Founded in 1845 by Secretary of the Navy, George Bancroft, the Academy started as the Naval School on 10 acres of old Fort Severn in Annapolis. Since then, the history of the Naval Academy has reflected the history of the United States. As our country has changed culturally and technologically, so has the Naval Academy. In only a few decades, the Navy has moved from a fleet of sail and steam-powered ships to a high-tech fleet with nuclear-powered submarines and surface ships and supersonic aircraft. The Academy has changed, too, giving midshipmen the up-to-date academic and professional training they need to be effective naval officers in their assignments after graduation.
Every day, as the undergraduate college of the naval service, the United States Naval Academy strives to accomplish its mission to develop midshipmen “morally, mentally, and physically.”
Moral development is a fundamental element of all aspects of the Naval Academy experience. As future officers in the Navy or Marine Corps, midshipmen will soon be responsible for the priceless lives of young Sailors and Marines and multi-million dollar equipment. From Plebe Summer through graduation, the Naval Academy's program is a four-year integrated continuum that focuses on the attributes of integrity, honor, and mutual respect. This program helps midshipmen develop a clearer sense of their own moral beliefs and the ability to articulate them. Honor is emphasized through the Honor Concept of the Brigade of Midshipmen-a system originally formulated in 1951 which states, “Midshipmen are persons of integrity: they stand for that which is right.” These Naval Academy “words to live by” are based on respect for human dignity, respect for honesty and respect for the property of others. A Brigade Honor Committee, composed of upper-class midshipmen, is responsible for education and training in the Honor Concept. Midshipmen found in violation of the Honor Concept by their peers may be separated from the Naval Academy.
Academic and Professional Education
Every midshipman's academic program begins with a core curriculum that includes courses in engineering, science, mathematics, humanities and social science. The goal is a broad based education to qualify you for practically any career field in the Navy or Marine Corps. At the same time, our majors program gives you the opportunity to develop a particular area of academic interest. For especially capable and highly motivated students, we offer challenging honors programs and opportunities to start work on postgraduate degrees while still at the Academy.
The Academy also provides professional and leadership training. We don't just tell you about life in the Navy and Marine Corps, you live it. After four years at the Naval Academy, the life and customs of the naval service become second nature. First, you learn to take orders from practically everyone, but before long, you acquire the responsibility for making decisions that can affect hundreds of other midshipmen. Your professional classroom studies are backed by many hours of practical experience in small unit leadership on land and on the water.
The duties of Navy and Marine Corps officers often require long, strenuous hours in difficult situations. The Naval Academy therefore teaches the importance of being physically fit and prepared for stressful situations. The physical requirements of Plebe Summer training, four years of physical education and year-round athletics also develop pride, teamwork and leadership.