Accession Number:



The Impact of a Quality Undergraduate Education on Marine Corps Officer Performance

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]

Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



To meet the demands of future conflicts against increasingly capable adversaries, the Marine Corps must recruit, promote, and retain the most capable officers. Yet, every year money is spent training and educating Marine officers, and each year high performing and capable officers voluntarily separate, resulting in Marine Corps talent loss. The goal of this thesis was to determine if the type of college attended predicts performance of career-level officers. U.S. universities with Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps were grouped by selectivity. Models used ordinary least squares to predict officer retention at 5-, 7-, 10-, and 15-year career milestones and a logit model to study predictive variables for promotion to Major. Our results suggest that graduates of top-ranked public or private universities are less likely to be retained in the first 10 years of service. Graduates of top-ranked private universities who decide to stay in the Marines are more likely to retain at 15 years and promote to Major. Graduates of bottom-ranked public universities are more likely to retain at 7 years of service but are less likely to remain on active duty at 15 years or promote to Major. A Marines accession source was not found to be a significant factor in predicting promotion or retention after controlling for gender and race. Since school type retention rates were found to be similar, results do not support any policy changes that emphasize recruitment from a particular college type.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Humanities and History
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]