About ROTC

Army ROTC courses were first offered to UCR students as part of the 1995 rearrangement. Partnered with California State University, San Bernardino, UCR students participated in course instruction, practical training exercises, and physical training at CSUSB for many years. The Air Force ROTC program continues to operate in much the same way today – UCR students were required to attend all events at CSUSB. As the program at UCR began to grow, the Army dedicated specific resources to teach, coach, and mentor students at UCR. Instructors partnered at California Baptist University to coordinate combined events. Army ROTC was designated as a student organization at UCR and students were empowered with some financial support and could schedule classrooms for instruction on campus. Physical training was offered on campus in the mornings. UCR’s program was expanding.

In 2019, the Division of Undergraduate Education invited Army ROTC instructors into an office space in 1100 Hinderaker Hall. This change has had a notable positive effect on the morale and general attitude of our students at UCR as they now have resources available on campus for administrative support. Undergraduate Education provided instructors with faculty access that has changed the complexion of the program. The 2019 commissioning class of eight Second Lieutenants is the largest in the history of the program. Collectively, the program is excited about the future partnership between the U.S. Army and the University of California, Riverside.

General History

According to background provided by University of California, Berkeley, origins of Army ROTC can be traced to the early 19th Century. In 1819, Captain Alden Partridge founded an institution that would eventually become Norwich University in Vermont. This institution was the first civilian college to offer concurrent training in military tactics – an alternative to attending the United States Military Academy (West Point) in pursuit of a commission as an officer in the U.S. Army. The Morrill Act of 1862 provided federal land to state-supported colleges, with the requirement that the institutions provide training in military tactics. The Act inspired an expansion of similar programs across various campuses in the United States.

What is Army ROTC?

Army ROTC is a program of study that combines electives in Military Science and Leadership with practical leadership development opportunities to prepare men and women to become Army officers. ROTC opens the doors to a variety of exciting careers, extracurricular activities, and advanced military training. Upon successful completion of the Army ROTC program and graduation from college, Cadets receive a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, the Army Reserve, or the Army National Guard.

Army ROTC is one of four routes to commissioning as an Officer in the Army. The other three are:

  1. West Point or the United States Military Academy (USMA) is a four-year institution that provides the most comprehensive military education out of all four options.
  2. Officer Candidate School (OCS) is a 12-week intensive training option available to candidates who already possess a four-year college degree.
  3. Direct Commissioning is an Army program that allows a civilian with specific high-demand technical skills and a minimum of a four-year college degree to join the Army as an officer.

Army ROTC permits college students to attend any of the 1,100+ colleges and universities that carry a program to have a full college experience while concurrently receiving the military training necessary to obtain a commission. While it is a four-year program, the program can be completed in as few as two years with the appropriate additional training.

ROTC is the best leadership course you will take in college. Classroom instruction focuses on learning the fundamentals of officership. Cadre/instructors have recent and relevant experiences in the active Army that support the curriculum. Lectures combine instruction, discussions, group projects, guest speakers, practical exercises, and hands-on experiences with equipment.

Cadets drive the program. Classroom instruction is only a small portion of the overall cadet experience. Our program conducts physical training in the mornings three times per week. The physical training program is cadet-operated, aligning with guidance and oversight from instructors.

Leadership Development Strategy

Physical Training

ROTC at UC Riverside operates similarly to a varsity athletic team. We conduct physical training three times per week at various locations on campus, taking advantage of the Southern California weather at every opportunity without neglecting the state of the art facilities located at our Student Recreation Center.

Leadership Development Strategy
Classroom Instructions

Cadets will engage in one-two hours of classroom instruction utilizing a curriculum designed by U.S. Army Cadet Command and concurrently taught at every ROTC detachment across the United States.

Leadership Laboratory

On Thursday afternoons, UC Riverside cadets participate in a "Leadership Laboratory" exercise for four hours. This is an opportunity for our cadets to learn applications of the conceptual theories taught in the classroom – in a field environment.

Training includes but is not limited to:

  • operation and marksmanship with the M4 carbine
  • day and night land navigation
  • squad and platoon operations
  • basic field medicine
  • leadership development under stress 
Ranger Challenge

Cadets who have shown promise in these basic applications have pursued opportunities to compete with other schools on the West Coast as part of the Ranger Challenge – a competition of skill and physical endurance that replicates some of the stressors of U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning. Our cadets have also competed with their classmates at our partner institutions for opportunities to attend Airborne School, Air Assault School, Sapper School, and the Combat Diver Qualification Course. Graduation from any of these schools provides the cadet with invaluable training as well as a badge or tab that they will wear for the duration of their Army career.

Training Schedule

Day Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Morning 6:30 - 7:00 Physical Training 6:00 - 7:00 Physical Training   6:00 - 7:00 Physical Training  
Afternoon   13:00 - 15:00 Classroom Instruction   13:00 - 17:00 Leadership Laboratory  

How Do I Participate?

The Army ROTC office at UC Riverside is located on campus at 1100E Hinderaker Hall, in the Undergraduate Education suite across from Ivan’s. Our instructors have regular posted office hours during the school year, but limited availability during the summer months.

Email: armyrotc@ucr.edu

Alternate email: mlee@cmc.edu

Office Phone: 951-827-2764

Interested students or parents are encouraged to check out our social media pages for additional insight into our program and the training opportunities. 

Instagram: @ucriversiderotc or @claremontmckennarotc

See the section on Participation for additional information on enrollment, participating vs. contracting, scholarships, and commissioning.