U.S. Navy ships in shipyard and cadets in uniform

U.S. Naval Reserve, Strategic Sealift Midshipmen Program

A rewarding and flexible career on the water! Combine the best attributes of a commercial sailing career with the opportunity to serve our country in times of Peace, War, and National Emergency as a Strategic Sealift Officer. Start at Great Lakes Maritime Academy here in Traverse City, where you will receive a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Maritime Technology and commission as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves. As a student you may receive $64,000 in Student Incentive Pay (SIP) to help pay for your degree. As a graduate you will have expanded access to employment opportunities across the globe. You can serve with the Navy as little as just 2 weeks per year, or as much as you desire. Choose your own work schedule as you lead an adventurous life as a top earner in a flexible, meaningful, and global environment.

NCIS Tips graphicWork and live when and where you want. In the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) you choose your assignments, there is no monthly drill and you do not have to live near a base.

Link to more information: Strategic Sealift Midshipmen Program

The SSMP is available to any cadet enrolled in the Deck or Engineering program at GLMA. Students apply after admission and begin their Naval Science training their freshman year. Students may apply after their first year, but SIP may not be available based on demand.

First, apply to GLMA:

Apply Now

Safe Helpline logoThen, contact the Naval Science Department:



Strategic Sealift Midshipmen (SSM) take two additional Naval Science courses, MNS 200 (Naval Science II) and MNS 250 (Leadership and Ethics). They wear prescribed Navy uniforms at the academy after their first-year sea project during all school functions and on main campus. Distinguish yourself from your classmates and earn NROTC ribbons to wear on your uniform.

Course Descriptions


Mariners Memorial photoWe have multiple opportunities to participate in the color guard such as the Mariners Memorial and the NMC commencement.

Senior Midshipmen (MIDN) lead the battalion in morning group physical training (PT) and marching drills.

The default path to commission in the SSMP is Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) in the Individual Ready Reserve, but MIDN may be eligible for an Active Duty commission if they are academically and physically competitive. Eligible MIDN may have an opportunity to spend part of their third-year sea project aboard a United States Navy Vessel. These additional assignments are voluntary.

Find out more about the Strategic Sealift Officer community.

“Being an SSO is like having a career in my back pocket. When I need work, it’s always here for me and there’s always something exciting to do.”

– LT Watrous, 7 Year SSO

Veterans Crisis Line graphicFinancial Assistance

The U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) presently awards a limited number of Student Incentive Payment (SIP) contracts each year. The balance is paid directly to cadets to defray educational costs in escalating amounts and equates to $64,000 (non-taxable) over the course of four years. To qualify for SIP, you must be physically and academically qualified. We encourage you to apply early for the Strategic Sealift Midshipman Program (SSMP) if you are interested in obtaining SIP funds. Students may alternatively participate in the SSMP without contracting for SIP and still receive a commission. Register your interest in SIP today!


An Active Duty Surface Warfare Officer is the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) and Professor of Naval Science. The majority of academic and military instruction is provided by the OIC.

We have a retired Chief Petty Officer as our Human Resources Assistant (HRA). SSMP admission, administrative, and commissioning processes are managed by the HRA.

Our Liaison Naval Officer (LNO) is a commissioned Strategic Sealift Officer (SSO) who holds a U.S. Coast Guard Unlimited License and is a graduate of one of the Maritime Academies. The LNO provides real-world context to our students with relevant and timely industry and military experience.

These officers bring a breadth of experience and knowledge to the academy and are the SSM’s primary resources while attending GLMA.

Department of Naval Science, Traverse City MI is an Echelon 4 Navy command which reports to Naval Service Training Command.

Contact the Naval Science Department at (231) 995-1219
Or email us:

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