U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary University Program (AUP)

The Coast Guard Auxiliary University Program (AUP) is designed to provide a continuous resource of well-trained officer candidates who will excel in the United States Coast Guard or a similar service agency, without the commitment of an ROTC. This program pairs with your academics and VMI lifestyle to create a challenging and rewarding experience not found anywhere else.

What to Know:

Even though this program at VMI was built from the ground up in approximately one year, it is the largest AUP in the country; beating all other Senior Military Colleges and Maritime Schools in size, training, and leadership opportunities.

There is no service obligation unless selected for a commission. The AUP will afford you training and talking points that will prepare you for your applications submitted in your senior year at VMI. Then, the program you’re selected for determines your service obligation after graduation.

A billet in the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) could be in any of 30 specialties, spread across various career fields that translate directly into the private sector: Global Operations Afloat, Shore Response, Shore Prevention, Living Marine Resources Enforcement, Aviation, Cyber, Intelligence, Information Technology Management, Operations Research and Data Analytics, Naval Engineering, Civil Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Financial Management, Defense Operations, International Operations

The AUP gives VMI cadets access to special programs and benefits including:

  • an increased likelihood of being selected for a commission in the USCG upon graduation;
  • the ability to train with and shadow Active-Duty personnel during multi-day training operations held several times a year;
  • opportunities to train with Auxiliary staff and Active-Duty Personnel while on Furlough;
  • and the ability to obtain real-world certifications through local Auxiliary units.

U.S. Coast Guard vessels at sea

The AUP provides our cadets with an academic and practical curriculum that will effectively build their resumé. Since VMI is a senior military school, the USCG offers cadets a few different pathways: direct commissioning, the traditional officer candidate school, or enlistment with a four year degree.


Learn more about this program at VMI in the latest news coverage:


VMI graduates toss their gloves in a tradition that concludes the commencement ceremony and their time in the Corps of Cadets at the military college.

Joyous Moments at December Commissioning and Graduation

The shortest day of the year was a great day of celebration, joy, and pride at Virginia Military Institute, as families and friends gathered in Memorial Hall surrounded by holiday greenery, to witness 35 cadets cross the stage to receive their diplomas during the commencement ceremony Dec. 21.

Four cadets who received direct commissions into the U.S. Coast Guard through VMI, a military college, pose in front of barracks.

VMI Makes History with the U.S. Coast Guard: Cadets Receive Direct Commissions

For the first time in history, Virginia Military Institute cadets have received active-duty direct commissions to the USCG by way of the Auxiliary University Programs, and will take their oath of office and receive their first salute at the Joint Commissioning Ceremony in May.

VMI: Forging 21st Century Leaders