Beginning with the start of the fall 2024 semester, Cal Maritime will offer two distinct pathways, or academic experiences, for eligible students, like programs offered at several other state maritime academies. The two pathways will be a Corps of Cadets program and a traditional student path outside the Corps of Cadets. In line with federal regulations and several degree program accreditation requirements, students in select degree programs are required to be members of the Corps of Cadets. In such cases, the traditional student experience path will not be an option for those in some degree programs. 

In accordance with federal regulations, students under instruction or berthed aboard the training ship are members of Cal Maritime's Corps of Cadets. Based on curricular requirements, as approved by the accreditation body (ABET) for the School of Engineering, students in Facilities Engineering Technology and non-license track Mechanical Engineering degree programs are required to participate in the Corps of Cadets for a portion of their degree program but may choose to opt-in once these curricular requirements are complete. 



Students seeking to pursue a U.S. Coast Guard license must be a cadet in the Corps of Cadets. Students who pursue a USCG license will be qualified to work onboard commercial vessels once licensed. Additionally, there are certain academic programs at Cal Maritime that require membership in the Corps of Cadets for a portion of the degree program. 

In addition to following established rules and regulations and participating in all Corps of Cadets activities during the school year, cadets will also participate in Summer Sea Terms aboard the training ship. 



Students enrolled in degree programs which do not require them to be a member of the Corps of Cadets, yet who seek the lifestyle and leadership training that the Corps of Cadets offers, may choose to opt-in to the Corps of Cadets. Students who opt-in will be required to abide by cadet rules and regulations, including wearing a uniform and participating in all required Corps of Cadets activities. 

Rather than participate in the Summer Sea Term aboard the training ship, students not in the Corps of Cadets will participate in International Experience, internships, and co-ops as outlined in their degree program. 



Opt-In Corps of Cadets Program

Frequently Asked Questions

The Corps of Cadets is a student-led leadership and lifestyle program that prepares cadets for challenging and exciting careers in maritime, logistics, and associated fields. Participation in the Corps of Cadets has no affiliation with the U.S. military and incurs no military obligations.  

The Corps of Cadets focuses on professionalism, confidence, teamwork, hands-on learning, and self-discipline, as cadets learn to become future leaders. Corps of Cadets student leaders guide their classmates through areas including proper uniform and grooming standards, personal conduct, and formation to instill values of honor and integrity.   

The Corps of Cadets, as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations governing state maritime academy training, requires students pursuing an unlimited U.S. Coast Guard license to complete a structured learning experience. Based on the applied learning requirements, students in the Mechanical Engineering and Facilities Engineering Technology degrees are also required to be members of the Corps of Cadets as part of their degree program.  

Students enrolled in the following majors can opt-in to the Corps of Cadets program within certain restrictions. All undergraduate students who are eligible to opt-in are welcome to enroll in the Corps of Cadets prior to the start of each semester, provided they have at least 60 units remaining for their degree completion. 

  • International Business and Logistics 
  • Global Studies and Maritime Affairs/International Strategy and Security  
  • Oceanography 
  • Mechanical Engineering*  

*Non-license track Mechanical Engineering students are required to participate in the Corps of Cadets until the successful completion of CRU 150, which is typically completed during their first year.  

  • Facilities Engineering Technology*   

*Facilities Engineering Technology students are required to participate in the Corps of Cadets until the successful completion of CRU 150 and all plant operation courses (EPO 110, EPO 210, and EPO 310) which are typically completed in their junior year. 

  • Transfer students in the above majors (excluding Mechanical Engineering and Facilities Engineering Technology) are eligible to opt-in to the Corps of Cadets before the start of their second semester at Cal Maritime.    

Students enrolled in a non-license track major as of the spring 2024 semester will need to decide if they will be continuing in the Corps of Cadets in the fall of 2024 on or before June 1, 2024. An online selection form will be distributed to all current cadets within these majors.  

Eligible admitted students who will begin in the fall 2024 semester must decide whether they will participate in the Corps of Cadets on or before June 1, 2024, to allow for uniform orders to be placed. Admissions staff will consult with eligible new students to confirm their opt-in decision. 

Prior to the start of each semester, students may change their initial selection and decide to opt-in to the Corps of Cadets, if they have at least 60 units remaining for their degree completion.Students may only opt-in to the Corps of Cadets prior to the start of a semester. There is no option to join the Corps of Cadets once a semester has started. 

Yes, as there is no requirement for a student who is enrolled in an ROTC program to also be enrolled in the Corps of Cadets. Being in the Corps of Cadet would be complementary. 

No, there is no military obligation incurred by participating in the Corps of Cadets at Cal Maritime. Students interested in military service should refer to the ROTC programs offered by the military services.

Students who are not required by their degree program to be in the Corps of Cadets can end their participation in the Corps of Cadets at any time. However, should they decide to rejoin, all previous standings, including demerits, will apply. Students who have accumulated 75 demerits or more as a cadet will not be permitted to rejoin the Corps of Cadets. 

No. Refunds will not be issued for Sea Bags should a student decide to leave the Corps of Cadets. 

All students at Cal Maritime must abide by the Student Code of Conduct. Students in the Corps of Cadets must also adhere to the requirements of the Cadet Handbook and all Corps of Cadets rules and regulations. 

No, there is no difference in the residency requirement. All students, including cadets, are required to live on campus unless an approved exception applies. Please see the housing website for more information. 

No. Given the limited housing options on campus, there will be no distinction in residence hall accommodations based on a student’s path (Corp of Cadets or traditional student experience). 

Yes. Leadership is at the foundation of Cal Maritime. All students are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Edwards Leadership Development Program and other leadership programs and activities offered at Cal Maritime. 

Regardless of participation in the Corps of Cadets, all students have an opportunity to participate in a leadership role including with ASCMA, Residence Life, and the Student-Athlete Council.However, only cadets may hold leadership positions in the Corps of Cadets. 


  • Traditional Cal Maritime students will follow a dress code for classroom attire which includes a Cal Maritime polo shirt, Cal Maritime jacket, and Cal Maritime black fleece pull-over. Students may wear solid-colored, plain black, brown, khaki or tan slacks, pants or trousers from a manufacturer of the student’s choice.
    Please be aware that in labs and in some areas of the campus, students are required to wear appropriate safety attire and protective footwear.  
  • Members of the Corps of Cadets will adhere to the uniform and grooming standards, as outlined in the Cal Maritime Cadet Handbook 

The purpose of a dress code for our traditional university students is multifaceted. It is to:   

  • Create a sense of unity across the entire student body;  
  • Allow for a meaningful shared experience among all students enrolled at Cal Maritime;  
  • Maintain a common appearance that reflects the values, traditions and history of the institution;  
  • Uphold Cal Maritime learning standards of personal accountability and responsibility;  
  • Reduce opportunity for distractions in the learning environment where cadets and traditional students are learning together; and 
  • Uphold the Cal Maritime brand, standards, and reputation that industry and future employers value in and expect of Cal Maritime graduates.  

The Director of Cadet Leadership and Development oversees uniform & grooming standards for the Corps of Cadets.  

 The Dean of Students oversees the student dress code as part of the Student Conduct process.  

Students participating in water-based university athletic and academic activities or programs, including any activities aboard the training ship and small boats, must complete a swim assessment upon entering Cal Maritime. 

All cadets in the Corps of Cadets are required to participate in the drug testing program. Additionally, traditional students enrolled or participating in designated courses or activities that involve machinery, welding, or vessel operations must participate in the university’s drug testing program. Courses requiring participation in the drug testing program will be outlined within each degree program. 

During the 2023-24 academic year, students majoring in disciplines that do not include a USCG license were required by their major departments to fulfill a professional development requirement whereas in years past those students would also have had responsibilities for watch. In the coming academic year (2024-25), we will continue to ask academic departments to set interim professional development requirements for those majors not pursuing a license. Also during the coming year, faculty will develop firm curricular policy on what—if any—professional development requirement will be in place for the non-license majors going forward.

Updated April 26, 2024. Information is subject to change.