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Definition of Terms

The terminology listed below will be used frequently in this section on admission to the Academy. Candidates should familiarize themselves with these definitions:

Nominating Authority

A member of the U.S. Congress (House of Representatives or Senate). Each Representative and Senator may nominate 10 candidates to the Academy each year. The President and Vice President are not nominating authorities for the Academy. In addition, the Delegates to the U.S. House of Representatives from Guam, the Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and the Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico, may nominate 10 candidates annually.


A man or woman applying directly to a member of Congress for a nomination to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.


Submission by a nominating authority of an applicant's name as a nominee for consideration for appointment to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. An applicant must be a resident of the state or territory of the nominating authority. Students must submit part 1 to the Academy before their nomination can be processed.


A nominee whose name has been recorded as an official candidate and who has applied to the Academy.

Qualified Candidate

A candidate who meets the minimum requirements on the standardized entrance examinations and fulfills the other criteria for appointment.

Principal Candidate

A candidate who has been found scholastically qualified and who will be admitted to the Academy contingent upon the completion of prescribed medical, security and midshipman, USNR, MMR program requirements.

Alternate Candidate

A scholastically qualified candidate who replaces principal candidates who decline or fail to qualify for a final appointment, or do not meet the requirements of the midshipman, USNR, MMR program.


Term used to define the physical conditions requiring correction and/or compliance determined necessary by the U.S. Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DODMERB) in order to be medically qualified. (Example: Removal of impacted wisdom teeth.)

Updated: Thursday, October 15, 2015
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