TEACH Application FAQs

TEACH Application FAQs

What Do I Need for My TEACH Application?

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores provide us with an indicator of your potential for success in graduate school. They are also required by HRC for all officers attending advanced civil schooling (ACS). If you have not yet taken the GRE, or if your existing GRE scores will be over 5 years old at the time you enter ACS, you should take the exam as soon as possible.* An unofficial copy should be uploaded to T.E.A.C.H. 

Minimum Score Requirements 

The Army minimum standards for the GRE are 500 points on the verbal assessment, 500 points on the quantitative assessment, and 4 in the analytical writing assessment. 

ACS requires that minimum scores are 153 points on the verbal assessment, 144 points on the quantitative assessment and 4.0 in the analytical writing assessment. 

*Optional. As of 2020, GRE scores are required by the ACS program only if the GRE is also required by the academic institution to which you are applying. 

Upload unofficial copies of all undergraduate transcripts (all schools if you attended more than one) to T.E.A.C.H. Upload unofficial copies of graduate transcripts, if applicable.

Upload a  current copy of your ORB. You can download a current copy directly from AKO.

Because our faculty members must serve as professional role models for cadets, USMA places strong emphasis on choosing officers with a strong military record. We request that you upload copies of all your OERs and AERs. You can obtain these in electronic form directly from your AKO account. 

If you will not have a Command OER in time for our selection board, we recommend that you get a letter from your senior rater assessing your performance in your branch-qualifying job. 

The TEACH system allows an applicant to simultaneously apply to multiple departments. If you are applying to more than one department, it is advised that you contact each department, as they may have different requirements for eligibility.   

It is not necessary for you to provide all this information all at once. You may upload new information as it becomes available, and you may update your file at any time 

In any case, our best advice is to START EARLY. To initiate your application and begin the process of joining our team, click here to start the CAC-enabled TEACH application process. If you have already started a packet, click here to log in.

TEACH Application FAQs

No, we look at the entire file to ensure a strong mix of backgrounds. However, we typically look for candidates who demonstrate the academic ability to gain admission to a top-tier graduate program. These candidates usually have an undergrad GPA >3.0 and strong GRE Quantitative and Verbal scores. However, while scores are important, we encourage any interested applicant to apply by submitting their best possible scores in addition to an otherwise strong application. You may continue to take the GRE and submit updated scores until the application deadline of the selection cycle. Note: in accordance with Army Regulation, you must have a minimum GRE score of 153V and 144Q. You must meet these minimum scores in order to have a competitive application.

What type of scores would I need on the GRE to be competitive? 

Generally, your individual scores need to be above 157 to be competitive.  Getting over 166 distinguishes you in the discipline, while a score below 153 sometimes hurts.  Regardless, your military performance, your ability to write well, and your undergraduate record contribute significantly to the overall portrait of candidate files.

We require all candidates to be complete with company command (or branch equivalent) by the time they would start graduate school in order to ensure they are competitive for promotion to major. If your timeline is atypical, we will evaluate it on a case-by-case basis. For performance evaluations, we look for officers with outstanding military performance who have received strong evaluation reports. There is no standard number of MQ evaluations that are required, but most competitive files have strong OERs that make them competitive for promotion. Though you will most likely not have an evaluation from your command time when you apply, having a "Most Qualified" from company command is usually a requirement before entering graduate school. Officers must be competitive for promotion based on their past performance in order to be selected. This is something that your branch manager will usually be able to help you evaluate. 

The board values letters from individuals who know you well from a professional performance standpoint and can speak to your potential in an academic setting.  Letters from your time as an undergraduate student are welcome.  In addition, the board appreciates letters from former supervisors who know you personally and can therefore write knowledgably about your character, performance, and potential.  Letters from people who don’t know you well, regardless of rank, often make little impact as they do not give the board members any additional insight into you as an officer and future instructor. If you know a former USMA instructor who knows you well, particularly a former SOSH instructor, we recommend contacting them for a letter of recommendation.

The CAC-enabled T.E.A.C.H. application portal features an embedded letter of recommendation feature. Therefore, letters of recommendation from active duty military members or others with CAC-enabled access will be completed via the web application. In cases where recommenders do not have CAC-enabled access to the T.E.A.C.H. portal, there is no preferred form, but a sample is available for your use: click here to access the Sample Letter of Recommendation.  Most importantly, the letters of recommendation should address the candidate’s potential for success as a military officer as well as their potential for success studying at the graduate level.  Obviously, not every letter must address each of these (as letters of recommendation from military service members may not be well situated to evaluate academic potential and visa versa).  However, as applicants solicit letters, it is recommended that they provide references capable of speaking to both.

The CAC-enabled T.E.A.C.H. application portal features an embedded letter of recommendation feature. Therefore, letters of recommendation from active duty military members or others with CAC-enabled access will be completed via the web application. In cases where recommenders do not have CAC-enabled access to the T.E.A.C.H. portal, there is no preferred form, but a sample is available for your use: click here to access the Sample Letter of Recommendation.  Most importantly, the letters of recommendation should address the candidate’s potential for success as a military officer as well as their potential for success studying at the graduate level.  Obviously, not every letter must address each of these (as letters of recommendation from military service members may not be well situated to evaluate academic potential and visa versa).  However, as applicants solicit letters, it is recommended that they provide references capable of speaking to both.

You may start a file at any time during your career, but in order to be considered for selection to an Instructor position you must be a branch-qualified Captain prior to beginning graduate school (not prior to submitting your application to TEACH). 

Master's Degree Program FAQ

The degree you pursue will depend upon which program you will teach in. Once accepted, your program director will use your preferences (and which schools you were accepted to) and compare them to the needs of the department. For school selection, you are expected to attend the highest quality institution within your field of study to which you can gain admission. A few factors play into the final selection including: where you are admitted, cost of the school, and needs of the department. Most often, our selected candidates are able to attend one of their top choice schools. Low- and medium-cost schools are much easier to accommodate. Once they are admitted to a program, many inbound faculty find success in negotiating a reduced tuition with their school to ensure it is within Army guidelines for low or medium cost.

Recent graduate schools that faculty have attended include: Yale, Harvard, Stanford, North Carolina, New York University, Notre Dame, MIT, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and Georgetown.

No, we do not have reserved seats, habitually send faculty to any particular schools, or weigh in on your application with those schools. Future faculty candidates compete on the strength of their application for admission to each individual program among the general population of applicants. An acceptance to the department and approval as an ACS candidate becomes your “license to apply” to graduate schools as your next Army assignment. Future faculty members apply to and get into graduate school on their own merits. We have no established programs or relationships that "place" applicants into these graduate programs, giving you the freedom to find a program that best meets your academic interests and satisfies the needs of the department. While the application statistics to many top programs such as Yale, Harvard, or Stanford might seem intimidating, we accept candidates into the faculty program who demonstrate a strong academic and professional performance record, which are also the same characteristics that many graduate schools seek.

Generally speaking, no. Similar to the question above, you can pursue a joint degree IF you can accomplish it in the same amount of time that you would have otherwise attended graduate school for a single degree. Any additional required classes must not be at expense to the Army. For example, to pursue a master’s degree to teach in SOSH, the Army sponsors you to attend graduate school for 2 academic years. If you can arrange to take enough classes to qualify for a joint degree during this period at no additional expense to the Army, then you can pursue a joint degree. However, it is absolutely imperative that you complete your sponsored (intended) degree within the time allotted with no exceptions. Many joint master’s degree programs require at least three academic years in residence (including the HKS/HBS joint degree) and therefore joint degrees are usually not possible. 

The following information should be sent to the  Faculty Recruiting Officer:

  • DA Form 1618 (Application for Detail as Student Officer at a Civilian Educational Institution or Training with Industry), completed and signed.  Instructions for completing the DA Form 1618 are at enclosure 5.
  • DA Form 2125 (Report to Training Agency) with details of what courses you will take.
  • Letters of Acceptance with the required information and at least one from a low cost university.
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts for all college level courses taken.  If applying to NPS, AFIT, or Syracuse, submit two official transcripts.
  • Official scores for GRE/GMAT (taken within 5 years).
  • Any request for waivers, for example of the 17 year-or-service maximum prior to starting a Ph.D.

Click to visit the Human Resources Command ACS program website (CAC login required) for the most current information on ACS policies and procedures. 

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

The guidance changes from year-to-year. We want you to apply for the best possible schools without regard to cost. Our intent is that cost should be a tie-breaker, not a determining factor. As a safety measure, you are required to seek acceptance in at least one low-cost school.

Letters of acceptance must state the following:

  • Name of officer being accepted.
  • Statement stating acceptance to the school.
  • Tuition cost (resident or non-resident) – must say resident status for universities that grant resident tuition to military students.
  • Degree to be obtained (MA, MS, Ph.D., JD, LLM, etc.).
  • Department and discipline to which admitted.
  • Registration and class start dates.
  • Inclusive dates of the officer’s program of study (imperative that they be accurate).
  • Expected graduation date.
  • Length of academic program (i.e. 33 semester hours or 18 months or 3 semesters).
  • Required prerequisites (if any) and if they can be taken concurrently with the program or must be taken prior to official acceptance into the graduate program.
  • Tuition reduction agreement (if any).
  • Point of contact at the institution.

It is usually a good idea to make sure that the school is aware of this requirement since most do not usually have all of this information in their acceptance letters.  Another method is to write the letter yourself and ask school admissions officer to endorse it.

Not necessarily.  Make sure you address the fees for summer term with the university.  You are required to maintain full-time status during the summer, so summer term fees need to be included in your acceptance letter.

The Dean's policy is that only 2-year masters programs will be supported for academic instructors. The Tactical Officer program (ELDP) is an authorized 1-year program. 

Previous graduate-level study reflects positively on a candidate but does not necessarily alleviate the requirements for ACS or civilian programs of study. The exception to this rule is for those applicants that have already completed a discipline-appropriate degree and wish to teach in a department as direct-hire candidates. Direct hire candidates do not attend Army-funded schooling.  The department has discretion as to whether a degree is satisfactory for consideration as a direct hire candidate.  If you have any questions in this regard, direct them to the specific department.

As a direct hire candidate, you will be validated at the annual board that meets in November. This places you on a list of qualified direct hires. Should an opening become available outside of our normal selection process, we will contact you to see if your timeline will support an assignment to USMA. 

Direct hire positions become open irregularly as the primary means for sourcing faculty is through our ACS selection process. If you already have a master's degree (non-ACS acquired) but want to compete for an ACS slot and get an additional degree, we encourage you to do so. If the degree was acquired through ACS, we cannot sponsor you for an additional degree.

Direct hire candidates should use the TEACH system to apply. 

Requirements FAQs

Yes, you will need to be branch qualified (completed a key and developmental assignment) as a major or LTC to ensure that you are competitive for promotion to the next grade.  On a limited case by case basis, if you are selected as a MAJ, and desire to compete for battalion command the department head may allow you to do both, command and complete the PhD, with the assignment to the department being deferred until after command.  This decision is based on individual circumstances balanced with the teaching and accreditation needs of the department.

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.

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!

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.

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.

Absolutely not! In fact, almost 100% of selected officers are still in their basic branch when they are selected. Over half of our faculty members continue in their basic branch after finishing their tour at West Point. 

If you decide you are interested in a functional area, we recommend that you do not VTIP into that career field until after you are already in graduate school or at USMA to avoid any misunderstanding with your new branch, or complications with your By-Name Request. It is not uncommon for officers in SOSH to apply to become an ORSA (FA49), Strategist (FA59), Foreign Area Officer (FA48), or the Army's newest field - Marketing Officer (FA58).

Application Timeline FAQs

It depends on an officer’s year group. The typical zones of consideration are below:

Application Deadline

Primary YGs Considered

Grad School Start

West Point Start (for Master’s Degree)

1 NOV 22

16, 17, 18

Summer 2024


1 NOV 23

17, 18, 19

Summer 2025


1 NOV 24

18, 19, 20

Summer 2026



Please note that these primary year groups are simply a guideline based upon a typical officer’s timeline. You will still be considered if you are past this window, although you must be able to complete key developmental jobs in addition to graduate school, a USMA tour, and ILE. In your application, please be sure to explain your proposed timeline for accomplishing these. Your branch manager may be able to tell you if your proposed timeline is realistic. 

Yes. The primary reasons are twofold. First, the timeline allows us to get you released by your branch and approved for graduate school by ACS, which occurs (in this scenario) during the spring of next year.

This then allows you to apply to graduate schools during the fall of next year, gain acceptance in the spring of the following year, and begin school in the fall.

The second reason is that we have a limited number of slots for each cohort. Much like operational Army units have an MTOE, we also has a TDA which limits the number of slots available for instructors. When we accept a candidate, we are forecasting a specific need for that instructor in 3.5 years. Therefore, we do not have slots available for you to start graduate school in 2020 because those slots were filled a year prior.

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).

Generally speaking, you must complete your three-year ADSO before you can begin graduate school (you can still apply while serving your ADSO, but must finish it before starting school). You will have to be released by your branch to start graduate school. If you think you will need to be released prior to this ADSO expiring, you will need to speak with your branch manager to find out the feasibility of your proposed timeline. We must honor your ADSO to these branches and can only accept you on an accelerated timeline if your branch releases you. 

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.

There is a 3-year ADSO for every year of graduate school. Accepting the ACS nomination effectively obligates you for 8 years: 2 years in graduate school, 3 years at USMA, and 3 years in follow-on assignments.

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.  

Current requirements dictate that all officers complete a three-year utilization tour following graduate school. If required, officers will be eligible for deferment of Resident ILE or for Satellite ILE courses scheduled during the summer months. Officers are encouraged to work closely with the Department's Faculty Hiring officers or their branch managers if they are concerned about their career timelines. In general, officers are considered not eligible for consideration too early in their timelines (i.e., they will not have completed a KD assignment as a Captain before beginning graduate school) or too late in their timelines (i.e., they will not return to the force with enough time to complete a KD assignment as a Major before their Lieutenant Colonel board). 

Once your By-Name Request (BNR) is approved during your application/matriculation process, your tour length becomes a binding contract between West Point and your controlling branch. Even if you negotiate a longer tour with your branch manager, our TDA will not support a longer tour without deliberate, prior coordination with the department's faculty hiring team.

Most officers that extend their tour at West Point increase the length from a two-year tour to a three-year tour. Very rarely are officers approved to serve a tour longer than three years. Extension requests may not be submitted until the end of your first year of teaching, though we encourage open-and-candid dialogue with your program director and the faculty hiring team throughout your matriculation process.

Extensions are approved via the Department Head through the Dean's Office and finally by the Superintendent with concurrence from your controlling branch.