Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program
The basic requirements for selection to the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program for eligible college students and graduates. Program leads to an appointment on active duty as an Ensign in the unrestricted line of the U.S. Navy. Nuclear Propulsion Officers serve their duty on a nuclear-powered submarine or surface ship.
Those selected will attend the 12 week Officer Candidate School (OCS) located in Newport, Rhode Island when eligible.
Following OCS, those who select surface ships (aircraft carriers) will complete their Surface Warfare qualification during a division officer tour aboard a non-nuclear ship before moving on to Nuke School. For those who volunteer submarines, they move directly to Nuclear Power School (Nuke School).
The initial Nuke School is 24 weeks of classroom based courses and is located in Charleston, South Carolina. The classroom portion of Nuke School is followed by 26 weeks of hands-on training at one of the Navy's two prototype reactors located in either Charleston, SC, or Ballston Spa, NY.
Applicants must be a citizen of the United States. Applicants must be at least 19 years old and not have passed their 29th birthday at time of commissioning. Age waivers may be considered on a case-by-case basis for those would be able to commission before their 32nd birthday.
All candidates must have completed the requirements for, or be in pursuit of, a bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or its territories and fall within one of the following categories:
- Completion of a bachelor's degree. Graduates who are screened under this paragraph must agree to enlist under the Enlistment section below, if accepted by the Director, Naval Reactors, unless formally approved by BUPERS Code N133 prior to participation in the interview process.
- Undergraduate Students.
- Be in pursuit of a bachelor's degree, within two and a half years of graduation, and be currently enrolled as a full-time student (if applying during a regular academic year). Candidates who will require more than four years in a four year curriculum or more than five years in a five year curriculum shall be screened on a case basis by N133 in order to be eligible to enlist for active duty before graduation. Candidates pursuing dual bachelor's degrees may not receive one degree before the other. Applicants not selected at interview under this paragraph may reapply following the completion of at least one additional academic year (i.e., two semesters or three quarters) provided they meet the applicable education criteria. Candidates who enter the program under this paragraph will have their transcripts reviewed immediately after the completion of each additional academic semester, quarter, or term. Students must earn a "C" or better in all technical/math/science classes. Waivers to this requirement may be recommended by N133 and approved by Naval Reactors on an individual case basis. Undergraduate students who do not maintain academic requirements may be disenrolled from the NUPOC program by N133. Undergraduate students who are screened under this paragraph must agree to enlist under the Enlistment section below if accepted by the Director, Naval Reactors, unless formally approved by N133 prior to participation in the interview process.
- Have completed a bachelor's degree and are presently enrolled in a master's degree program at a regionally accredited college or university in the United States or its territories, and are within one academic year of attaining a master's degree. Candidates pursuing a master's degree must enter Officer Candidate School (OCS) within one calendar year after entering the program; candidates who are unable to complete the degree within the specified time frame will be required to disenroll from college and attend the first available DCS class. Post-graduate students who are screened under this paragraph must agree to enlist under the Enlistment section below if accepted by the Director, Naval Reactors, unless formally approved by N133 prior to participation in the interview process.
For purposes of determining eligibility, "curriculum" is defined as the total time spent as an undergraduate; the month and year of the first bachelor's degree(s) is considered the completion date of that curriculum.
All applicants must provide a degree completion plan to support the advertised graduation date. Candidates will not be allowed to increase their projected time in college or cease attending classes, transfer schools, enter into exchange programs, or change majors without the specific permission of N133.
All candidates must have successfully completed the following in residency or through extension courses offered by a regionally accredited college or university:
- One year (i.e., two semesters, two trimesters, or three quarters) of college calculus through differential and integral calculus of one real variable with a grade of "C" or better. Waivers to this requirement may be recommended by N133 and approved by Naval Reactors on an individual case basis. One semester/quarter/term must be taken "in the classroom."
- One year (i .e., two semesters, two trimesters, or three quarters) of a college calculus-based physics course covering the classic fundamentals of mechanics, magnetism, and electricity with a grade of "C" or better. Waivers to this requirement may be recommended by N133 and approved by Naval Reactors on an individual case basis. One semester/quarter/term must be taken "in the classroom".
Candidates who have taken the above courses as advanced placement courses in high school, and have been allowed to validate these courses by their college, and have taken an additional course in college beyond these requirements, will be considered to have met eligibility requirements. (Note the "and" conditions.)
Participation in a co-op or work studies program after entry into the NUPOC program will not be authorized if such participation will cause a delay in the graduation date approved at the time of acceptance. Those candidates who choose to participate in a non-mandatory co-op or work studies program during the fall, winter, or spring term must attend summer sessions to avoid a delay in graduation and must ensure that the summer course loading and credits obtained will be the equivalent of a normal fall, winter, or spring term.
Applicants must be physically qualified and aeronautically adapted in accordance with the physical standards established by the Manual of the Medical Department, Chapter 15 and as detailed in Department of Defense Directive 6130.3. Candidates must meet the physical fitness weight and/or percentage of body fat standards at the time of application and at time of commissioning. Program participants must meet the medical standards for Nuclear Field Duty/Ionizing Radiation prior to commissioning as a nuclear officer.
If accepted by the Director, Naval Reactors, applicants will attend a period of orientation in the Washington, D. C. area of approximately one day. Upon completion of orientation, candidates will exercise one of the following options:
- Enlist and be placed in an active duty status as an Officer Candidate (OC) (E-6) in the Navy Reserve.
- Enlist and be placed in an inactive Navy Reserve status as an OC (E-6) if designated as inactive prior to acceptance.
- College graduates are expected to enlist and be placed in an active duty status as an OC (E-6) in the Naval Reserve until completion of OCS when they will be commissioned.
- With prior approval of N133, candidates may choose to delay their option(s) up to 30 days from the date of their interview at Naval Reactors. If, prior to exercising any enlistment option, additional course work is completed, transcripts must be submitted for evaluation prior to enlistment.
Active duty members of any Service and inactive Navy Reserve enlisted selectees for the NUPOC program will be brought on active duty in their present pay grade, unless below pay grade E-6, in which case they will be automatically advanced to E-6. Inactive personnel from another Service must be released from that Service, be enlisted as an OC (E-6), and placed on active duty. Selectees who have been enlisted will be ordered to the Navy Recruiting District nearest their college for administrative purposes while they complete their college work (or to the Navy Recruiting District that processed the application for Graduate students awaiting OCS).
Any candidate who is enlisted under this section will, upon referring a lead which results in an accession to either the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate, Nuclear Power School Instructor, or to the Naval Reactors Engineer programs, be advanced one pay grade to E-7.
Commissioned an Ensign, United States Navy upon graduation from OCS, designator 1170 (submarines) or 1160 (surface). Should an individual become not physically qualified for submarine duty after commissioning and entry in the program, he/she shall be assigned designator 1160 and be made available for duty in the nuclear surface warfare program. Individuals found not physically qualified for the nuclear field shall be assigned a designator in accordance with the needs of the Navy and desires of the individual.
Active Duty Obligation
Five years upon commissioning. Total obligated service is eight years. The balance of service to complete eight years may be served in a Ready Reserve status.
If disenrolled as a commissioned officer from nuclear propulsion training, three years from date of disenrollment plus a period of time equal to that spent in nuclear propulsion training. If this period would be less than the obligation of the first paragraph of this section, then the obligation period described in the first paragraph of this section applies.
Candidates who enlisted for active duty under the Enlistment section above who are disenrolled from the NUPOC program prior to commissioning for any reason other than physical will, as determined by Commander, Navy Recruiting Command and N133:
- Be commissioned as an Ensign, U.S. Navy upon graduation from OCS with a designator which is dependent upon the individual 's desires and/or the needs of the Navy and, upon appointment, serve four years from the date of commissioning, or the minimum service requirement associated with training for the new community, whichever is longer. Should an applicant fail to complete OCS for any reason other than physical disqualification, paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 of this section shall apply.
- Serve two years active duty in an enlisted status:
- Applicants who entered the program under the Enlistment section above and inactive personnel from another Service who were advanced to pay grade E-6 shall be administratively reduced to pay grade E-3 as an undesignated seaman and shall be ordered to Navy recruit training. The two-year active duty obligation commences on the date of orders. No specialized Navy schooling will be authorized following basic training unless the individual agrees to extend his/her active duty obligation to meet the service obligation requirements of the training program requested.
- Inactive Naval Reserve candidates who were placed on active duty at pay grade E-6 or E-7 in accordance with the Enlistment section above, shall be administratively reduced to the pay grade they held prior to entering the NUPOC program and an availability report will be initiated. The two-year active duty obligation commences on the date of the availability report.
- Continue service under current enlistment contract. Candidates who entered the program under the Enlistment section above shall be administratively reduced to the pay grade they held prior to entering the NUPOC program and returned to their original detailer for further assignment.
- Be discharged. The type of discharge and reenlistment code will be as determined by N133.
Personnel who are enlisted and serving in an active duty status who are disenrolled from the NUPOC program by reason of physical disqualification:
- If not physically qualified for duty as a submarine officer or nuclear-trained surface officer, the candidate may be discharged or, if desired, be retained on inactive duty for commissioning as an Ensign, United States Navy upon graduation from OCS with a designator which is dependent upon the individual's desires and the needs of the Navy.
- If not physically qualified for commissioning, but physically qualified for enlistment, the candidate may be made available for recruit training, returned to the original detailer for further assignment (if entering the program under the Enlistment section above), or discharged as directed by N133. If the candidate has not attended recruit training, and is at a pay grade above E-3, the candidate will be administratively reduced to pay grade E-3 prior to transfer to recruit training.
- If not physically qualified for commissioning or enlistment, the candidate will be discharged. The type of discharge and reenlistment code will be determined by N133.
Pay and Allowances
Personnel selected, enlisted, and placed in an active duty status under this program are entitled to full pay and allowances (with the exception of a clothing maintenance allowance) upon being placed in an active duty status. NUPOC personnel in this active duty status who are disenrolled from the NUPOC program will be placed in an inactive duty status terminating the full pay and allowances entitlement until enrollment in OCS or commencing the active duty obligation incurred under the Enlistment section above. NUPOC personnel selected and enlisted under this program, who were not authorized to be placed on active duty at time of interview, may be enlisted, placed on active duty, and receive full pay and allowances (except clothing maintenance allowance) upon graduation from college, or upon direction from N133.