Frequently Asked Questions


Are There Any Restrictions As To What Students Select As Their Academic Majors?

None at all. In fact, we encourage cadets to take a curriculum in which they are interested and have the capability to succeed. Our main academic concern is that they maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 2.0 and attain a degree in the time period planned. The GPA requirements are dependent on whether they are applying for a scholarship or if they are on a scholarship. However, certain career fields in the Air Force require certain degrees.  Please contact the detachment for information on the career field you are interested in.

Can A Student Take Air Force ROTC Classes If They Do Not Want To Join The Air Force After Graduation?

There is no service commitment for students who take our freshman and sophomore level classes with no intention of becoming an Air Force officer. For these types of students, it is only another class.  They do not attend physical training or Leadership Lab. If they are interested in becoming an officer, there is no service commitment during the first two years of Air Force ROTC program (the General Military Course) unless they have an AFROTC scholarship. If they decide to stay and join the Professional Officer Course the last two years of the program, they’ll have to sign a contract with the Air Force committing to go on active duty after graduation. For AFROTC scholarship students, they are obligated once they have activated the scholarship and have entered their sophomore year.

Can Air Force ROTC Cadets Participate In Intercollegiate Sports?

Yes, Air Force ROTC cadets are allowed to participate in intercollegiate sports and other extracurricular activities as long as they are still able to maintain their grades and meet all AFROTC requirements.

Can Air Force ROTC Graduates Continue Their Education Beyond The Baccalaureate Level?

Yes, the Air Force offers several opportunities to do so. In some cases, cadets that are near graduation can request an educational delay to pursue specific graduate degrees, such as medical school or other Department of Defense, and Air Force-sponsored programs. In most cases, cadets must apply for these programs as they are not affiliated with Air Force ROTC.

While on active duty, Air Force officers are given many other opportunities to further their education. Between GI Bill benefits and tuition assistance (TA), many officers pursue graduate degrees in fields of their interest. Air Force officers also attend various forms of Professional Military Education (PME) that focus on leadership and advancing their expertise in their respective career fields.

Can Someone Participate In Air Force ROTC Without A Scholarship?

Yes! Many of our students do not start with a scholarship but earn one eventually. At any given time, about 80 percent of our students receive financial assistance, but they are not required to receive a scholarship to complete the program and graduate as an officer in the Air Force.

Do All Cadets Have To Become A Pilot Or Combat Systems Officer?

No. The vast majority of Air Force jobs do not involve flying at all. The Air Force offers a multitude of career options. For more information about the many careers available, check out our Life After ROTC page.

Do I Have To Join Air Force ROTC As A Freshman?

No, but cadets must participate in the program for at least three years in order to meet all Air Force ROTC graduation requirements. If an individual is already close to finishing their bachelor’s degree, we recommend looking into Officer Training School, which is an officer commissioning program designed for those who already have their bachelor’s degree.

Do I Need 20/20 Vision To Be A Pilot In The Air Force?

Not necessarily. Check out the Medical Requirements for more information.

How Do I Apply For Air Force ROTC At Mississippi State?

To apply for ROTC, you will need to first apply and be accepted to MSU as a full time student.  Then, you can sign up for Air Force ROTC inprocessing.  At AFROTC inprocessing, you will fill out paperwork and bring the required documents, as well as hear a brief overview of our program.  During your MSU summer orientation, you will sign up for your AFROTC class, in the Aerospace Studies (AS) department.  Please contact us for the class course codes or if you have other questions about applying for ROTC. 

How Much Time Do Cadets Spend With Air Force ROTC Each Week?

Each week cadets are required to attend Air Force ROTC classes, Leadership Lab, and physical fitness training (this equates to approximately five class hours per week for freshmen and sophomores and seven class hours per week for juniors and seniors). In addition, cadets will have individual preparation for these activities, to include homework assignments and uniform preparation. Cadets attending crosstown schools should factor in the time to commute to the host university.

I Did Not Receive An Air Force ROTC Scholarship Before Starting College; Are There Scholarship Opportunities While Attending In College?

Yes, students can participate in Air Force ROTC without a scholarship. We also have some scholarships that students can compete for after joining the program. Please contact us to discuss AFROTC in-college scholarship opportunities. Additionally, see the see the In-College Scholarship Program (ICSP) section.

If I Join Air Force ROTC, Does That Mean I Am Joining The Military?

Not immediately. While the purpose of Air Force ROTC is to commission officers for the U.S. Air Force, cadets are not in the military until after graduation. Keep in mind that to fulfill all AFROTC requirements, at some point during your college years they will need to sign a commitment stating that they will join the Air Force as an officer after graduating. If a high school student receives a four-year scholarship through our High School Scholarship Program, then the first year of college will be paid for, and they can quit at the end of their freshman year with no obligation. If a student is offered a scholarship while already in college, then they are not committed to the Air Force until they accept their scholarship (usually in the fall of their sophomore year). Cadets that are not on a scholarship are not committed to joining the Air Force until the start of their junior year of college. With AFROTC, we provide students with lots of opportunities to see what the Air Force is about before they make any kind of commitment.

Is A Major In Aerospace Engineering Required To Become A Pilot Or Combat Systems Officer?

No. Academic major plays a minor role in Pilot and Combat Systems Officer selection. Cadets can major in any degree program and compete to receive a Pilot or Combat Systems Officer slot in Air Force ROTC.

Is Air Force ROTC The Only Way To Become An Air Force Officer?

Other commissioning opportunities exist through the United States Air Force Academy and Officer Training School (OTS). For more information, visit the Air Force Academy Website. Officer Training School is a program for individuals who already have their bachelor’s degree. Visit the Officer Training School page for more information.

For lawyers, chaplains, and medical professionals, Commissioned Officer Training is a program designed for professionals who want to become officers in the Air Force. Visit our COT page for more information.

Is Participating In High School Junior ROTC Required To Join College Air Force ROTC?

No. In fact, the majority of students enrolled in college ROTC were not involved in the Junior ROTC program while in high school.

What Is The Commitment To The Air Force Upon Graduation?

Most officers have a four-year active-duty service commitment. Those selected to be pilots incur a 10-year commitment upon completion of pilot training, and individuals selected to be Combat Systems Officers or Air Battle Managers incur a six-year commitment after training.

What Is The Difference Between Junior ROTC In High School And Air Force ROTC In College?

The mission of the high school Junior ROTC program is to build leaders and better citizens for America. The mission of the college Air Force ROTC program is to produce leaders of character for the Air Force.

When Do Air Force ROTC Cadets Take The Air Force Officer Qualification Test?

Cadets typically take the AFOQT during their sophomore year of Air Force ROTC. The test is given several times during the fall and spring and can be taken a maximum of two times with at least six months between tests.

When Will Cadets Know What Job They Will Be Doing For The Air Force As An Officer?

Cadets compete in a selection process that factors in their Air Force Officer Qualification Test (AFOQT) scores, Field Training performance ratings, grade point averages (GPAs), academic major, Physical Fitness Test (PFT) scores, and their Detachment Commander’s rating. They will know their specific Air Force job category approximately six months before they are commissioned.