Peter Preston, a Starfleet midshipman

Midshipman was a Starfleet designation for an officer cadet; a student at Starfleet Academy in training to become a commissioned officer. In 2285, the rank of midshipman was divided into at least two grades: midshipman and midshipman first class.

James T. Kirk was a midshipman at Starfleet Academy when he met his friend Lieutenant Benjamin Finney, an instructor at the time. (TOS: "Court Martial")

The term of "dunsel" was used by midshipmen at Starfleet Academy to describe a piece of equipment which served no useful purpose. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")

Midshipman First Class Peter Preston was an engineer's mate aboard the USS Enterprise during its Starfleet Academy training cruise in 2285. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

This chart shows only general equivalencies based on the ranks used by many governments on Earth, as well as the rest of the galaxy.


Background information

The Star Trek Encyclopedia describes this rank as equivalent to that of "warrant officer".

The rank of midshipman was only ever mentioned in Star Trek: The Original Series before again being seen in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where it was held by the majority of the training crew on board the USS Enterprise.

In ultimately excised dialogue from the final revised draft script of TOS: "The Conscience of the King", Kirk was referred to as having been a midshipman even shortly after leaving the Academy. One of the scripted references to Kirk having been a midshipman was even included in a deleted scene from "The Conscience of the King", which referred to him as having held the rank at the time of a massacre on Tarsus IV. ("Swept Up: Snippets from the Cutting Room Floor", Star Trek: The Original Series - The Roddenberry Vault special features)


Several non-canon reference manuals, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual, have attempted to explain the difference between midshipman and cadet with the common reasoning being that cadet is the standard training rank at Starfleet Academy with midshipman a rank held during advanced leadership studies or in a fifth year status. Regardless of the difference, later Star Trek series have never mentioned the rank of midshipman.

The existence of a further "Officer Candidate" rank, senior to midshipman, has been mentioned in a handful of Pocket Books publications, most often as a way to explain prior civilian doctors and scientists who join Starfleet as officers without having attended Starfleet Academy. The rank of Officer Candidate, however, has never been mentioned in a live action Star Trek production.

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