Officer Candidate School

Officer Candidate School

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Tia Dufour

4 min read

Despite what you may have heard, Marine Officer Candidates School (OCS) is not boot camp for officers.

The mission of Officer Candidates School is to train, evaluate, and screen officer candidates to ensure they have what it takes to lead Marines.

Candidates who show up to OCS are expected to be physically fit, knowledgeable, and of sound moral character. OCS exists to ensure you have the qualities expected of a Marine officer.

If you don't have what it takes, the Marine Corps will NOT hesitate to send you packing.

The Marine Corps spends a great deal of resources evaluating and training it's officers to ensure they are quality leaders.

OCS Training and Preparation

Officer Selection Officers (OSO) and NROTC units provide the training you need to be successful at Officer Candidates School. To supplement the invaluable guidance that comes from your units, these resources will further enable your ability to train and prepare.

General Information

Mission and Organization - The mission of OCS is to train, evaluate, and screen officer candidates to ensure that they possess the moral, intellectual, and physical qualities for commissioning and the leadership potential to serve successfully as company-grade officers in the Operating Forces.

History of Quantico - A historical overview of Quantico, VA. The heart of development and military education for the United States Marine Corps.

Training Phases - Learn the five distinct training phases that Marine Corps Officer Candidates School is divided into.

Candidate Billets - An overview of the responsibilities, assignment procedures, and tour of duty for billets at Marine Officer Candidates School.


Evaluation Process - The Marine OCS evaluation process provides a method and basis for screening officer candidates for commissioning.

Leadership Evaluation - Leadership is the most important aspect of Marine OCS. Candidates will be evaluated on their leadership ability from the second they check in to the last moments before graduation. The leadership evaluation category comprises of 50% of your grade at OCS. One must demonstrate the characteristics of a Marine leader to graduate from OCS.

Academic Evaluation - Everyone at Officer Candidates School is either attending college or has already graduated. It should come as no surprise that candidates are expected to maintain high academic standards. The passing grade for all examinations is 80%. Failed, or missed, exams must be made up on the weekend. The retake grade does not get factored into your academic evaluation score. The retakes are there to ensure candidates are able to pass all exams.

Physical Fitness Evaluation - As Marines, we thrive to possess the physical capabilities necessary to perform in austere environments. Candidates are placed under strenuous conditions to include hot and cold weather environments, sleep deprivation, and mental exhaustion.


Operations Order Skeleton - A template to help you write orders faster and get the format down.
Operations Order Shorthand - Some of the abbreviations are beyond the scope of OCS. Use this as a guide for developing your own shorthand.

Common Questions

How long is OCS?

The length of Officer Candidates School is dependent of the program you enter through.

PLC Juniors - first 6-week session is the summer between your sophomore and junior year of college (may vary)
PLC Seniors -second 6-week session is the summer before your senior year of college (may vary)
OCC - Single 10-week session after graduating college
NROTC Marine Option - Single 6-week session before your senior year of college (may extend to after you graduate)
MECEP - Single 10-week session before beginning college

Where do I need to be physically upon arriving at OCS?

Read the article Benchmarks And Workouts For TBS. A Good Reference For OCS Candidates As Well.