What is a Senior Military College?

Most people are familiar with the officers’ academies, such as West Point or the Citadel, but what is a senior military college (SMC)? Does it differ from these other institutions of higher education and training? In the article below, we’ll explore the benefits for those who attend an SMC and seek to answer these questions.

Resource: Top 15 Online Colleges for Military and G.I. Bill 2015

The What and the Where

For individuals who know that their path will lead them to serve in the armed forces, a military college of this type can provide a wonderful experience. The U.S. Army provides an avenue for those seeking focused service. An SMC is any of six special campuses across the nation that offers Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) programs with specialized advancement opportunities. Although many universities participate in the ROTC program, SMCs take service to the next level, preparing students for their career in the army while they attain a degree of their choice.

The University of North Georgia, Norwich University, Texas A&M University, The Citadel, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Virginia Military Institute are the six universities that qualify under code 10 USC 2111a(f) to bear the designation. It’s important to know that, while many students specifically seek to attend these institutions for the ROTC programs and focus on combat science, most of them are also public universities with a diverse student population.

Specific Considerations

Something important to note about SMCs is the way in which federal law and codes are applied to the operation and maintenance of ROTC programs and degree programs. The army requires that a bachelor’s degree be granted to any student fulfilling the requirements of the university program. However, with specific caveats, all physically fit female and male students at an SMC must take courses in combat training during their tenure.

Beyond the ROTC program, these universities must establish a corps of cadets who are required to wear designated uniforms and adhere to a special code of conduct at all times. They are also subject to Army discipline in the case of an infraction, which is a decided change from other universities that simply participate in the ROTC curriculum. At other universities, students who participate in that program must sign a commission agreement prior to entering their upper level courses or third year of attendance. At an SMC, such an agreement is optional, even if students take ROTC courses all four years.

Another difference in how the ROTC programs of SMCs are administered pertains to their permanent status. During conditions of wartime or full mobilization of armed forces, many ROTC programs at other universities are subject to liquidation or reduction. Instead, these universities are instructed to continue the programs at an accelerated rate unless otherwise specifically requested by the relevant faculty. Students of sound physical and mental condition are also guaranteed a commissioned assignment to active duty upon graduation if they request it. This specification holds benefits for individuals seeking a profitable advancement in the armed forces and opportunities for promotion in the future.

ROTC programs are available at universities and institutions across the nation. However the benefits of attending a campus with special considerations and dispensations to the codes governing program maintenance have advantages. Students who also opt to live under special discipline during their post-secondary education at a senior military college will attain a higher level of success in their careers following graduation.