Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS)
Regular Army: Active Duty
Benefit Fact Sheet
Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) facilitates the professional development of Regular Army Officers by providing them the opportunity to participate in a fully funded graduate degree program. The Advanced Civil Schooling fully funded graduate program provides Army officers the best academic education in the timeliest and most cost effective manner so that they may advance their careers into positions that require graduate degrees and better meet the needs of the Army.
Active Duty Officers in a Regular Army or Voluntary Indefinite Status at the time of application and selection into the program are eligible if they also meet additional selection criteria.
Many officer positions require graduate degrees as a prerequisite for assignment. The Advanced Civil Schooling program is designed to ensure that officers meet the educational requirements for placement into these positions. The Advanced Civil Schooling program educates selected officers through recommended civilian universities on a full-time, fully funded basis in their basic branch, functional area, or specialty. The goal of the program is to provide Army officers the best academic education in the timeliest and most cost effective manner.
Active duty Officers must meet the following eligibility requirements for Advanced Civil Schooling:
- Officer in a Regular Army or Voluntary Indefinite status at time of application and selection
- Not more than a total of 17 years Active Federal Service upon entry into Advanced Civil Schooling Program [Warrant officers have different Advanced Civil Schooling criteria (See AR 621-1, para 3-2)]
- Service Waiver can be requested.
- Undergraduate degree in an appropriate discipline
- Minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5
- Waiver can be requested.
- Minimum GRE scores
- Masters level applicants must have GRE scores in their Advanced Civil Schooling nomination packet, regardless of whether or not the university requires GRE for admission
- GRE scores must be current within 5 years from the date of entry into the program
- Minimum GRE scores of 500, 500 and 4.0; scores of 350 and 2.0 may be waived by request with justification from the officer's Career Division or Functional Area Manager (even if the applicant has been accepted into school the Advanced Education Programs Branch will not approve any officer with scores less than 350 and 2.0). The test itself cannot be waived, only the score.
- For those candidates who took the GRE after 1 Aug 2011 (following the restructure of scoring of the GRE), GRE scores must be a minimum of 153 (Verbal Reasoning), 144 (Quantitative Reasoning) and 4.0 (Analytical). The minimum waiverable GRE score under the restructured scoring system is 143, 138 and 2.0.
- Certain personnel do not require GRE scores:
- PhD applicants (unless university required)
- Expanded Graduate School Program (EGSP) / Graduate School Option (GRADSO) Officers, Army Acquisition Officers and Special Operations Low Intensity Conflict (SOLIC) officers.
- Deployed officers with no opportunity to take GRE due to unavailability of testing facilities; these officers have 90 days following re-deployment to test
- Officers who have obtained a Graduate Level Degree on their own within the last 5 years.
- Minimum GMAT of 500 (for management-related degrees only, e.g., Comptrollers, Acquisition Management and MBA); minimum GMAT score acceptable with a waiver request including justification from the officer's Career Division or Functional Area Manager is 350.
- Waiver can be requested.
- Acceptance into a graduate program requiring no more than 6 credit hours of prerequisites
- Advanced Civil Schooling does not fund prerequisite courses or non-degree requirement electives. Prerequisite tuition assistance is available in accordance with AR 621-5. ACS will not fund courses that are taken as a prerequisite or taken as a non-degree requirement elective.
- Degree programs must be day time, traditional classroom-setting programs. Night Courses, Weekend programs, On-line courses or attendance at "satellite campus" are not supported (IAW AR 621-1)
- Demonstrated potential for continued service (not at risk for promotion to next higher grade)
- Secret clearance (TS SCI for NDIC MSSI program).
- Fully qualified at current grade.
- Career timeline allows for schooling and an initial utilization assignment for a minimum of two years (many agencies require initial three-year utilization)
Selection to the program is competitive, based both on performance evaluations as an officer as well as academic achievement. The Human Resources Command provides fully funded resources to educate officers who not only exhibit a strong military manner of performance potential (MOPP), but also possess a strong academic background and the potential to achieve a graduate level education.
Upon completion of the program, the officer is obligated to a "utilization tour" in an assignment requiring the academic qualifications. Officers incur an Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) of three days for every one day in school.
Nominations: No more than 412 students may enter the Advanced Civil Schooling Program annually (does not include separately funded programs like AAC, SOLIC and EGSP/GRADSO). Based on the budget, the Advanced Civil Schooling Chief allocates program space availability among the Training Agencies (Basic Branches, Functional Areas, USMA, FLEP, JAGC, PAWC, JCS/OSD, Harvard Strategist, WOD, AAC, SOLIC).
Training agencies select Advanced Civil Schooling candidates for their designated openings. Career Divisions (Maneuver, Fires and Effects Division (MFED), Operations Support Division (OSD) and Force Sustainment Division (FSD)) screen nominees to ensure they meet eligibility requirements and to determine potential. Chief of Advanced Education Programs Branch, Leadership Development Division, Human Resources Command reviews candidate information for final approval.
Simultaneous to the Advanced Civil Schooling application process, the officer applies to the desired civilian institutions, unless otherwise directed by Human Resources Command. After the officer has been accepted by a university and his/her nomination packet has been processed by the Development Branch and approved by Chief of Advanced Education Programs Branch, Leadership Development Division, the officer's Assignment Officer will issue a Request For Orders (RFO) through the appropriate PSB.
A DA Form 2125 (Report to Training Agency) is required with all application packets laying out the proposed program of study. Additionally, the officer will submit a DA 2125) to the ACS section after arrival at school and at the end of each semester/quarter, include grade information. Students should be reminded that IAW AR 621-1, they are required to maintain a "B" in every course. Email the DA 2125 to firstname.lastname@example.org
The DA 2125 is tied to the funding requirement and without a DA 2125 payment of tuition will be delayed.
- Officer finds a Training Agency and civilian university program
- Officer assembles the application packet for Advanced Civil Schooling
- Officer application packet given to the Assignment Officer
- Officer completes applications for the desired university programs
- The Training Agency selects Advanced Civil Schooling applicant
- Officer adds university acceptance letter to packet
- Application packet sent to Leadership Development Division
- Approved packets sent to PSBs for Notification and RFOs
For more information, (these pages will direct you to enter an AKO login and password):
Document Review Date: 4 August 2015