The curriculum at West Point represents a unique balance between the engineering and humanities disciplines, and between breadth and specialization. Cadets receive a broad general education with a strong core program and opportunities for depth in 23 fields of study or 20 optional majors. The success of this balance is attested to by our fine showing in diverse scholarship competitions. Since West Point graduates have begun competing, the United States Military Academy is the only academic institution in the nation ranking in the top five in both Rhodes and Hertz competitions. Herz fellowships provide three years of study leading to a Ph.D.in a physical science while Rhodes Scholarships provide an opportunity for study in the humanities.
USMA has perhaps the most up-to-date faculty in the country. Like pumping fresh water and air into an aquarium, West Point annually infuses its academic faculty with a fresh addition of young dynamic officers. Having just come from the best graduate schools, they have mastered the newest equipment and latest techniques in their disciplines. this superb junior faculty is guided by an experienced tenured faculty of commissioned officers and civilian professors schooled to the doctoral level at many of the nation's best graduate schools. The faculty is also augmented by visiting professors from prestigious national colleges. Of overall importance, the first concern of the entire faculty is cadet intellectual development.
There are no back-row seats at West Point with just 14 to 18 cadets per classroom. Students interact freely with their primary instructors, not graduate assistants.
Developing the Whole Person
West Point is committed to the academic, moral/ethical, physical/athletic, professional, military, and leadership development of cadets. Our staff and faculty is available and willing to help students with additional academic instruction and with cultural, educational and recreational club activities.
There are more than 18 career fields to consider for aspiring second lieutenants to choose from prior to graduation. An additional career field is added as officers reach their eighth year of service. There are unique opportunities for engineers as well as infantry and armor officers. Aviation is another popular branch; 80 to 100 West Pointers go right into aviation upon graduation. High-tech opportunities abound-the U.S. Army is on the pioneering edge in many high-tech fields. Thee is a huge commitment to a peacetime mission of national resource development and conservation through the civil works program of the U.S. Army.
Leadership skills are stressed in early years of officer service. Most Army lieutenants will start in a platoon leader position, responsible for 25-30 soldiers. Staff positions are interspersed with troop-leading positions, including command of a company-sized unit as a captain. compare this experience to Navy and Air Fore where early years are more focused on equipment before their officers can become involved with managing even a platoon-sized force.
Tradition, Idealism, Heritage
Most people find it difficult to put these concepts into words. Perhaps a recent plebe (freshman) said it best. He chose West Point because of "the special spirit he observed and felt during a visit to West Point-a spirit which is idealistic yet practical, tough yet caring, demanding of high personal standards, and founded on the tradition of service to the country." the traditions of the military and the satisfaction of serving our nation will follow you throughout your career. In America, the Army was one of the first professions to judge a person on merit rather than by social class. Imagination and talent are keys to success in the Army. Continuing military and civilian education alternates with on-the-job experience, ensuring your educational and professional growth.
Cadets earn about $7,000 a year. Where else can the average outstanding young American man or woman gain complete financial independence while still a student? Lieutenants begin their careers earning nearly $21,000 a year. Medical and dental benefits, commissary and Post Exchange privileges, allowances for regional differences in housing and subsistence costs increase the value of the second lieutenant's salary.