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Graduate Education

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

OSP

OSP

Besides the big national/international scholarships listed throughout this website, do schools offer financial aid packages to supplement the USNA funding requirement? 
  • Absolutely; most graduate programs (especially research-heavy programs) have the ability to offer money to outstanding graduate student candidates. With that being said, however, Midshipmen should NOT rely on these funds to reach the 50% funding requirement and should take full advantage of every scholarship application possible to increase their chances of successfully obtaining funds. The extra work pays off for those willing to do it! 
What are the major/program restrictions for the OSP? 
  • The biggest restriction Midshipmen have experienced in the past regarding majors under the Officer Scholarship Program is failing to find a program that fulfils a Navy Subspecialty Code per Naval Postgraduate School expectations. If your masters program/major does not fulfill a Navy Subspecialty Code, you will not be granted the ability to pursue that degree. For more information regarding Navy Subspecialty Codes, click here
Do I need to take the GRE?
  • While not all programs require the GRE, almost all domestic graduate programs do. When in doubt, check with the individual program(s) you are interested in on their website(s). 
Can I get a refund for the GRE?  How many Marine Corps Selects are allowed to participate in OSP?
  • The maximum number of Marine selectees allowed to participate in IGEP is no longer fixed at 5. To better support Marine Corps recruiting efforts, Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) will look at Total FY Rollover Pool (10% of total USNA Marines to be commissioned), and make case-by-case determinations regarding annual IGEP numbers. In other words, the number of OSP students cannot increase beyond 10% of total USNA Marines commissioned who delay TBS start date until the next fiscal year.  For instance, if USNA commissions 253 Marines in 2018, then no more than 25 (10% of 253) will be allowed to delay TBS start until FY19.  That number of 25 includes all graduate degree programs, injuries, late graduations, and officers on TAD.  Thus, the maximum allowable number for OSP may fluctuate from year to year, depending on projected number of delayed TBS starters. The same equation applies to VGEP as well.
Can Marine Ground selects participate in a 2-year graduate program under OSP?
  • For those selecting Marine Ground, while the 1-year graduate program is still highly recommended so that the officer can both establish maximum MOS credibility and meet the time requirement of 540 days in one's MOS for career designation, waivers for 2-year graduate programs will be entertained on a case-by-base basis.
Are Marine aviators able to participate in OSP?
  • OSP is no longer off the table for aspiring aviators.  Although participation in OSP is discouraged because of the longer delays causing career timing complications, case-by-case waivers will be entertained, especially for major scholarship winners (Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Mitchell, Schwarzman, Fulbright).  Note, however, that HQMC Manpower Accession and Retention Plan still holds that no officer with an aviation (SNA or SNFO) contract will be permitted to participate in OSP prior to completion of his or her first Fleet Marine Force tour.
Whom can I speak with if I have general questions about graduate programs?
  • CDR Flynn is the POC for OSP, CDR Gish is the POC for overall graduate education.  Both are resources.  But be aware that due to both the volume of students interested and the volume of information, neither one of them are going to take a meeting with you unless you have done your homework and have a specific question that has not been answered on this website or the pertinent OPNAVINSTs or USNAINSTs.  What do I need to do to apply for OSP?  Check the website.  What is the minimum GPA to be allowed to compete for one of the 20 USNA billets for grad school?  Check the USNAINST.  Do I need outside funding?  Do your reading.  If you have a question that has not been answered in any place on the website or in the instructions, we will meet with you and field it.  But if you ask a question that you should already know the answer to, don't expect the meeting to continue very long after that.
If I win a scholarship and they give me a deadline on my decision to accept it, but that deadline is before the USNA Graduate Education Committee decided to grant me one of the Grad Ed billets, what do I tell the scholarship?  Can I accept or not?
  • You can conditionally accept the scholarship.  This conditional acceptance means that you accept the scholarship for your part, but that you have to wait on official approval from the United States Navy on whether they will allow you to participate in graduate study immediately upon commissioning.  This approval process starts in early spring, with the USNA Graduate Education Committee deciding which USNA midshipmen will be recommended for the limited number of billets for graduate education, and ends in March or April after the Navy Graduate Education Branch approves each midshipman's request to accept the scholarship.  Navy approval depends each year of many factors, force strength requirements and student performance being some of the most important.  Not until that process has completed can you confirm that you will be given permission to accept a billet for immediate graduate study.
Am I required to have an approved Ed Plan by NPS before applying to the OSP?  This is difficult to do because many of the graduate school admissions decision have not yet been made by the OSP application due date of 31 JAN.
  • You aren't required to have it, but it is advisable.  Apply for the SSC for the program to which you expect to be admitted.  OSP applications with a pre-approved Ed Plan from NPS will be looked on more favorably than those without it.  Submit the Ed Plan for the SSC that the program you hope to get into will give you.
I have less than a "B" in either Conduct or Aptitude for 1/C or 2/c year.  How do I submit the waiver to the Commandant?
  • The appropriate USNAINST tells how to do this.  There is also a waiver template on the website.  This waiver process is designed to give your chain-of-command, from the Company Officer all the way to the Commandant, a chance to reconsider their former assessment, one that has, through the grade assigned, already determined that you have fallen short of the high standards of performance and conduct that we demand of those at the very top of the class chosen to represent the USNA and the US Navy in a civilian graduate program.  Expect the waiver to be disapproved unless you can demonstrate a special case or extenuating circumstances.
What happens after I get one of the 20 Navy OSP/ 5 MC slots?
  • You need to get working on out processing as soon as possible. 
    Things that need to be done:
    • Get an ethics briefing from the SJA.  Coordinate with the other OSP winners to get as many students per brief as possible.  If you are a major scholarship winner or high on the list for an internal scholarship you can coordinate this brief even before the OSP results come out because you have a high probability of getting one of the 20 spots.
    • Submit the "Request for Permission to Accept" the scholarship.  That form is linked on the website as well.
    • Expect that you will take your basket leave as "leave en route" to your next duty station.  Like the Bowman and other NPS programs, you will check out of USNA, take your basket leave as you travel, then report directly into your duty station (usually an embassy or a NROTC command at a university).  Note that this might pose some logistical problems for Rhodes and Marshall winners, who have a departure meeting in the fall in the US.  Let us know on a case-by-case basis if this is going to be a problem.  But, for the most, part, showing directly up at grad school streamlines the orders and travel process, and maximizes time at your new duty location.
    • Expect orders on the late side, in May, because these cases take special processing.  But the earlier that you get in your paperwork, the faster orders can be issued.
If I miss the 31 Jan deadline to apply for the OSP, can you make an exception because I am a smart, determined, and promising person, or for any other reason?
  • No.  Your missing a deadline is the first indication that you don't have the time-management ability required to be an effective officer or a suitable representative of the US Naval Academy. 
If I miss one of the required career impact briefs, two of which are offered in the spring of 2/C year, one of which is offered in the fall of 1/C year, can you make an exception for me to apply to the OSP?
  • No.  See the answer to the question above.  If you can't manage your schedule well enough to ensure that you attend a mandatory brief, then we don't want to sponsor you to represent the school and service at a civilian graduate institution.

Can I accept summer research assistantships and internships (if offered by my program)?

  • The general guidance follows along with the specifics from OPNAVINST 1520.24D.
    • You are not allowed to accept paid positions; however, if the research is part of your degree program requirement, a scholarship that is paid directly to the institution for tuition and fees may be possible.
    • Officers who accept assistantships may not accept compensation for work performed which totals more than the cost of tuition, books and fees as listed in the university’s catalog. Assistantships may not interfere with a year-round full course load and completion of the approved EP in the shortest time possible.
    • Please review the graduate education ethics training and then reach out to a POC listed on the GradEd website for specific questions that cannot be answered by content available on this website. 
VGEP

VGEP


How do I pay for this immediate graduate education opportunity? 
  • As of 16 November 2017 VGEP students are authorized to apply for scholarships to help offset their tuition costs.
  • Scholarship and personal funds are going to be the primary ways to pay for VGEP. The past years of VGEP students have had outstanding success winning scholarships to VGEP-applicable schools.
  • The 9/11 GI Bill is NOT a financial assistance tool available to most Midshipmen (unless you are prior enlisted, in which case you might be able to use a portion of the GI Bill). 
  • Directed Energy Professional Society wants to fund someone doing work related to Directed Energy for the VGEP program, but that could be broad - atmospheric measurements and meteorology, material sciences, high power electronics - lots of things that students may not think of as being lasers / DE. For more information, please see their website here.
  • Be sure to ask for in-state rates for active military personnel, for these are significantly cheaper! 
Do you continue to live in Bancroft after graduation to finish your Master Program? 
  • No; once 25 MAY rolls around you will be able to live where you wish. 
Can Marine Corps selects participate in VGEP?
  • As of 18 December 2017, those selecting Marine Corps will be allowed to participate in VGEP, with the following conditions taken from the Commanding General's FY18 Selection Memorandum:
    1. The Marine select must still be able to participate in the 1/C practicum
    2. The number of VGEP students does not increase beyond 10% of total USNA Marines commissioned who delay TBS start date until the next fiscal year.  For instance, if USNA commissions 253 Marines in 2018, then no more than 25 (10% of 253) will be allowed to delay TBS start until FY19.  That number of 25 includes all graduate degree programs, injuries, late graduations, and officers on TAD.  Thus, the maximum allowable number for VGEP may fluctuate from year to year, depending on projected number of delayed TBS starters.
Are aviators able to participate in VGEP?
  • VGEP is no longer off the table for aspiring aviators.  Although participation in VGEP is discouraged because of the longer delays causing career timing complications, case-by-case waivers will be entertained, especially for major scholarship winners (Rhodes, Marshall, Gates, Mitchell, Schwarzman, Fulbright).  Note, however, that HQMC Manpower Accession and Retention Plan still holds that no officer with an aviation (SNA or SNFO) contract will be permitted to participate in VGEP prior to completion of his or her first Fleet Marine Force tour.

Can I accept summer research assistantships and internships (if offered by my program)?

  • The general guidance follows along with the specifics from OPNAVINST 1520.24D.
    • You are not allowed to accept paid positions; however, if the research is part of your degree program requirement, a scholarship that is paid directly to the institution for tuition and fees may be possible.
    • Officers who accept assistantships may not accept compensation for work performed which totals more than the cost of tuition, books and fees as listed in the university’s catalog. Assistantships may not interfere with a year-round full course load and completion of the approved EP in the shortest time possible.
    • Please review the graduate education ethics training and then reach out to a POC listed on the GradEd website for specific questions that cannot be answered by content available on this website. 
Shoemaker

Shoemaker

What majors at USNA will be able to complete this NPS program in the allotted time?
  • The first year of the Shoemaker Scholarship (USNA Class of 2018) included both Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering undergraduates. 
What can I do as a Midshipman to make myself more competitive for this opportunity?
  • First and foremost, make sure you not only fulfill but exceed all of the basic program requirements which can be found here
Do I have to be an aviation select Midshipman for this program? 
  • Yes; the Shoemaker Scholarship is for aviators ONLY.
Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous

Do Navy Medical Corps candidates have to go through the immediate graduate education process?
  • Candidates for the Navy Medical Corps DO NOT go through the immediate graduate education process. Those seeking information about Navy Medical Corps can find it under the Chemistry Department's guidance.

What are the service obligations for both Navy and Marine Corps selects respectively?
  • Both the Navy and Marine Corps service obligation for graduate education runs consecutively with their original service selection obligation.

  • For Marine Corps selects, obligated service "clocks" stop during the period of the selects' graduate education.

  • For more detail, review closely the governing instructions for each service.

  • *** Remember that TIMING MATTERS. ***  
    Do not assume that you will immediately start nuclear power school, flight school, TBS, etc. immediately upon finishing your degree requirements.  Plan ahead and identify the earliest dates for you to enter your training pipeline upon completion of graduate education.  Allow time for PCS movement.  YOU WANT TO GET INTO YOUR TRAINING PIPELINE ASAP.  Delay of even a few days just to walk the stage for graduation ceremonies can cost you MONTHS of waiting around with nothing more than a meaningless, non-competitive fitrep to show for it.  There are VGEP students who finish in December and do not start TBS until June.  You do not want to be in a similar situation if you can prevent it.

Can I accept summer research assistantships and internships (if offered by my program)?

  • The general guidance follows along with the specifics from OPNAVINST 1520.24D.
    • You are not allowed to accept paid positions; however, if the research is part of your degree program requirement, a scholarship that is paid directly to the institution for tuition and fees may be possible.
    • Officers who accept assistantships may not accept compensation for work performed which totals more than the cost of tuition, books and fees as listed in the university’s catalog. Assistantships may not interfere with a year-round full course load and completion of the approved EP in the shortest time possible.
    • Please review the graduate education ethics training and then reach out to a POC listed on the GradEd website for specific questions that cannot be answered by content available on this website. 
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