Strategic Sealift Officer Program


Question: You said that there was a medical physical examination, a fitness test, and an oral interview. Who administers these tests and where would I have to go to take them?

Answer:  The Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) Physical examination can be done with a doctor in your area that is approved to perform them. We would start you an account on the DODMETS website which will locate a qualified doctor in your area and then you'll be able to schedule your appointment. This should be done as soon as you receive your acceptance letter from Cal Maritime. The fitness test and interview are administered by the SSOP active duty staff on the Cal Maritime campus in Vallejo, CA and can be scheduled anytime after you have been accepted and paid a tuition deposit at CSUM.


Question:  Is there a GPA requirement to enter or stay in the program?

Answer: There is no official minimum GPA to be selected into the SSO Program.  The minimum GPA to maintain good standing in the SSO Program at Cal Maritime is 2.50. Anything less than a 2.00 will result in academic probation and possible Leave of Absence status with the potential for disenrollment from the program. Disenrollment can result in payback of student incentive pay received from the Maritime Administration.


Question: The SSOP is only available to students in USCG license track degrees (MET, MT, ME). What happens if I enter the program, and later decide to switch majors?

Answer: If you decide to change your major to a non-license track degree you will no longer be eligible for the program and may have to pay back any student incentive pay that you received.


Question: After graduation from Cal Maritime, I would like to serve as an active duty commissioned officer, as opposed to becoming a Reserve Naval Officer. Can I enter this program with the intention of becoming active duty?

Answer: While it is not a guarantee, committing to the SSO Program can lead to an active duty naval officer commission when you graduate. Once fully participating in SSOP, you have until the end of your junior year to decide if you would like to apply for an active duty commission. If your grades, interview, physical fitness, leadership potential, verbal and written communication skills, and recommendations are strong, then your chances for getting selected can be good. If you are then selected for active duty, you would not have to reimburse MARAD for any of SIP (5 years of active service will fulfill the obligation). You will still need to submit an annual report to MARAD.


Question: What is the difference between SSOP and NROTC?

Answer: NROTC offers a full college scholarship and is designed to commission naval officers into active duty service.  SSOP is a program designed to commission naval reserve officers.  Through SSOP you are eligable for student incentive pay from the Maritime Administration of $4000 per semester (for a maximum of eight semesters).


Question: What are the duties and responsibilities after I graduate and I am commissioned as a Strategic Sealift Officer?



Question: What are some of the activities a midshipman can expect to participate in as part of the unit?

Answer: SSOP activities are very similar to NROTC. Naval Science Labs (MIL-LAB) are conducted once a week, early Wednesday mornings.  For each lab, the unit may be inspected and drilled. Physical training is conducted once or twice each week. Classes in naval science will be taught.  The unit may also conduct community service events.  Midshipmen now have the opportunity to take part in the Ready Reserve Fleet, based off in the SF Bay Area.  Midshipmen can receive more sea time, a small pay, make new contacts, and learn more about Ready Reserve Fleet industry.


Question: What are the extra courses I would need to complete to be eligible to receive a reserve commission in the SSOP?

Answer: You would have to complete 4 courses prior to graduation: NSC-100 (Naval Science for the Merchant Mariner Officer), NSC-200 (Naval Science for the Merchant Marine Reservist I), NSC-400 (Leadership and Ethics), and NSC-450 (Advance Midshipman Naval Training (required every semester)). 


Question: You said I had to meet all the physical qualifications before I am offered an official acceptance to the program. What all does that include?

Answer: The physical requirements are 3 fold. First, there is a Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) and Coast Guard medical physical that needs to be completed with an approved doctor. This should be completed as soon as you receive your Cal Maritime acceptance letter.  (you do not have to commit to SSOP to complete this requirement). Next, you must meet height and weight standards. Finally, there is a physical fitness assessment that needs to be completed on campus under supervision of the active duty staff, after you have been accepted to Cal Maritime. The test consists of sit-ups (maximum performed in two minutes), push-ups (maximum performed in two minutes), and then a timed 1.5 mile run. You must achieve a "good" or better in each area to qualify. The standards can be found at You do not have to be committed to the program to complete these requirements.


Question: How can I get started? 

Answer: Contact Ms. Antonia Vasquez at 707-654-1266 or via email at  Or feel free to stop by the naval science department on campus at any time to speak with Ms. Vasquez or one of the lieutenants, they are more than happy to sit down with with you and answer any further questions.