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Peter Preston, a Starfleet midshipman

Midshipman is an old naval designation for a student in training to become a commissioned officer. It is equivalent to the designation of cadet.

Starfleet Edit

Attendees of Starfleet Academy during the 23rd century were referred to as midshipmen. By 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 Ben Finney, an instructor at the time. (TOS: "Court Martial")

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)

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

The rank of midshipman was briefly 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. By the timeframe of Star Trek: The Next Generation, cadet has apparently become the standard rank for officer trainees. The matter is also complicated by James Kirk making a statement in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier that he read of General Korrd's exploits when he was a cadet at the Academy, contradicting earlier references that Kirk was a midshipman.
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, 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.
This chart shows only general equivalencies based on the ranks used by many governments on Earth, as well as the rest of the galaxy.

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