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New Nuke Power Academic Minimum Standard

Enlisted Nuclear Field Academic Eligibility

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Published: January 18, 2011
Updated: February 13, 2019

Today, changes to the academic requirements for enlistment into the Navy Nuclear Power Program have been implemented in an effort to increase the quality of Nuclear Field applicants. The changes are expected to “increase the chances for Nuclear Field pipeline training and Fleet success, and lower academic attrition in the Nuclear Field training pipeline.”

Of the many requirements to enter the Navy’s Nuclear Power Program (NF), first you must have passed one full year of high school or college level algebra (if taken prior to high school, it counts) – if you have not completed this requirement, you are ineligible for the NF program.

Some states or educational institutions have courses that are the equivalent of a full year of algebra, but are called something else. According to the Navy Recruiting Manual Interim Change Notice 1-11;

Fair and expeditious processing requires the [Navy Recruiting District Educational Specialist] to review documentation for the questioned course to determine whether the criteria of one full year of Algebra I or higher-level algebra is met. This also includes foreign math courses. Do not include “Pre-Algebra” type courses. An accredited institution must still issue diplomas and transcripts or an eligibility determination must be obtained for foreign/non-accredited education.

Furthermore, an academic review by a higher authority will be automatically required for any of the following circumstances:

  1. Greater than five years since the last qualifying math course was completed and passed.
  2. Received a final, semester or quarter grade of ‘D’ or below in any high school math class.
  3. Withdrew from or repeated any portion of any high school math class.
  4. Received a final or semester GPA of less than 2.0 or ‘C’ equivalent in the junior or senior year of high school.
  5. Your Line Scores and NUC composite scores are both <245 (VE+AR+MK+MC<245 and AR+MK+EI+GS<245).

An additional tool to reduce academic failures at Nuclear Power School, Navy Recruiting Command established a new 50 Point System that will be used in determining whether you may or may not require a higher level review of your previous academic performance. The following is to help you develop your “Math Score”;

  • Assign the values from the following table to each qualifying math course you have completed within the specified time frame. Point values are for FULL YEAR courses. Divide by 2 for semesters, by 3 for trimesters, etc. If partial year and final grades are assigned you can use either to calculate points. Time since is based on date of screening.
  • Qualifying math courses are: Algebra (I, II, III), geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, advanced algebra, number theory, theoretical math or any higher level math course as determined by personnel at the Navy Recruiting District.
  • If you have taken the Navy Advanced Program Test (NAPT), award one point for every point scored above 60. For example, if you scored 69 on the NAPT, add 9 to your table total.
A 15 20 25 30 40
B 12.5 17.5 22.5 27.5 35
C 10 15 20 25 30
D 0 0 2.5 5.0 10
FAIL 0 0 0 0 0

If your “Math Score” via the table calculation and NAPT is 50 or higher, and you didn’t automatically trigger a determination requirement from the list above, you will not require an academic determination.

52 Responses to “Enlisted Nuclear Field Academic Eligibility”

  1. Issac [Last name redacted for privacy] says:

    Hi I recently received a D+ in a pre-calculus class. This was due to being unable to use either of my hands (I broke my left index finger/had surgery on it and I broke my collarbone. I was in a sling for the whole semester due to the collarbone). I had a C+ in that class the semester before. Anyway, since I received a D+, do I still have to get an academic review from higher authority? If possible email me an answer at: [email address removed for privacy]

  2. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, you will need an academic review because of the D.

  3. stephen says:


    I am currently in college as a freshman with a 3.3 GPA.

    I have a GED, but am getting my t1 credentials.

    Would this effect my nuke chances?

  4. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, because you do not have a 12L status (graduated with a regular high school diploma), you will be required to get a Nuclear Field Type 2 Non-traditional Education Determination. You will be required to take the NAPT, and the district educational services specialist must review the education that you did receive to ensure it would be on-par with that of a traditional high school education.

    My advice, take and do well in all the hard math and science classes you can while at college.

  5. stephen says:

    I’m at a tech school sadly. My family has always been well within poverty standards and I was technically emancipated at the age of 16 due to my immediate family’s foreclosure and we all went our separate ways.

    I made a 90 on the practice asvab after being out of school ~5 years. I can still make it.

    Thanks for the tips.

  6. Ruby says:


    I got a 91 on the ASVAB and a Nuclear Line Score of 271. I graduated high school from a foreign country that uses a numeric grading system. My recruiter informed me that I need to ask my high school to convert my grades to the standard letter grade system used in the US in order to qualify. They refused to do this as it is against their policy. I was wondering If I could have my transcript evaluated by a third party like Educational Credential Evaluators. I really want to enlist as a nuke and it is very disheartening that I won’t be able to becuase my high school refuses to cooperate.

  7. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The school would not supply a chart indicating something like; for example, 93 to 100 is an A, etc.? Without some sort of guidance from the school indicating what the numbers mean, the EDSPEC is going to have a hard time making the evaluation. It isn’t always clear and that is why the clarification is needed. If the school won’t provide that, then I suggest getting a letter from them stating that is their policy so that can accompany the transcripts and diploma to see if the EDSPEC can make the evaluation.

  8. Ruby says:

    Thank you so much for your reply! The school registrar said that a letter indicating that it is against their policy is the best that they could provide. I have a friend in the Army who had his credentials evaluated by a NACES member third party. I was wondering if that could accompany my transcript and diploma instead. It costs about $250 for them to evaluate my grades and give me the letter grade equivalent. Will the EDSPEC honor such kind of evaluation?

    Again, thank you so much for all your help.

  9. NCCM(Ret) says:


    They could not provide a letter stating that it is against their policy? They don’t publish what passing grades are? How do you or your parents know how you did? I used to be the Chief Recruiter for Navy Recruiting District New England, and part of our territory was all of Europe, and we dealt with many schools, and i have never heard of such a thing. To your question about a third party evaluation, don’t spend the money — each NRD and the national headquarters have people that make those evaluations; they are the EDSPECs. Besides, their evaluation would be suspect if they were not allowed to have the data provided by the school to determine what the number for the grade actually indicates. They would need to show me in writing this ridiculous policy before I’d believe it. Unless this is a stand alone school with no outside accreditation, I’d go to their district headquarters and ask for the district’s grading policy.

  10. NCCM(Ret) says:


    A question, has the EDSPEC already approved your diploma as a Tier I credential that you can use for enlistment? Is the letter grades needed specifically for the Nuke program to determine whether you require an academic waiver, and if you do need one, at what level?

  11. Bob says:

    Does the Navy look at college grades for nuke, or do only high school grades matter?

  12. NCCM(Ret) says:


    The Navy looks at all math and science grades — both high school and college.

  13. Blake says:

    I passed all Algebra courses in high school. When I got to college I got a “D” in my first semester of college algebra. I retook the course and passed. I am qualified to be a nuke with my ASVAB scores but does the “D” I got in college disqualify me, even though I retook and passed?

  14. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If you have greater than 50 points per the chart, you should be fine; otherwise, you will require an academic determination.

  15. Marc says:

    I don’t have a very good academic standing (2.8). However, I did very exceptional on my ACT (31) and ASVAB (97). Will my academic performance cause any concerns in the selection process?

  16. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Yes, absolutely, your performance in the classroom (math and science classes) can and do have an impact. Nuclear Power School is like no other — it is feeding you information at a rate you more than likely have never had to endure. Stress at school is high and there is little tolerance for failure. People who ultimately screen to go have an exceptional shot at graduating, but it didn’t always used to be that way. The dropout rates used to be much higher than today. If/when you get through the screening and are able to select Nuke, you have done something worth noting, but it is just the beginning of a learning process that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

    I hope everything goes your way!! Kick its butt!

  17. Richard says:

    My son was pursued by the Navy for Nuke. He scored 94 on the ASVAB and was not required to take the NAPT. Is there still a selection process, or is he good to go? Already completed MEPS, waiting for a bootcamp date, hoping for one by mid to late NOV.

  18. NCCM(Ret) says:


    I assume he is otherwise qualified and not in need of any program waivers — if he is waiting on one, your son should be able to tell you that. I don’t know when a shipping seat for Nuke may be available, but leaving even before Christmas may be a tall order.

  19. Kay says:

    whats the highest level of math a nuke would be required to take?

  20. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Nuke school will expose the student to calculus and other forms of higher mathematics.

  21. Carl says:

    I am a computer engineering student who has gotten halfway through my required courses for my bachelors degree and was informed of this program by my best pal. It doesn’t necessarily go straight into the software and hardware components of computers as I was focusing my studies towards and wonder if there is a similar program in my field with the Navy that is just as fulfilling. In addition, should I just continue with my program for the next two years and join as an Information Specialist or Cyber Warfare Officer? Any and all advice would help as I find this decision intriguing yet difficult to make. A recruiter mentioned receiving college credits up to 60 which would help in completing an engineering degree, but I have completed all of my required math and sciences and diving into my core classes. I have grown to admire the Nuclear program very much but it isn’t along my path of study but has many benefits and provides room to grow. Any alternate advanced program with the Navy would be nice.

  22. NCCM(Ret) says:


    For benefits and advanced training, nothing surpasses the Nuclear Power Program (I have two sons that were Nukes). The ratings that are similar to your current path are CTN and IT for networking and some programming. AECF for learning hardware. Start with those, but I advise you take a look at everything just to get a good feel — Navy Jobs/Programs.

  23. Chris says:

    I saw in a comment above that the navy does indeed review university scores. So does that mean that even though my high school scores were great, if my scores in university were not good, that I would have to go through academic review? How exactly does an academic review work? Would I play any part in the review process?

    Also, although my scores weren’t the best, I have completed 74 credits. Will that be of any use to me in the navy?

    Thank you

  24. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Have you followed the article? It has two parts, first, if you have one of the five circumstances listed, then you automatically trigger a review — those specify high school; if none of those are an issue, then you move to the chart. For the chart, you use all of your prior classes that you have taken (both high school and college) and add up the points you have; for instance, if you took a semester of college calculus and received a “C” three years ago, then you have 10 points for that class because semesters get half the value. Your goal is to have 50 points or higher. You can use the NAPT to attempt to gain any points you are lacking by gaining one point for every point over 60 you score.

    If you trigger an academic review, then all of your transcripts are forwarded to the Nuke folks — they review your potential based on performance, and then render a decision. Your only input may be a handwritten statement.

  25. J, Muscarella says:

    When I joined in 1972 you needed a combined GCT/ARI of 115 which was the same requirement for the Naval Academy. Mine was 127. I graduated from NPS Bainbridge, Md in class 7403 Blue. There were no calculators. We used slide rules. At that time when you compared the number of nukes that “A” schools was churning out and the number of qualified nukes the prototypes were churning out, the attrition rate for ALL reasons, positive and negative, was about 75%.

  26. David B says:

    Hi! I have met ASVAB requirements to not need to take the NAPT. I’m a sophomore in college now but I’ve decided to instead enlist (for a lot of reasons that aren’t necessary to my question). But it’s been since high school since I’ve taken college algebra classes. I don’t trigger any of the “Automatic” bullets listed above, but since my math classes were semesterly instead of yearly, my score might be lower than 50 (not by much at all). If I have high ASVAB scores on all mathematical portions (AR and MK), will I have to go under review?

  27. David B says:

    Also, a lot of courses I’ve taken should be considered full-year but I took accelerated and finished in one year. Can these be counted as one year?

  28. David B says:

    For instance I took Pre-calculus last summer at a college and finished within 3 months with a B. Is that considered a one-year course or a semester course?

  29. NCCM(Ret) says:

    David B.,

    I would assume a course that is finished in that period of time would count as a semester, but to be sure, you would need to have the classes evaluated. Your recruiter should be able to contact the nuclear coordinator and have him/her take a look at it.

  30. Jake says:

    So it seems I will need an academic review due to the fact I retook alg 2 after failing. What does an academic review entail? Im in college now, will they check my college transcripts?

  31. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You should expect any academic review process to review your current performance in academia with extra special focus on any additional math and science classes.

  32. Adrian says:

    I am a recent electrical engineering graduate student. I want to go as an officer with some technical value. I was told to go for Nuke Officer and the program sounds amazing. But all the recruiters Ive talked to havent put me in the right direction. What do I need to do and what are somethings I should expect or be aware of? Thanks

  33. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Have you been talking to an officer recruiter, or the local enlisted recruiters? Have you read the minimum basic requirements for NUPOC?

    If you meet those basics, email me (use the “contact me” form from the navigation options (sidebar for desktop, scroll to the bottom on mobile) your college, your GPA, height/weight, undergrad info, and whether you have any history of police involvement, and I will get you in touch with the right person.

  34. Rebecca says:

    My godson just received a 96 on his ASVAB, he has a B in college Pre-calculus and had As in high school pre-calculus and Algebra 2. He’s a college freshman so those classes are all recent. According to a law passed by congress in 2014 regarding enlistment policies, Homeschool graduates providing proof of high school graduation and legal compliance with their state oversight are to be treated exactly as any other high school graduate with a diploma. There are to be no additional or double standards applied to their enlistment. He was homeschooled but is currently in college, and was told he had to do attional testing because he was homeschooled. It sounds like they are telling him he needs a waiver for being homeschooled, even though he met all requirements academic and otherwise to qualify for the program. What if anything do you know about this practice? And who would one talk to in order to address this problem. thank you in advance for your time and any input you might have.
    Sincerely, Rebecca

  35. NCCM(Ret) says:


    It is true, based on that law, those properly home-schooled are considered to have a Tier I education and they are no longer required to get a 50QT on the ASVAB test to enlist — for general enlistment, their home-school diploma counts exactly the same as having a GED and 15 college credits, a traditional high school diploma, or even a Job Corps credential; however, the Nuclear program (I assume that is where his interest lies) has additional rules that apply to all forms on non-traditional education — he would be required to take the NAPT and receive either a Type I (considered at CNRC N313) or Type II (considered at OPNAV N133D) — which type depends on his ASVAB line scores.

  36. William says:

    So I got back to back “D”s in algebra two and precalc( spring semester, fall semester) but I qualified for nuke on my asvab and I passed the NAPT. Do you think I could still get into the nuke program? I’ve already written a statement explaining why I got it.

  37. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Based on what you wrote, it sounds like they are already forwarding an academic waiver? As long as they continue to process you for the program, you still have a chance.

  38. William says:

    I haven’t actually gone to meps to swear in as another job while I wait for my nuke clearance(DEPS). But my concern is that my two “D”‘s will affect my chances. Are there cases like mine where they still get into the nuke program?

  39. Alex says:

    I have around 7 waivers total for grades and I am trying to join the Navy Nuke program. I have an asvab score of 95 and Nuc sits right at 256, I am finishing my final year of highschool on course for over 98% in every class I have, including multiple stem classes. I was hoping for some reassurance of my chances, I was failing classes because I wasn’t attending many days and not doing my homework in other cases.

  40. NCCM(Ret) says:


    there is no way for me to know your chances, but if they did forward it for consideration, you must have a pretty good chance (they usually call ahead to get an opinion from the waiver authority before sending it — doesn’t mean they will approve it, but it is something that they will entertain it).

  41. Alex says:


    Thank you, that makes me feel better knowing that its not worth submission with little to no chance.

  42. Ryan says:

    I have some questions about class 2 waivers I’m about to have be reviewed. I received a D in pre calc my last year of high school (which was 4 years ago) and my recruiter had me do a hand written statement about it. Now I also had to do a hand written statement on an algebra 2 class I failed in 10th grade. I know the nuke program requires at least one year of algebra completed with average of c or better so I was wondering if I made the alg 2 class up during a summer semester in high school and passed with an A do I meet the requirement or no? I also completed alg 1 in middle school with a passing grade above a C so should my recruiter be aware of that as well? Will my waivers get disapproved? I am very interested in this job and would like to know how well my chances are. I have no prior history of drug abuse I have no outstanding debt never filed bankruptcy and no run ins with the law.

  43. NCCM(Ret) says:


    If your waiver if forwarded for consideration, along with your transcripts, your ASVAB line scores, NAPT test score, and how long ago was your last math class is also weighed — if your last math class was years ago, the waiver would be difficult.

  44. Ryan says:

    I auto qualed it I didn’t need an napt placement test my line scores were all above average and school wasn’t more than 5 years ago.Every math course in question I made up and received an A. Is that all they look into? Anything I can do to increase my chances?

  45. Ryan says:

    What do you think?

  46. Mike Miller says:

    Looks like administrative laziness to me. I’d have been dinged on at least two of the above criteria. Despite that, I began pre-NPS in section 3. In 1983 sections 1, 2, & 3 were the lowest sections for mechanical operators. I jumped to sec 11- the highest mechanical section at the time, & actually graduated. I had horrible, shitty, indolent math teachers in high school & left with a math phobia. I didn’t even know I was good at math until I studied for the entrance exam! There really needs to be a challenge system for those not covered by the bell curve. If Adm. Rickover was normal we wouldn’t even have the program. Mike Miller, fmr MM2 (SS), NPS class 8304.

  47. Michelle says:

    My son is looking into joining the Nuke School. He is currently a Junior in high school and recently took the SATs. What scores must you achieve for the SATs and ACTs in order to get into the Nuke Program. I understand the ASVAB score needed is at least a 252. Thank you.

  48. NCCM(Ret) says:


    An applicant’s SAT or ACT score is irrelevant when making application to the Nuclear Power Program.

  49. Austin says:

    I got a 97 on the ASVAB and was told I qualify for Nuke Alpha as long as I don’t fail any math or science classes, however I do have a couple D’s and a C. Does that kill my chances?

  50. NCCM(Ret) says:


    Those grades do not “kill” your chances.

  51. garrett says:

    I was interested in the nuclear program i’m a bit older 31 years old and have over 120 credits in college. I have taken differential equations as well for my highest math as I’m pursuing Electrical Engineering degree. Anyways what would my minimum score needed on the ASVAB to qualify for the nuclear program without being disqualified

  52. NCCM(Ret) says:


    You age beyond the age for enlistment into the Navy’s Nuclear Field Program. Applicants must be younger than 25 years of age by their shipping date. Exceptions to this policy will be limited to applicants less than 27 years of age and will require a Type 3 determination.

    For a commissioning into the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program, 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. You may wish to contact an officer recruiter to see if that is possible before your 32nd birthday.

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