Academy Graduates have education and training that enhances the Coast Guard's ability to carry out its missions. The Direct Commission Maritime Academy Graduate Program is available to individuals who hold a qualifying degree.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for MARGRAD, one must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Be a U.S. Citizen.
  2. Be between the ages of 21 and 40 (applicants must have reached their 21st birthday but not their 41st birthday as of September 30th of the fiscal year in which the panel convenes).
  3. Have graduated from a state or federal maritime academy and hold a Third Mate OR Third Assistant Engineer license, OR major in a Coast Guard mission-related field (i.e. a field related to the marine industry, engineering, the marine environment, maritime security, emergency preparedness, etc).
  4. Receive a favorable recommendation from an Officer Interview Board (coordinated by your recruiter).
  5. Meet character standards and be eligible for a security clearance.
  6. Meet financial standards.
  7. Meet dependency standards (Single parents with sole custody or primary custody are ineligible).
  8. Pass a commissioning physical exam.
  9. GPA: Have at least a 2.2 GPA on a 4.0 scale.
  10. Not be on active duty in any other U.S. Armed Service, unless you submit a discharge statement with your package. Applicants in an Inactive Reserve program must submit a conditional release. Have less than a total of 10 years non-CG service.
  11. Applicants may be initiated during the applicant's final year, if all other requirements are met.

Service Obligation

Cadets Swearing into Coast Guard After attending a five-week Direct Commission Officer (DCO) School at the USCG Academy in New London, CT, you will be commissioned as an Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Based on your experience, education, and qualifications, you will be commissioned as either an Ensign (O-1) or Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2).

Upon completion of DCO School, you will be obligated to serve for three years on active duty, after which you may apply for an extension for the chance to continue to serve as an officer in the Coast Guard.

Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS)    

Direct Commission Selected School (DCSS) Graduates of Texas A&M University and Texas A&M Maritime Academy are eligible to apply to the Coast Guard’s DCSS program. DCSS seeks to offer direct commissions to high performing individuals who have already proven their leadership ability and desire to serve others through rigorous programs. Typically, a broad range of mission fields are available to DCSS graduates for their initial assignment in the Coast Guard. These possibilities include but are not limited to assignment to a Coast Guard sector as a member of the response or prevention department, or assignment afloat on a Coast Guard cutter.

DCSSs work with a Coast Guard assignment officer following selection. The assignment officer will review the individual’s education, experience and qualifications, in addition to their expressed assignment interests, and assign orders to a position at a Coast Guard field unit that best aligns the selectee’s talents & potential with the needs of the Coast Guard. Following commissioning (which occurs approximately 30 days prior to attending the Direct Commission Officer (DCO) course in New London, Connecticut) new officers will execute permanent change of station (PCS) orders and report directly to their first unit for a brief period. DCSSs will then receive temporary duty assignment (TDY) to the DCO course. The DCO course will be 4-5 weeks in duration. At DCO training, DCSSs receive initial indoctrination to the traditions and programs of the service, and training on service specific administration essentials needed for their success as a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard. Following completion of DCO training, DCSSs will return to their unit.

During subsequent assignments, DCSS officers can expect to broaden their experience within the operational community to which they were initially assigned- with increasing levels of leadership and management exposure with progression in rank. DCSS officers have opportunities for special assignments and assignments within sub-specialties, including intelligence, human resources, engineering and C4&IT, international affairs, legal, recruiting, financial management and training.