United States Air Force Academy

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Cadets salute for the national anthem played during the U.S. Air Force Academy Class of 2020 graduation ceremony

Learn about the U.S. Air Force Academy curriculum, including what’s required of cadets before graduation, the grading system, declaring a major, and accreditation.


To graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Force or Space Force, a cadet must complete the following curriculum requirements:

  • Core curriculum and an academic major Must maintain a minimum of 2.00 cumulative grade point average – 2.00 GPA in the academic core and 2.00 GPA in major-specific coursework.
  • At least 8 semesters in residence and 131 semester hours of course work A semester spent in an Academy-sponsored exchange program counts as a semester in residence.
  • Professional military education and leadership laboratory experience Must maintain a minimum 2.0 MPA .
  • Physical Education requirements 5 semester hours of physical education courses; required participation in
    intramurals, club or intercollegiate athletics; proficiency in physical fitness test and aerobic fitness test and minimum 2.0 PEA .
  • Four CCLD programs:
    1. Fourth Class (Freshman) – Character & Leadership 101: Foundations of Honorable Living
      • VECTOR: Vital Effective Character Through Observation and Reflection, or Personalized coaching experience
    2. Third Class (Sophomore) – Character & Leadership 201: R&R (Respect and Responsibility)
    3. Second Class (Junior) – Character & Leadership 301: LIFT (Leaders in Flight Today)
    4. First Class (Senior) – Character & Leadership 401: ACES (Academy Character Enrichment Seminar)

For more information, review the Academic Core Curriculum and Outcomes and download the current Course of Instruction Handbook which documents:

  • Registration procedures
  • Grading policies
  • Academic probation
  • Graduation requirements
  • Course offerings
  • Special programs

The Academy grades on a 4.0 scale. In addition to letter grades, there are seven special grades that are not associated with any quality points and do not impact GPA calculations.

Grade Quality Points Special Grades
A 4.0 P (Passing)
A- 3.7 N (No Grade)
B+ 3.3 W (Withdrawn)
B 3.0 WP (Withdrawn Passing)
B- 2.7 WF (Withdrawn Failing)
C+ 2.3 IC (Incomplete Controllable)
C 2.0 IU (Incomplete Uncontrollable)
C- 1.7
D 1.0
F 0.0


Semester GPA Divide the total quality points by the total semester hours
Cumulative GPA Includes all grades earned at the Academy
Core GPA Includes grades for all core courses
Major GPA Includes grades for courses designated by Department Heads
MPA Military Performance Average
OPA Overall Performance Average. Determines graduation order of merit. OPA is the weighted combination of 60% GPA, 30% MPA and 10% PEA (Physical Education Average).

The Academy curriculum is extremely robust—in addition to the academic demands placed on a cadet, there are also many athletic, military training and other extracurricular activities that fill a cadet’s schedule. To help balance these demands, cadets are assigned an academic advisor upon entering the Academy. Advisors also help with:

  • Registration
  • Interpreting academic schedules
  • Referrals for personal issues
  • Setting up summer schedules
  • Mentoring
  • Guidance for academic deficiency

For cadets who have yet to declare a major, there are two advisors assigned to each squadron. You will receive a new advisor after declaring.


All cadets must declare a major by the registration deadline of their third semester (typically, October of their second-class/sophomore year).

Major’s Night provides cadets with an opportunity to learn about available majors and minors at the Academy. Cadets can also learn about self-improvement programs and services provided by the Academic Success Center. Major’s Night is typically offered early in the spring and fall semesters.


Headed by the Dean of Faculty, this group meets monthly to discuss academic issues of concern with the goal of dispelling rumors, resolving problems, improving processes, and more. Two-way communication is encouraged—if you have questions or suggestions, contact your squadron or group academic point of contact, who will forward issues to the Wing Academic Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO).

The meetings are attended by:

  • Dean of the Faculty
  • Registrar
  • Director of Academic Affairs
  • Academic Affairs Staff Officers
  • Cadets
    • Wing Academic NCO
    • Cadet Group Academic NCOs
    • Class Presidents
    • Wing Honor Chair and Deputy

This semester-long program promotes the exchange of professional, academic and social experiences between the following service academies:

  • United States Air Force Academy
  • United States Military Academy
  • United States Naval Academy
  • United States Coast Guard Academy

The spirit of camaraderie—gained through personal experiences—can greatly contribute to the understanding and good relations between the academies and the four services. Second and third-class cadets can participate during the fall and spring semesters. Interested cadets can apply through their Air Officer Commanding.

Learn about International Education Programs. 


The Academy’s Bachelor of Science degree is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. All graduates will have “Bachelor of Science” printed on their diploma.

The following majors are accredited by Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc:

  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Astronautical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Systems Engineering

The Computer Science and Cyber Science majors are accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc.

The Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Materials Science options within the Chemistry major are approved by the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society.

The management major is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Academy Academics

Keep Exploring the Academic Side of the Academy