Navy Officer Candidate School – What to Expect & How to Apply

Officer Candidate School NavyThe U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS) is located at Naval Station Newport in Rhode Island. The 12-week course prepares potential commissioned officers of the Navy to assume the responsibilities of an officer upon graduation. Attendance of an OCS is limited to civilians who have a four-year college degree, enlisted service members with at least 90 hours of college credit who are transitioning into officer roles, and Direct Commission Officers.

Navy OCS – The Basics

Navy OCS is a 12-week course that develops future Navy officers through an intense program based on academics, physical training, and personal and professional development. Mental training involves memorization of military knowledge, academic courses, and military inspections. Overall, instruction includes Naval history, engineering and weapons, damage control, Naval orientation and warfare, leadership, seamanship, navigation, and military law – in addition to physical training and rifle drill. Physical training (PT) begins immediately upon arrival.

Generally, three members of the staff at the Officer Training Command Newport are specifically assigned to each class. These staff members include a class officer (commissioned officer), a class chief petty officer (non-commissioned officer), and a class drill instructor (enlisted Marine Corps drill instructor).

Upon completion of Navy OCS, graduates are commissioned at pay grade O-1 (Ensign) unless prior-enlisted already holding a higher pay grade. The Navy graduates and commissions approximately 1,200 Ensigns annually through OCS.

Navy OCS Phases

The 12-week course is divided into three distinct phases: Phase 1, Indoctrination Candidate; Phase 2, Officer Candidate; and Phase 3, Candidate Officer.

Phase 1, Indoctrination Candidate: 3 Weeks

The focus of this phase is to introduce candidates to the profession of arms by instilling discipline, military bearing, attention to detail, and building unit cohesion. The first week of the Indoctrination Phase is Admin Week, where candidates are fitted for uniforms, provided basic course requirements and guidelines, and introduced to PT. Weeks two and three of this phase are dedicated to instructing candidates on drills and instilling military bearing with an emphasis on PT. As the name of the phase implies, candidates are referred to as Indoctrination Candidates until advancing to phase two.

Phase 2, Officer Candidate: 5 Weeks

This phase focuses on academics in support of meeting the professional core competencies required for graduation. Candidates will learn leadership as it pertains to ethics and management, engineering and weapons, Naval history, Naval orientation and warfare, navigation, and Naval operations and seamanship. Candidates will also compete for individual and company awards and class standing. At the end of this phase, candidates are selected by the class officer for billet assignments based on their class standing. Candidates are referred to as Officer Candidates until advancing on to phase three.

Phase 3, Candidate Officer: 4 Weeks

In the final weeks of OCS, candidates are referred to as Candidate Officers. The focus of this phase is for the candidates to apply the leadership attributes learned in phases one and two through daily administration of the Navy OCS regiment.

How to Apply to Navy OCS

 Navy OCS applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited university and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Applicants should be between 17-34 years old and able to pass a background check satisfactorily. OCS applications are handled through the Navy Recruiting Command. To apply, contact your nearest Navy Recruiter or send them an email referencing Officer Accession Programs.

Enlisted personnel applying to OCS should reference OPNAVINST 1420.1 (series), Promotion, Special Selection, Selective Early Retirement, and Selective Early Removal Boards for Commissioned Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps. Officer Candidate School-specific information is located in Chapter 7. Additional questions should be directed to your command career counselor.

For more information on Navy Officer Candidate School, visit Officer Training Command.