Commissioning Programs

Officer candidates choose from one of several paths to earn their commission, the official authorization that appoints them as a Marine Corps Officer.
Whichever path they choose, officers always advance. Both on and off the battlefield, officers lead the way with a sense of purpose and pride. The path
to earning a commission begins with your Officer Selection Officer (OSO), your best source of information regarding your specific circumstances. Your
OSO will also help you decide which career path is right for you. Once you've completed training and earned your college degree, you'll receive
your commission as a Marine Corps Officer.

Education put to the test

As a college student and Marine-Option Midshipman in the NROTC Program, your journey to a successful future will also lead to a life of purpose and advancement Marine Corps Officers are known for. For the right few, the Marine Corps offers the opportunity to pursue this noble path while earning a degree on a college campus. In fact, as a Marine-Option Midshipman, the NROTC Program will only enhance college life. But this is not merely an education; it is a screening process to find the few who have what it takes to lead Marines.


No matter which participating NROTC college or university you choose to attend, the benefits of becoming a Marine-option Midshipman in the NROTC program are manifold. Here's what you can expect:

  • As a Marine-Option Midshipman, your initial responsibility will be to successfully manage the college course load required to earn your bachelor's degree at the educational institution of your choosing. Additionally, you must complete courses that cover naval science, ethics, management and the history of warfare.
  • You will spend the summer after your freshman year participating in a four-week "cruise," where you'll learn about the history, capabilities and missions of the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps. Three of the four weeks are primarily Navy-focused instruction (one week aboard a ship, one week learning about air warfare and one week learning about underwater warfare). The fourth week is Marine focused and takes place at Camp Lejeune, NC, for students enrolled east of the Mississippi River and Camp Pendleton, CA, for students enrolled west of the Mississippi.
  • During the summer after their sophomore year, Marine-Option Midshipmen are encouraged to participate in a summer cruise that emphasizes different aspects of Marine Corps life and training. Many Marine-Option Midshipmen go to the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, CA, where you will learn high-altitude and cold-weather movement and survival techniques.
  • During your third summer enrolled in the program, you will spend six weeks in Quantico, VA, attending Marine Officer Candidates School—the ultimate test of everything the NROTC program has prepared you for. Designed to screen and evaluate your leadership skills, academic abilities and physical fitness, OCS is the mental and physical proving grounds for those who seek to lead Marines.
  • After graduating college and successfully completing OCS and the NROTC program, you will earn a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.

Frederick C. Branch Scholarship

The Frederick C. Branch Scholarship is an additional NROTC scholarship opportunity open to students planning to attend a participating Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Frederick C. Branch was the first African-American Marine Corps Officer. In May 1943, while attending Temple University, Branch received a draft notice from the Army, but he was ultimately selected to be a Marine. He went on to complete Basic Training at Montford Point, NC, and was assigned to serve in the Pacific. His conduct earned him the recommendation of his commanding officer to attend Officer Candidates School. On November 10, 1945, Frederick C. Branch was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He went on to serve during the Korean War and attained the rank of captain before leaving the Marine Corps in 1955. In his honor, the Marine Corps offers four-year, three-year and two-year NROTC scholarships for students attending or planning to attend the following Historically Black Colleges and Universities:

  • Allen University
  • Clark Atlanta University
  • Dillard University
  • Florida A&M University
  • Hampton University
  • Howard University
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Morehouse College
  • Norfolk State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Savannah State University
  • Southern University
  • Spelman College
  • Tennessee State University
  • Texas Southern University
  • Tuskegee University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

If you are interested in applying for the Frederick C. Branch Scholarship, and are planning to attend one of the HBCUs listed above, request more information from your local Marine Recruiter or Officer Selection Officer (OSO).


If you are one of the few selected to participate in the program as a Marine-Option Midshipman, you must first meet certain NROTC requirements, including:

• You must be a United States citizen.
• You must be at least 17 years old and no older than 23.
• You must be physically qualified to meet Marine Corps standards.
• You must obtain a basic SAT combined score of 1000 or an ACT composite score of 22.
• You must apply to one of the approved NROTC colleges and universities, which include some of the top academic institutions in the nation.

General Pedro Del Valle Leadership Scholarship

General Pedro Del Valle's ability to lead transcended the racial barriers of the early 1900s, making this United States Marine Corps Officer the first Hispanic to earn the rank Lieutenant General. He was truly an inspiration to all Hispanics. In honor of his bravery and leadership, the Marine Corps offers 4-year, 3-year and 2-year NROTC scholarships for students attending or planning to attend the following three Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI):

  • California State University at San Marcos
  • University of New Mexico
  • San Diego State University

To be eligible for the scholarship you must:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Be at least 17 years of age by Sep. 1 of the year starting college
  • Be a high school graduate or possess a GED
  • Be physically qualified by Marine Corps standards
  • Have no criminal record of military or civilian offenses
  • Achieve a qualifying score on the SAT, ACT or a score of 74 or higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (ASVAB)
  • Gain admission into one of the three HSIs

We encourage you to apply for the NROTC Scholarship in General Del Valle's name. If you are interested, request more information from your local Marine Recruiter or Officer Selection Officer.


Though the NROTC scholarship covers many expenses, including tuition, books, fees, uniforms and living expenses, the benefits of selection into the program extend much further than educational funding and financial assistance. For those with both the desire and ability to begin a journey filled with honor, courage and commitment, becoming a Marine-Option Midshipman represents a unique opportunity to find direction, purpose and, most importantly, your place among the few as an Officer of Marines.

Request more detailed information from an Officer Selection Officer (OSO) about becoming a Marine Officer and college graduate through the NROTC Program. After you indicate your interest in the program by checking the NROTC box on the Request More Information form, you will be given a link to fill out the NROTC Scholarship application online.