The Marine Corps Wants To Turn Some Of Its Officers Into PhDs

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Marines assigned to Officer Candidate School participate in the Montford Point challenge aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, May 19, 2016.
U.S. Marine Corps photo

The US Marine Corps wants to add another title in front of some of its officers' ranks: Doctor.


The service is establishing two pilot programs to offer qualified majors through lieutenant colonels with a doctorate-level education on the Corps' dime, as long as they agree to stay in the service for an additional six years.

The program's goal is to develop a "cohort of strategic thinkers and technical leaders capable of applying substantive knowledge, directing original research, and leveraging relationships with industry and elements of national security ... to achieve the innovative thinking desired by the Marine Corps," according to the Thursday announcement.

"Uniformed doctorates provide the Marine Corps deployable, highly-skilled manpower in support of senior leader decision-making as well as helping generate national, defense, and service strategies in an increasingly complex world."

The pilot will likely be competitive, since only four officers will ultimately be picked; two will be required to pursue a doctorate in strategic affairs, while two others will be required to attend a doctoral program with a technical focus.

Applicants will be required to already have a masters degree, or currently be pursuing one if they are applying for the technical doctorate.

The Corps wants officers to get technical degrees in operations research, modeling virtual environments and simulation (MOVES), information sciences, or computer science, the announcement says. Strategy degrees should be geared toward  national security, military history, public policy, political science, government, or some othe related field.

Applications are being accepted until the end of August 2017.

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