What is Air Force ROTC?

The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is a military leadership program designed to give men and women the opportunity to become Air Force officers while completing a degree. The General Military Course (GMC) is taken during your freshman and sophomore years. This program allows you to try out the Air Force for up to two years without incurring any obligation. The Professional Officer Course (POC) is taken during your junior and senior years. Before you enter the POC, you will attend a four-week summer Field Training course at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama.

Air Force ROTC classes cover topics such as military customs and courtesies, development of aerospace power, leadership and communication theories, and national defense policy. You will attend weekly Leadership Laboratory (LLAB) training sessions, where you will put into practice the leadership skills and management theories discussed in the classroom. You will also participate in two weekly physical fitness training sessions.

The department offers both a three and a four-year commissioning programs, each with its own special advantages. The shorter program allows sophomore students, junior college transfer students, and other students with at least six academic semesters remaining, either in undergraduate or graduate status, and who have met required qualifications, to obtain an Air Force commission while completing their studies. The four-year program provides on-campus study during the freshman through senior years. Both programs provide the opportunity to compete for full academic scholarships.

Although the Detachment is located at Manhattan College, attending Manhattan College does not mean that you must join AFROTC. Students interested in joining the program should have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA, be physically fit, and within height/weight standards. We also cater to these crosstown schools.

Aerospace Studies Classes

You are required to complete 8 semesters of Aerospace Studies classes. During your first two years, the classes will be one credit hour per semester. During your second two years, the classes will be three credit hours per semester. A brief overview of each of the Aerospace Studies classes follows:

Leadership Laboratory (LLAB)

Provides students to learn leadership skills through participation in our military training program. LLAB activities include basic military drill and ceremonies, guest speakers, challenging group problem solving activities, and physical fitness training. Active duty officers provide oversight, but the LLAB program is run by the students in the cadet wing. As you progress through the AFROTC program, you will take on increasing levels of responsibility in planning and executing the LLAB program.

Physical Fitness Training (PT)

All cadets are required to take a Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) each semester. The PFA consists of sit-ups, push-ups, a 1.5 mile run, and a waist measurement. To prepare for the PFA, and to ensure that cadets are able to meet the Air Force physical fitness standards, cadets participate in two mandatory PT sessions each week. Students will participate in a "crosstown PT" session one morning per week and in a full detachment PT session on Friday afternoons following LLAB.


Air Force ROTC unofficially began with the passage of the Morrill Act (Land-Grant Act) in 1862, which established military training at land-grant colleges and universities. But the name "Reserve Officer Training Corps", or ROTC, was actually created by the passage of the National Defense Act in 1916.

In the 1920s, AFROTC began focusing on successful engineering schools to establish its programs. And by the 1950s, there were 188 AFROTC units with 145,000 cadets. Women began joining Air Force ROTC nationally in 1970. And in 1987, the scholarship program for high school seniors began.

The military and Manhattan College have a relationship that dates back all the way to 1943 when the school began training US Army recruits in basic engineering courses to support World War II. Initially the school trained rotations of 400-500 recruits on engineering as well as an additional 200 that learned advanced skills. This program lasted only about one year, but it's success and the good will it forged between the Depart of Defense and Manhattan College would later lead to the school being approved to host a Reserve Officer Training Corps program for the US Air Force. In September of 1951 the first AFROTC academic year started under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William T. Welter, USAF, with eight officers and five sergeants and boasted an incoming freshmen class of 550 students. (Costello, 1980)

Manhattan College remains the only school in the New York City area to host an AFROTC detachment. Although the numbers of incoming students declined after the release of the draft following the end of the Vietnam War, Det 560 remains training a steady contingent of roughly 70 - 100 students throughout its program, maintaining the standard of a medium-sized AFROTC unit. The relationship between Manhattan College and the military, especially the US Air Force, continues to be strong and will be constant for many years yet to come. (Costello, 1980)

(Source: Costello, G. (1980) The Arches of The Years. Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press)


Do I have to be enrolled as a student at Manhattan College to be a part of Detachment 560?

No! Detachment 560 (Manhattan College) has cadets from several "crosstown" schools in the New York City Area. Click here for comprehensive list of cross towns.

What do I need to do to join?

To be eligible, you must be enrolled as a full-time student (12 credit hours) at Manhattan College or one of our cross-town campuses. To join click here for our application process.

I am a sophomore or junior can I join ROTC?

If you are a sophomore you may join ROTC. You will have to take two AS classes (100 & 200) to make up for the year that you missed. It is not ideal, but it is doable. We've had many cadets enter as sophomores and go on to do great things in ROTC and in the Air Force. If you are a junior your situation will be looked in a case by case basis to determine if you meet ROTC requirements.

I am a freshman/sophomore can I join during the spring semester?

If you are a freshman, yes you may join. However, you will have to make up the previous semesters objectives before moving on in the program. If you are a sophomore your situation will be looked at in a case by case basis to determine if you meet ROTC requirements.

I am a senior/grad student can I join ROTC?

No you may not. You will not meet the required objectives. We recommend seeking out an Officer Training School (OTS) recruiter if you still want to become an officer in the Air Force.

What is an example of a typical Friday Schedule?

Detachment 560 generally follows Manhattan College's academic calendar. All of our training sessions take place on Fridays. Students should make every effort to arrange their academic schedules to be completely open on Fridays so that they can be on the Manhattan College campus for the entire day. Mandatory activities typically end by 4:00 PM. Extracurricular activities such as Honor Guard and Arnold Air Society can run later.

Will I have to go to boot camp?

AFROTC cadets participate in a four-week training program during the summer between their sophomore and junior years in AFROTC. This four-week program is called "Field Training" and it is the AFROTC equivalent of boot camp. You will spend your first two years in the AFROTC program learning the skills that you will need in order to be successful at Field Training. Field Training takes place at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. While you are at Field Training, you will receive career orientation, survival training, weapons familiarization, physical training, and familiarization with the organization and function of an Air Force base.

Do I have to sign an active duty contract in order to join?

No, not to join AFROTC. You will sign a contract at some point during your AFROTC career, which will obligate you to spend four years as an active duty Air Force officer. If you are a high school scholarship winner, you will have the first year of AFROTC to try it out and decide if it's something that you want to continue to do. You can leave the AFROTC program (and end your scholarship benefits) any time during the first year of the program. If you leave before the start of your second year, you will not owe the Air Force anything. If you are not a high school scholarship winner, you have the first two years of your AFROTC career to decide if the Air Force is a path you'd like to pursue for a career. If, during your first two years in the program, you decide not to continue with AFROTC you can leave with no obligation to the Air Force. However, once you return from Field Training and begin your third year in the program, you will sign a contract that obligates you to spend four years as an active duty Air Force officer. If you receive an in-college scholarship, you will sign a contract that obligates you to a four year active duty commitment when you accept the scholarship.

I have a medical condition. Can I still join AFROTC?

To become a fully qualified cadet, you must take and pass a DoDMERB (Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board) physical. This exam will be provided to you at no cost within your first few weeks of participating in AFROTC. All medical qualification decisions are made by a team of medical professionals on a case-by-case basis. Students who are concerned about something in their medical history are encouraged to discuss the issue with the AFROTC detachment staff; however, we do not have the expertise or authority to make final judgments about your qualifications for the program.

What about scholarships?

For the most up to date information about the AFROTC scholarship program, click here. If you have specific questions about the scholarship program, please contact the USC AFROTC Unit Admissions Officer (UAO). You can reach the UAO either by phone at 771-862-7989 or by email at afrotc@manhattan.edu