Jul 23, 2024  
CSU Maritime Academy 2023-2024 Catalog 
CSU Maritime Academy 2023-2024 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Military Opportunities

There is no armed service obligation requirement to graduate from the Cal Maritime. However, several military options are available that can offer financial aid and additional career opportunities.

U.S. Coast Guard - Maritime Academy Graduate Program (MARGRAD)

Maritime Academy graduates have the education and training that enhance the Coast Guard’s ability to carry out its missions. The Direct Commission Maritime Academy Graduate Program (MARGRAD) is available to individuals who hold a qualifying degree from the California State University Maritime Academy.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for MARGRAD, one must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Be a U.S. citizen.
  2. Be between the ages of 21 and 40 (applicants must have reached their 21st birthday but not their 41st birthday as of September 30 of the fiscal year in which the panel convenes).
  3. Have graduated from a state or federal maritime academy and hold a Third Mate OR Third Assistant Engineer license, OR a degree major in Marine Environmental Protection OR a related field. **The Global Studies and Maritime Affairs degree from California State University Maritime Academy qualifies**
  4. Receive a favorable recommendation from an Officer Interview Board (coordinated by one’s recruiter).
  5. Meet character standards and be eligible for a security clearance.
  6. Meet financial standards.
  7. Meet dependency standards (single parents with sole custody or primary custody are ineligible).
  8. Pass a commissioning physical exam.
  9. Qualifying GPA: Must have at least a 2.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  10. Not be on active duty in any other U.S. armed service (one can apply while on active duty, provided he or she submits a discharge statement.) Applicants in an Inactive Reserve program must submit a conditional release. Must have less than a total of 10 years non-CG service.
  11. Applicants may be initiated during the applicant’s final year at the California State University Maritime Academy, if all other requirements are met.

Service Obligation

Individuals who are selected attend a five-week Direct Commission Officer (DCO) School at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT, and are then commissioned as officers in the U.S. Coast Guard. One’s experience, education, and qualifications will determine commission as an Ensign (O-1) or Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2).

Upon completion of DCO School, officers are obligated to serve for three years on active duty, after which an extension may be requested for the chance to continue to serve as an officer in the Coast Guard.

Contact Information

Contact the On-Campus Coast Guard Liaison Office for Coast Guard programs at California State University Maritime Academy.

Further information may also be found at http://www.gocoastguard.com

Recruiting Office
BM1 Kathleen Harnois
Officer Recruiter
RO San Francisco
510-769-8187 Office
408-315-4841 Mobile
510-769-8366 Fax

On-Campus Coast Guard Liaison Office
MST1 Blaine Meserve-Nibley
Coast Guard Liaison Officer
CSU Maritime Academy
707-654-1722 Office
720-318-8229 Mobile

U.S. Navy - Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP)

The Naval Science Department prepares students to participate in the Strategic Sealift Officer Program (SSOP), a joint program established in 1925 between the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Merchant Marine. This is a program unique to maritime schools. It allows students who have earned U.S. Coast Guard licenses as merchant marine deck or engine officers to be commissioned as Ensigns in the Naval Reserve upon graduation. SSOs normally serve on inactive duty in the Individual Ready Reserve Group, allowing them to work as civilians in the maritime industry without the monthly drill requirement. They are called to serve on active duty when required to support major military sealift operations that call for the training and experience of licensed merchant marine officers. The program also offers the option to pursue an active duty commission upon graduation as an unrestricted line officer.


To participate in the SSOP, students must meet the following qualifications:

  • be no older than 27 years by June 30 of commissioning year, waived to 30 years for prior military service
  • pass a Department of Defense physical examination
  • pass a semi-annual physical readiness test
  • be enrolled in a degree program with a U.S. Coast Guard license option
  • be in good academic standing, with a GPA of 2.0 or better

Students will be offered the opportunity to join the SSOP in their first year at Cal Maritime. Applications will be reviewed by the Officer-in-Charge of the Department of Naval Science. Successful applicants will receive appointments as Midshipmen, U.S. Navy Reserve.


Midshipmen between the ages of 17 and 24 are eligible to receive a Student Incentive Payment of $4,000 each semester ($32,000 total distributed over four years) from the Federal Maritime Administration.

Program Requirements

Midshipmen (SSO students) meet for weekly leadership and physical training sessions at Cal Maritime, and take additional Naval Science classes. Specifically, midshipmen must complete the following courses:


Upon graduation, midshipmen are commissioned as Ensigns in the U.S. Navy Reserve. They are obligated to maintain their Coast Guard license and participate in the Navy Reserve for eight years, during which time they will perform two weeks of active duty per year. In addition, they are required to maintain employment in the maritime industry for three years.


For additional information, contact the Department of Naval Science at 707-654-1266.


In addition to the above programs, Cal Maritime provides Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs through arrangements with other universities in the area.