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Academic Programs

A cadet asks a question during a Corps Lab presentation in Burruss Auditorium.
A cadet asks a question to a Corps Lab speaker during a presentation in Burruss Auditorium.

The Corps of Cadets’ mission is to develop Global Ethical Leaders prepared for tomorrow's challenges. This is done through a matrix of practical application, training, and education across the four years of the program. While the mixture of practical, training, and education my change over the four years, all three must be properly balanced and woven to achieve our objective as a Corps.

The Maj. Gen. W. Thomas Rice Center for Leader Development is the academic arm of the Corps of Cadets and supports the leader development program by administering seventeen accredited courses and a range of training support that spans the four-year cadet experience. The Rice Center also supports an atmosphere of academic excellence in the Corps through academic support programs and coordination with university support resources.

Corps Acadmic Offerings

Corps Academic Offerings are courses accredited through the Pamplin College of Business’s Management Department and offer a progressive course of instruction in the theoretical aspects of leadership. First-year cadets focus on followership and self-discipline, sophomores learn to lead immediate subordinates, juniors address unit level leadership, and seniors explore strategic level leadership.

All cadets must complete four semesters of Corps Academic Offerings, usually as first-year and sophomore cadets. Cadets seeking the Corps’ minor in leadership studies are required to take additional Corps courses, and all cadets are encouraged to take all eight courses.

Corps Lab

Corps Lab, required for all four years of the cadet experience, provides opportunities to train cadets for their roles and responsibilities as cadet leaders. This is accomplished through a range of activities which include Commandant presentations, Alumni Panels and the Cutchins Leadership Lecture Series, and Corps Training Time which is administered through the Regimental Training Officer with mentorship from the Commandant’s staff.

Citizen-Leader Track ProLab

ProLab is for cadets in the Citizen-Leader Track and prepares them for careers in business, industry, nonprofits, and government. These courses are required for all cadets in that track and are equivalent to the courses the Military-Leader Track cadets receive through their ROTC programs.

Leadership Training

Leadership training is provided both formally and informally throughout the four-year cadet experience. The Corps presents a 24/7 leadership laboratory that includes focused practical instruction prior to assuming the next higher level of leadership. This practical training, in conjunction with the academic, and experiential aspects of the Corps, prepares cadets to lead at ever increasing levels of responsibility within the Corps and upon graduation, entry level leadership positions in the military, government, or commercial sector.

Corps Minor in Leadership Studies

Cadets have the opportunity to demonstrate a higher degree of engagement and leader development through their pursuit and completion of the Corps' academic minor in leadership studies which is accredited by the Pamplin College of Business's Management department.

Three men speak from a stage to an audience of cadets.
Three Corps alumni share their career experiences with cadets during a Gunfighter Panel.

Alumni Panels

Each semester, Corps alumni from all walks of life are invited to campus to address the regiment on their experiences during and after their time on campus. Their focus is on the lessons learned as a cadet and how those lessons have served them in their pursuit to be a global, ethical leader in their careers.

Cutchins Distinguished Lecture Series

Endowed by a generous alumnus and named for another distinguished alumnus, Clifford A. Cutchins III ’44 (’47), this speaker series brings to campus nationally known personalities who speak on the topics of leadership and ethics. Past speakers include: Gen. Colin Powell, Bob Schieffer, Stephen Ambrose, Gov. Tom Ridge, and Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Open to the public and usually held in Burruss Auditorium, these events are held three times per semester and are announced through the university news release process.

Virginia Tech Honors College

The Corps works closely with the Honors College to help cadets work toward honors diplomas, prestigious scholarships, and other certifications. Any cadet with a 3.6 or higher GPA is eligible to apply, and many Corps activities can be used to fulfill the requirements for the Honors College.