About Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) is a health science university run by the U.S. federal government. The primary mission of the school is to prepare graduates for service to the U.S. at home and abroad in the medical corps.
The university consists of the F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine, a medical school, and the Graduate School of Nursing, a nursing school. The university's campus is located in Bethesda, Maryland. USU was established in 1972 under legislation sponsored by U.S. Representative Felix Edward Hébert of Louisiana. It graduated its first class in 1980.
Formerly known by the acronym USUHS, it has officially adopted the abbreviated acronym USU. The university currently has two mottos, "Learning to Care For Those In Harm's Way" and "Providing Good Medicine In Bad Places."
The university is a federal service postgraduate academy. It is similar to the military federal service academies for undergraduates, such as the United States Military Academy (West Point) in that students are members of the uniformed services of the United States and are provided a free education by the federal government in exchange for a service commitment after graduation.
Unlike the undergraduate service academies whose students hold cadet rank, equivalent in pay to sergeants, medical students enter the university as commissioned officers in the grade of O-1 in one of four uniformed services: United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air Force, and United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. No prior service is required for admission to USU. Entering students who already hold commissions at higher rank are required to accept administrative demotion to O-1; officers of the United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps must resign their extant commissions and accept commissions in as O-1s in one of the four authorized services. Students pay no tuition or fees and receive the full salary and benefits of a uniformed officer in the pay grade of O-1 throughout their four years at the university. In return, students have a seven-year active duty service and a six-year inactive ready reserve commitment following their internship and residency after graduation.
Students in the graduate programs are a mix of both civilians and uniformed officers of various ranks. They also pay no tuition or fees. Civilian students may receive stipends and uniformed graduate students continue to receive their active duty pay and benefits while attending school at USU. The Graduate School of Nursing students are all active duty uniformed nurses or nurses in federal civilian service. Neither pay tuition or fees at USU and both uniformed graduate students and nursing students maintain their rank and continue to receive their regular salaries while students at the university. USU is one of many federal service graduate and graduate-level professional schools; others include the Naval Postgraduate School which has several Master of Science and Ph.D. programs, the U.S. Army War College (master's degree), the Army's ABA-accredited Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School which awards Master of Laws degrees, the Air Force Institute of Technology, and the National Defense University (master's degrees).