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Marine Corps College Education Programs

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Marine Corps Education Programs

Serving in the US Marine Corps can be an excellent career choice. Within the Marine Corps, there are many opportunities to further your career, both while serving in the military, and once you move on to your after military career. Below we’ll explore Marine Corps education programs.

Marine Corps University

  • The Marine Corps University is a group of accredited high-education schools at the Marine Corps base, Quantico in Virginia.
  • The University was founded in 1989, however the schools have been around for even longer.
  • The University is the primary source of professional military education for marines worldwide and has both resistant and nonresistant programs.
  • Graduates are prepared to perform with increased effectiveness in service, joint inter-agency, inter-governmental, and multinational environments at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war, across the range of military operations.
  • The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award master’s degrees. You can receive the following degrees:
    • Master of Strategic Studies (Marine Corps War College)
    • Master of Operational Studies (School of Advanced Warfighting)
    • Master of Military Studies (Marine Corps Command and Staff College)
  • The Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the Marine Corps War College are also accredited by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff through the Process for Accreditation of Joint Education. Both of the programs meet the requirements for the Joint Professional Military Education phases 1 and 2.
  • There are nine professional military education programs (PME)
    • Marine Corps War College (MCWAR)
    • School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW)
    • Command and Staff College (CSC)
    • Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS)
    • College of Distance Education and Training (CDET)
    • Foreign Professional Military Education (FPME)
    • Strategy and Policy Course (SPC)
    • Commandant’s Professional Reading List (CPRL)
    • The College of Enlisted Military Education.

Voluntary Education Program

The Marine Corps Voluntary Education Program (VOLED) provides educational services and programs that offer the Marine Corps community the opportunity to be able to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in traditional settings, as well as online ones through a network of regionally accredited colleges and universities.

The Voluntary Education Program can help you with quite a few services:

  • CLEP testing whose results can be accepted by colleges and university for college credit.
  • DANTES, which provides nationally recognized examination and certification programs, consolidated management of contracts, and programs to prevent duplication of effort among the services.
  • There are Education Service Officers that are available to provide information about educational programs as well as high quality individualized academic advisement.
  • You can use your Joint Service Transcript to figure out what credits you have already and what programs and classes you are qualified to take.
  • They can provide information on the American Council on Education college credit recommendations, the Montgomery GI Bill as well as the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and the United States Military Apprenticeship Program that will document skills acquired while on active duty.
  • USMC Tuition Assistance, which offers training, experience, as well as opportunities that marines need to help achieve personal and professional goals.
  • You will need to contact your Installation Education Service Officer to get started.

United States Naval Academy

  • The United States Naval Academy is the undergraduate college of the United States naval service. The goal is to prepare young men and women to become professional officers in the US Navy and the Marine Corps.
  • Students are considered midshipmen on active duty in the US Navy. However, after attending for four years and graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science, they will be able to commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program (MECEP)

  • The Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program helps provide outstanding enlisted marines with the opportunity to become marine corps officers.
  • This program is open to all active duty marines as well as marines in the active reserve program who meet the eligibility requirements.
  • The program offers qualified marines the chance to be able to go to a four-year college full time while also maintaining active duty status as well as pay.
  • Selection is based on the service member’s potential for commissioned service. This is evaluated from their service record, previous academic record, evidence of their career, and academic self-improvement.
  • Marines that are selected for the program will attend a 10-week OCS course, and once they are finished, they will attend a college or university offering a NROTC program.
  • If they complete their Baccalaureate degree as well as MECEP requirements, they will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants.
  • There will be three selection boards per fiscal year.

Marine Corps Tuition Assistance 

In order to get started with USMC Tuition Assistance, you will need to contact your Marine Corps Voluntary Education Center to receive educational counseling and to determine which courses and classes you will request for TA funding.

In addition, you will need to address the following:

  • Complete a TA application in WebTA and make sure about the amounts for tuition. Fees for classes cannot be paid using TA funds.
  • Start your application 60 days in advance of the term start date and can apply on any computer.

Every TA application must be command approved prior to be forwarded to the Voluntary Education Center.

Here are the requirements for command approval:

  • Have served on active duty or in the Marine Corps Reserve for 24 months.
  • Need to serve on active duty through the last day of the course.
  • Passed the most recent Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) or received a waiver for it.
  • If applicable, you will have needed to have been recommended for a promotion.
  • Completed the MCI Personal Financial Management Course.
  • If you are enlisted, you will need to have an EAS date at least 60 days beyond the completion date of the requested class.
  • If you are a part of the Reserve component as an officer on active duty orders, you will need to have a EAS date which is at least two years beyond the completion date of the requested class.
  • Cannot have received a NJP within six months.
  • Can’t be assigned to MOS school or residential or nonresidential PME
  • Cannot be pending an administrative separation.

Please remember that command approval is not automatic.


Please note that the US Marine Corps does not have a separate ROTC program. However, if you are interested, you can choose the Marine Option within the Naval ROTC program. To qualify for this program, you need to be:

  • A US citizen
  • At least 17 years old and no older than 23.
  • Physically qualified to meet the Marine Corps standards.
  • Basic SAT combined score of 1000 or a 22 composite score on the ACT.

You can use CollegeRecon’s School Finder tool to find schools with ROTC programs.  Go here to find over 1,100 schools offering ROTC programs.  Feel free to further refine your search as needed.

Marine Corps COOL

In addition to the traditional services, Marines should also use the Marine Corp Credentialing Opportunities On-Line (COOL) to obtain credentials for training and education they already have.

The COOL program is a DoD-wide program that allows service members the opportunity to obtain licenses and certifications for which they’re qualified. Additionally, COOL provides a ton of information regarding education, careers, military-civilian transition, and veteran resources.

One overlooked fact about the COOL program is that the funding is unlimited for qualified certifications related to formal training based on one’s Military Occupational Specialty (MOS).

This program is covered in MARADMIN 583/15.

DoD SkillBridge

The SkillBridge program allows transitioning Marines within 180 days of separation to attend apprenticeships and internships to obtain industry-specific training. These opportunities can lead to post-transition employment in critical job fields.

Participating Marines report to their SkillBridge training partners as their place of duty for the duration of the training. This ensures that service members can focus more on their transition without unnecessary distraction.

This program is covered in MARADMIN 350/18.

United Services Military Apprenticeship Program

The United Services Military Apprenticeship Program (USMAP) is a program that documents military job skills and experiences through the Department of Labor’s registered apprenticeship program.

Participants can get a DOL Certificate of Completion of Apprenticeship which gives transitioning service members a unique advantage when hunting for civilian employment.

Leadership Scholar Program

One of the most unique education programs I’ve come across is the Marine Corps’ Leadership Scholar Program (LSP), which helps stellar, junior enlisted Marines get into selective and prestigious universities.

The LSP is a post-transition program, but it provides counseling and assistance with the university application process. Whether it’s interview help or assistance with the entrance essay, the LSP is a game-changer for transitioning Marines.

To do all this, the Leadership Scholar Program partners with some heavy hitters in the academic and veteran community. A few of them are:

For Marines looking for more information about the LSP, contact the Education Service Officer at your installation to receive support.

Serving in the US Marine Corps is a good career goal. Whether you are already serving and want to work towards other career goals or want to start your journey with the Marines, there are some options for you. Make sure to take a look at what is available and find something that will help you with your current or future career.