Basic Eligibility:

  • Be a U.S. Citizen.
  • Meet medical standards specified by the U.S. Coast Guard for original licensing as a merchant mariner, as well as those specified by the Department of Defense for commissioning as a Naval Officer.
  • Be at least 17 years old and not have passed your 25th birthday on the day of enrollment in the SSMP. In addition, there is an age limit of 27 by June 30th of your commissioning year. Waivers are possible up to age 30 with prior military service.
  • Meet additional commissioning program requirements listed below.


  • Maintain a cumulative college GPA of 2.5.
  • You must be majoring in Marine Transportation, Marine Engineering Technology, or licensed-track Mechanical Engineering.
  • Complete NSC-100 Intro to Naval Science, NSC-200 Naval Science for the Strategic Sealift Officer, and NSC-400 Leadership and Ethics for the Naval Officer.
  • Participate in a 2 hour Naval Science Lab once a week.

Physical Fitness:

  • All program midshipmen must attain a performance level of "Good" on push-ups, plank, and a 1.5 mile run on their physical readiness test per Navy standards.
  • All program midshipmen must participate in Unit-level physical training once per week.
  • All program midshipmen must qualify as a third-class swimmer.

Career Path Obligations:

  • Register with the Selective Service Registration Representative if required under the Military Selective Service Act (MSSA). 
  • Maintain a license as a deck or engineering officer with the U.S. Coast Guard for at least six (6) years following the date of graduation from the Academy.
  • Serve the foreign and domestic commerce and the national defense of the United States for at least three years following the date of graduation from the California Maritime Academy as:
    1. As a licensed merchant marine officer serving on vessels documented under the laws of the U.S. or on vessels owned and operated by the U.S. or by a state or territory of the U.S. or
    2. As an employee in the U.S. maritime industry, profession, or marine science (as determined by the Secretary of Transportation), if the Secretary of Transportation determines that service under item (1) is not available to me, or
    3. As a commissioned officer on active duty in an armed force of the U.S. or in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for at least five (5) years, or
    4. By combining the service specified in sections (1), (2), or (3) above.
  • Unlike other commissioning programs, SSMP midshipmen are not required to complete active duty service. Program midshipmen, however, have the option to request an active duty commission. Active duty officer commitments are based upon the community entered such as Surface Warfare, Aviation, Submarine, SEAL, EOD, Intel, as well as Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, or Army.