Officer Candidates School

Located at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Officer Candidates School (OCS) is where Candidates are evaluated and screened to ensure they have the leadership ability, moral capacity and physical qualities needed to become Marine Officers. Candidates can either attend Platoon Leaders Class or the Officer Candidate Course.

Leading From The Front

Leadership is evaluated on your ability to motivate your peers, successfully complete assigned tasks and make sound decisions under pressure. Instructors constantly monitor each candidate and track individual progress. You will have opportunities to prove your leadership skills during problem-solving challenges such as the Leadership Reaction Course, and during increasingly difficult tactical exercises.

Demonstrating leadership potential is key to your success at Officer Candidates School. Instructors are looking for candidates who display self-reliance, discipline and responsibility. Your desire and motivation to lead Marines will be a deciding factor in your success.

The motto here at Officer Candidates School is Ductus Exemplo, which is Latin for "Lead by Example."

Capt Chad J. Althiser


At Officer Candidates School, you will take courses in military subjects that train you to begin thinking like an officer. You'll study topics such as land navigation, maneuver tactics and general orders, then apply what you've learned during tactical exercises. You'll also study Marine Corps history, traditions, operations and organization.

Both in the classroom and in field exercises, you'll be evaluated on your ability to recall important details and put them to use. These evaluations confirm you have gained the foundation of knowledge necessary to earn a commission and advance to The Basic School.

The things you learn in the classroom will actually come into play once you find yourself in the field.

Capt Nicholas Bukovac

Physical Training

The physical training program at Officer Candidates School is intense. Officers need the stamina and confidence to lead Marines in physically demanding situations, and that preparation begins here. You will complete endurance hikes of up to 12 miles in full combat gear, obstacle courses such as the elevated "Tarzan" course, and combat conditioning including a 3.5-mile combat simulation course.

At the beginning and end of training, you'll take a physical fitness test that includes a 3-mile run, pull-ups and crunches. You are expected to maintain a high fitness level for as long as you are a candidate, and throughout your career. To achieve this, candidates train with their Officer Selection Officers before and after Officer Candidates School.

You need to first of all be physically prepared. Second of all, you need to understand it's going to challenge you.

Capt Zeb Beasley