ROTC Overview

The ROTC program is separated into two distinct groups: the General Military Course and the Professional Officer Course, which are described in detail below. ROTC emphasizes military studies, leadership development, and physical fitness.

General Military Course

  • AS100 – Freshman—(no service obligation, even if on scholarship)
    • Fall—Aerospace Studies 101 (1 credit hour)
    • Spring—Aerospace Studies 102 (1 credit hour)
  • AS200 – Sophomore—(service obligation if on scholarship)
    • Fall—Aerospace Studies 201 (1 credit hour)
    • Spring—Aerospace Studies 202 (1 credit hour)
    • Summer—Leadership Evaluation and Development (3 weeks, Maxwell AFB, AL)

Professional Officer Course

  • AS300 – Junior—(must sign service contract; service obligation)
    • Fall—Aerospace Studies 301 (3 credit hours)
    • Spring—Aerospace Studies 302 (3 credit hours)
  • AS400 – Senior—(service obligation)
    • Fall—Aerospace Studies 401 (3 credit hours)
    • Spring—Aerospace Studies 402 (3 credit hours)
    • Graduation and Commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force


The General Military Course (GMC), is a two-year program offered to freshmen and sophomores who meet the minimum requirements. It consists of a one-credit hour class each semester for both years as well as two hours of Leadership Laboratory and two hours of group physical fitness training each week. The General Military Course is designed to improve communication skills and provide a window into military life. The GMC is an opportunity for students to try out the program with no obligation (for those not on an ROTC scholarship).


After completing GMC requirements, cadets wishing to enter the last two years of the program, the Professional Officer Course (POC), must compete for an Enrollment Allocation (EA). EAs are determined by qualitative factors to determine if a candidate has officer potential, using factors such as college GPA, unit commander evaluation, physical fitness scores, and aptitude test scores. An EA allows cadets to attend Leadership Evaluation and Development (LEAD) the summer between their sophomore and junior years. Field Training is a 3-week evaluation period at Maxwell AFB, Alabama that challenges cadets’ leadership and teamwork abilities. Upon successful completion of LEAD cadets can now enter the POC and return as leaders within the detachment. The POC consists of a three-credit hour Aerospace Studies class each semester for both years. In addition to the Aerospace Studies class, POC cadets will plan and facilitate the weekly, two hour Leadership Laboratory and two hour physical fitness sessions.

ROTC Classes

Aerospace Studies 100 (AS100) – Freshman Year

The Foundations of the United States Air Force

AS100 is the freshman survey course designed to introduce cadets to the United States Air Force (USAF) and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC). Topics include: mission and organization of the Air Force, officership, military customs and courtesies, Air Force officer opportunities, and an introduction to communication skills. Enrollment does not obligate the student to join the Air Force ROTC program. Freshmen who want to join the ROTC program, however, must enroll in this course and the Leadership Laboratory. Leadership Laboratory complements this course by providing cadets with followership and team-building experiences. At Cornell, this class is coded as AIRS 1101 for the fall semester and AIRS 1102 for the spring semester.

Aerospace Studies 200 (AS200) – Sophomore Year

The Evolution of USAF Air and Space Power

This sophomore-level course takes students through the history of air power starting with the beginnings of manned flight in hot-air balloons and gliders to the development, progression, and employment of air and space power by the United States in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and current conflicts. Students will also study various doctrines regarding employment of air and space power assets ranging from aircraft to spacecraft and cyber-warfare. It also covers the peaceful employment of U.S. air power in civic actions, space exploration support and scientific missions. In addition, students will continue to discuss the importance of the Air Force Core Values, through the use of operational examples and historical Air Force leaders, and will continue to develop their communication skills. Leadership Laboratory is mandatory for AFROTC cadets and complements this course by providing cadets with followership and teamwork experiences that will prepare cadets for field training. At Cornell, this class is coded as AIRS 2201 for the fall semester and AIRS 2202 for the spring semester.

Aerospace Studies 300 (AS300) – Junior Year

Air Force Leadership Studies

AS300 is the junior-level course where students study leadership, management fundamentals, professional knowledge, Air Force personnel and evaluation systems, leadership ethics, and the communication skills required of a junior Air Force officer. Case studies are used to examine Air Force leadership and management situations as a means of demonstrating and exercising practical application of the concepts being studied. Cadets will also take Leadership Laboratory concurrently, which will give cadets the opportunity to apply the leadership and management principles they are learning by helping plan, run, and teach Leadership Laboratory. At Cornell, this class is coded as AIRS 3301 for the fall semester and AIRS 3302 for the spring semester.

Aerospace Studies 400 (AS400) – Senior Year

National Security Affairs and Preparation for Active Duty

This senior-level course is designed to prepare cadets for their first active duty assignment as an Air Force officer. In this course cadets learn about the role of a professional military leader in a democratic society, the national security process, regional studies, advanced leadership ethics, and the application of Air Force doctrine in current conflicts. They also learn the requisites for maintaining adequate national defense structure, the impact of technological and international developments on strategic preparedness, military law and the overall policy-making process. Additionally, this course refines communication skills and is taken in tandem with the Leadership Laboratory, where senior cadets implement their communication, leadership, and managerial skills as they plan, organize, and facilitate the training of the cadet wing. At Cornell, this class is coded as AIRS 4401 for the fall semester and AIRS 4402 for the spring semester.

Leadership Laboratory – All Years

Leadership Laboratory is taken each year of the program in conjunction with Cadets’ Aerospace Studies (AS) classes. This cadet run class gives juniors and seniors an opportunity to exercise the leadership, managerial, and organizational skills they have learned in their AS classes while providing freshmen and sophomores with an immersion into the Air Force way of life. Freshmen and sophomores will engage in activities that teach customs and courtesies, drill and ceremonies, physical fitness, and teamwork, which will ultimately prepare them for Field Training and becoming leaders in the Cadet Wing.