Students at the Naval Academy have many opportunities to challenge and advance themselves through several special programs and resources.
- Academy-Wide Seminars, Research Projects and Interdisciplinary Courses
- Naval Academy International Program Office
Every department offers research project and other special courses, usually in the first class year year, available to most students. This is consistent with the Naval Academy’s emphasis on project-based learning and “learning by doing.” The high concentration of defense-related laboratories near Annapolis increases opportunities for midshipmen to become engaged in research relevant to the Naval Service. In every semester, midshipmen can find a wealth of special seminars with prominent invited speakers on subject matter as varied as engineering systems under developed for the Navy and Marine Corps or regional politics in Africa or comparative culture. The proximity of the Academy to two major cities, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. provides a vast array of educational opportunities to supplement classroom learning. Faculty from two or more disciplines at the Naval Academy find common areas of interest and do joint scholarly work or teach courses that are interdisciplinary and engage midshipmen from different majors.
Academic departments may offer seminars and individual research projects to upperclassmen on the following basis:
- Seminars and Special Topics:
- XX 481 and XX 482 1-0-1
- XX 485 and XX 486 3-0-3 Advanced topics
- Research projects:
See also Academic Research: Public | Intranet
A creative project in the student's field of interest. A faculty adviser must approve and monitor each project. Prerequisite: described in the Academic Dean and Provost Instruction 1531.79.
- XX 491 and XX 492 0-2-1
- XX 493 and XX 494 0-4-2
- XX 495 and XX 496 0-6-3 Note: XX represents the departmental designator.
- Additional opportunities such as the Trident and Bowman Scholar Programs are described in the Special Programs Section.
Developing foreign language and regional knowledge skill sets is the third core competency the Naval Academy seeks to instill in its graduates, along with ethical leadership and a strong technical foundation in science, mathematics, and engineering. The International Program Office (IPO) helps provide a focused approach to developing midshipman international awareness. The IPO is the principal point of contact, central coordinating office, and source of expert assistance for all international engagement. This includes foreign travel, visitor coordination, and student and faculty exchanges. The IPO focuses especially on developing midshipman opportunities that reinforce their capabilities in foreign languages and regional knowledge—particularly when these can be combined with Navy and Marine Corps theater security cooperation activities. Examples include semester study abroad at foreign military academies and civilian universities, summer education and cultural immersion opportunities, professional training aboard foreign navy vessels, sail training ships, and short-duration orientation visits. At least one quarter of each graduating class can expect to have a significant language or cultural awareness experience during their four years at the Academy.
The Nimitz Library includes a collection of more than 615,000 volumes of books and bound periodicals, plus government documents, microforms, audiovisuals, extensive holdings of manuscripts and archival materials in Special Collections and Archives, and a growing array of electronic resources. Special emphasis is on naval science and history. The Library's website (www.usna.edu/Library), including its web catalog and an extensive number of electronic journals, books and databases, is accessible via the Academy's network from the midshipmen's dorm rooms and faculty offices. Comfortable reading and study areas can accommodate more than 800 students. The Library also contains seminar and group-study rooms, as well as two electronic classrooms, and a coffee bar.
In close collaboration with other academic departments, Nimitz Library conducts a vigorous program of information literacy, educating students about how to obtain, use, and evaluate recorded knowledge as part of the research process.
Open to all midshipmen, the Writing Center exists to help those needing writing assistance. The Writing Center is staffed by English department faculty members, both civilian and military, who are experts in composition and in working with students to improve their writing skills.
The Math Lab is available to midshipmen to supplement meetings with their own instructors. Staffed with faculty members of the Mathematics Department, the Math Lab provides assistance in all core mathematics courses to midshipmen throughout the academic day. Prior appointments are not necessary.
All midshipmen have access to the Center of Academic Excellence (CAE), which offers academic advising services and learning skills classes. Students who encounter academic difficulty during plebe year are referred to the CAE; here they can receive special academic advising, academic effectiveness classes and tutoring. A series of learning skills classes, including topics such as time management, note taking, effective reading, test taking and how to cope with challenges, is offered to interested midshipmen several times a year. The CAE also coordinates the Plebe Advising Program; individual faculty members serve as the advisors for a company of plebes during both plebe summer and academic year.
A part of the CAE, the Midshipman Group Study Program (MGSP) provides an opportunity for midshipmen to study with others taking the same course, to compare notes, to discuss important concepts, and to develop strategies for studying. Groups are directed by midshipmen who have done well in the course and are trained in leading others. The program provides assistance in chemistry, calculus, physics, statics/dynamics and several other courses.
The Multimedia Support Center (MSC) is the Naval Academy's audio-visual service. Midshipmen and faculty use the services of MSC to enhance teaching and learning at the Academy. MSC's facilities include graphics arts and computer presentation assistance, video audio-visual equipment loans, video-teleconference support, classroom display system installation and maintenance, and video broadcasting.