An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


General Information
Family General information for Officer Candidates School

 Description of Officer Candidate Training

Ductus Exemplo - Leadership by Example

The mission of Officer Candidates School (OCS) is to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled and challenging environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral, mental, and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Corps officer.

Marines are forged in a furnace of shared hardship and tough training. This intense experience creates bonds of camaraderie, espirit de corps, and standards of conduct so strong that Marines will let nothing stand in the way of accomplishing their mission. Marine Corps officer candidates are trained and challenged not only physically and mentally, but morally as well. These three challenges, when combined, forge the bedrock of the character of a Marine officer.

 The Training Cycle

Officer Candidate Training is divided into five phases and is broken down by Training Week. Each phase builds upon the others, reinforces those skills and values necessary to become a Marine Officer, and provides goals for the candidates.

Phase I - In-Processing (Days 1-4) is the beginning, where the foundation and reinforcement of Core Values and ethics starts, and where candidates begin administrative and medical in-processing, receiving their gear and uniforms, take the Initial Physical Fitness Test (IPFT), learn basic military customs and courtesies, and are placed in their respective training company.

Phase II - Transition (Week 1-3). Combat Conditioning and learning about the Marine Corps in classes on General Military Subjects. Here your loved one will be indoctrinated into the Marine culture, Marine Corps leadership, and close order drill. This is the hardest three weeks your loved one has probably ever endured as they undergo a transition of "I" to "we."

Phase III - Adaptation (Week 4-5) begins the evaluation process, with an increased responsibility on billet holders and an emphasis on leading one's peers. Candidates receive additional training in land navigation and basic tactical training.

Phase IV - Decision Making and Execution (Week 6-9). Candidates are evaluated on four major leadership events, demonstrating leadership traits and principles while exhibiting knowledge of tactics instruction in a field environment. This includes the culminating leadership events such as the Small Unit Leadership Evaluation.

Phase V - Out Processing (Week 10). Candidates feel the transition from officer candidate to Basic Marine Officer during the final week leading up to graduation and commissioning.

Core Values

Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These are the Marine Corps' Core Values. Combined with training on ethics and leadership traits, they are incorporated into every aspect of training, resulting in Marine officers who are committed to our core values in service to their country. These values make up the bedrock of a Marine's character. During training, candidates learn to embrace these values as a standard of conduct, and develop leadership traits like integrity, discipline, teamwork, duty, and esprit de corps. Platoon staff members also conduct guided discussions with candidates after training events to reinforce these values.

Training Events

Combat Conditioning - builds a strong foundation for future Marine officers by increasing core and upper body strength, developing proficiency navigating various obstacles, and hiking long distances under load.

Close Order Dirll - the basic way in which platoons march and move from place to place and one way that candidates learn discipline and teamwork. At first, candidates practice staying "in step" with the rest of the platoon and Sergeant Instructor cadence. However, as training continues, the platoon becomes a well-oiled machine performing synchronized, complex drill movements.

Academic Classes and Discussions - Candidates are challenged academically through guided discussions and a multitude of lectures on Marine Corps history, policy, regulations, and customs and courtesies. Candidates must pass exams regarding the information they are taught.

Leadership Reaction Course - an evolution designed to see how a candidate can perform as a fire team leader (four person team). During this evolution, the candidate will be given a problem that they have to negotiate with time restraints and limited equipment.

Team Assault Course - an evolution designed to give the individual candidates the skills needed to work as a small unit to be able to negotiate different types of obstacles. During this evolution, candidates will also be put under a controlled amount of stress to be able to further evaluate their leadership skills.

Small Unit Leadership Evaluation (SULE) - the culminating leadership evaluation event at Officer Candidates School. It is designed to evaluate a candidate's mental, moral, physical, and leadership development. For many, SULE II will be the first time a candidate has reached the limits of their mental, physical, and emotional endurance; SULE II will demonstrate that they are capable of much more than they previously believed.

Candidates undergo a variety of evaluations to screen their abilities to become Marine officers. Candidates are evaluated daily by their Sergeant Instructors for their performance and how well they are developing an understanding and personal ownership of core values, ethics, and leadership. These evaluations include the aforementioned training events.

Family Day and Graduation

* Due to COVID-19 mitigation measures these events may be drastically altered for the summer cycle (May-August). Please see our official Facebook page for more information <USMCOCS> *

Family Day and Graduation take place on the last two days of training. Family Day gives candidates' loved ones the opportunity to hear about Officer Candidates School.

Driving Directions

Officer Candidates School is located on Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico. MCB Quantico is located in Northern Virginia, near Prince William County. It is accessible from Interstate 95 or Highway 1. MCB Quantico is south of Washington D.C. and north of Fredericksburg, Virginia. There are exits on both the north and southbound lanes of I-95 that will provide access to a Quantico gate.

Traveling Southbound on I-95: Take Exit 150A, "Triangle/Quantico," and turn right from the exit to proceed to Marine Corps Base, Quantico Main Gate. Follow Fuller Rd and veer right onto Barnett Ave. Follow Barnett Ave to the traffic signal and turn left onto Range Rd. Range Rd merges left over a bridge onto Bauer Rd, passing the Marine Corps Air Field, HMX-1. Turn right over the railroad tracks onto Flemming Rd to enter Brown Field.

Traveling Northbound on I-95: Take Exit 148A, "Marine Corps Base Quantico." Merge right from the exit. Proceed to MCB Quantico Gate Zulu-4. Follow Russell Rd to Dunlap Circle, and stay right passing the Crossroads Inn. Keep right to a stop sign, and turn Right onto Range Rd. Range Rd merges left over a bridge onto Bauer Rd, passing the Marine Corps Air Field, HMX-1. Turn right over the railroad tracks onto Flemming  Rd to enter Brown Field.

Airports: The nearest major airport to Officer Candidates School is the Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA). The next closest airport is the Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). Transportation from these airports is not provided; both airports have multiple rental car agencies.

 Emergency Notification to Candidates in Training 

If a message is required to notify a candidate of an emergency situation at any time during officer candidate training, please contact your local America Red Cross to have an official message sent to Officer Candidates School, MCB Quantico, Virginia. In order to process the message quickly, please provide the candidate's name, social security number, company, and platoon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     EGA  Training and Education Command Logo