Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC)

This is the first version of the 2024–25 General Catalog. Please check back regularly for changes. The final edition and the historical PDF will be published during the fall semester.

Undergraduate minor: aerospace studies


The Aerospace Studies Program administers the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) at the University of Iowa. AFROTC prepares highly qualified undergraduate students for commissions as officers in the United States Air Force and the United States Space Force.

While AFROTC is structured primarily for students pursuing active-duty Air Force and Space Force commissions, any undergraduate or graduate student may take aerospace studies courses for academic credit, with the exception of the leadership laboratories. The amount of credit that may be applied toward a degree varies from college to college at the University of Iowa. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for example, accepts a maximum of 20 s.h. of aerospace studies credit. Additionally, any undergraduate student may apply the courses toward the minor in aerospace studies.

In order to receive a commission, AFROTC cadets must satisfactorily complete all University of Iowa degree requirements as well as courses specified by the U.S. Air Force.

Undergraduate and Graduate Programs

AFROTC offers programs lasting two, three, or four years. Joining early gives students the opportunity to try AFROTC without obligation. It also can give them an advantage in the scholarship selection process.

The AFROTC program's three main components are the general military course (GMC), the professional officer course (POC), and the Field Training (FT) program.

General Military Course

The general military course (GMC) consists of one AFROTC course (1 s.h.), physical fitness training, and a leadership laboratory taken each semester for two years. Any student who meets AFROTC qualifications and is in good academic standing is eligible to participate in the GMC. Students normally apply for the GMC up to the time they earn 60 s.h. Students who have earned more than 60 s.h. may enroll in the GMC if they are willing to extend their academic plan by a semester or more.

Professional Officer Course

The professional officer course (POC) consists of one AFROTC course (3 s.h.), physical fitness training, and a leadership laboratory taken each semester for two years. Students accepted into the POC make a commitment to serve a minimum of four years as U.S. Air Force or Space Force officers. To enter the POC, students must be selected to attend and must successfully complete field training. Students generally take the POC during their last 60 s.h.

Field Training

All POC applicants must successfully complete Field Training (FT) at a U.S. Air Force base. Selection to attend FT is competitive; if selected to attend, students experience an intensive, two-week program generally completed the summer after the sophomore year. It provides a first-hand look at the active duty Air Force and Space Force and develops military leadership and discipline. Students participate in junior officer education, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat training, physical fitness training, and expeditionary skills training in a simulated environment. After completing FT, cadets are ready to return to school and assume leadership positions in the AFROTC program.

Aerospace military students with the U.S. and Iowa flags in marching onto the Slater football field at an Iowa football game with Iowa fans in the background.


Students may compete for acceptance to a variety of optional AFROTC summer training programs. If selected, a student may return to Field Training as a cadet training assistant (CTA), travel to another country for a cultural immersion program, or compete for other Air Force immersion programs as available. The Air Force provides transportation, meals, lodging, and a daily expense allowance for all summer programs.

The AFROTC cadet corps also sponsors community service projects, intramural athletics, and social events, including formal and informal dinners.

Educational Delay

Cadets may request an educational delay to postpone entry to active duty until after completion of an advanced degree or professional training program. Selection for an educational delay is highly competitive.

Financial Aid

In-College Scholarship Program (ICSP)

If a prospective cadet is already in college, they can still experience the benefits of joining AFROTC. Freshman and sophomore students may be eligible for the In-College Scholarship Program (ICSP). The program awards scholarships based on merit during two selection phases (fall and spring semesters). They provide varying awards for tuition and fees, a stipend for books, and a monthly tax-free subsistence allowance. Applicants are selected based on objective and subjective factors. This scholarship does not cover room and board.

General Charles McGee Leadership Award (CMLA)

Cadets who are not already on scholarship and are selected to commission into the Air Force or Space Force are awarded a scholarship that pays $18,000 per year for two years upon successful completion of field training. Any scholarship awardee has the option to convert their award for a $10,000-per-academic-year “housing scholarship” used for on-campus housing. This is for room only; board is not included, and the conversion must begin at the start of the fall academic term if exercised.

All uniforms and required AFROTC textbooks are furnished free of charge.