About Army ROTC

ROTC stands for Reserve Officer Training Corps. Army ROTC involves classes and field training that prepare students to become Army officers, while earning their college degree.

Army ROTC at Ohio University, known as the Bobcat Battalion, has enjoyed a history of excellence since the program began in 1936.


Ohio University
Bromley Hall 176
1 Ohio University Dr.
Athens, OH 45701

Recruiting/Admissions Officer

John Hansen
740-593-1423 phone
740-593-1352 fax

Army ROTC Staff


Prospective Students

Find your Ohio University Admissions Advisor

By enrolling in Ohio University Army ROTC, are you joining the Army?

No. Students who enroll in Ohio University Army ROTC don't join the Army. They take an Ohio University Army ROTC class for which they receive college credit. It's considered a college elective.

Is Ohio University Army ROTC like "boot camp?"

No. Ohio University Army ROTC cadets go directly to college where they earn their degree. As an SMP cadet, you will go to basic training as part of your obligation to the Army Reserve or Ohio Army National Guard, but boot camp is not a requirement for being a part of Ohio University Army ROTC.

What can students expect to learn by taking Ohio University Army ROTC?

Quite simply, leadership and management skills needed to become a U.S. Army officer or have a successful civilian career.

What makes Ohio University Army ROTC different from regular college management courses?

Students in Ohio University Army ROTC learn through a unique program that involves both classroom and "live" situations. For instance, an Ohio University Army ROTC cadet might be found leading classmates through adventure training, down a rappel wall, or in military tactical training. All graduating Cadets are able to earn a minor in military science while at Ohio University.

Is there a military obligation during college?

During the first two years, ROTC cadets have no military obligation (or the first year in the case of scholarship winners).

Does Ohio University Army ROTC offer scholarships?

Yes. Ohio University Cadets are eligible to receive “campus based” ROTC scholarships. Ohio University Army ROTC awards them to high-achieving students primarily studying science and engineering, but for extremely high achieving students in other majors, we may also be able to offer them, as well.

How much money does Ohio University Army ROTC usually award and what does the money go towards?

Scholarships are awarded at different monetary levels. Scholarships cover all tuition and fees. Additionally, scholarship awardees receive money for books, and a monthly stipend. Cadets participating in the SMP Program receive 100% of tuition and fees (if a Soldier in the Ohio Army National Guard) OR $3,500/year along with a full student loan repayment plan (if a soldier in the U.S. Army Reserve). Additionally, ALL fully participating cadets (both scholarship recipients and SMP members) receive a full housing grant from Ohio University.

On what basis are scholarship winners chosen?

Ohio University Army ROTC scholarships are based on merit, rather than financial need. Merit is exhibited in academic achievement and extracurricular activities, such as sports, student government or part-time work.

What’s the difference between a “scholarship” cadet and an “SMP” Cadet?

Scholarship cadets receive a full scholarship from U.S. Army Cadet Command. They are only required to go to Cadet Initial Entry Training (CIET) after their freshman year of college. SMP Cadets receive their tuition benefits from the Ohio Army National Guard or the U.S. Army Reserve. They attend basic training (usually in the summer between high school and freshman year or between freshman and sophomore year) and also attend monthly drill (one weekend per month). During school, all cadets are treated exactly the same and are all eligible for additional training (Airborne, Air Assault, CULP, CTLT, etc) and additional incentive awards for high achievement. Also, both SMP and Scholarship cadets (as well as non-scholarship cadets) all have the same opportunity to serve on active duty after graduation. One does not need a scholarship to serve on active duty. Commissioning as an active duty officer is based solely on one’s academic, physical, and leadership achievements while a cadet in the Bobcat Battalion.

Can only scholarship winners enroll in Ohio University Army ROTC?

No. Anyone can enroll in Ohio University Army ROTC. And regardless of whether you're a scholarship winner or not, all Ohio University Army ROTC books, supplies and equipment are furnished at no cost to you.

How often are Ohio University Army ROTC scholarships awarded?

Scholarships are awarded throughout the year to qualified students. High school students apply for four-year scholarship during their senior year. Green to Gold Scholarships are awarded twice a year by the Army. Ohio University campus-based two-year, three-year, and three-and-a-half-year scholarships are also awarded to extremely qualified cadets throughout the school year, based primarily on GPA, physical fitness, and major.

How do students benefit from Ohio University Army ROTC?

In college and after graduation, cadets find that the training and experience that they have received are assets - whether pursuing an Army or civilian career. Employers place the highest regard on the management and leadership skills that Ohio University Army ROTC instructors stress. When cadets complete the Ohio University Army ROTC course, upon graduation, they become commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.

How do I apply for a scholarship from Ohio University Army ROTC?

The first thing that you need to do is to contact the Recruiting Operations Officer. Our recruiter will be able to answer any questions that you might have and will guide you in the right direction on what steps you need to take to be a member of the Bobcat Battalion.

How do I join Ohio University Army ROTC?

Simply register for classes, register for the appropriate military science course along with the leadership laboratory. A list and description of these courses can be found in the Ohio University course catalog.

What extra-curricular opportunities does Ohio University Army ROTC offer?

There are numerous extracurricular activities during the school year such as the German Proficiency Badge competition, the Norweigian Foot March competition, and Best Ranger. The Bobcat Battalion also has Color Guard and Cannon Crew that stands ready to celebrate each Bobcat touchdown at every home game.

What summer training opportunities does Ohio University Army ROTC offer?

During the summer break, cadets can volunteer to attend Airborne School, Air Assault School, Mountain Warfare, Northern Warfare, Cultural Understanding and Language Program (CULP), and Cadet Troop Leadership Training.

What are my career field choices in the Army when I commission?

You can join a variety of career fields to include Aviation, Armor, Adjutant General (Human Resources), Chemical, Infantry, Ordnance, Signal, Quartermaster, Transportation, Medical Service, Military Police, Nursing, Finance, Military Intelligence, Field Artillery, Cyber, Air Defense Artillery, and Engineer Corps.

I want to apply for a Green-to-Gold scholarship at Ohio University. What steps do I need to take?

The most important thing that you need to do is get accepted Ohio University. After you are accepted, you need to inform your chain of command that you wish to turn in a Green to Gold packet and start getting your paperwork together.


The Army ROTC was approved for Ohio University by the Department of the Army in September 1935. A total of three officers and one non-commissioned officer from the Regular Army were authorized for the new unit. The Board of Trustees in 1936 formally approved the establishment of the ROTC unit (Voluntary Program - Infantry Training) at Ohio University.

On 7 March 1936, Major Merritt E. Olmstead arrived for duty as the acting Professor of Military Science. First Sergeant George Wallace reported for duty with the new unit on 1 April 1936, thus completing the assignment of Cadre personnel. Because of a large ROTC enrollment of 145 students, it was found that two additional enlisted positions were needed. Accordingly, with this new authorization, Sergeant Charles H. Fair and Private First Class Luther B. Andrews were assigned to the University. The first meeting of all classes was held on 17 September 1936, at which time COL McNeill gave them a general orientation. In the absence of President Herman G. James, Dean John R. Johnston, Dean of Men, gave an address to the assembled ROTC students. ROTC thus began at Ohio University.

ROTC established itself more firmly in the social life during the year by sponsoring and successfully conducting the Military Ball held under the jurisdiction of the University. Since then the Military Ball has been the outstanding annual social function.

In May 1937 a group of thirty-four ROTC students, having formed a temporary organization called the "Kaydets," petitioned the Campus Affairs Committee for authority of organize a chapter of the Pershing Rifles for the Basic Course students. The application was approved and a charter was granted by the National Society of Pershing Rifles to this organization as of 27 May 1937, under the title of Company F, First Regiment of Pershing Rifles. The ROTC Armory with an indoor rifle range was completed under the east wing of Peden Football Stadium in December 1937. On 20 May 1938, Company F, First Regiment, Pershing Rifles, attended their first competition drill at Columbus, Ohio. With the growth of the ROTC, Company A of the Scabbard and Blade was formed and they held their first Spring Formal on 17 May 1940, in the ballroom of the Berry Hotel. For the school year 1940, there were 89 students in the ROTC Program. The school year 1942-43 found the total enrollment in ROTC climbing to 753 Cadets. Because of the emergency, military training was made compulsory as of 28 September 1943.

In October 1964, a new law, the ROTC Vitalization Act of 1964, provided increased opportunities and advantages for students enrolled in, or about to enter college. The four-year program continued with increased pay for students in the advanced course, and the new two-year program for students who were unable to participate in ROTC during their first two years of college, junior college or while in attendance at the regional campuses of Ohio University. The new law also authorized financial assistance in the form of ROTC scholarships for carefully selected students in the four-year program.

The adoption of the academic quarter system by Ohio University beginning in the fall of 1967 gave birth to the program as you see it today. Added in 1968 was Counterinsurgency Company, its purpose being to provide interested students with information and practical experience in counterinsurgency operations.

In 1976, enrollment numbers had dropped significantly enough to place the program under evaluation and spur the possibility of elimination. However, Ohio University alumnus, General James Abraham, then assistant adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard, pushed through a pilot program which allowed National Guardsman to enroll in the ROTC program and be commissioned upon graduation. The program was the first of its kind in the nation and led to the Simultaneous Membership Program or SMP, which was later implemented nationwide. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, enrollment figures grew and stabilized, while the program retained its reputation for producing excellent officers.

During the 1990s, the program earned a reputation for academic and leadership excellence. The entire curriculum was revised in the spring of 1998. Through close cooperation with the university and community, the program has been able to build upon its excellence. In 1998, the program added a Field Leadership Reaction Course and a Hand Grenade Assault Course. In the 21st Century, Bobcat Battalion Cadets exceeded the grading average at the annual Cadet Assessment Course (Advance Camp) for nearly 20 straight years, the only ROTC program in the nation with such a consistent record of excellence.

The Bobcat Battalion won the 2017 McArthur Award for being one of the top eight ROTC programs out of 275 programs in the United States.

Today, the department provides a robust training program that is considered one of the best in the nation. The Bobcat Battalion continues to improve and create an environment that consistently produces outstanding commissioned officers.