The U.S. Naval Academy was established in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1845 as a school for training U.S. Navy officers. Graduates receive B.S. degrees with a major in one of 26 disciplines, plus commission as Ensign in the Navy or Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps.
Like West Point, the US Naval Academy’s admissions procedures do not resemble most college’s. Applicants must be recommended by a Senator or Representative or the Vice President, but each of these government officials is allowed to nominate only two people each year. The application process also includes a college application, personality testing, standardized testing, a physical exam, and a physical aptitude test.
US Naval Academy students are called midshipmen. Their academic program begins with a core curriculum that includes courses in engineering, science, mathematics, humanities and social science. The Academy also provides professional and leadership training. While the midshipmen learn to take orders first, before long they acquire the responsibility for making decisions that can affect hundreds of other midshipmen. The professional classroom studies are backed by many hours of practical experience in leadership and naval operations. Summer months are spent in training at U.S. bases and with units of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.
Moral and ethical development is fundamental to all aspects of the US Naval Academy. From Plebe Summer through graduation, the Officer Development Program, a four-year integrated program, focuses on integrity, honor, and mutual respect. Honor is emphasized through the Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen. Athletics are a major part of the Annapolis program and the Academy offers a wide variety of athletic choices – in addition to the required physical education curriculum. The Academy participates in the American Athletic Conference in football and in the NCAA Division I-level Patriot League in many other sports. The college fields 33 varsity sports teams and 12 club sports teams.
The most important sporting event at the academy is the annual Army–Navy Game. The three major service academies (Navy, Air Force, and Army) compete for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which is awarded to the academy that defeats the others in football that year.
The US Naval Academy first accepted women in 1976, and women now comprise about 29 percent of the midshipmen. A small number of international students, usually from smaller allied or friendly countries, are admitted into each class. The Academy normally admits about 1% of its class from a pool of international students from about 10 different countries.