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For more than a century, military training has been offered at Oregon State University. Fulfilling a provision of the Morrill Act of 1862, which gave Corvallis College its first public support, an Army Cadet Corps was organized in 1873.
ROTC at Oregon State is made up of the Departments of Military Science, Naval Science, and Air Force Studies. In 1917, the Department of Military Science became responsible for all military training under the National Defense Act of 1916. This act expanded and standardized the training of Army Officers by colleges and universities and established the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). During World War II, OSU became known as the “West Point of the West” for commissioning more officers than any other nonmilitary academy in the nation. At the end of World War II, the secretary of the Navy commissioned the Department of Naval Science (NROTC) on this campus to provide the training of both Navy and Marine Corps officers. On July 1, 1949, the U.S. Air Force activated an AFROTC unit that is called the Department of Air Force Studies. OSU is now one of 48 colleges and universities that offers education for all three military departments.
Originally, two years of military science and tactics were required of all able-bodied male students, but since 1962, ROTC has been voluntary. Since 1965, two-year programs have been available for students who have finished two years of college but have not taken ROTC previously.
As opportunities for women to serve as officers in the armed forces grow, opportunities for women to participate in ROTC programs expand. Women have long been eligible to take ROTC course work for credit. Since 1970, they have been enrolled as cadets in Air Force ROTC and, since 1973, have also been enrolled as cadets and midshipmen in the Army and Navy ROTC programs.