence, graphics, and robotics. The major curriculum lays strong theoretical and practical foundations, and gives midshipmen the flexibility to explore topics that range from the classical to the cutting edge. The computer science program concludes with a capstone project chosen by each midshipman major for further, in depth research.

The computer science major is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

The Information Technology major prepares midshipmen as critical catalysts for tomorrow’s naval service, serving as leaders in a network centric world and experts in leveraging leading edge technology to solve operational problems. IT majors bridge the gap between technology and its use in the Navy.

The Information Technology program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, http://www.abet.org.

Mathematics Department

The mathematics major (http://www.usna.edu/MathDept) teaches logical and critical thinking; fundamental abilities that are invaluable to Naval and Marine Corps officers. Mathematics plays a central role in virtually every technical and scientific field and is crucial in developing and applying modern, accurate models used to evaluate systems and tactics in all phases of the modern battlefield. Mathematics majors learn to analyze problems, formulate solutions, and express results in a clear and precise manner. These same skills are applied aboard a ship or submarine, inside a fighter jet or on the ground. The mathematics major also provides an excellent foundation for graduate work in any technical field as well as in business or law. Two tracks are offered: Applied Mathematics and Mathematics. A bachelor of science degree is awarded.

Operations Research Major

Operations Research is a modern, interdisciplinary subject that uses mathematical techniques to solve large-scale optimization problems in the real world. The field grew out of urgent problems faced by the Allies during World War II and helped guide military planners in their decision-making. For example, operations research showed that to minimize the losses of trans-Atlantic shipping to German U-Boats it was better to use a small number of large convoys rather than a large number of small convoys. After the war, operations research extended its influence to all logistical and scheduling problems in the military. Civilian applications also proliferated. For instance, the synchronization of stop-lights for smooth traffic flow throughout a city is an important type of problem in operations research. Also, major league baseball and other professional sports leagues hire consultants specializing in operations research to construct the schedule for each season.

General Science Major

The general science major provides training in a broad, scientifically oriented program. Course work is drawn from each of the departments in Math and Science division. The major consists of an interdisciplinary program without the need for specialization. A bachelor of science degree is awarded.

Oceanography Department

The oceanography major gives future naval officers practical and theoretical knowledge of the ocean environment and builds a sound academic foundation for future graduate study in any technical discipline. An interdisciplinary science major, oceanography involves the study of meteorology, geophysics, physics, chemistry, biology and geology as they relate to the ocean environment.

Basic courses in these areas are prerequisites for more advanced oceanography and meteorology courses. Students take courses in sound propagation in the ocean, the study of waves and tides, and the use of satellites in oceanography. A course in advanced biological oceanography offers a glimpse of the undersea world and its marine creatures; synoptic meteorology courses involve hands-on weather forecasting experience using the latest tools available. More than 25 percent of the required course load is within the oceanography specialty. Other courses include advanced mathematics, necessary to describe the complex behavior of fluid environments. A bachelor of science degree is awarded. An honors program with a designated honors degree is available for selected students.

Physics Department

The study of physics joins a set of physical laws and definitions with the integrative reasoning essential for modeling and solving real-world problems. The physics major provides a strong foundation for further work in a broad range of technical fields through study of fundamental physical concepts and development of students’ experimental techniques. In addition to the traditional physics track, an astrophysics track (SPAA) and an applied physics (SPA) track are available. The astrophysics track focuses on the study of physics in the context of astronomy and cosmology, and includes an introduction to observational techniques. The applied track encompasses applications of physics in the other engineering and science disciplines. The bachelor of science degree is awarded.

The theory of relativity, mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, field concepts, and the origin, propagation and reception of waves (of all kinds) are among the topics physics majors master.

The goal throughout is developing an open-minded, creative, and analytical approach to the physical world and to problem-solving in general.

Division of Professional Development

The Division of Professional Development prepares midshipmen to be professional officers in the naval service. The courses offered by its academic department­ — Seamanship and Navigation — develop skills in the classroom environment, on the water, in yard patrol training craft and in the academy’s tactical training facilities. The Career Information and Officer Accessions Department facilitates each midshipman’s transition from USNA to their first experience as Fleet junior officers through the Career Information Program and, ultimately, service assignment.

Seamanship and Navigation Department

The Seamanship and Navigation Department provides midshipmen with the necessary skills that are essential to the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps. To support the mission of the Naval Academy, the department’s core courses instill the fundamentals of Seamanship, Navigation, and Warfare. This foundation of naval skills is applied through a wide spectrum of courses which culminate in the Junior Officer Practicum Course. Yard Parol Craft Summer Training is provided to further reinforce the core courses.

Department of Career Information and Officer Accessions

The Department of Career Information and Officer Accessions serves as the coordination center for midshipmen career development and service assignment. The Career Information Program (CIP) educates midshipmen about future Navy and Marine Corps career options. It is an integrated four-year plan, comprised of briefings, social events, and discussion of current trends in the operational Navy and Marine Corps with junior officers, as well as daily midshipmen interaction with military staff and faculty.

Department of Waterfront Readiness

Waterfront Readiness is charged with operating the Marksmanship Training Unit, Small Craft Repair Facility, and the Yard Patrol Operations. CDR Robert Coles Director, Waterfront Readiness. The mission of the Marksmanship Training Unit is to provide for the professional training of midshipmen and others in the use of small arms, with particular emphasis on safety and proficiency.

Division of Leadership Education and Development

The Division of Leadership Education and Development of the U.S. Naval Academy provides midshipmen with comprehensive, relevant, and quality education, development and training opportunities and experiences designed to improve their functioning and performance as Midshipmen leaders and prepare them for future roles as junior officer leaders in the Navy and Marine Corps. This program is framed by USNA strategic guidance that identifies individual attributes and characteristics of graduates to be developed, directs an academic and developmental program that emphasizes understanding human behavior in military groups and organizations and integrates the moral and ethical dimensions of leadership in wartime and in peace. While the institutional purpose is to grow, shape, and motivate junior officer leaders for the Navy and Marine Corps, the specific goals of this four-year developmental program are to provide graduates who:

  • Possess fundamental knowledge of human behavior and the dynamic science and art of leadership in the military;
  • Understand midshipman/junior officer leader role responsibilities and values;
  • Demonstrate analytical and critical thinking related to leadership in the military;
  • Apply elements of personal character, ethics and the responsibilities of military officership;
  • Exercise essential individual, interpersonal and organizational leader skills and abilities;
  • Express motivation for continued leader development and military officership.

Leadership, Ethics and Law Department

The Leadership, Ethics and Law Department provides midshipmen with comprehensive, relevant, and quality education in core courses in leadership, ethics, character, and law, and the opportunity to study specialized electives in philosophy, psychology, sociology, leadership, and law. While the course of study is intentionally broad, it enhances the effectiveness and credibility of midshipmen while they are members of the Brigade, and later when they enter the fleet as junior officer leaders. Through an intensive four-year process, students acquire a solid foundation in the science and art of leadership, preparing them for a lifetime of leadership and service to their country

Leader Development and Research Department

The Leader Development and Research Department (LDR) provides oversight and direction to Experiential Leader Development (ELD) programs offered to midshipmen across the four-year continuum. The LDR Department is the bridge between LEAD Division curricular programs and USNA experiential leader programs, such as Plebe Detail, Off-shore sail and yard patrol (YP) crew leadership, and varsity team captainship. LDR integrates ELD programs with leadership education at USNA, expands the scope and breadth of existing ELD programs, and assesses the vitality and efficacy of ELD programs as leadership laboratories for midshipmen.

Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Program for Company Officers

The Division of Leadership, Education and Development coordinates graduate education provided by a host university in the greater Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The LEAD Program allows talented, highly qualified Navy and Marine Corps Junior Officers to enroll in a one year graduate program at a top tier university prior to serving as a Company Officer at the United States Naval Academy.

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