Military Science (Army ROTC)

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West Chester University students are eligible to participate in the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program through a formal cross-enrollment agreement with the Widener University Department of Military Science. Army ROTC offers University students the opportunity to graduate with a bachelor’s degree and a commission in the United States Army, Army National Guard, or United States Army Reserve. All 100-, 200-, and 300-level ROTC classes are taught at West Chester University, while the 400-level classes are conducted on the Widener campus. The 100- to 400-level leadership labs are taught at West Chester University. 

The Army ROTC program consists of a basic course taken during the freshman and sophomore years, and an advanced course taken during junior and senior years. Successful completion of the basic course is required before placement in the advanced course. Students who participated in Junior ROTC in high school or who have prior military service may receive partial or full credit for the basic course, which is determined by the Army professor of military science. The basic course requirement also may be satisfied through attendance at a four-week Army ROTC Leadership Training Course (LTC) at the end of the sophomore year. Qualified students enrolled in the basic course receive a stipend of $300 for freshmen and $350 for sophomores. Students enrolled in the advanced course receive a stipend of $450 for juniors and $500 for seniors per month. Guaranteed National Guard and Reserve Forces options are also available.

Nursing students who complete the four-year or two-year program, obtain their nursing degree, and pass their Nursing Board Examinations are commissioned into the Army Nurse Corps. Two-year, three-year, and four-year Army ROTC scholarships are available on a competitive basis. These scholarships pay 100 percent of the student’s tuition or room and board up to $10,000 and include payment of certain University fees, as well as a $1,200 book and school supplies subsidy.

Applications for Army ROTC scholarships must be submitted early in the spring semester.

Applications for attendance at the LTC must be submitted early in the spring semester of the sophomore year.

Military science students also participate in orientation and field training activities as part of the military science curriculum. These activities are an exploration of historical, organizational, and functional activities of the U.S. Army, conducted in conjunction with the Army Officer Education Program, and are recognized as a part of the commissioning preparation process for cadets.

Activities are conducted off campus through tours, field trips, laboratory sessions, and practical field application that includes marksmanship, land navigation, small unit operations, rappelling, water survival, color guard, organized athletics, and other military skills. Varying degrees of health and body risk are involved in these activities. The government of the United States, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, West Chester University, its officers, trustees, employees, agents, or students assume no liability for any injury caused during the above activities. For injuries incurred while participating in ROTC activities, the Department of Labor will assume the cost above the student’s personal health insurance.

For further information on scholarship and career opportunities, contact the professor of military science, Widener University, Chester PA 19013, 610-499-4097, or MAJ Richard Howett, West Chester University assistant professor of military science, Anderson Hall Room 331A, 610-430-4403,


Symbol: MSI

101 Leadership and Personal Development (1) This course introduces cadets to the personal challenges and competencies that are critical for effective leadership. Cadets learn how personal life skills develop, such as critical thinking, goal setting, time management, physical fitness, and stress management, and relate to leadership, officership, and the Army profession. The focus is on developing basic knowledge and comprehension of Army leadership dimensions while gaining a big-picture understanding of the ROTC program, its purpose in the Army, and its advantages for the student.

102 Introduction to Tactical Leadership (1) This course overviews leadership fundamentals such as setting direction, problem solving, listening, presenting briefs, providing feedback, and using effective writing skills. Cadets explore leadership values, attributes, skills, and actions in practical, hands-on, and interactive exercises. Continued emphasis is placed on recruitment and retention of cadets. Cadre role models and building stronger relationships among the cadets through common experience and practical interaction are critical aspects of the course.

113 Army Physical Readiness Training (1) This course is designed to provide the necessary information and skills to enable the cadet to participate in and lead fitness activities safely and effectively, which is essential to the Army way of life. This will include discussion of fitness principles and practical application of techniques discussed. The course will investigate methods of improving muscular strength and endurance, cardio respiratory fitness, flexibility, and body composition. COREQ: MSI 201 or 202. This course may be taken again for credit.

201 Innovative Team Leadership (2) This course explores creative and innovative tactical leadership strategies and styles by examining team dynamics and two historical theories that form the Army leadership framework (trait and behavior theories). Cadets practice aspects of personal motivation and team building through planning, executing, and assessing team exercises and participating in leadership labs. Focus is on developing knowledge of leadership values and attributes through an understanding of Army rank, structure, and duties, as well as the basic aspects of land navigation and squad tactics. Case studies provide tangible context for learning the Soldier’s Creed and Warrior Ethos as they apply in the contemporary operating environment.

202 Foundations of Tactical Leadership (2) This course examines the challenges of leading tactical teams in the complex contemporary operating environment (COE) by highlighting terrain analysis, patrolling, and operation orders. Further study of the theory behind the Army leadership framework explores the dynamics of adaptive leadership within military operations. This course provides a smooth transition into MSI 301, as cadets develop greater self awareness by assessing their own leadership styles and practicing communication and team building skills. COE case studies illustrate the importance and practice of teamwork and tactics in real-world scenarios.

301 Adaptive Tactical Leadership (3) This course challenges cadets to study, practice, and evaluate adaptive leadership skills as they are presented with difficult scenarios related to squad tactical operations. Cadets receive systematic and specific feedback on their leadership attributes and actions. In addition, their own self-evaluations help them develop their tactical leadership and critical thinking abilities to enable their success at ROTC’s summer Leadership Development and Assessment Course.

302 Leadership in Changing Environments (3) This course uses increasingly intense situational leadership challenges to build cadet awareness and skills in leading tactical operations up to platoon level. Cadets review aspects of combat, stability, and support operations, as well as conduct military briefings and develop proficiency in garrison operation orders. The focus is on exploring, evaluating, and developing skills in decision making, persuading, and motivating team members in the contemporary operating environment. Cadets are evaluated on what they know and do as leaders as they prepare to attend the ROTC summer Leader Development Assessment Course.

401 Developing Adaptive Leaders (3) This course develops cadet proficiency in planning, executing, and assessing complex operations, functioning as a staff member, and providing performance feedback to subordinates. Cadets assess risk, make ethical decisions, and lead other ROTC cadets. Lessons on military justice and personnel processes prepare cadets to make the transition to Army officers. MS IV cadets analyze, evaluate, and instruct cadets at lower levels. Both their classroom and battalion leadership experiences are designed to prepare cadets for their first assignment. They identify key staff responsibilities, coordinate staff roles, and use situational opportunities to teach, train, and develop subordinates.

402 Leadership in a Complex World (3) This course explores the dynamics of leading complex military operations in the contemporary operating environment. Cadets examine differences in customs and courtesies, military law, principles of war, and rules of engagement in the face of international terrorism. They also explore aspects of interacting with nongovernment organizations, civilians on the battlefield, and host nation support. The course places significant emphasis on preparing cadets for their first unit of assignment. It uses case studies, scenarios, and other exercises to prepare cadets for the complex ethical and practical demands of leading as commissioned officers in the U.S. Army.

499 American Military History (3) This course employs American military history as a tool for studying professionalism and for applying critical-thinking and decision-making skills to military problem solving while pursuing education as an army officer.