Frequently Asked Questions

If I am selected to attend graduate school, who pays for graduate school?

The Army would pay for graduate school through the ACS program.

How long would an assignment as an instructor last (including both grad school and the utilization tour as an instructor)?

For ACS hires, the experience is five years.  After you become Key Development (KD) as a captain, you spend two years in graduate school and then three years teaching at West Point.

For direct hires, the experience is two to three years.  You must be KD for your appropriate rank and then will spend two to three years teaching at West Point.  To qualify as a direct hire, you must already have a master’s degree and a 2/2 DLPT in the desired language.

Your last question says that it is a five-year process, but how much time would I owe the Army?

Officers who attend graduate school under the ACS program incur an Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) of three days for every one day in graduate school. Most officers spend two years in graduate school and incur a six-year ADSO. The good news is that your three-year teaching assignment at USMA counts towards that ADSO.

If I am selected to become an instructor, how do I determine which graduate school I will attend?

Once you are accepted as an instructor, you will work with your specific language section’s Program Director (senior Ph.D. faculty member) and Desk Chief (senior military faculty) to determine which schools to apply to, based upon programs that have worked well with USMA in the past and your academic interests. After receiving your acceptance letters, you and the Program Director will work together to determine which university is the best fit.

Why is there such a long period between when the Department selects officers and when the officers begin graduate school (18 months)?

This period is needed for us to get HRC approval for officers to attend graduate school (approximately 6 months), and then to give officers time to apply to a variety of graduate schools (most universities have application deadlines of November or December of the year prior to beginning grad school).

My branch does not require officers to be a company or detachment commander to be KD. Is this going to prevent me from teaching at West Point?

No, it will not. You only have to meet the KD requirements for your branch.

I am not sure when I am going to start my KD assignment. What should I do?

Go ahead and start the application process. We can’t communicate with you if you don’t have a file with us. Turn in everything needed for your packet. It is much easier for you to tell us in November/December that you will not be competing in the Selection Board than it is to scramble at the last minute to put together an application packet.

I am currently or am slated to be a company commander in a TRADOC or USAREC unit as my KD assignment. Will this hurt my chances of becoming an instructor?

Our department seeks to hire officers who can educate, train, and inspire the next generation of Army officers. Where you complete your KD assignment is unimportant. We care far more that you do great things wherever the Army assigns you!

I am currently deployed. I did not take the GRE prior to deploying and will not be able to take the GRE until I redeploy. As a result, I will not have GRE scores in prior to the Selection Board. Am I still eligible to compete?

Due to deployments, we can make accommodations. If you have a strong file both militarily and academically (i.e., a high undergrad GPA), we will give you consideration in the Selection Board. If chosen to be an instructor, your selection would be contingent on you scoring well enough on the GRE after deployment to get you into a quality grad school program, as needed. Many grad school programs are not requiring the GRE.

Are these boards held the same time each year?

Yes, they are. The boards are held from November through December, and we notify candidates by the end of December.

I am dual military. Are there other opportunities for my spouse at USMA?

Absolutely. DFL cannot guarantee a job for your spouse, but we will do what we can to help you and your spouse stay together.

I signed up for the EGSP or GRADSO program. Can I still compete for an ACS slot for DFL?

Yes, you can. If selected, the Army will simply change you over to the ACS program.

I am currently attending grad school through the EGSP/GRADSO program, or I have an MA in another field (e.g., education, international relations, area studies, etc.). Can I apply to be a DFL instructor?

As long as you graduate with a language-related degree or demonstrate language proficiency through your DLPT score and interview with DFL, you can potentially serve as a DFL instructor.

I am due to start grad school under the EGSP/GRADSO program next year, and I am interested in becoming a DFL instructor. What can I do to increase my chances of being selected for a direct hire at a later date?

Stay in contact and work with the language section’s Program Director to determine which schools you should apply to and what courses of study you should focus on.  Contact MAJ Nowak for a list of Program Directors.

I did not graduate from West Point. Can I apply to be an instructor at West Point?

Yes, you can! We value the experience of officers from all commissioning sources and think that having ROTC and OCS officers is a part of providing West Point Cadets with a quality military education.

I did not graduate from college with a degree in foreign languages. Can I apply to be a foreign language instructor at West Point?

Yes, you can! We have several officers teaching in the Department who majored in something other than foreign languages, whether at USMA or other undergraduate institutions.


Point of Contact: Please contact the DFL Personnel Section: COL Zachary Miller,, or CPT David Frye,, with any questions or concerns regarding the faculty application process.